If you are a gun owner looking to carry a concealed firearm legally in Michigan, you need the state’s Concealed Pistol License (CPL). One of the mandatory requirements of a Michigan CPL is showing proof you have basic proficiency and knowledge in the safe use of a firearm. You’ll need to complete a certified training class and send a copy of your certificate of completion to your local county clerk’s office.

A certified Michigan CPL class is an excellent opportunity to learn about firearm safety and basic handling. If you have already purchased a concealed carry pistol, a class will allow you to familiarize yourself with it in a safe and controlled environment. Discover how to prepare for your first day in a CPL course and how to pass a concealed carry class in Michigan successfully.

What Are Concealed Carry Classes?

Concealed carry classes, or Concealed Pistol License (CPL) classes for Michigan gun owners, are safety training courses first and foremost. They are designed to teach shooters of all backgrounds and skill levels everything they need to know to handle a concealed pistol safely. 

New shooters get an opportunity to develop basic shooting and firearm manipulation skills, whereas more experienced shooters can use the class to demonstrate their proficiency or refresh their knowledge.

While you don’t need prior experience with firearms before applying for a concealed carry class, you must ensure you meet all applicable state and federal laws. Review the state’s requirements to apply for a Michigan CPL and ensure you are not prohibited from owning or carrying a firearm under federal law.

How to Choose the Right Concealed Carry Class

Although any organization in Michigan can offer firearm safety training courses or programs of any length, state legislation outlines minimum requirements and conditions. According to the law, a pistol training or safety program, including a concealed carry class, must meet these criteria:

  • Certified by the state or a reputable organization. Your class must be certified by the state of Michigan or a recognized state or national firearms training organization. Examples include the Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Ownership (MGO) and the National Rifle Association (NRA).
  • Minimum duration. To be approved in Michigan, a pistol training program must offer at least eight hours of classes. At least five of these hours must be classroom instruction, and at least three must be supervised live-fire training at a shooting range.
  • Classroom instruction requirements. The state requires the classroom portion to teach basic firearm knowledge, including safe handling of a pistol, safe storage practices, the essentials of pistol shooting, and some firearm and ammunition terminology.
    The classroom must also include a segment covering the legal aspects of firearm ownership taught by an attorney or a law enforcement officer. This segment includes subjects such as civil liability, when and how to use deadly force, how to avoid a dangerous confrontation, and Michigan’s laws regarding concealed carry.
  • Shooting range instruction requirements. A trained course instructor must supervise the firing range segments of the class. Each candidate must fire at least 30 rounds of ammunition; however, the more rounds fired and the more thorough the practical shooting instruction, the better.

Certificates of completion from safety training courses that don’t meet Michigan’s minimum requirements typically can’t be used to apply for a Michigan CPL. One of the first steps to properly prepare for your concealed carry class is researching your local courses and checking the amount and type of instruction they offer. Always verify your local CPL class offers at least the state’s minimum required amount of instruction or more before enrolling.

What to Bring to a Concealed Carry Class

Although many concealed carry weapon (CCW) classes offer gear, ammunition, and amenities on the premises, bringing your own equipment before attending is always a good idea. Many courses provide detailed information on what candidates can bring on their web page or in the pre-class email. Review these carefully, as some of these items may be mandatory.

Learn how to prepare for a CCW class and what equipment to bring to have the best possible class experience:

Your Firearm

While bringing your own firearm is recommended in any pistol safety course, it can be especially beneficial when attending a concealed carry class.

  • Avoiding costly fees. Most concealed carry classes and training courses in Michigan have a shooting range portion at reputable facilities that offer rental guns. While it can give candidates who don’t have a gun an opportunity to shoot and qualify, rental and ammo fees can be pricey. Bringing your own firearm and ammo is the best solution to avoid extra expenses.
  • Guarantee of familiarity. Concealable pistols are available from dozens of manufacturers in a wide range of calibers, sizes, and types. Bringing your firearm means you won’t have to learn to manipulate or shoot on a platform different from the one you already have. It also lets you know how to pass a concealed carry class with the same gun you will eventually carry, giving you extra confidence.
  • More efficient gun education. A quality training course with experienced instructors will be familiar with most concealed firearms on the market. Bringing your gun to the class will let them teach you how to manipulate, shoot, disassemble, and maintain your model. You’ll obtain practical knowledge you can apply when you get home, such as how to take your pistol apart for cleaning.



The minimum number of rounds required in a Michigan concealed carry class is 30. However, you may need more ammunition to learn how to pass a concealed carry class, especially during the live-fire portion. If you opted for a longer class or want additional practice, having extra ammo on hand is recommended. Consider bringing at least one extra box of ammo over the recommended minimum to ensure you have enough for the class.

While you should always ensure the ammunition you use is of the correct caliber for your firearm, you have options regarding the specific brands and projectile types to use.

  • Self-defense ammo. Self-defense ammunition is generally fitted with jacketed hollow-point (JHP) projectiles, recognizable by their cavity in the bullet nose.
  • Practice ammo. Ammunition intended for training, practice, or plinking typically has full metal jacketed (FMJ) bullets instead, recognizable by their plain, solid nose.

If you are a beginner shooter, consider bringing one box of each and ask the instructors to explain the differences. While JHP ammunition is more effective and recommended in real-life self-defense situations, it is more expensive and may produce more recoil, depending on the brand. FMJ ammunition, on the other hand, is less costly and an excellent choice for learning and practicing your shooting fundamentals.

A cost-effective principle to remember before and after your concealed carry class is to do most of your practice with FMJ and load your self-defense magazines with JHP. Consider training with your self-defense JHP every now and then to get used to its performance, such as recoil, muzzle flash, and precision.


Most modern concealed carry weapons are semi-automatic pistols, which use detachable magazines. While it is possible to attend and pass a concealed carry class with only one magazine (the one inserted in your firearm), bringing at least one extra magazine is highly recommended. The benefits of doing so include:

  • More time spent shooting. If you’ve been to a shooting range before, you know how time-consuming it can be to refill magazines. Bringing extra magazines will let you reload and resume shooting quickly, letting you focus on the fundamentals more.
  • Instructors can provide more complete training. Having an additional magazine will allow instructors to demonstrate reloading fundamentals better. For example, they can show you how to perform reloading drills, such as tactical and emergency reloads.
  • You have a backup, just in case. While magazine malfunctions are rare, they can happen at any time. If one of your magazines doesn’t work correctly or causes your firearm to jam more often, having a spare lets you continue the class without issues.

Clothing and Protective Gear

While you generally won’t need any specific attire or equipment for the classroom portions of your concealed carry class, consider preparing for the shooting range segment ahead of time. Here are the safety essentials to consider and why they will benefit you in the long term.

  • Appropriate clothing. Every time a semi-automatic firearm, such as a concealed carry pistol, is fired, it will eject a brass casing. These casings are often very hot and can cause minor burns if they touch your skin immediately after being ejected.
    To minimize the risk of hot brass landing on your skin or into your clothes, consider bringing a shirt with long sleeves, comfortable pants, a high-necked shirt, and closed-toe shoes.
  • Eye and hearing protection. Most shooting ranges offer safety glasses, ear plugs, and noise-reducing earmuffs for customers, including concealed carry classes. However, range equipment is often well-worn and may not necessarily fit you well. Buying and bringing your own allows you to use equipment with the best fit and comfort.
    It is also an excellent long-term investment and a part of any responsible gun owner’s attire. For instance, you can use the same equipment when practicing independently, plinking for fun, or attending a more advanced class.

Other Essentials

Basic pistol training and concealed carry classes typically fit all eight hours of instruction on the same day. This format allows candidates to receive a certificate of completion quickly and conveniently, reducing waiting times until receiving a Michigan CPL.

However, this also means your concealed carry class is a day-long commitment. Consider packing these extra items in your bag to ensure your concealed carry class day is as pleasant as possible.

  • Enough food for the day. A typical eight-hour Michigan concealed carry class begins with the five-hour classroom segment, followed by a break and a trip to the range for the three-hour shooting segment. While some classes may offer coffee, sell snacks, or set time aside for lunch breaks, it’s not guaranteed. Prepare for the possibility by packing your own food.
  • Plenty of water. Staying hydrated will allow you to concentrate, focus, and prevent fatigue, especially during the class’s live-fire segment. Always ensure you have enough water for the whole day, especially during the warmer months.
  • Sunscreen. If your Michigan concealed carry class takes place at an outdoor shooting range, you will likely be standing under the sun for most of the three-hour segment. Packing sunscreen will protect your skin from harmful UV rays, reduce the risk of sunburn, and keep you comfortable.

Michigan Concealed Carry Class

How to Complete Your Michigan Concealed Carry Class

At the end of the shooting segment, your instructors will introduce a proficiency test. Passing this test is required to complete a Michigan CPL class. The test will require you to complete three five-round drills at a distance of four yards. You pass the test if you score 5 out of 5 in at least two out of three drills.

To maximize your chances of success, remember these principles.

  • Keep calm. The test has no time limit; you have the time to focus.
  • Prioritize accuracy. Remember the fundamentals the instructors taught you and focus on aligning your sights correctly.
  • Don’t rush. You do not need to shoot quickly to pass the test. Trying to expedite the test by shooting faster risks lowering your accuracy. Instead, be deliberate and make each shot count.

If you pass the test, the instructors will deliver a course completion certificate. This document demonstrates that you meet or exceed the state’s basic firearm proficiency requirements to carry a concealed firearm. You may then make a copy of your certificate and use it to apply for your Michigan CPL. If you meet all other requirements, you should receive your license within a few weeks, 45 days maximum.

High-Quality Training and Gun Owner Education at IFA Tactical

At IFA Tactical, we are committed to helping residents of Detroit, Sterling Heights, and numerous other Michigan communities become safe and responsible gun owners since 2006.

Our highly skilled instructors are qualified to offer the comprehensive training you need to pass a concealed carry class and become a better shooter. We believe in kindness, generosity, and integrity, and we apply these principles from the classroom to the range. Contact us today to learn more about concealed carrying or book a CPL class.

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