Handgun Carry Permit Course
TN Handgun Carry Permit Course
So you want to get your permit? You’re in the right place! This is the eight-hour safety course required by the State of Tennessee* to obtain a handgun carry permit (HCP). Tennessee does not require a permit to merely own a firearm (for example, if you keep one in your home). However, if you want to carry a firearm on your person out in public, you’ll need a permit. There are lots of people advertising permit classes nowadays. Before you sign up for the cheapest, closest, or shortest course you can find, please consider what makes CSA unique.
- Uncompromising adherence to safety protocols
- Small classes with low student-teacher ratios
- Patient instructors who can relate to new and non-traditional shooters
- Attention to detail and individualized instruction
- A non-intimidating atmosphere
- No political advocacy
- Extra attention to fundamentals and practical application
- Primary focus on self-defense contexts (as opposed to hunting, sporting, or competition)
- Ultimate respect for students’ time, priorities, and motivations
We understand that this will be many people’s very first firearms training class, so we go out of our way to make it a positive experience. We also want our HCP class to be the safest in the state. Our students have these and many other qualities to look forward to when they register for HCP training with CSA.
If you’re interested in getting your carry permit, the first thing you should do is visit the official Tennessee Department of Safety website for handgun permit information. There, you’ll find lots of useful information about the permit application process and applicable Tennessee laws.
As the DOS website explains, taking the HCP course is actually the second step in the process of applying for a Tennessee handgun carry permit. The first step is to start your online application with the state of Tennessee. To do so, please visit the Tennessee Department of Safety’s driver services website, click the tab for “Handgun Permits,” and follow the instructions to complete your application. When you’re done, you’ll be issued a confirmation number. It’s very important that you keep that number handy and bring it with you to the HCP class. We’ll need that confirmation number to verify that you’ve begun the application process before you can take the course.
For the HCP course, every student will need the following:
- State-issued confirmation number from your online application (must be completed prior to class; see the previous section on “What to Do Before Class”)
- Reliable handgun (we can lend you one if necessary, no charge)
- 50 rounds of reliable, good quality practice ammo (can be purchased from CSA)
- Eye protection and ear protection
- Patience, a good attitude, and an open mind
If you do not own a firearm yet, please do not buy one before the class! Our HCP course will give you the knowledge required to make informed decisions about what firearm will best suit your circumstances. It’s much better to take the class first using one of our free loaner guns. That way, you won’t make a hasty purchase that you might later regret. If you have any questions about appropriate handguns, ammo, or other required equipment for the class, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
The HCP class is an eight-hour course with roughly four hours of classroom instruction and four hours of range work. Our course is offered on weekends and during the week. We offer a one-day version (8am to 6pm with a lunch break) and a two-day version (four-hour blocks held on two consecutive days). Course topics include:
- Self-defense legal fundamentals
- Relevant Tennessee statutes
- Firearms safety
- Firearm maintenance and storage
- Basic pistol parts and terminology
- Marksmanship fundamentals
- Firearm and ammunition selection
- Shooting standards and qualification (written test and shooting test)
Successfully completed the HCP course? Congratulations! But don’t stop there. Finishing the class does not mean you can now legally carry a firearm in Tennessee. You’ve got a few more steps to complete the process. Before you can legally carry, you must:
- Return to your pending online application and finish all remaining sections
- Make sure proof of HCP course completion is reflected in your online application
- Be fingerprinted and pass a background check
- Go to a full-service driver’s license station and provide proof of citizenship (or lawful permanent residency)
- Pay the application processing fee (amount varies; military discounts available)
- Be photographed
- Wait for your card to arrive in the mail (could take up to 90 days)
Remember, you cannot legally carry a firearm until you receive the permit in the mail. Merely completing the HCP course does not authorize you to carry. We will discuss these procedures in more detail in the HCP course and answer any questions you have about completing the process.
The HCP course is the bare minimum level of training required by the State for HCP eligibility. However, there’s no way one class could adequately prepare students to carry safely and responsibly. The HCP course covers basic safety and marksmanship, but it doesn’t cover important skills like presenting a handgun from a holster or using cover and concealment. And while the course does cover legal prerequisites to using deadly force, it doesn’t go into much detail about the legal, financial, and emotional aftermath of a defensive shooting.
There just isn’t enough time to cover all that in only eight hours. And yet, it is vital for every concealed carrier to have at least a fundamental understanding of those concepts. When lives are on the line, the bare minimum is not enough. To maintain your skills and continually increase your knowledge base, please consider signing up for more training beyond the HCP course. We offer lots of different pistol classes, rifle and shotgun training, instructor credentialing, and even non-shooting courses and informational events. We also design private and customized classes to meet our clients’ specific needs. Our instructors are lifelong learners, and we hope you will be too.
NOTE: Starting in January of 2020, this process will only apply to the enhanced handgun carry permit. If you obtain your permit before 2020, it will be grandfathered in as an enhanced handgun carry permit (you won’t have to retake the training course or reapply). Once the new two-tiered system takes effect in 2020, we’ll offer separate training for the new concealed carry permit (a/k/a the “mini-permit”). What’s the difference? We’ve put together some information to help explain.