CA CCW questions

Hello all! I just became a member and I’m eager to learn more. I live in Riverside County, CA. And I was wondering if anyone that lived in this county could walk me through the steps to getting my CCW - or point me towards the information.

I’ve always wondered if I need to apply for the CCW first, and then complete the 8 hour training course, or vis a versa.

Any and all information would be greatly appreciated!



Welcome to the community @Thomas552 !

I will let some of the CA residents here fill you in on the specific details. I will say that you are lucky to live in Riverside county from a licensing perspective as I believe they are one of the counties that will give CCLs for self defense. I have done some work in the more remote areas of that county and some of the urban fringes. Definitely wish my 2A rights were not denied as an out of Stater!

I think you would need to take the required training first and you need to qualify with whatever firearms you wish to carry (limit of 3 on your license??).

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Hi Thomas,

I live in another county and what I learned is the best resource is the sheriff’s website.


Thank you! I’ll check it out.

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Thanks for the info! Yeah I have read that out Sherrif, Chad Bianco has been a blessing for the 2A in CA.
In probably the most strict state, Riverside Co is a sanctuary for us.


Also thanks, now that I see it in writing, taking the qualifying course prior to applying makes more sense.


Keep in mind also that CCW courses will most likely offer an out of state permit certification using the same training.
I got my Utah non-resident permit for an additional fee, good for five years. Include it in your budget plans.

If you haven’t found a CCW training provider yet, you might want to check this out just to give you an idea how we do it in Nor-Cal.


The state of CA can be a fun process for sure. I will include the steps for you and anyone else it may benefit below.

STEP 1:Contact your county sheriff’s or local police chief’s office for approved training courses.

STEP 2:Complete an approved training course or provide proof of exemption (Frequently Asked Questions | State of California - Department of Justice - Office of the Attorney General) (active duty or honorably retired military, law enforcement, etc.) pursuant to California Penal Code section 31700.

STEP 3:Some jurisdictions may require psychological testing.

STEP 4:Download the application ( Sections 1 through 5 of the application may be completed prior to going to the county sheriff’s office. Sections 6, 7 and 8 must be completed in the presence of an official of the licensing agency. Review Section 7 and be prepared to answer these questions orally. Do not write anything in Section 7 unless specifically directed to do so by the licensing agency.

STEP 5:Take your application to your county sheriff’s office. You will be directed to bring in up to 3 firearms. You will also need the following:

  • Your training certificate;
  • Proof of residency; and
  • Identification.

You will be fingerprinted, photographed and interviewed.

STEP 6:You will be notified by mail within 90 days if your application has been approved or declined.

A California CCWL may include any reasonable restrictions or conditions which the issuing authority deems warranted, including restrictions as to the time, place, manner and circumstances under which the person may carry a firearm. Any such restrictions must be indicated on the license itself. The license includes the licensee’s name, occupation, residence and business addresses, the licensee’s age, height, weight, color of eyes and hair, and the reason for desiring a license to carry the weapon, as well as a description of the weapon or weapons authorized to be carried, giving the name of the manufacturer, the serial number and the caliber.

All of that and more relating to the CA gun laws can be found on the USCCA reciprocity map which I have linked for you below!


excellent info! thank you for taking the time to write all that out - it helped me for sure!

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Thomas, I received my CCW about 4 mo ago and this is how I did it and during my interview, she was appreciative that I had everything at that time. Start the application ASAP get in the queue for the interview. Then take the class and qualify as many firearms as you have. Every time you complete something you upload it to your application. Go ahead and get your resedency information uplaoded early, keep in mind depending on how long it takes to get your interview you might need to update your residency information. Small price to pay to make sure you have all the information uploaded. DO NOT forget Live Scan get that done soon as you can also sometime it takes a while to post.