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Old March 11, 2013, 05:25 PM   #1
camoman621
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CPL Too Easy?

I'm 52, been around firearms my entire life, hunting, target, competitive shooting, etc., and an NRA life member for nearly forty years. Finally decided to get my CPL. Took required class last Saturday and must say that I left the class afraid for the general public. About 60 students in the class of which most have never owned a handgun and about half of which have never owned any type of firearm, but are all of a sudden qualified to carry a loaded weapon in public. Watching the class shoot on the range was nothing short of scary. A large number of them not being able to consistently hit a stationary full size body target at 21ft in good light, with no stress, and with no one confronting them with a weapon. Seems to me that being able to qualify to carry a deadly weapon should be a little more labor intensive.
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Old March 11, 2013, 05:29 PM   #2
Gaerek
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And I would argue that a license to protect yourself and your family is unconstitutional.

"...the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

I have a CCW permit (for reciprocity, and other purposes) but I live in a Constitutional carry state.
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Old March 11, 2013, 05:35 PM   #3
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You don't mention your state, or whether or not the class was the NRA Basic Pistol class. If it was the NRA class, the instructor should be reported to the NRA (who won't do anything about it, but that's another story).

When I got my carry permit ten-plus years ago, and more recently when I became certified by the NRA to teach Basic Pistol, the emphasis was solely on safety and the live fire requirement was basically being able to shoot one cylinder (for revolvers) or one magazine) in the general direction of the target without doing anything egregiously stupid.

About a year ago the NRA significantly tightened up the requirements for the live fire portion of Basic Pistol. Shooters are now required to shoot several groups, at varying distances, one-handed, demonstrating an ability to actually shoot something approximating a group. Then the exercise is repeated using a two-hand grip. The revised course of fire calls for an absolute minimum of fifty rounds per student, and more if any of them can't shoot a half-decent group the first time up.

A lot of instructors either aren't aware of this change, or knowingly choose to ignore it. I think that's a bad thing, because it gives all of us a bad name. The bottom line is that unless you class was offered at an outdoor range with a whole bunch of assistant instructors to help conduct the live fire exercise, there's simply no way that 60 students could be run through the revised live fire course in one day -- probably not even in a weekend.
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Old March 11, 2013, 05:50 PM   #4
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One problem is that people forget that rights come with responsibilities attached -- if they ever knew that in the first place. If someone is going to carry a loaded gun in public, they have a responsibility to know how to carry and use it safely. I don't know how you get this across to people, especially in a culture in which products are marketed with the promise that just buying the [car... table saw... gun...] will make you a better person and an expert in its use.

The conflict between the government's legitimate interest in ensuring that people behave responsibly in public, and the degree to which that interest infringes on their rights, is an interesting problem -- to put it mildly.

And as AB notes, not all classes are created equal. The recent increase of interest in self-defense among the general public gives a strong motive for unscrupulous instructors to offer inadequate training (large class sizes, etc.).
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Old March 11, 2013, 05:53 PM   #5
camoman621
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The great lake state of Michigan. All we had to do on the range was shoot two different targets at 21ft with two hand grip. We had to wait once for one gentlemen because he couldn't figure out how to load his weapon. It was the NRA basic pistol cpl class. Basically we spent about 1 hour on the range and 7 hours listening to a group of guys telling stupid stories about their life experiences.
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Old March 11, 2013, 05:59 PM   #6
camoman621
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Don't get me wrong. There was some good basic information given out during the lectures, but most of the time had to be taken up answering and re-answering the same questions.
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Old March 11, 2013, 06:08 PM   #7
hardworker
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In Virginia it can be done without spending a second with a real instructor or on the range. I qualified in 5 minutes over the internet. It took longer to enter the credit card info than to do the class and pass the test. The info given on the class was basic gun terminology and basic safety. Not helpful to anyone that doesn't already know it.

Yes it worries me that it's so easy.
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Old March 11, 2013, 06:43 PM   #8
Gaerek
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For what it's worth, the Arizona CWP class is supposed to be 8 hours, and almost all of it is spent in the classroom. It goes over state law, use of force law, and what to expect in court if you do have to use your weapon in self defense. The marksmanship portion is 5 shots at 5 yards, 5 shots at 10 yards inside a rather large box in a silhouette. You have to hit 7 out of 10.

When people use the, "Well, people who are carrying have a responsibility to know how to use it." I agree with you, but it's not the state that should force the responsibility. If what you said were the case, we'd have all sorts of stats on un-permitted people legally carrying in Arizona, doing all sorts of stupid things. (Kinda like the Wild West argument for shall issue permits.) Yet, we don't see that happening. And those that do, they go to jail, because they did something stupid with a gun.

Honestly, I don't have a problem with requiring a permit. It ensures the person isn't a criminal (not that not having the ability to obtain a permit would stop a criminal from carrying...but that's a different argument for a different day), and gives some measure of sense that they can, in fact, hit the broad side of a barn.

But, as Vermont, Alaska, Arizona, and other Constitutional Carry states are showing is, the number of people doing stupid things with guns doesn't change just because you don't have to get a card first.
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Old March 11, 2013, 06:46 PM   #9
SPEMack618
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In Georgia, all you have to do is pass the background check and let the girl at the Probate Office warm up the laminator as you get your fingerprints done.

No training at all.

I'm very pro-training. In fact, I just signed my sister up for the NRA basic pistol class.

That being said, I am anti-government mandated training.
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Old March 11, 2013, 06:49 PM   #10
wayneinFL
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Florida technically has a one shot requirement. Yet even with a million permit holders, accidents are rare.

I'm not worried about it. Most people I've met who took the class without any other training and wanted to carry regularly sought out additional training.
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Old March 11, 2013, 06:55 PM   #11
Gaerek
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Quote:
I'm very pro-training. In fact, I just signed my sister up for the NRA basic pistol class.

That being said, I am anti-government mandated training.
That's exactly my feeling. And a required permit is government mandated training in almost every single instance.
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Old March 11, 2013, 07:03 PM   #12
Nathan
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I agree, but don't agree.

I hated to see the people in my class who had never owned a weapon before think, "gee, 12 hours of training and I'm able to carry and shoot to defend myself." If they really thought that slow fire at 10 feet with no pressure is all they need to be qualified, we are in trouble! Fortunately, I think that the class I had was big on safety, but small on shooting proficiency.

Personally, I think a person needs to take 20 - 100 hours of training and have a test at the end, but as we've seen in OH, customers want the easiest way to get what they want. It is so bad here that there are stories of guys taking $100 cash, having you shoot 1 round of 22lr in a barrel of sand.

The worst was the guy who took money and sent out certificates. He is in hot water with the state.
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Old March 11, 2013, 07:24 PM   #13
Glenn E. Meyer
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Do you need mandatory training to vote?
Do you need mandatory training to print a newsletter or start a web page?
Do you need a mandatory class in comparative religion to choose a faith?

Mandatory training for a basic human right is an interesting concept.

Certainly electing an idiot might cost more lives than the number of gun accidents by untraining CPL types.

That being said, I think you have a moral responsibility to try to be competent with a firearm, understand legalities and moral principles related to taking a life if you intend to use it in circumstances that might injure an innocent or overract to an incident.
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Old March 11, 2013, 07:33 PM   #14
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Without knowing the OP's location, we can't really say whether the instructors at his course were in any way at fault. Some states do not require any live fire at all; some only require that X number of shots be fired downrange, without injury to the shooter or bystanders, and no mention of required hit percentage.

Other states have more stringent requirements.

So, since the OP indicated this was a CPL course, we don't know if the instructors were negligent, or simply following state requirements.

Personally, as an instructor, I'd offer extra time and instruction to try to bring the poor shots up to some semblance of speed, but that might not be something that could be required, if the shooter did not want it - again, depending on location.

But, as others have said, while I am all in favor of training (receiving it or giving it), I loathe government mandates for training on something that is supposed to be a right, not a privilege.

Also, it has been noted multiple times on TFL that states which have Constitutional carry have not racked up higher gun accident rates than the states that require training. So, while it seems intuitive that concealed carriers should be trained, empirical data don't seem to suggest much difference.

In which case, it is even harder to argue for mandatory training in order to exercise the right.
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Old March 11, 2013, 08:02 PM   #15
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I remember a good friend of mine who taught Driver Education in school. He made the same statement about his "recruits". He maintained that some of them would NEVER be safe to put on the interstate highways with a deadly weapon like a full-sized vehicle.
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Old March 11, 2013, 09:17 PM   #16
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Two things I glean from this thread

1) irrational fears.

2) due to irrational fears some people are willing to put limits on the freedoms of others.
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Old March 11, 2013, 09:19 PM   #17
chris in va
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Quote:
Seems to me that being able to qualify to carry a deadly weapon should be a little more labor intensive.
Agree fully. Not a big fan of .gov mandating things but many new shooters don't bother to get proper training.
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Old March 11, 2013, 09:20 PM   #18
SPEMack618
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Heh. Having a clearance was a pain for Pops until he got his CCW permit, his NICS checks always went for three days before they came back.

That being said, I don't understand what he is trying to prove other than the current background check system works if you are not a prohibited person.
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Old March 11, 2013, 09:27 PM   #19
Nathan
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Nice post Glenn. Very well stated. +1

It reminds me that if we really want to save lives, we need bathtub registration, excise taxes and mandatory training. We all should have a BOID, or be required to bath with someone with a BOID for safety!

BOID - Bath tub Owners Identification Document
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Old March 11, 2013, 09:41 PM   #20
barnbwt
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Quote:
Do you need mandatory training to vote?
We do technically have mandatory education in this country, not that it is itself required to vote. Perhaps if they'd bring back riflery or pistol-shooting in schools this becomes a complete non-issue?

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Old March 11, 2013, 09:44 PM   #21
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn E. Meyer
That being said, I think you have a moral responsibility to try to be competent with a firearm, understand legalities and moral principles related to taking a life if you intend to use it in circumstances that might injure an innocent or overract to an incident.
I agree with Glenn.

I'll also point out that, no matter how uneasy someone might feel about all these untrained folks wandering the streets with guns, it has never been and is not a major problem.... or even a minor one.

In spite of a near total lack of training on the part of millions of folks, accidents related to lawfully carrying a gun are vanishingly rare.

We don't need the government involved trying to solve problems that don't even exist.

Big Government! If you think the problems we create are bad, wait 'til you see the solutions!
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Old March 11, 2013, 09:47 PM   #22
osbornk
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Quote:
In Virginia it can be done without spending a second with a real instructor or on the range. I qualified in 5 minutes over the internet. It took longer to enter the credit card info than to do the class and pass the test. The info given on the class was basic gun terminology and basic safety. Not helpful to anyone that doesn't already know it.

Yes it worries me that it's so easy.
I had the same experience here in Virginia. Printed out the form, took it to the Clerk of the Court's office, filled out a form and gave them $50. 2 weeks later it was in my mailbox. No questions as to whether you own or have ever even shot a gun. The lady at the clerk's office said she had a permit "just in case" but she had never had or even shot a gun.
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Old March 11, 2013, 10:04 PM   #23
kraigwy
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Mandatory training?????

Who sets the standard? Joe Biden? Anti gunners who would make it so hard no one could pass.

Mandatory training is just wrong. Besides, what is the cost of the training. I just found out tonight that someone is putting on Women's Gun safety and Firearm classes for $250 per session. I ruined their party, I'm adding a second night to accommodate more women.

The same class I (through our club) puts on FREE.

We don't want self defense to be a rich man's game.
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Old March 11, 2013, 10:38 PM   #24
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MLeake
So, since the OP indicated this was a CPL course, we don't know if the instructors were negligent, or simply following state requirements.
While I agree that there should be no legal training requirement for the exercise of a fundamental right, if the instructor was offering the NRA Basic Pistol class it doesn't matter what the state's requirements are -- he is required by the NRA to teach the course the way the NRA prescribes it. If he doesn't -- he isn't offering the NRA Basic Pistol Course.

As an example, I happen to think that the way Cooper summed up firearms safety into four major rules is better than the NRA's three major rules and however many minor rules. But, as an NRA certified instructor, when I teach Basic Pistol I teach it their way, and I then suggest to students that they may find Cooper's rules to be easier to remember if they wish to look them up.

Here's the current NRA Basic Pistol live fire requirement (if I can get it to format):

Quote:
6. Shoot at targets using live ammunition.
Ensure that everyone on the range has eye and hearing protection.

Have students shoot live ammunition at the blank targets using single-shot and then multiple-shot exercises. Emphasize the importance of applying the shooting fundamentals every time they fire a shot.

Note: Students with double-action revolvers should cock
the hammer before each shot, if possible.

a. single-shot exercise
Have the students load and fire only one cartridge at a time. Have them fire five times at a blank target, and have coaches evaluate the shooters. Perform this exercise at least twice, for a total of 10 shots.

b. five-shot exercise
Have students load five cartridges and fire at a blank target, at their own pace, to achieve a shot group. All shots should be on the target. Be sure that the students rest between each shot.

Repeat the exercise until your student is able to shoot "groups" anywhere on the target. Observe and offer feedback as appropriate.

7. Adjust the rear sight to center a group on the target
Once the students are able to group their shots, instruct them how to make sight adjustments. Remind them to move the rear sight in the same direction that they want the hits on the target to move. Emphasize that the guns
must be unloaded before any attempt is made to adjust the sights.

Point out that some pistols do not have adjustable sights.

8. Continue firing five-shot groups from the bench
Continue to have the students load and fire five shots from the bench. The students may now fire on a bullseye target, using a six-o-clock hold so that they can see the front sight clearly in the white area of the target.

Remind the students that their eyes can focus on only one object at a time, and that the front sight should be in sharp focus, with the rear sight and target being less clear.

The students should rest after each shot. Continue to make sight adjustments as necessary.

Repeat the five shot exercise until your student is able to shoot at least three, five-shot groups within a 9-inch diameter circle in the middle of the target. If you are using the coach/pupil method, have participants reverse
the roles and repeat the eight steps.

D. Two-Handed Standing Shooting Position
Demonstrate the two-handed standing shooting position. Explain that both hands are used to grip and support the pistol.

Have the students learn this position using the proper sequence of steps.

1. Study position
Demonstrate and describe the key points of the position, referring students to the pictures of the position in the handbook.

Describe and demonstrate the two-handed grip presented in the text.

2. Practice position without a pistol
Assist students in achieving the proper foot, arm and body position without a pistol.

3. Practice position with a pistol
Assist students in achieving the position with a pistol.
Check for:

• Proper grip
• Feet shoulder width apart and body weight
distributed evenly
• Legs straight
• Back straight or bent slightly forward
• Head erect
• Arms fully extended
• Pistol brought to eye level
• Shooter should be relaxed and comfortable

4. Align position with target
Make sure that each student’s position is such that the pistol is naturally aligned with the target.

5. Dry-fire pistol at target
Have students dry-fire their pistols at a target. Emphasize:

• Sight alignment—aiming
• Trigger squeeze—trigger control

Point out that nobody can hold a pistol perfectly still. The students must try to keep the sights aligned while maintaining a minimum arc of movement.

Emphasize that the trigger should be squeezed straight to the rear, and that the hammer fall should be a surprise.

Note: Students with double-action revolvers should cock the hammer before each shot, if possible.

6. Single-shot exercise
Have the students load and fire one cartridge at a time. Have the students fire five shots at a bullseye target. Be sure that the students rest between each shot.

If the two-handed position is maintained for eight seconds or more without firing a shot, the shooter should remove the trigger finger from the trigger, keep the gun pointed it in a safe direction, and lower it or rest it on the
bench before attempting another shot.

Using the coach/pupil method, have coaches evaluate the shooters. Repeat the exercise, for a total of ten shots.

7. Five-shot exercise
Have students load five cartridges and fire at a blank target, at their own pace, to achieve a shot group. All shots should be on the target. Be sure that the students rest between each shot.

Repeat the five shot exercise until your student is able to shoot at least three, five-shot groups within a 9-inch diameter circle in the middle of the target. If you are using the coach/pupil method, have participants reverse
the roles and repeat the eight steps.

E. Evaluation of Shooting Practice
Lead students in a discussion of the shooting exercises. With each student, focus on the positive aspects (what the student did right).

F. Summarize Presentation
Note that the 5-shot exercises do NOT stipulate a number of rounds. Each student is supposed to continue to shoot 5-shot groups until they demonstrate the ability to hit a 9" plate consistently, or to shoot something approximating "groups" on a blank sheet of paper. Shooting two different targets, two-handed, as described by the OP is nowhere near what the NRA prescribes. It may satisfy state requirements in his state, but the instructor should not be calling it or advertising it as the NRA Basic Pistol course, because it isn't.
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Old March 11, 2013, 11:01 PM   #25
Fishing_Cabin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kraigwy
We don't want self defense to be a rich man's game.
QFT...

I know some instructors who charge way to much for way to little of a class. Put females into the spectrum and it goes down hill.

Thank you kraigwy.
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