I have been shooting since I was 12. BB guns before that sure, but the first time I went out with real guns with my dad was in the Arizona desert at 12. He started me off with a 22 rifle. After a emptying it out twice I handed it back to him to load again. I was not paying attention behind me and didn't realize he switched guns on me. So the third round when I went to shoot my shoulder nearly knocked out of its socket. -or at least it felt that way- Good ol daddy dearest wanted to see how I handled a 30 odd 6. I handled it all right but a heads up would have been nice.

I have been shooting on and off ever since and have owned guns myself since I was about 21. Growing up with guns my dad was always very careful with teaching me and my 4 sisters about the safety of them. While I felt semi skilled and knowledgeable thanks to my dad, there is a whole lot more to learn.

My man Kris, a native Idahoan who also grew up with guns, took the Idaho Enhanced Concealed Carry Weapon Class a few months ago and insisted that I go as well. He was so floored by how much he learned. Well I finally did the class on Saturday and seriously if you are a gun owner in Idaho, I strongly suggest you take this class as well.

There are quite a few places around the Treasure Valley that offer Idaho's Enhanced  Concealed Carry Weapon class. The one that Kris and I went to was with instructor Klaus Hermann, and presented by American Firearms Academy. Before we go further you should know this is an all day commitment and a price tag of about $140. The value in what you learn and take away however, could very well save you and your families lives, so the value is priceless.

ECCW photo by Nikki West

Even with the 'classroom' potion being 8 hours, I was honestly entertained and interested for the grand majority. Klaus is a fantastic and very educated instructor. We also had a two hour portion with Chris McCormick, who has so many titles and past titles I am not sure how to preface his name. He has worked in law enforcement in various capacities for 25 years and is a wealth of knowledge. Chris went over the law portion and he went deep. If you are a gun owner it is imperative to know not only the law about carrying but -god forbid- if you ever did have to use it to defend yourself or your family, what to expect in the aftermath.

Our other guest speaker was Billy Chaddock, from Delta Defense LLC who walked us through the U.S. Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) and what they do from further education, training and information to helping members in the aftermath of a situation where a firearm was used in self defense. I got myself and my man (Merry early Christmas, memberships) I would like to put a quick insert that I am not endorsing any of these companies in any capacity. The class, and the USCCA sign up was all organic and I felt compelled to share my experience.

USCCA Membership, Photo by Nikki West

After the full class portion is over, then everyone heads to the range for some hands on practice. For the course you have to bring (unloaded) a handgun of your choosing and 100 rounds. We practice at ranges of 3 yards, 5 yards and 7 yards. 30 rounds of each and the last 10 rounds are a distance of your choosing. The reason we practice at closer ranges is because in an attack or home invasion your attacker will most of the time be close.

ECCW Range, photo by Nikki West

After the range portion you will receive your official certificate, in the class portion you also fill out the State of Idaho Training Certificate of Completion, that you also receive after the range portion. The next step is to make an appointment and take that signed form to the DMV for the official card to come in. This class is not a beginners class, but should also not intimidate newer gun owners. There are basic pistol training and beginner classes for new gun owners. If you are a gun owner and have experience (it can very greatly) with firearms then I highly suggest taking the time to take this course. Klaus was great and there are many other options in the state as well. Just google Enhanced Concealed Carry Weapons Class and see what comes up in your area. Sometimes they are only once a month or once every two weeks depending on the place so you may have to try a few before you find a date that works for you.

ECCW certificate, Photo by Nikki West

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