Getting My CHL: The Cost to Carry a Concealed Handgun

Beretta PX4 StormLast Fall, before the issue of gun control came to the forefront of U.S. news and politics, a buddy of mine ran across a Living Social deal for us to take a class to get our Texas concealed handgun license (CHL).

In the broader sense, this is known as concealed carry or carrying a concealed weapon (CCW).

  • Taking the training class,
  • showing proficiency with the handgun on a range,
  • getting a background check including fingerprints,
  • and paying a fee to the state…

…is the crux of what you need to do to get licensed in Texas. Other states have their own rules, and some call it a concealed handgun permit vs license.

Having just purchased a handgun (Beretta PX4 Storm) over the Summer I thought the deal was a perfect opportunity to get my license and learn more about the Texas gun laws. Without the license I could have the handgun in my house, concealed in my car (in most locations), and I could take it to and from the car to the gun range or my personal property.

What I could not do was carry the handgun with me, concealed on my person, in a public place. The license allows me to do that, under certain restrictions.

The Cost to Get Your Concealed Handgun License

It turns out, I needed the coupon on the class to make this effort a reasonably priced one. It’s fairly expensive to get your CHL in Texas. If you’re curious about the steps and associated costs, I’m going to try to lay them all out here for you.

Like I said above though, this is specific to my state, so be sure to check with your state’s department of public safety or similar bureau. However, generally speaking, you’re typically going to pay to get licensed, take some type of class, and pay for your supplies. Those fees are going to be fairly standard across most states.

Initial License Fee – $142.00 – This was what I paid as a first time applicant. The ex-military and current military can get their license at a discounted rate. There are also several other discounts available. See the chart below for the full rundown.

Texas Concealed Handgun License CHL Fees
Texas Concealed Handgun License (CHL) Fee Table

Note about reciprocal licenses. Texas recognizes some other states’ handgun licenses. For instance, if you have a Virginia Conceal Handgun Permit, you are allowed to concealed carry in Texas. Because of this, some people choose to get their license where it is cheaper and the restrictions on instructional class time are lower, or even online-only. See this TV story on this loophole. It’s your right to do it this way, but I prefer to know and be trained on the laws in my state.

Fingerprints – $9.95 + tax – Texas only allows digital fingerprints and it looks like they only allow the prints to be made from one vendor. Luckily the vendor and the company running my class coordinated their efforts and I was able to do my fingerprinting at the same time and location. I paid this, and my license fee online a couple of weeks before the class.

Ten Hour Concealed Handgun License Class – Varies – Mine was $65.00, which was half off the retail price and included two free-range passes. Although this class was a bit longer and used up one of my Saturdays (Miss PT didn’t like that), I found most of the information interesting and educational. I feel much more capable, if and when I choose to carry. Texas lawmakers are looking to lower this class length to 4 hours. Based on the information that was provided in the class I think that’s a smart move…would cut out the fluff.

My Texas CHL Class at The Bullet Trap
My Texas CHL Class at The Bullet Trap

Ammunition – $25-$50 – If your state requires you to show your proficiency at a range with the handgun then you will need to buy some ammunition to use. In my case, I’m required to fire 50 rounds. You might not think this is terribly expensive, but I’ve seen rounds costing as much as $1.00 each. As you can imagine, the current demand for ammo has prices inflated.

Renewal – Lastly, you’ll need to get your license renewed every few years. In my case, I’ll need to renew in five years. I’ll need to take a four-hour class and pay the renewal fees, which you can see on the chart above.

So those are the main expenses involved with getting your Texas CHL. Of course, if you do decide to carry your handgun with you regularly you’ll likely need to invest in a holster. In the class, we were shown one that was around $25.

Other expenses you might want to consider: snap caps (or dummy rounds) to practice loading and firing your handgun, a gun safe to keep your handgun secure at home or in your vehicle, and it was suggested to consider prepaid legal insurance.

In total, you’ll be spending between $200 and $400 just on the basics to get your CHL here in Texas.

Do you have your CHL or similar permit/license? What did it cost you? If you don’t have one yet, have you considered it?

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  1. Avatar Michael Scott Ratliff says:

    This is my budget:

    Total cost of a Texas License To Carry:

    Range Costs:
    * Handgun Rental — $25
    * Ammunition — $25
    * Miscellaneous —$30

    Class Costs:
    * Online class — $50 to $75
    * Proficiency Demonstration/ Qualification — $60
    —— Or ——
    * Texas License to Carry In-person Class Fee — $100

    Texas Department of Public Safety Fees:
    * Application Fee — $40
    * Fingerprinting Fee — $10

    Estimated total: $250 to $300

  2. Avatar Jason_LiveRealNow says:

    I’m an instructor in Minnesota.  And a gun-rights activist.
    The cost here runs about $100-120 for the class.  I’ve seen it as low as $50 and as high as $300.   The permit application costs up to $100.  Some counties charge less, none can charge more.

  3. Avatar Kylie Ofiu says:

    Being in Australia with super strict gun laws I don’t know anyone who carries one, so this was really interesting! Congrats on getting it! I have never fired a gun before. I held a rifle when I was 12 because my parents friends husband was cleaning his when we went over and they said it was ok for me to hold it, but that is it.
    I keep meaning to go to the shooting range down the road from me to give it a go.

  4. Avatar EmilyGuyBirken1 says:

    There’s not a great deal to do on date nights here in our small town, so my husband floated the idea of going to a shooting range next time we have a sitter. He took some shooting classes in college (where he actually was required to take two phys ed classes, so he did yoga and shooting, because they were about as opposite as you could get), and he also went hunting a couple of times as a kid. I’ve never handled a firearm, but I think it could be fun. I know we’ll never own one–I’m not comfortable having one in the same house as our kid–but I think it’s probably a good idea to know how to handle a gun. It’s interesting to know the financial side of it, as that’s not something I’ve ever really thought about.

  5. Avatar Laurie TheFrugalFarmer says:

    I got mine last year and was blessed to have a guy we know in the biz who offered a class for free to the local fire dept. my husband works for, spouses included.  So, the class cost me nothing, and I think I paid $70 or so to register with the county for my permit-to-carry. We had a really great class too, where he talked about having a plan for intruders just like we all have a plan for a fire.  Also, his emphasis was on how to get out of a conflict without having to use your gun, if at all possible.  He has a great book (check Amazon) called Concealed Carry and Home Defense Fundamentals.

  6. I have never shot a gun before (bought a groupon am going with my brothers in 3 weeks) but what could they possibly talk about for even 4 hours nevertheless 5!?!?

    1. Avatar Philip Taylor says:

      @MJTM They were getting into all kinds of things: conflict resolution, gun types, etc. Ironically, they didn’t teach me how to conceal my weapon. They just said buy a holster.

  7. Avatar Plantingourpennies says:

    Even without a carry permit, guns can be quite a pricey habit.  Mr. PoP easily spends $500 or so per year going to the range, and has been talking about getting his carry permit in order to make traveling to and from the range less of a hassle.

    1. Avatar Philip Taylor says:

      @Plantingourpennies One of the reasons I wanted to get my CHL was because I wanted to carry my handgun in my car. Little did I know that back in 2007 that became legal to do in Texas for anyone, CHL or not. Now I’m faced with the decision to actually carry on my person. I’m not sure what I will do, but I’m glad I have the option.

  8. Avatar Momat3isplenty says:

    I got my CCW permit the first year they were allowed in Texas (my father was an instructor).  I let it lapse because I went to grad school in a city that prohibits firearms period (ie. I couldn’t even have one in my apartment).  Now that I’m living in Virginia, I’ve taken the class to get my permit, but I haven’t finalized all the paperwork yet (no more than $50 – by law).  I’m not sure I’ll complete it though – my husband doesn’t like guns, and we don’t have a safe place to store them at home.  I just borrow or rent when I go with friends to the range (which happens less and less).

  9. Avatar ApplyMate says:

    Glad to read about law abiding citizens getting properly trained and certified to carry firearms. Nice work.

  10. I currently have my CCW in the state of Florida.  Have carried daily for the last two years now.  The costs sounds about right for what I can recall, our class was 6 hours.  For laws on CCW, I refer to when traveling to make sure I know the differences from state to state.  I carry with a crossbreed super tuck deluxe ( and could not be happier with the comfort.  I also joined the IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) to become more proficient… practice, practice, practice and above all, be safe.

  11. Avatar DebtRoundUp says:

    I have been thinking about getting mine, but want to take some more range time to get proficient with my handgun.  Our class and permit is not as expensive as in TX, but it still costs money.  I think our class is 6 hours and then you come back the next day to qualify at the range.

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