Renewing your Iowa Permit to Carry Weapons

With renewals for the Iowa Permit to Carry Weapons fast approaching in the next year, we have scheduled a variety of courses to meet your training needs.  Most of our courses are 4-hrs in length to more easily accommodate busy schedules, additionally we also offer the live-fire re-qualification session which takes about an hour, as well as full-day courses for students who want/need more training.

The renewal permit requires that the applicant complete training or re-qualify – please read IA Code 724.9 & 724.11 –

Training or live-fire re-qualification must take place within 12 months of the permit expiring.  Furthermore, applicants must apply at least 30 days prior to the permit expiring – I recommend applying 6 weeks before your permit expires.  This gives you about a 10 month window to complete your training.  If your permit expires March 2, 2016 for example, complete you training prior to the middle of January, and consider applying for your renewal permit before the end of January. This will ensure that your renewal application is processed before your permit expires.

We will schedule additional courses and frequently run private training courses for our students.  For additional information about any of our training options we are just a phone call or email away and we look forward to answering your questions – [email protected] / 5l5-23l-3887

What are you looking for in a training course?

firearm training courses

Over the years we’ve run several different classes based on what we believe students will benefit most from regardless of their skill level. Since 2011 we’ve been very busy with our Iowa Permit to Carry classes, which affect how often we can run other classes. This year we cut back on permit to carry classes and offered more instructor courses and more shooting classes, the biggest increase was in private training lessons (one-on-one). As we’ve worked with different students we’ve learned more about what students are looking for. I want to know – what you are looking for in a training course? Do you want more information or more skill development? Do you want a 4 hour class, a 1 day class or a multi-day class? Are you interested in low light training, in force-on-force training, on edged-weapon defense, on ground fighting and weapon retention? Do you want defensive rifle, shotgun, and pistol courses or simply basic courses? Would you be interested in a course on competitive shooting? Please use the “comment” feature and let me know what you are looking for in a training course or courses and we will do our best to offer these courses.

Thanks for your continued support!

Benefits of competitive shooting

If you’ve spent time training with me, Nate, or Josh you have likely heard us refer to shooting IDPA and USPSA matches.  The focus of this post is help illustrate why we believe competitive shooting is useful as part of your defensive training regimen. Additionally I will point out some limitations of defensive-style matches with regards to training.

When developing defensive functionality, instructors often balance marksmanship, mechanics, and mindset in their students’ development.  This is a simple relationship, but often these simple concepts are over-taught, leading to distraction & confusion by students.  While participating in a match, you are not the student, nor the instructor, you are all competitors, trying to perform at your best. Learning that you are not competing against other participants, but competing against yourself if the first step to accepting that shooting matches are ultimately about improving your own skill sets. 

If a new participant can move past the “I’m not into competition” mindset and accept the skill development argument, we being with mechanics. The following mechanical skills are developed through defensive pistol (and 3-Gun) competitions: Accessing the pistol (draw), presentation, safe handling, loading, unloading, reloading, bi-lateral shooting (right or left hand), position changes, interactions with barricades, movement with gun in hand, and malfunction clearance [inevitably this happens to all of us – even Glock shooters from time to time 🙂 ]
Marksmanship is developed by learning to engage targets very quickly at common defensive distances (less than 7 yards), while also improving marksmanship skills at distances of 25-30 yards occasionally.  Additionally, matches frequently including engaging targets that move, turn, drop, appear, disappear, swing, retreat, or charge the competitor.  There are few other opportunities where a person can practice engaging moving targets.

The crux of defensive pistol matches is the scoring system, which is based on a combination of time, plus points incurred for poor marksmanship & penalties from failing to follow prescribed actions or for engaging non-threat targets.  Herein lies the basis for the true benefit of competition: time-induced-stress.  Clearing a true defensive shooting is likely to be a very stressful event for anyone.  In traditional marksmanship practice, while shooting bulls-eye targets or plinking pop-cans, there is not an urgency to get the shot off, simply a focus to get the hit, however if you race a friend to see who can knock a pop-can over first, marksmanship typically erodes quickly.  This time-induced-stress is at first tough to deal with.  It reduces our marksmanship and in some cases, erodes our manipulations too.  Add in a few non-threat targets which force the competitor to distinguish between threat targets and innocent by-standers and you have a training scenario that helps develop stronger marksmanship, mechanics, and mindset.

Now I refer back to the beginning of this article, where I referenced that defensive pistol matches can be a useful PART of your training regimen.  And that is important to remember.  First, matches are games.  You will not be attacked by a horde of cardboard targets.  You will not receive a 5 second penalty for engaging a non-threat (think prison), and you will not get a re-shoot if your equipment fails (think seriously injured/dead).  Additionally, some matches do not require the proper use of cover or other commonly accepted tactics – or realize that the best tactic for the challenge that confronts you in real life might be to flee, or draw your pistol and NOT shoot – that won’t work with a defensive competition where you need to be given a scenario where you must shoot in order to have a score.  In fact in 100% of defensive matches, when the buzzer goes off you it is understood that you will NEED to fire; whereas in real life, there’s no buzzer and no absolutes.  Likewise, as much as we try to level the playing field, many competitors use full-sized guns for matches coupled with holsters selected for competition over carry/concealment, but they choose to carry compact sized pistols for self-defense.  It can be difficult to compete when it turns into an equipment race.  That brings me once again to the point that if you use defensive matches as part of your personal, defensive training program, you are only competing with yourself, which should take the equipment race out of the equation; it becomes about performing well with the equipment you actually carry.

I could certainly continue to enumerate the downside to competitive defensive matches as a form of training, but my point is that they simply need to be PART of the training program. Which needs to include scenarios where you have to decide if you shoot or not, where you have to deal with a sea of non-threats and only 1 or 2 “bad guys”, and where you develop scenarios that are realistic for the environment that you operate in – your home, your work, your life.

On a final note, I will add this.  I’ve shot competitively for about 15 years.  During this time I’ve come to realize that some of the best people in our society participate in these matches.  Moms & dad, brothers & sisters, husbands & wives, sons & daughters, all sharing knowledge, while exercising their rights to freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom to keep and bear arms.  They are making our country & our society stronger and building lasting friendships along the way.  You can learn more about defensive shooting at the following sites:


Finally, here is a link to an excellent article by Phil Strader, Director of Competitions at the U.S. Shooting Academy™ in Oklahoma City, OK.

Defensive Pistol 1 – Saturday July 14

Defensive Pistol 1 – 9:00am-5:00pm – Saturday July 14 at the Boone County Sportsmens Club 

Our Defensive Pistol series courses are designed to help students develop their “gunfighting” skills; clearly not with the intent of being in a “gunfight”, but with the hope that if not able to avoid such a conflict, they prevail.  In truth, “gun-fighting” is based on solid fundamentals; regardless of age or gender, these skills are rooted in the basics of marksmanship coupled with basic principles of “fighting” – posture, breathing, relaxation, and communication.

This 1 day, range only class is for students who want/need to develop these strong fundamentals.  Initially focusing on the 7 elements of marksmanship – stance, grip, sight alignment, sight picture, trigger press, breathing, and following through – students will develop reliable, combat accuracy.  From there students will build solid, fundamental skills in the following areas:
  • Draws
  • Reloads
  • Malfunction clearance
  • Movement
  • Use of cover & concealment
  • Verbalization / Communication
The mission of CWR Firearms Training is to train our students to continually master the basics.  Defensive Pistol 1 provides responsible citizens with a excellent opportunity to further develop reliable defensive skills and continue on the path of mastering the basics.
Student should bring a reliable center-fire handgun with three magazines or speed loaders, 250 rounds of practice ammunition, strong-side holster, magazine pouch, concealment garment (coat, jacket, vest), cleaning equipment, and eye & ear protection.  The course is limited to 12 students. Cost of the course is $150 and pre-registration is required.
This course is not a basic/introductory marksmanship course; students should be comfortable shooting defensive caliber handguns and have the ability and experience to follow the NRA’s Three Rules for Safe Gun Handling – safety violations on the range will be grounds for immediate dismissal from the course.  Good examples of preparatory courses / experience are the NRA First Steps or Basic Pistol Shooting class, participation in an IDPA/USPSA/Steel Match, or Instructor Discretion.
To register or learn more about this course please call or email Darin – 515-231-3887 / [email protected].

Individual Firearms Training Available

Learning to shoot involves various simulanteous actitives. Many new shooters (I was one of them many years ago) develop remedial deficiencies without proper guidance to help them early in the learning process. Our instructors have extensive experience guiding new shooters to help them develop solid, foundational skills from the start. If you are interested in personal firearms training, please call or email.