We get more and more questions concerning the procedure and the options for obtaining the Texas License To Carry I wanted to help answer some of them here.
First, Texas has one license that allows you to carry a pistol concealed or openly, there are not two separate licenses. The current license is referred to as the LTC (license to carry) and formerly known as the CHL (concealed handgun license). You are required by state law to have this license before you openly or concealed carry a pistol on your person.
Next, most ask how they actually “get” the license. Obtaining the license has three basic steps, apply to the Texas DPS via their web site, complete the finger printing as prompted at the end of your application and take (and pass) the required class. Anymore, the class happens one of two ways in Texas. The most common procedure is to attend a class in person, the other is to take the course online AND spend 1-2 hours in person with an instructor for range safety instruction and shooting test. Neither of these two options for instruction teach you how to operate, load, or properly fire a pistol. If you need to learn how the pistol works you will need to either take a private lesson, attend a class, or get with a trusted friend who has actual training (not someone who simply knows how to make the gun go bang as that usually isn’t the safest route).
If you choose to attend a class in person, you’re looking at a required 4-6 hours of classroom instruction – this does NOT include breaks or testing and is required by the state as such. This class also has a shooting proficiency that is included and is additional time… how much more time you ask, well that depends on the ability of the shooters in class. The shooting test has a course of fire utilizing a total of 50 shots – 20 shots fired at 3 yards, 20 shots at 7 yards, and 10 shots at 15 yards. After the classroom portion is complete, the written test passed, the shooting proficiency successfully completed the instructor will provide each student with the certificate they need to submit to the state. Students can choose if they take the class first or apply with the state, doesn’t matter at that point.
If you choose to take the online class you will spend the same required time online viewing pre-recorded instruction and completing a written test. The certificate you will be issued will only be filled out in part because you will have to find an instructor to do the range portion as well. Because the online portion is still relatively new most of these appointments are one-on-one and very similar to the cost of the full/in person class. The second instructor will need to finish filling out the certificate given to you by the online provider so make sure you bring that with you.
Regardless of which class you end up doing the last step is the same and does need to be completed after all other steps. Towards the top of your certificate of training the URL is written out for you to find the “contact us” portion of the DPS website. You will need to go to that page using a computer and upload the certificate of training to their secure portal. If technology isn’t your friend there is an address you can mail a copy of the certificate to so that they may finish your application process.
At HW Range & Training you can sign up for the regular class or for the private shooting portion if you’ve done the class online (this can be done as a private lesson, just follow the same prompts you would for any other one-on-one instruction). Anyone who has taken classes online can tell you there is difference in having an in person instructor walking you through content AND answering any questions that you may have versus digital instruction/watching a video. We hope you can find the resources you need to complete the process that works best for you. If you find you have questions unanswered here please feel free to send us an email and we will get back with you as soon as possible.