Classes for 2019

Classes are held in Niagara, Erie, Orleans and Genesee Counties.

Pre-registration required.

Private classes and coaching are also available. Call Jim Carr at (716) 778-9431 for information or to schedule your own private class.

Upcoming Classes


Class: New York State Pistol Permit
Date: January 10 (Thursday)
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: Lockport Conservation Club
4112 Lake Ave., Lockport, NY 14094
Hosted by: Johnson's Country Store
Pre-register with: Johnson's Country Store
(716) 434-9411


Class: Lawful Personal Protection
Date: February 7 (Thursday)
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: Lockport Conservation Club
4112 Lake Ave., Lockport, NY 14094
Hosted by: Johnson's Country Store
Pre-register with: Johnson's Country Store
(716) 434-9411

Class: Multi-State Concealed Carry (UT-AZ-FL Pistol Permit)

Date: February 9 (Saturday)
Time: 9:00 am
Location: Lockport Conservation Club
4112 Lake Ave., Lockport, NY 14094
Hosted by: Johnson's Country Store
Pre-register with: Johnson's Country Store 
(716) 434-9411

Class: New York State Pistol Permit

Date: February 14 (Thursday)
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: Lockport Conservation Club
4112 Lake Ave., Lockport, NY 14094
Hosted by: Johnson's Country Store
Pre-register with: Johnson's Country Store
(716) 434-9411

Class: New York State Pistol Permit

Date: February 23 (Saturday)
Time: 9:00 am
Location: Lockport Conservation Club
4112 Lake Ave., Lockport, NY 14094
Hosted by: Johnson's Country Store
Pre-register with: Johnson's Country Store 
(716) 434-9411


Class: New York State Pistol Permit

Date: March 14 (Thusday)
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: Lockport Conservation Club
4112 Lake Ave., Lockport, NY 14094
Hosted by: Johnson's Country Store
Pre-register with: Johnson's Country Store 
(716) 434-9411


Click here for complete list of 2019 classes.

Useful Websites

NYS Pistol Permit General FAQ’s

How my “NYS Pistol Permit Class” was influenced from previous training:

James Carr teaching a NYS Pistol Permit class James Carr teaching a NYS Pistol Permit class

Beginning in 1997 my NYS Pistol Permit class garnered immediate and enthusiastic support from the students. My approach took a unique departure from the average handgun safety class as a result of my own training, work within the security and law enforcement fields and as a handgun hunter.

Ultimately, I was able to share what I had learned over the years with the students in a constructive and insightful way. They left my class with a more advanced level of knowledge on handgun use for both lawful personal protection and handgun hunting.  

This cycle of learning advanced techniques so that I could then teach others is the “secret” for the quality and informative nature of all of my classes. As I graduated from one school or training program I was able to then share some of that information with others.

In the long run, my students benefited directly from what I learned during my own training.  

As a result of this “cycle of training” a Pistol Permit applicant who took my class left with far more cutting edge information than that offered by my competitors. This was knowledge not normally available in such a basic level class.   

In 2011 I again made a significant upgrade to this class. It became the first “approved handgun safety class” (aka Pistol Permit class) in Western New York to use a training model designed by a major U.S. law enforcement agency expressly for armed citizens who carry concealed defensive handguns.

What will I learn in your NYS Pistol Permit class?

You will be trained to the intermediate level in mindset, safety and deployment principles of handguns used for both lawful personal protection and handgun hunting. Slides, video, classroom demonstrations and engaging lecture are all used to create an interesting and quality training experience.

In 2011 I requested that the present model be reviewed by the local Pistol Permit Offices and permission to use the new course outline was granted. As such, it became the first “approved handgun safety class” to utilize an enhanced handgun training model originally developed by a major US law enforcement agency and adapted for New York use.

Here are a few topics that make this class unique:

1)  Mindset and its impact on success

2)  Ergonomics and conditioning as they apply to handgun deployment

3)  The correct way to index the trigger finger for high stress situations

4)  How poor trigger reset habits can kill you and how to prevent a disaster

5)  Correct shooting stance to insure safety with heavy recoiling handguns

6)  Ballistics and ammunition selection

7)  Bullet design and stopping power

8)  Concealed carry techniques as well as carry issues unique to women

9)  Handgun fit & selection

10)  Drawing and re-holstering the handgun safely

11)  Holster selection for concealed carry

How long is your class?

This class is approximately four hours in length. A course outline is provided to each at the start of the class and all material contained within that outline is covered.

How much does your NYS Pistol Permit class cost?


Do you issue and NRA certificate?

No, NRA policy forbids doing so.   

To receive an NRA handgun safety certificate the NRA currently requires the student to complete live fire with a handgun.

A combination of current NYS law and Pistol Permit Office policy prevents instructors having their students shoot handguns prior to issuance of a Pistol Permit.

Since there is no live fire with a handgun in this class no NRA certificate is issued.

You will be issued a Pistol Permit Office approved certificate at the end of class.

How long is my certificate valid?

5 years is the period of validity for your certificate. This means that you must apply for your Pistol Permit within 5 years of taking this class.

If you wait longer than 5 years to apply for your Pistol Permit then you’ll have to retake the class.

This validity period is a Pistol Permit Office policy.

Do you have ‘associate instructors’ or ‘co-instructors’ who teach your class?

No. I use no substitute instructors for my class!

There are so many different Pistol Permit classes being offered. How do I make an informed decision as to which one is best?

I have gone through all sorts of classes over the years. Some taught by current / former police & military personnel and others done by private sector instructors. There is no way to guarantee that one “type” of instructor is going to provide a good class over another type.

My first rule on selecting an instructor is to look at his CV or resume. As long as this document reflects continuing education and specialization within the field in which he is supposed to be an expert all is well.

When I see that an instructor has become “certified” to teach a particular thing, but does not have the continuing education from various institutions or schools so support that “certificate” I immediately become suspicious.

Many a gun person has looked around for a source of extra income and decided to become a Certified NRA Firearms Training Instructor. Once they get “certified” they are suddenly an “instructor” and begin to offer Pistol Permit classes!

While this is fine for the instructor’s ego such an approach is rarely good for the student. The main reason for this is that an NRA Certification is like a High School diploma: Both are starting points that you build upon.

Attending more advanced training / continuing education helps educate the instructor. The better educated the instructor, the better suited the instructor is for training the student.

If your perspective instructor does not have a solid resume showing an extensive background of related training then look somewhere else.

I believe that any instructor within the firearms training & Threat Management disciplines owes it to the student and the community-at-large to attain higher level education within the field. This instructor development helps the trainer learn skills and principles that are then passed along to the students.

Is this class updated with new changes and training principles?     


Part of the reason that this class has become the critically acclaimed Pistol Permit class in Western New York is because:

1)  I have always put the student first when it comes to a quality, informative class.

2)  Never once have I run a class that could be considered a “blow-off” training class and wasted a student’s valuable time or forced folks to suffer through a boring & pointless lecture.

3)  The course is regularly updated to reflect meaningful changes in training doctrine, methods and core skills.

It is true that the instructor must set the standards and expectations from day one that this is a serious subject. Both instructor and student must have the “brain in gear” when handling or carrying firearms. The reality is that the instructor must also have the desire and the drive to set the tone and help the student learn.

I graduated from the top Threat Management & firearms training school in the North East (Lethal Force Institute) before I ever taught a Pistol Permit class. As such, I understood from the beginning the importance of running a quality, detail oriented class.

How do I get my NYS Pistol Permit?

Getting a Pistol Permit is not a difficult process. Procrastination is the chief reason people “fail” to obtain their Permit in a timely manner!

In general terms there are two distinct phases you need to complete prior to actually submitting your paperwork to the Pistol Permit office. They are:

A)  Training phase: You must take an “Approved handgun safety class,” also known as a “Pistol Permit class” from an approved instructor. Of course I fill that requirement!

B)  Application phase: Obtain an application from the Pistol Permit office in the County of your residence. Staff in the Pistol Permit office will advise you as to their current policy on how to proceed concerning fingerprints, character references, etc.

What County must I apply through?

Generally you must apply through the County of your residence.

However, I do know of cases where the Judge would allow the applicant to apply for a Pistol Permit in the County where the applicant’s place of business was located.

Talk to Pistol Permit Office staff for the definitive answer on this matter. 

On my application it says: "I hereby apply for a pistol / revolver license to (check one): Carry Concealed, Possess on Premises or Possess / Carry During Employment". Which do I check?

Normally, you will check “carry concealed.”

On my application it says: "A license is required for the following reason:" - what do I put down?

Be completely truthful and think about the capacity to which your handgun will serve.

This is where you enter the uses during which time you’ll be carrying your handgun. “Target shooting” is for practice at a range, “hunting” is for carry as a hunting implement, “lawful personal protection” is so that you may carry your concealed handgun for the purpose of lawful self-defense, “business protection” for carry during business hours.

Keep in mind that your application will become a matter of official record for as long as you have a Pistol Permit. Your paperwork will end up in your file in the Permit office and what you put down for “reason for having” will be a part of your official record.

So it would appear to be prudent for you to put down the exact purposes for which you intend to carry your handgun.


John Q. Citizen is a hunter, fisherman and general outdoorsman. John scouts for game in the off season, hikes, enjoys outdoor & wildlife photography with his digital camera and he goes hunting and fishing. If Mr. Smith wishes to be able to carry his handgun in the above situations he would put down “hunting, target shooting and lawful personal protection” under his Reason for Having.

Breakdown is thus:

Hunting – Carry handgun for purposes of taking game during hunting season.

Target shooting – Practice and training with handgun to gain proficiency.

Lawful personal protection – As a fisherman, game scout, hiker and outdoor / wildlife photographer John would like to be able to carry his handgun for protection because he’ll naturally be in remote locations far from help. As well, timely law enforcement response will be hampered greatly due to the remote locations where John frequents.

If the Judge reviews the application and does not believe John has shown sufficient cause then the Judge could “restrict” John’s Permit to “target / hunting”.

When John Q. Citizen obtains his Pistol Permit he learns that it is “restricted to target & hunting”. At this point he may have two choices:

1)  John may take an “upgrade class.” The Issuing Officer may have a policy where “advanced training” is viewed favorably for those seeking an “Unrestricted” Pistol Permit. Or,

2)  John may have to wait a period of time and submit a request for an “Unrestricted Pistol Permit.”

Each County Judge deals with issuance differently and the above is only a general guideline.

Why does the Judge in my County restrict Permits to “Hunting / Target,” but the Judge in another County will issue “Unrestricted” Permits?

Each County Judge (known as an “issuing officer”) can make Pistol Permit issuance & policy changes as they see fit. One such example is “restricting” Pistol Permits.

Under the Sullivan Law the County Judge in charge of issuing Pistol Permits is granted great latitude. The law permits restriction of a Permit to “target / hunting,” “business protection” or “unrestricted.” This means that you may only carry the handgun on your person when engaged in the above activities. Judges in some counties will commonly issue “Unrestricted” Permits while others in another County will commonly restrict permits. Again, the law allows them to do this as they see fit.