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5 Quick Tips for More Easily Obtaining Your CPL in Michigan

Here are some quick tips to help you more easily obtain your concealed pistol permit.

When it comes to obtaining a concealed pistol license, Michigan is a shall-issue state. That means as long as you meet all the criteria for a CPL, one will be issued to you. Most law-abiding citizens don't have any problems obtaining their permit.

But there are definitely things you can do to improve the process and make things go more smoothly on your end. These are the things I'd wished I'd known ahead of time before I started the process.

Pick a good CPL class.

There's no shortage of required CPL class offerings in Michigan. But don't just pick the first one you see on the bulletin board at the local gun shop. The class I took was satisfactory for reaching the state's requirements, but I did leave feeling like I could have found a better set of instructors in the end.

Look online at reviews for the class you're looking at. Look at their qualifications.

This is important training and you want to get the best out of it, so don't settle for less or the cheapest. Ask yourself when reviewing class offerings; if you're a new pistol owner, will they do one-on-one time on the range to correct any mistakes in your shooting stance or grip?

Try to find a class where the instructors don't only allow questions, but encourage them.

Know Michigan's gun laws before taking your class.

Michigan has a myriad of gun laws when it comes to concealed carry. And while a good CPL class will go over many of them, it can't possibly cover them all. Think about the situations you will be carrying and look into the laws for those situations.

Be sure to thoroughly research gun-free zones and places where concealed carry is a no-go. Knowing something about the laws in advance will help you ask more pointed questions that will be applicable to you specifically.

Think of it as being back in high school. You wouldn't go into a class totally unprepared before a big test. Make sure you study a bit beforehand and it'll all seem like review.

Know your gun ahead of time.

All CPL classes include a range portion of the class. The number of rounds you'll be asked to shoot will vary depending on the class, but most are around 100 rounds. While many instructors are fine with first-time shooters for this, you'll make things a lot easier on yourself if you've put some rounds through your handgun ahead of time.

Also make sure the gun is clean and ready to rock and roll. During the class I took, the couple next to me decided to use an older-model .22 that obviously hadn't been cleaned in a while. Needless to say, the gun jammed several times.

It not only took them longer to finish the shooting portion, but they also held everyone else up as the instructors worked to clear the gun.

Schedule your fingerprinting appointment (if necessary).

Obtaining a CPL in Michigan requires being fingerprinted at the local sheriff's office. It wasn't a problem when mine were done. I simply walked over to the sheriff's office after dropping off my paperwork at the county courthouse.

But some counties may only do fingerprinting at specific times and some counties may require you to schedule fingerprints ahead of time. Avoid frustration and either call ahead or look at your county's website to determine if they have such policies. Also keep in mind that some counties may charge for fingerprints (I know, it's not enough they're already charging over $100 just for an application, right?).

Have your paperwork ready ahead of time.

When it finally comes time to go down to the courthouse and put in your application, don't fill out the paperwork there. Print out the required forms ahead of time and have them filled out and ready to go.

Make sure you go to your county's webpage to review what you'll need ahead of time. The courthouse is a busy place and they'll likely be processing many other applications besides your own. Help the lines move faster by being ready to go. The courthouse employees will also appreciate your preparedness and will get you out the door faster.

As a side note to the courthouse portion, many counties still ask on their website that you bring a "passport-quality photo" of yourself for your license. This isn't necessary anymore. I was surprised to learn they just use your driver's license now.

Also be aware it can take a while for the county clerk to process your paperwork. They told me 10 to 14 days when I applied, but it was actually closer to a month before the card arrived in the mail. While Michigan doesn't have gun boards anymore, some offices might only process applications once a month.

Hopefully these tips help make the process of obtaining your CPL a little easier. None of the steps are particularly difficult, but it is a time-consuming and somewhat pricey process.