Wyoming Concealed – Shysters?

Posted: April 11, 2014 by "Doc" in Product reviews, Shooting, Shooting Philosophy & Tips, Training the Trainer
Tags: ,

Will someone come along and “ruin it for everyone?”  Yep, I think they have.  I predict a push for a legislative re-write of Wyoming’s CCW laws within the next few years because the hucksters have arrived!  A shyster is now offering a 1-hour online certification class for a Wyoming CCW. It is only $79 and, based on what is openly disclosed on the website, it seems you never even have to touch a gun, shoot it or work the safety.  Not only might this lead to new laws, but it is certainly an embarrassment to the good firearms trainers in Wyoming.  (They also offer this service in Colorado, Arizona and likely other states)

I have taught thousands of students, and have been passionate about sharing what I know with every single one.  I have observed hundreds of middle-aged and older men brag about how incredibly experienced they are with guns, and then have watched their horrible safety habits and ignorance of fundamentals.

They often book a CCW class with us saying they don’t need the training because they already know everything, but that they just need a piece of paper saying they took the class.  This pompous demographic shows up, and quickly become engaged in our classes, and over the 8 hours of working with us and other students, they are humbled in a way that does not make them lose face.  They learn that they were incorrect in thinking that they can shoot anyone that is on their property and then drag them inside.  They interact with other students and discuss scenarios, and most leave class with a new appreciation for choosing peace over violent confrontation.  This level of education cannot be achieved online in one hour.

This new “Wyoming Concealed” firm apparently sees a quick and easy way to make money by developing a system and then sitting back and collecting $79 buck from each gullible person that falls for their “training.”  Word will begin to spread about how easy it is to get a Proof of Firearms Familiarization certificate and misinformed folks will Buy Now!  Then, I predict the following will likely happen:

1) Shallow-minded folks will think that this is a step toward freedom, anything that makes it easier to get a permit, right?

2) Shooting instructors seeking to limit competition will talk to their politicians & try to set up a licensing board like barbers, architects and Realtors have done.  (This will help keep established old-timers like me in the game and will be a barrier to entry for new instructors.)  This will be done in the name of, “We need to protect the ignorant public who we think are too stupid to make their own decisions from shysters.  Do you think politicians can be convinced to write new laws and create new agencies and boards?  Of course, they live for it!

3) Other minor changes will be made to the law that will make it lousier than it is.  Pork anyone?

4) Like Utah’s CFP program, a training curriculum will be written by bureaucrats and forced upon instructors that could have done a much better job using their varied experiences.

5) Other states will have less confidence in Wyoming’s permits because of non-reputable abbreviated courses like Wyoming Concealed offers and will begin dropping their reciprocity agreements.

5) Those that receive this substandard training will not be in good condition if they ever shoot someone and wind up in court.

So, am I “up in arms because I think I will lose business” and am I just being a jerk?  Nope, I think most people know that even a Hunter’s Safety card will work as proof of firearms familiarization.  I support the Wyoming law that allows folks to carry without a permit.  I am willing to compete and will do so aggressively, but I will not be dishonest about my competition’s quality.

So, do I suggest that the State “clamps down” on this certificate printing service and other like them that will soon pop up?  Absolutely not!  It is the responsibility of shooting instruction service providers that believe in excellence to better market OUR services and describe the differences.  If this same company, Wyoming Concealed, also begins offering dental surgery degrees or law degrees they should absolutely be allowed to do so.  It is up to the free marketplace to weed out those that offer crap.

Just as we have to start locking our doors when the thieves show up in town, now consumers must ramp up their due diligence research and take precautions when hiring firearms trainers.  Do some research and see what you are getting for your money!

Tall Guns from Colorado offers a 5.5-hour Wyoming CCW class and provides a CD with lots of valuable information, a workbook and much more for $69.95.  Our firm offers an 8-hour class for $140 that includes lunch, use of a dozen of our guns, classroom lectures and over 100 shots of live fire.  Attorney and NRA Training Counselor Ken Willis offers a lecture on the Navigating the Legal Mine Fields of Concealed Carry that is 3 hours long.  Code Red offers a $125 10-hour CCW course that is good for AZ & Wyoming.  Over a dozen other instructors throughout Wyoming actively teach various classes, and I suspect some are not as great as others, but all are likely better than an online 1-hour course.  NRA Basic Pistol and NRA Personal Protection Inside the Home courses are offered around the state.  Again, check out the reputation of the provider and what is included in the class!

If hitting targets at 1,000 yards has become easy and “old hat” for you, many of us in the industry would suggest that you visit Gunwerks in Cody Wyoming.  If you are winning 3-gun matches around the country and need a class to take you one step higher, Chris Costa in Afton Wyoming is a great choice.  In each part of our state, firearms trainers have earned reputations, either good or bad.  If you live in N/E Wyoming, ask around about Susan “Mama Liberty” Callaway.  You will find that she is passionate about providing honest and common sense training to people.  There are many good trainers beyond my above examples.  If you are interested in a basic CCW class, I suggest that at a minimum it be interactive, personalized, at least several hours in length, include actually shooting a real gun with an instructor that can watch you and make small adjustments.

I honestly don’t know what quality of training is included in the 1-hour course, I have only watched about half.  I will assume that it is acceptable and that they convey great information.  I will assume that the company founders and program developers are great shooters, tacticians, legal minds and all have 5% body fat, huge arms and years of experience providing shooting instruction and personal protection training.  I am not angry at these people as individuals, I am simply saddened by their willingness to offer junk.  If they also offer live in-person classes, I suggest you take them and write a review afterward!  I hope that they will use their tech-savvy skills to develop their course and make it of a good quality.  What might this look like?

They might keep their current curriculum, add a Skype feature so that they can observe their students actually shooting, give them suggestions and then watch and coach them as they incorporate those new techniques.  They might include a 30-minute phone or Skype conversation about legal and moral aspects of CCW.  They might include required YouTube videos with a test afterward to ensure the student watched them.  There are many things that could be added that would make this Internet training offering a great option.

More to come… in the meantime, what do you think?

Certificate Mill for CCW Permit

Certificate Mill for CCW Permits

  1. Cody says:

    I’m a second amendment supporter- and have taught shooting sports at 4H level and for WYoming game and fish while I believe all folks need a gun safety class- I don’t believe folks have to take a class to carry– In fact I don’t anyone that has had CC training that does carry— what I learned as a kid from dad was plenty and me being able to carry should have nothing to do with taking ANYONES class. Patriots have taught their kids fire am safety for years- I don’t need an instructors approval to strap betty on my him under a coat and go for a walk.


    • shootinjh says:

      I know I am repeating what I said in the article, but I absolutely agree! There should not (and is not) a law that requires a permit in Wyoming (Thanks primarily to Wyoming Gun Owners. What saddens me is that some people will think that they are “well trained” after taking a 1-hour Internet class. They will certainly have met the requirements, but “bare minimum” training devalues the permit.

      in fact, in Wyoming, an NRA certified Instructor could have a 30-second “class on firearms familiarization” and it would meet state requirements. Thus far, to the best of my knowledge, Wyoming instruction firms have taken pride and personal responsibility in their instruction and have not openly flaunted “1-hour” or “30-second” training certifications.

      Again, I absolutely DO NOT think the State should tighten their regulations! It is up to the industry to warn people and it is up to each person who carries a gun, builds a residential foundation or performs a tooth extraction to decide if training from relatives, formal instruction, YouTube videos or certificate mills is “right for them.”


  2. Brice Dudley says:

    I think the same can be said about your industry as with any of the other industries you mentioned. “There are shysters everywhere.” I’ve been fortunate enough through the years to have taken instruction from a few different people in your industry. Some were better than others, no doubt. Some I walked away feeling I got more bang for my buck, but I feel as if I took a little something away from every bit of instruction I took. This goes for the instances where I felt I paid more, for less instruction.

    I started shooting at the age of 5. Most of my instruction came from my father who was a gunsmith, a competitive shooter, and an avid outdoors man. I had the horrible misfortune to have taken some instruction from a highly regarded individual in the field who was nothing more than a pompous ass. He felt that he was “God’s gift to the shooting sports” and quickly did his best to nullify any previous experience I had before I walked onto the range with him. At 12 years old, I knew this guy was full of shit. It was about him, not safety… not me. I listened to a braggart for almost 2 hours, shot less than 50 rounds and was told to forget all of the mechanics I had already learned and have had later reinforced by other shooting professionals. Bad experience, and certainly one of the “shysters” you are speaking of.

    I am dead set against certificate mills. I hate the idea that someone can basically pay for a certificate without actually committing to taking all they can from REAL instruction. I don’t think anyone can really learn anything in an hour and have a good understanding and a practical application of what was “learned” without doing the necessary follow up, and in this/your case would be hours at the range going over drill after drill. To me, experience is the real teacher. You can read 10,000 articles on safe gun handling/operation and spend hundreds of hours in the classroom reviewing film and still show up at the range and be a junk show. I also think it is a brilliant idea to have a “range buddy” that can watch you shoot and pay attention to your mechanics while you are concentrating on safe operation of the firearm.

    I’ve yet had the opportunity to come out shooting with you guys, but I am looking forward to the day where I can. I feel your passion and enthusiasm in what you do and in your writing. Even someone like you who has thousands of rounds more experience than I do takes further instruction. I appreciate that and the fact that you have your thumb on the pulse of this industry. I think your information on people doing their own research before hiring an instructor and the idea of looking at/reading personal reviews of instructors is critical.


  3. Shep, when we wrote the current Wyoming CCW law in the 1990s, we had a dilemma. We wanted people to show some proficiency, but we did not want the state to be able to use regulatory power to shut down the licensing process. California had done this by requiring classes taught by state employees, then not appropriating any money for the instructors’ pay. In discussion while drafting the law we agreed that showing proficiency could include showing ribbons from shooting competition. Clearly this would not include the legal aspects of self defense shooting.

    Remember also: there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch (TANSTAAFL). When you carry a gun for self defense, you run the risk of getting into a legal quagmire that could cost you your home and most of your remaining assets. Knowing the law and its implications could save you from that quagmire. An ounce of prevention, and all that.


    • shootinjh says:

      I agree! The law should be lenient and it should be the responsibility of the industry to offer good quality instruction. I don’t doubt at all that the shyster’s “certificate” meets state requirements, it just saddens me that the training is so minimal…


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