Personal Defense Service

Michigan's Concealed Pistol Law (CPL): Frequently Asked Questions

Public Act 381 of 2000, the CPL Law...

Michigan's Concealed Pistol Law became effective Sunday, July 1, 2001.  This statute and the amendments, effective July 1, 2003, requires Carrying Concealed Pistol (CCP and CCW are used interchangeably) applicants to complete a pistol safety training course that has been "certified by this state or a national or state firearms training organization…"  For the purposes of this law, the Governor has designated the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) as "this state."  An example of a "national firearms training organization" would be the National Rifle Association (NRA).  Currently, these two entities may certify pistol safety training courses to meet the requirements of the law.

The instructor for the pistol safety training course must be certified by "this state" or a national organization.  Therefore, instructors will need to be certified by MCOLES or a national organization such as the NRA.


Since the enactment of P.A. 381, several questions have surfaced regarding the training requirements. These questions are listed below with appropriate responses:


1. I am a police firearm instructor and have a private business that trains civilians to meet the requirements of P.A. 381. Can I obtain instructor and program certification from "the state?"

Answer: No. MCOLES will only certify those programs that are presented by a law enforcement agency using MCOLES certified instructors. You must obtain certifications, for purposes of your business, from a "national organization," as referenced above.Where can I obtain a list of pistol safety training programs that meet the requirements of the act?


2.Where can I obtain a list of pistol safety training programs that meet the requirements of the act?

Answer: A list of certified programs appears on our website. For programs certified by state or national firearms training organizations, check the National Rifle Association, Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners, or Michigan United Conservation Club websites: www.mucc.org, www.mcrgo.org, or www.mynra.com.  Additional programs may be available through other state or national firearms training organizations. Your local gun board, law enforcement agency, or local gun dealer may also be able to assist you in locating a program.


3How do I know if the program and instructor are certified and will be accepted by the gun board in my county?

Answer:  The validity of the certificate of completion for the pistol safety training course may come into question. If this situation arises, the gun board may wish to confirm the firearm instructor's certification with the organization that provided certification.

 If the program and instructor are certified by MCOLES they will receive a numbered certificate indicating that they meet MCOLES requirements to instruct the 8-hour pistol safety training course. This certificate can be verified through MCOLES and the program will be listed on the MCOLES Web site.

 By law, the training certificate issued to you must contain the following information:

    • a statement that the course complies with the requirements of the law;
    • a statement that the individual successfully completed the course; and
    • a signature of the course instructor.


4. I am a retired police officer. Do I need to attend an 8-hour training program in order to obtain a CPL license?

Answer: No. The educational requirement to take a civilian pistol safety training course is waived for an applicant who is a retired police officer or retired law enforcement officer.

A person who grants a certificate of completion to an individual, knowing the individual did not satisfactorily complete the course, or a person who presents a certificate of completion to a gun board, knowing that the trainee named in the certificate did not satisfactorily complete the course, is guilty of a felony punishable by 4 years in prison and/or a $2,500 fine.


5. What is included in the pistol safety training program?

 Answer: The training must include the following:

    • ammunition knowledge, and the fundamentals of pistol shooting;
    • safe storage, use and handling of a pistol including, but not limited to, safe storage, use and handling to protect a child;
    • pistol shooting positions;
    • firearms and the law, including civil liability issues;
    • avoiding criminal attack and controlling a violent confrontation;
    • all laws that apply to carrying a concealed pistol in this state; and
    • at least 8 hours of instruction, including 3 hours of firing range time.


As long as the program meets the requirements of the law, and the certificate issued meets the law requirements, the training should be acceptable to the gun boards. Again, they may wish to verify the validity of the training certificate.