Several weeks ago I made the decision to damn the expense and sign up for a Concealed Carry class due to the increased violence in the nearby town, mostly due to the trash Chicago has been dumping into the local area.
Well that's what I've been up to this week (along w/ a high level of stress at work). Illinois requires 16 hrs of training along w/ the $150 license fee. I was exempt from 8 of that due to being a veteran but did the full time because I took the class w/ the C-in-C. We had about a dozen people in our group, half women, have men. Mostly older folks but one younger guy and a few middle age (including me). At least half of them said they were getting their licenses due to what's been going on in town. As for experience it was split pretty evenly between gun nuts, casual owners, and completely new to firearms. The class is designed to cater mostly to the new and inexperienced owners, hence the exemptions for military and various safety classes. The instructor we had was a 30yr canine officer and firearm enthusiast.
Night 1: Firearm safety and terminology
The absolute basics. Starting w/ the four rules and moving onto the different types of firearms and their parts. He went over various mistakes that people commonly make,safe handling, function, caliber, terminology, and other intro topics which a lot of the newer individuals did not know. It was interesting to watch those who didn't know these things learn about them and ask some good questions.
Night 2: Cleaning and operation drills
The second night continued the basics. Everyone that had one brought in their own firearms (unloaded/no ammo) and went through instruction on how to disassemble, clean, and maintain them. Those w/o their own were able to use the instructor's. Lots of different models were there, Ruger, Colt, Glock, etc. Some more unique pieces were a 1903 Colt .32 (which hadn't been used in decades), my Makarov, and a Ruger Mk II. We watched a youtube video to figure out how to disassemble the Colt which turned out to be pretty easy. It was pretty nasty inside. The Ruger was a nightmare to deal w/ even after various videos and attempts to assemble/re-assemble. I will not own one of those. An interesting note was that most of the women who brought firearms brought revolvers.
Following that we did some basic drawing, loading, and firing dummy rounds. When it was my turn, the instructor stated he didn't have any worries about me and that it should go quick. That made me feel good and it did. I cycled it through a few times w/o any major problems. Some went as quick as I did, others took longer for extra practice or advice.
Day 3: Legalese and Qualification
This was the full day. We met at the instructors residence and went over all the laws and legal requirements related to CCW in Illinois. Heavy emphasis on the various gun free zones (of which there are lots in this stupid state) and use of force. Reciprocity, actually applying for the license, and other bureaucratic particulars were also discussed. Lots of details.
We then moved over to his range and began the qualification. The target was a standard 'B27' silhouette at 5, 7, & 10 yrds, 10 shots each, w/ 70% accuracy total. Not difficult but the CinC and I went out the night before and practiced at about twice the range JIC. This was my result:
He complimented me on my grouping using a 'Commie gun' and cheap ammo (Silver Bear). As mediocre of a shot as I am w/ handguns in general, I was pleased. Everyone did well w/ some extra instruction and attention paid to the less experienced shooters. Following that some of us went through a simple move and shoot drill, not part of the mandatory curriculum but fun. Several rounds at a pumpking, a paper plate, and a metal plate, w/ some suggestions on how alternative training can help. We had to leave to check on a sick spawnling but a few stayed to go through some failure drills.
Next up comes the filling out the application, uploading images of the certificate, personal pic, and CC info to the ISP. Then we wait.
Update:. Application filed. Website ran pretty smoothly. They of course jack you w/ a 'convenience fee' to pay for it so it ended up being $153.53