Last 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.
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.
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?