Obtaining Official Certification in Firearms Usage & Legalities

Does anyone know of a Certification which civilians can obtain beyond just a CCL Permit? ;

Not to become an instructor, but training and a credentialing in knowledge of both use-strategies and the law. One with a comprehensive curriculum, “uniquely requiring renewals”. An advanced live and in-person training.

If there is no such level, I’d be interested in supporting that one be created; Not as mandate, but as an individual choice for such certification, and not run by government, but managed by a private entity, either non-for-profit or for-profit. I hold several state licenses, and two “certifications” from national organizations – though my “certifications” are non-firearm related. These, however, gave me the idea.

I found some courses, but unsure which one would be “best”. If you know of “one of the best” training programs which issue “Certification”, that requires renewal and continuing education and training, please post it. However, not a one-time course, not NRA affiliated, nor for those seeking employment in armed security or law enforcement.

If none exist, might there be a market for it? I wonder if such a Certification may make me better prepared, and might contribute to our community’s credibility and responsibility. Thank you.

Brother Michael554 & Co posted this string: Instructor certification for non-instructor?

Example training link: Armed Defense Training Association - Certifications

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Trying to understand the purpose of this or why it would be “desirable”? Not trying to give you a hard time. I guess I just don’t understand the desired end result of such a thing.


@Burdo - I agree with @Mr.Plastic on this. What do you see as the purpose of such a certification? Who would you see as qualified to teach courses leading to such a certification?

It seems to me that a lot of what you seek to be covered in “Office Certification in Firearms Usage and Legalities” is covered by a variety of organizations (NRA, USCCA) for the “Firearms Usage” curriculum, and by law schools for the “Legalities” curriculum.


I think most folks here would be worried that any voluntary certification like this would eventually be made mandatory by anti gunners and poorly imposed on everyone.

Also being trained to a certified standard could create more liabilities if your actions are judged to have not met that standard. Maybe some juries would look favorably on your training to show you are not some yahoo, Rambo wanna be. But certainly not in anti gun areas and I think most prosecutors would try to use it against you.

However I do think a training program that requires meeting certain standards before you progress to the next level would be a strong motivator for many folks to pursue additional training and build up important skills. Many firearms trainers have tiered classes that would accomplish some of what I think you are looking for.


Appreciate it.

My interests include on a personal level – mainly to learn more in-depthly per se, for the discipline it may provide me, for the value of being credentialed in such knowledge and skills, for better knowing what to do in such an emergency (my worst fear).

And from a greater community perspective – to further advance our community. With the oppositions we face, I wondered if such credentialing could add strength to who we are, not as a requirement, but for those of us who already plan to take extra classes, on a “volunteer by choice” basis.

When I started looking at the various “for pay” smaller classes offered at the ranges, by the USCCA, and thinking of taking them, I thought about what value they provide – and wondered if there were any which would add to our own credentials other than just the learning itself.

I found some “in-person” classes on marksmanship, and safe handling of a firearm, but so far my search has found less on what to do in an emergency and less about the legalities.

Although I’m more interested in “non” NRA affiliated training (though I’m member), and not courses from laws schools, but more so – affordable and specific practical classes and training for those in the conceal carry community. Thus, more neutral politically as well.

I respect fear of the law, fear is good, it keeps us smart and safe. Much respect there from me, tons. However, a part me is also transparent to anti-gunners, or even prosecutors, and am willing to openly face them head on, as I should have nothing to hide.

Create more liabilities? What can create more of a liability than possessing a firearm? Then having fired it, “Pandora’s box has then been opened”.

Of course, anti-gunners and prosecutors will use that against us, but they already do for us having a FOID, and a CCL Permit.

It’s a personal decision, and I’m not looking to convert anyone. In weighing the idea of “Being trained to a certified standard which could create more liabilities if my actions are judged to have not met that standard”, Vs. “Not being trained”, it’s an easy decision for me; I choose to be trained. For me, it’s weighing the pro’s and con’s, it’s an easy decision, but not for all.

On the same token, can my attorney turn that around and use it in my favor?

Making such credentialing mandatory for conceal carry – to me, would be too extreme. My interest is on advancing my education in this field. For me to hinder education because I’m afraid “they” will make it mandatory, is not who I am. If I allow that, allow them to prevent me from such learning, I’d feel personal shame.

Some of us are already taking such courses, just not certified per se. Anti-gunners and prosecutors already know this. I just refuse to live in fear of them.

I’ve not yet found a local certification program, though I noticed the USCCA has a program with “Qualifying” tier designations.

Sorry I came off too strong. You all are some of my favorites and I often look forward to your posts, from whom I also learn a lot. One of my favorite sayings is “If you want to be a better person, never surround yourself with people who only agree with you”. :blush: :sunflower: :rose: :bouquet:



Thanks for the details. I don’t think you came off too strong.

I’m not much in favor of certifications, although I hold a couple of current professional certifications. I find that certifications mean more to those who offer them than those who hold them, but they can still be a reasonable benchmark for gauging someone’s basic understanding of the covered concepts. That having been said, I think that we already have some “certifications” as provided by instructors and organizations like USCCA and the NRA. I put the word in quote marks because we each get a certificate from the issuing body or instructor that tells those who are interested that we sat through a class and (maybe) passed a test. They’re not formal, publicly recognized certifications as we usually use the term.

What I think is useful is maintaining a file of my training and classroom instruction on all firearms topics, along with any other information that could be used for or against me in the event I ever must draw my weapon on defense of a life. My file includes:

  • Every firearm- and defense-related training certificate.
  • Electronic (PDF) copies of Web pages I have used in researching firearms and ammunition (both defense and practice).
  • Training logs. I’ll admit, I’ve been lax here. Without COVID, my plan was to begin training more and keeping track of my targets. I just haven’t been to the range much in the past 15 months (mental note: get back out there.)

I know that if I ever draw my weapon in defense of a life, that all those will be valuable to my attorney. They may also be subpoenaed by a prosecutor, but a good defense attorney will be able to show that I used my training and research for defensive purposes. I don’t know that a certification issued by another entity would give my attorney any more or less to use in a trial.

I think to apply what you seek to the current climate in our country, would be a long, hard climb with no certainty of reward at the end. There will be those who want to support it so they can make it mandatory; there will be those who oppose it because “the Second Amendment, man;” there will be those who like the idea. I think the noise it might generate could overwhelm the good that might come from it.

I think we can each chart our own path toward better training and more education. I happen to think that if we all did that and were able to show the results if the worst happens, those opposed to gun ownership might begin to understand that we’re not the enemy.

Well, I can dream, can’t I?


Definitely check out the Protector Academy if you’re a USCCA Member - it’s in your main dashboard (uscca.com log in button is in the upper right-hand corner.)

USCCA is also starting to host legal seminars across the country - watch our Facebook page for the dates/locations!


Don’t think you came across too strong. It is a worthy topic to discuss the pros and cons of.

I think we would agree that training and practice are vital for making us better able to defend ourselves. And I personally think it is better to get that training from well qualified educators.

One concern I have is that anti gunners and even some people who don’t have a strong opinion will not respect that training or certification regardless of the quality. They will just label us as certified wanna be killers. Not that I care about their uneducated opinions except that it leads to them voting for folks who want to violate our 2A rights.

A high quality certification may work well to motivate some and provide a clear path forwards for others. Getting as many firearm owners as possible to get more high quality training will help all of us to better maintain our rights. So I f a certification program helps make that happen than I could get on board. But I have run into many certified people who suck at what they are certified to do. What happens if one of those certified people screws up in a major way? I think in the case of a firearms certification, it would be used to cast a very negative light on all the others who hold that certification.


I’m not a facebooker so can’t check that out. But would be interested in State specific legal seminars, especially if I could watch and/or participate online. I live in a rural area and would have to travel a ways to attend one.


Thanks Gnome. Now I remember, having read amongst this community, the idea of saving a record of one’s trainings, its receipts and documents. I had not remembered that until you mentioned it. Now that you mention it, the pandemic has kept me from some of the classes out there, yes.

Loved your statement “If we all did that and were able to show the results if the worst happens, those opposed to gun ownership might begin to understand that we’re not the enemy”.

Thanks, I saw that the USCCA “Protector Academy” online training is at no extra cost for members. Very nice.

On the note of a free in-person legal seminar by the USCCA, I had attended one about a year ago, and thought it was pretty compelling. It was even free for non-members, and included a free book for attendees. One of these seminars was online, although it was a bit state/regionally law oriented, logically: Legal Seminars, Local Self-Defense Events & Training | USCCA

Dear Rock,
I’m a pair of brown shoes amongst tuxedos. Luv yuh.


@Shamrock ^^^ What @Burdo said! Thanks for sharing that like @Burdo!


Depending on your state, you may look into reserve police officer training. I took the classes years ago in California and I left with a lot of training for the price. While this is not inclusive, it includes: firearms, defensive driving, unarmed combat, first aid, and of course a lot of training in the state law.


If anyone has something approaching what @Burdo is looking for it would have to be The Massad Ayoob Group. You might want to take a look at his website, he is a very well known expert on defensive use of firearms.


Thanks Bill. I looked up Ayoob. I had heard about him and know he’s highly respected in education and training. Saw him speak on video once, and was impressed how attuned he was to intricacies around the legalities of use.

From the courses I linked above out of Washington state (the ADTA example), they told me they don’t offer a Certification with a renewal component. Similarly with Shoot Point Blank, out of the midwest; I linked them below; They are primarily a store, and range, but offer extensive classes.

Still, all of interest to me, and I appreciate everyone taking the time.