To All: I started the 'Concealed' thread as I was interested in the experiences of others. The thread has been very valuable to me but was getting long so I am restarting it with a few comments on my 1/20 hand gun permitting course and, more questions.
The course I took was led by a full time firearms instructor. In addition to NRA certification (which he says really does not mean much) he had something like 20 years in various areas of law enforcement.
The course was a full four hours of enjoyment for me. Though four hours are not required by Virginia law, he felt that to be the minimum to get key points across. He broke it down into several areas: mindset, safety, Virginia and some neighboring state laws, and legality/consequenses of an actual dicharge of a firearm for any reason.
Van sensei: I could hear you speaking when mindset was the topic. Reality of a confrontation, loss of fine skills required to load or aim a weapon, two shots to the center of mass (unless thereare multiple attackers - then just one for each before you shoot anyone a second time). He also challenged everyone to consider what they were getting into and offered a refund at this point for anyone not willing to accept the responsibility of carrying a handgun. At this point I felt he was for real.
Safety issues were covered next, the most important issue being to not point a gun, loaded or not, at anything that 'you cannot write a check for'. Keep your finger away from the trigger until ready to fire. Also, purchase a good lockbox with a pushbutton combination lock as under the stress of a breakin a keylock or revolving combi lock is too hard to open.
On to state law. Virginia is an 'open carry' state as well as a 'right to carry' state. However, neighboring Maryland is neither. Good to know. The VA permit is reciprical in other states, and in VA cities with 'no gun' ordinances, the circuit court issued permit overrides the locality. also, stay out of schools, courtrooms.....This and other info is extremely important but not easily found.
He finished up with legal issues, civil law, common law and lots of Q&A.
The course was $49.95 and worth every penny!
After class he displayed many handguns for people to see, feel, ask about. He had on hand the hammerless 'Centennial', .380 Mustang, Colt '1991' .45, PPK, .38 Special, .357 Mag.,and many more. He did not bring a Glock .45. but has one. He offers a 2 hour private class for $75 to try out any and all to see what you might like best before you make a purchase, and to get some minimum training in your gun of choice. Also, for $25 more a second person can attend. Question to all: I'm planning to do this plus perhaps bring my 15 year old son along. Any thought on that? The next 2 hour course is weapon specific and deals with working in close range. He considers 'close' to begin within 25'.
Now specific handgun questions. He has fired the titanium 'Centennial' and chose not to buy one as it hurt to fire it much. Van? Why the focus in the prior discussion on semi autos? The Glock at this moment appears to be the best choice. However, a .357 mag revolver looks very simple, reliable, durable, powerful. Mind you, this would be the 'second' handgun. Like you Van, he said not to bother with any .22. When I questioned him about the .380 he said from autopsies he has attended, the .380 does almost the same damage as a .38.
All in all, I felt that I could safely carry and applied at the courthouse today. BTW, a condition of a permit request is fresh fingerprints.
Van, Allen, all of you, please add your thoughts.
[This message has been edited by RACastanet (edited 01-23-99).]