So you've decided you might want to take a Wisconsin concealed carry course. Whether you are from Oshkosh, Appleton, New London, Neenah, Hortonville, Shiocton or any town in NE Wisconsin, we are here to help! You may have additional questions about classes, the law and so on. If you've looked over our website and can't find the answer, hopefully we can help you here.
1. I've taken a hunter safety class--do I need to take a concealed carry class? Well, if you have a driver's license, are you ready to drive a school bus? Legally, you can apply for a WI CCW permit with your hunter safety certificate. But hunter safety does not cover anything regarding the use of lethal force, the use of handguns for personal protection, where you can (and can't) legally carry handguns, ways to conceal your handgun, recommended calibers/styles of handgun, shot placement, ways to avoid conflict and dozens of other topics pertaining to defensive handgun usage. What you learn in our class literally could save your life! Are you content with defending the life of yourself or your family with what you learned in hunter safety class? The small price for the class is well worth learning concealed carry the right way. Famed Lethal Force Institute Founder Massad Ayoob likes to put it this way: "A good criminal defense attorney may charge a $50,000 retainer if you mess up." For the price of a nice meal for four in an upscale restaurant, you can do it right.
2. I'm a military veteran. Do I need your class? Again, ask yourself if you are familiar with the Wisconsin Dept. of Justice concealed carry curriculum that we teach. Do you understand when you can and can't shoot to defend yourself or your loved ones? You may have qualified expert with a handgun, but did you know you can't shoot to stop someone from stealing your property if the thief is not a threat to you? We would encourage everyone to take the class and learn to do it right.
3. What do I bring to class? A positive attitude, an open mind and a notebook (optional). You will receive a book (WI Dept. of Justice curriculum) that is yours to keep or write notes in, plus a nifty Wolf River Concealed Carry pen! You may pay by cash or check, payable to Wolf River Concealed Carry LLC. Please do not bring firearms or ammo to the classroom! If you plan to shoot in the optional shooting portion of instruction, leave your handgun and ammo in your vehicle. We have firearms and ammo available if you do not have your own gun.
4. What can I expect in class? We are a friendly bunch with an informal attitude but a potentially life-saving message. As we explain both the WI Dept. of Justice curriculum and additional information on carry methods, caliber selection, etc., we will cover in four short hours the law as DOJ says we should teach it (some of this requires reading, word-for-word, the legal definitions of things). We welcome questions and will answer them to the best of our ability. We are NOT attorneys and we can't interpret the law, but we can read it and give you a working understanding of the law. We encourage you to contact an attorney, police officer or deputy sheriff if there is a question we can't answer. You may also write to the DOJ (assistant WI attorney general) for further clarification if needed.
5. What happens next? You will be given a written test during the class to see if you have learned the materials. We will make every reasonable effort to help you understand the curriculum. If you have any special needs, let us know. Graduates will receive a certificate with their name printed on it. The certificate includes the name of the class and the head instructor's name and NRA instructor number (chief instructor Ross Bielema has been trained in two NRA disciplines and is qualified to lead the class as required by state law). Please take good care of your certificate. Send a copy of it (not the original!) to the DOJ along with $40 to obtain your concealed carry permit. The permit is good for 5 years. The renewal fee is $22. You may now renew online. Please go to the DOJ website to do so. You can renew up to 90 days past the expiration date, but if it expires, it is invalid. After 90 days, you will need to resubmit a new application and pay the full amount of $40.
Note: You do NOT need another class when you renew your permit! If you have never taken a CCW class, why not sign up now? We promise you will learn something and that knowledge could save your life or avoid a costly, life-altering legal tangle in the event you would shoot someone when you should not!
6. Does the classroom fee include the application fee? No. The $80 classroom fee is for the 5-hour instruction (6 hours, if you also take the shooting portion). You still have to pay the state $40 for their contribution, which is a background check and some paperwork! We think you get a lot more for your money from us than them! Sort of like learning to drive a car. You pay to learn (or your taxes pay for your kid to learn), and you still have to pay the fees to get the license. The concealed carry permit is good for 5 years.
7. Do you have to shoot to get a CCW permit? Legally, no, but we strongly recommend you take our one-hour shooting course, held immediately after the classroom portion! Even avid shooters will learn something about defensive shooting.
8. How much is it to shoot? The shooting instruction fee (for about one hour of training at real-life self-defense range approximately 21 feet from a silhouette target) is $35, when you attend the WI CCW class (this includes a $5 day-use fee by the New London Fish and Game Club. You can join the club for a year for only $15 for a single, $25 for a family, and avoid the daily fee). If you use your own gun and ammo, you would pay $115 total ($80 for the class, $35 for shooting instruction). If you use our small handguns and ammo, there is an additional $20 fee for 25 rounds of ammo. See our page on handgun options for some of the handguns you can try.
9. I've never shot a handgun before. Is it easy to shoot? Is it loud? We can't guarantee you will become an expert marksman in an hour, but you will feel comfortable with a handgun after your first shooting lesson! Defensive shooting is close quarters--typically 21 feet or less--so we train close to the target, and the targets are human-sized. In a self-defense situation, adrenaline is flowing and fine motor skills often fail, so pointing the handgun and firing instinctively becomes important. We will cover sight pictures, proper grip, reloading and basic handgun fundamentals, but you should consider this a starting point in your training. This is the first step, not the final step! You will need to practice, have a plan of action in the event of a break-in or attack, have the proper mindset to defend yourself and train until you can make critical decisions quickly!
Handguns are always loud because their short barrels put the muzzle end closer to your ears. We have ear muffs and ear plugs available for use and purchase as well. You should always wear some sort of eye protection when shooting and we have inexpensive shooting glasses available for purchase, too (prescription glasses or sunglasses are adequate).
We will help you choose a caliber that is tolerable for you and help you find a handgun that fits you. This is the big difference between Wolf River Concealed Carry LLC and the rest! You get hands-on training with live ammo so you know what a real handgun feels like! This is by far the best way to learn. Can you imagine learning to drive a car without ever getting behind the wheel? We can't, either.
WARNING: Handgun shooting is fun and very addictive!! We will not be held responsible for starting you on a lifelong love for shooting, but we will shake your hand (we are all hopelessly hooked already.) :>)
10. Is a deposit required to sign up? Yes! We require a $30 non-refundable deposit to sign up. If you can't make the class you sign up for, please let us know ASAP so someone else can fill your spot. You can apply your deposit to a future class if you can't make the one you signed up for, but there are no refunds. We apologize for any inconvenience. You can mail us a personal check, money order or cash. We do not take credit cards at this time.
11. I'm ready to sign up. How do I do that? The best way is to call us at 920-982-1719 and leave a message, including your name spelled the way you would like it to appear on your graduation certificate (we recommend your full name as it appears on your driver's license). Please speak clearly, especially if you are calling on a cell phone! You can also e-mail us at Ross@wolfriverccw.com. If you do send an e-mail, please include a phone number for more timely service. Thank you.
12. Where do I send my deposit? Once you have called us and confirmed a class date, mail your $30 non-refundable deposit (cash, money order or personal check payable to Wolf River Concealed Carry LLC) to: Wolf River Concealed Carry, P.O. Box 45, Readfield, WI 54969. If for some reason you can't make your class, you can apply your deposit to a future class. Please notify us as soon as possible if you can't make your class date so we can assign another student to your spot.
13. What about qualifying for other states' CCW permits? The WI CCW permit you will qualify for is valid in 34 states as of 2022. The WI Dept. of Justice has finalized the CCW law, but has not issued an official list of those states where the WI permit is honored. As of 2022, IL still has rather restrictive laws but you may travel through IL with a loaded handgun if you have a WI CCW permit and you do NOT take your handgun out of your vehicle). You and you alone must make decisions regarding the safety of yourself and your family when traveling, perhaps in unknown areas or bad neighborhoods. We recommend you check with each state you will be traveling through when making a trip to determine those laws, then use your good judgment. It is good to carry a small case and when in doubt, unload your handgun and put it in a case to comply with the law in most states. WARNING: NJ, NY, and a few other states will NOT recognize any other state's CCW permits! Write your U.S. legislators and encourage them to support a nationwide reciprocal law for concealed carry, as is the case with hunter safety.
The WI certificate of class completion you receive does qualify you to obtain the Florida CCW permit, which would allow you to legally carry concealed in several other states. Florida requires fingerprinting and a passport-type photo. Please contact the Florida Division of Licensing to learn more about the requirements for a Florida permit. We can help you with the shooting requirement for the Florida permit.
We do not offer training for Florida, Utah, Arizona, Minnesota or other state CCW permits at this time. If you are interested in any of these state permits after you complete your WI class, contact us and we can refer you to additional training. Shooting is required for a MN or FL CCW permit and we can help you with the shooting requirement.
14. We have our CCW permits or don't want any, but just want to learn to shoot a handgun. Can you help us? Absolutely!! We offer a Basic Pistol Class for one or two people for $100 each that includes 50 rounds of ammo. During this approximately 90-minute class, you will learn the proper way to load, unload and hold a pistol or revolver, as well as basic stance and other shooting techniques. We are happy to let you try our small handguns in several calibers to help you select a handgun for personal protection, or you may bring your own firearms. This class is a great value! Find out what handguns fit you, what the recoil of various calibers feels like, etc. Most gun shops won't let you try their guns, so this class can save you a lot of money in avoiding the wrong guns for you! Call us at 920-982-1719 and we will set up a class to fit your schedule.
15. We have our CCW permits. Can we still take the class to learn more about the laws and how to carry? Absolutely! We have many students who have already obtained their permits, but realize they haven't learned all the how-to's or laws yet. Sign up and we'll help you learn!
16. Are you on Facebook? Yes!! Click our Facebook page here to check out our page and see some of the past WI concealed carry classes (including live-fire shooting instruction)!
17. What do I do if a cop stops me when I'm carrying concealed? What do I say? Police have a largely thankless job and they are dealing with criminals on a regular basis, so don't take it personally if they do not know you are a "good guy". Make the officer's job easier by turning on a dome light if stopped and keeping your hands on the steering wheel. If an officer asks if you are carrying a gun in the vehicle, you MUST tell him yes and tell him where it is! This is the law. Police in WI do not know if you have a concealed carry permit by looking at their computers. You are NOT required to tell them you have a permit unless they ask (for routine traffic stops, they should NOT ask). We recommend that you do not volunteer any information, as "what you say can be used against you in a court of law." 95% of the police are just out there to do a job, but you just might get the "Barney Fife" in a small town who is bored and looking for trouble in the wrong places. You have certain rights and without probable cause, an officer can't search your car without your permission (most of us are on our way somewhere and on a schedule, so there's no need for a car search because you were going 4 over the speed limit). You COULD volunteer that you have a permit and firearm, but if it doesn't come up, don't bring it up!
Another option suggested by some police is to hand the officer your driver's license AND CCW permit at the same time.
Whatever option you choose, do NOT reach for your handgun or yell "I have a gun!" at any time during the traffic stop!
Here is an excellent video on this topic by one of the foremost experts on the use of lethal force, Massad Ayoob, who was a Detroit police officer for many years.
This great speech by Regent University School of Law Professor James Duane covers the main reasons you should not talk to the police without a lawyer present.