If you’re among the many new gun owners planning to get a Michigan CPL, you will be joining more than 675,000 Michiganders and 20 million Americans nationwide who have their own carry licenses.

Learn about the Michigan CPL and who is eligible to receive one, what you can expect from a typical CPL class, what a CPL allows you to do, and why you should take your CPL class with IFA Tactical Training.

What is the Michigan Concealed Pistol License?

The Concealed Pistol License (CPL) is the name given to the concealed carry weapons license (or CCW license) in Michigan. Despite the name, this document allows the owner to carry any firearm (not just pistols or revolvers) legally, both openly and concealed.

Michigan is a shall-issue state, and CPLs are issued to applicants by local county clerks, provided they meet all legal requirements and pay the required processing fees.

A Michigan CPL is valid for 5 years or until the owner’s birth date 4-5 years from the license’s issuing date. Processing times vary between counties, typically ranging 2-3 weeks, 45 days at most.

Michigan CPL Eligibility

Applicants must meet a long list of requirements to be eligible for a Concealed Pistol License. If you’re looking to obtain your CPL, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident (Green Card)
  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Possess a valid Michigan State ID
  • Be a legal resident in Michigan for at least 6 months, OR be active-duty military personnel with either a permanent station in Michigan or a home of record in Michigan
  • Have completed an approved CPL training class

If you are 20 years old and currently less than 6 months from your 21st birthday, you are allowed to take and complete a Michigan CPL training class. However, you will still need to wait until you are 21 to apply for your license.

You must also NOT meet the following criteria:

  • Be a Federally Prohibited Person as defined by the Gun Control Act of 1968
  • Be a prohibited person under state law
  • Be Dishonorably Discharged from the U.S. military
  • Have pending felony or criminal charges, or past felony or crime convictions
  • Have past convictions for specific misdemeanors (driving under the influence, reckless driving, larceny, malicious destruction of stolen property, etc.)
  • Have received a mental illness diagnosis concluding that you present a danger to yourself or others, regardless of whether you are receiving treatment
  • Been acquitted of a crime by reason of insanity
  • Be the subject of any other restriction order or disposition prohibiting you from owning or purchasing a firearm

What to Expect From a CPL Class

A Michigan CPL class typically costs $100 to attend and does not include the price of a firearm, ammunition, or shooting range access. The class consists of two portions: an in-class lesson and a shooting range session.

A CPL class is approximately 8 hours; the classroom portion lasts at least 5 hours, and the shooting range section is at least 3 hours.

What to Bring to Your Class

You may bring an appropriate firearm for concealed carrying and your own magazines and ammunition. If you do, make sure you have enough magazines to hold at least 20 rounds and a minimum of 100 rounds of practice (full metal jacket) ammunition.

If you don’t have a gun of your own yet, the class will typically have a selection of loaner handguns for use by students, with which you can learn the basics. Ammunition is available for sale during the range portion of the class.

Although earplugs and safety glasses are typically available in the class, it is strongly recommended that you also bring your own eye and ear protection.

Most shooting range sessions take place at outdoor ranges, so wear weather-appropriate clothing. However, avoid open-toed shoes or open-collar shirts, even on hot days; firearms expel hot brass casings that can cause burns if they land on sensitive body parts.

Although most classes offer drinks and coffee, it is customary for applicants to bring their own lunch and snacks for each day of the course.

What to Expect in the Classroom

As per Michigan law, a CPL class will go over a range of specific subjects frequently considered essential knowledge for gun owners. CPL classes welcome students of all skill levels, even those with no prior experience with firearms.

Your class will always begin with basic firearm safety, particularly the four rules of gun safety, why they are essential, and how to apply them in practical situations.

After the introductory gun safety portion, your instructor may go over the basics of safe storage, the use of a gun safe, and other storage recommendations, such as the best location for a gun safe or the best types of locking mechanisms. You will also receive tips and recommendations on how to secure your firearms properly around children.

The class covers the essentials of firearms and ammunition, such as how to differentiate pistols from revolvers, the anatomy of a handgun, how ammo works, and the different ammo types.

You will also learn the fundamentals of handgun operation and shooting. This includes how to load and unload your firearm, how to grip your handgun, and what stance to adopt. You’ll also discover the basics of trigger control, breathing techniques, sight alignment. Throughout this part of training, the instructor should also show you examples of common bad habits and poor practices you should avoid.

You will then review the specifics of gun laws and personal defense legislation in Michigan, helping you understand how CPL laws function and how to apply for, obtain or renew your license.

You will also receive tips on how to behave responsibly as a concealed-carrying citizen. This portion of the lesson typically includes information on how civil liability works, the specifics of Michigan’s self-defense laws, how to develop the situational awareness needed to avoid a confrontation, and how to recognize when you are legally allowed to draw and shoot.

Michigan is a Must-Inform state, meaning that concealed carrying license holders (whether or not a resident) are required to inform a police officer that they are carrying a concealed firearm immediately after being pulled over (MCL 28.425f(3)). The class includes advice on how to tell a police officer that you are currently carrying a firearm as calmly and politely as possible.

There will also be information regarding where you are and aren’t allowed to carry a concealed firearm and who can restrict firearms from their premises.

What to Expect During the Shooting Range Portion

During the range portion, you will apply what you’ve learned in the classroom, putting the basics of gun handling into practice with live ammunition. There will be at least one range safety officer (RSO) or instructor present if you need guidance.

If you intend to bring your own firearm, keep in mind that even though there are no specific caliber restrictions, the class focuses on concealed carrying; get an appropriate make and model.

The law stipulates that each applicant fires a minimum of 30 rounds at the range section of a CPL class. However, many instructors may encourage you to shoot a higher round count (and plan your ammunition purchase accordingly) because it provides more learning opportunities.

At the end of the range portion, applicants must demonstrate basic firearms proficiency with a test. Passing the requirements of this test allows you to complete the class and apply for a license.

Test specifications and parameters:

  • Target: Blank target measuring 25.5” x 11”
  • Shooting distance: 4 yards
  • No time limit
  • No shooting position requirements (although the local range configuration may limit your choices; don’t expect to shoot from a sitting or prone position)
  • Number of rounds: 5

Upon being given a command to fire, you must aim at the target and fire all 5 rounds. Your minimum score requirement is 5 out of 5 (100%). You must repeat this drill three times and meet the minimum score at least 2 out of 3 times.

After the course, you will receive a certificate of completion. You will need to submit this document when applying for a license at your local county clerk’s office. Provided you meet all other requirements, you should receive your Michigan Concealed Pistol License in 45 days maximum.

Michigan CPL Reciprocity

As of July 2021, 39 states recognize valid Michigan Concealed Pistol Licenses, allowing you to carry a firearm even when traveling.

These states are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado (Michigan residents only), Delaware, Florida (residents only), Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania (residents only), South Carolina (residents only), South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

What Happens After You Pass the CPL Course and Get Your License?

Even though the CPL is the minimum legal requirement to carry a firearm in public in Michigan, there are other things you should do to be a responsible concealed-carrying citizen.

Continue Practicing

The 3-hour range portion of your training class may teach you the fundamentals, but you must become proficient with your firearm if you wish to use it responsibly. Qualified instructors and experienced gun owners recommend that you frequently train and practice with your carry firearm.

You can develop your shooting skills by visiting a shooting range and practicing as often as possible, gradually extending the distance between yourself and the target while progressively shooting tighter and more accurate groups.

You can also practice at home without firing live ammunition by using dry-fire practice. Dry-firing drills allow you to practice many fundamentals, such as sight alignment, trigger control, breathing control, and proper grip and stance. Always make sure your firearm is fully unloaded before beginning a dry-fire practice session.

Purchase a Holster

Having a license and a gun isn’t enough; you should carry your weapon in an appropriate holster. However, most classes do not go over the specifics of concealed carrying setups, leaving you to research on your own how to carry your handgun and what gear and equipment you should use.

Carrying without a holster is irresponsible and puts you and others at risk. In contrast, a holster provides you with the safety, security, and retention you need to keep control of your firearm until you need to draw and fire.

The most common carry method is strong-side hip carry, with your holster riding on a gun belt, over the hip corresponding with your dominant hand (for most people, this will be the right side). However, there are several other carry methods, configurations, and techniques, with a wide array of holsters for each.

You can also add magazine carriers and pouches to your gun belt, letting you carry extra ammunition, your CPL, or life-saving equipment, such as a small first aid kit.

Stay Informed

While the CPL class will go over many subjects to familiarize you with the law, remember these laws are subject to frequent changes, and the information you’ve learned during your class may become obsolete or out of date.

Keep up-to-date on your local and state gun laws and stay informed of any relevant changes in your area.

Why Choose IFA Tactical for Your Michigan CPL Class?

At IFA Tactical, we strongly believe in the values of the Second Amendment. Every American citizen has the right to protect themselves and their family with adequate self-defense weapons. Our mission is to give Michiganders the training and guidance they deserve to become responsible, well-informed, and law-abiding gun owners.

New gun owners deserve to learn from the best. Our decades of knowledge and passion for firearms are what sets us apart from other CPL course instructors; with us, you will receive quality training, instructions, and guidance.

If you’re interested and would like to reserve a spot in one of our upcoming classes or have any questions regarding concealed carrying, call us at (586) 275-2176.


I am an active duty/former military personnel. Do I need to take a CPL class before applying for a license?

Yes, regardless of your past military experience, all Michigan CPL applicants must complete a CPL class before applying.

Will I be notified if my license is about to expire?

Yes. Your local county clerk should notify you that you are approaching expiration 3-6 months before the expiration date. License renewals cost $115.

What is the difference between CCW and CPL in Michigan?

Carrying A Concealed Weapon (CCW) is when a person illegally carries a hidden weapon on their person. A Concealed Pistol License (CPL) is a document issued by the state of Michigan, authorizing the licensee to carry a concealed pistol on their person.

Do I have to redo my CPL course if I move interstate?

If you are moving to any of the 39 states that have a CPL reciprocity agreement with Michigan, you may not need to retake your CPL course. However, you will need to apply for a CPL in your new state, which may incur a fee.

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