The Beginners Guide to the Ohio CCW License

The Beginners Guide to the Ohio CCW License

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Bonus: Includes 5 Real Answers to the concealed carry test.

The Ohio concealed carry (CCW, CHL) license isn’t just for those in the military or police. Approximately 1 out of every 20 Ohioans have the Ohio CCW license. That is around 600,000 CCW license holders in Ohio. Why do so many get the concealed carry license? Probably for the same reason that you’re searching how to get the Ohio CCW license.

The Crime Dilemma

Police responding to assault
Photo: police responding to assault

More and more we hear reports about people using weapons to kill or seriously harm others. These reports can be very scary. They don’t just happen in “bad” areas, but also in our own neighborhood. The problem is that we never know when someone will choose to target us.

Just like us, every victim didn’t think they would be a target, until they were attacked. Cell phones are great for dispatching for help. But do you know how many minutes it takes for the police to arrive? You’re going to be surprised! Keep reading to get the details.

The solution: Arm citizens with a CCW

Number of Ohio CCW Applicants by Year

In April 2004 a new law allowed Ohioans to get a license to carry a concealed handgun in public. In that first year, 45,497 Ohioans received the Ohio CCW license. The Ohio Attorney General posts Concealed Carry Annual Reports for each year Ohio had the CCW license. There is no official number on the current number of CCW license holders. However, The Enquirer estimates that there are around 600,000 current Ohio license holders.

Armed2Defend is Ohio’s CCW trainer

As an Ohio CCW license trainer, I have trained over 23,000 in Columbus Ohio for the CCW license. In each concealed carry class, around 70% of the students classify themselves as beginner shooters. These students understand that they are responsible for their safety. Just this year, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in women students. In fact, over 2020 and 2021 half our students were women. This is an increase from the 10% of female students that we saw back in 2011.

Click here to see photos and updates from our recent Ohio CCW classes.

Click here to see our upcoming Ohio CCW classes.

What is the Ohio CCW License?

In Ohio the CCW license is a Concealed Handgun License (CHL). However, the general public refers to the license as a “Carrying a Concealed Weapon” (CCW) license. The Ohio CHL gives the ability to carry a loaded concealed handgun in public. The Ohio CCW license does not require a specific handgun or caliber. However, it does not allow you to carry any other concealed weapon.

What does the CCW license look like?

Photo of Ohio concealed carry (CCW, CHL) license

The Ohio CCW license is a plastic license, like a driver’s license. This license allows the holder to carry a loaded concealed handgun in public. The county Sheriff’s office is who issues a CCW license. The state has set the training requirement. It also specifies what can prevent someone from getting the license. If a CCW license applicant meets the requirements, then the sheriff must issue the concealed carry license.

How can I read about the Ohio CCW license laws?

Ohio Attorney General Concealed Carry Law Summary

The Ohio Attorney General maintains a law summary for the Ohio CCW license. This summary is titled “Ohio’s Concealed Carry Laws and License Application“. Applicants must review this summary before applying for the Ohio CCW license.

How to get an Ohio CCW License?

To keep it simple, there are 3 steps to get the Ohio CCW License. For more detailed steps, you can click here.

Step One: Verify that you can qualify for the CCW license

The state has set the minimum requirements for the license. You must be at least 21 years old and not have any disqualifiers on your background. I would suggest contacting your Sheriff’s CCW office if you answer “yes” to any questions on pages 1-4 of the application. The Sheriff won’t do a background check over the phone. But they usually can let you know if you can qualify based on the background that you give them. Click here to review the Ohio CCW application.


Step Two: Complete the Ohio CCW training

Take the Ohio CCW training. If you’re current or former military, then you can skip this step. But for the rest of us, the 8-hour Ohio CCW training is required. This training is typically a basic pistol class and not a true draw from concealment training course. Ohio requires that at least 2 hours of the CCW training is on the range with live fire training.

Click here to see upcoming Ohio CCW class dates!


Step Three: Apply for the Ohio CCW License

After the training, you can apply for your CCW license through either your county or an adjoining county’s sheriff’s office. The license fee is $67 and paid in cash or money order. Select sheriff offices will issue the license same day but they have up to 45 days to process your application and issue the license. Normally it is issued within 2 weeks. Click here to get more details on how to apply for the license after the training.


Tips for Success in Being an Ohio CCW

The key with the Ohio concealed carry license is that you carry a concealed handgun. The plastic license itself provides zero protection. Take the recent mass shooting in El Paso Texas Walmart. How many shoppers in the store had a CCW license but didn’t carry? Alden Hall is a concealed carry license holder that was inside Walmart that day but wasn’t carrying his gun.


Carrying a concealed gun gives you options

When you carry your concealed gun, you have options. You don’t have to use it, but it gives you the ability to use it if needed. This site gives recent lists of incidents where people used guns to defend themselves.

In the El Paso Texas mass shooting mentioned above, Glendon Oakley Jr. had his CCW Glock pistol on him. Instead of confronting the shooter, he chose to carry children away from the shooter. Click here to read more about Glendon’s story.


I’ll save my family, you save yours

If you have your concealed carry handgun, then you have more options. If not, then you don’t. You don’t need to risk your life to save others. Most licensed CCW holders carry to protect themselves and their families. Most of the other shoppers in Walmart had the option to get the CCW license and carry that day. It’s not Glendon’s duty to save all of them. He chose to focus on saving the helpless children.


How long does it take for the police to come to aid?

You might think that help is just a call away. The reality is that every second that a bad guy has control, they can do more harm. In Cleveland Ohio, it takes the police an average of 8 minutes to respond when reported “shots fired”.

Dublin Ohio reports an average response time of 6 minutes. However, this doesn’t account for the time it takes for someone to call 911. And the time for 911 to collect the details and dispatch the police.

The response time for the El Paso Walmart shooting was 6 minutes. By that time the shooter had already killed 22 and wounded another 24. These numbers could have been higher. He went outside of Walmart to surrender to the police instead of continuing his rage.

On August 4, 2019 in Dayton Ohio, a gun man was able to kill 9 people and wound 27 others. Luckily, the brave police officers were in the area. They were able to stop him within 32 seconds. If the police didn’t run to the shooter, the destruction would have been much greater.

How to Become an Ohio Concealed Carry (CCW) Instructor

With such a demand for the Ohio CCW license, no wonder Armed2Defend has trained over 600 NRA Certified Pistol Instructors. These instructors earned the certification needed to teach Ohio CCW classes. 

To teach Ohio concealed carry, there are two certification options:

When looking for an Ohio CCW Instructor certification course, just remember that the quality of your training will be dependent on the quality of the Training Counselor teaching the course. Just like with Ohio concealed carry classes, the quality can vary dramatically. Don’t take any chances; choose to get trained at Armed2Defend! 

Common Questions/FAQ About the Ohio CCW License

  • What can I conceal carry?
  • The Ohio conceal license is a handgun only license. It is a concealed handgun license (CHL). This license does not cover any other concealed weapons.
  • Is there a test in the Ohio CCW training?
    • Yes, as a part of the CCW training requirements, Ohio’s law requires passing a written test. The class teaches the test material before the test. Even attentive novice shooters should be able to pass the course and test. We have failed entitled people who didn’t care to learn or pass the test.
    • The test details are described in section 2923.125 (G) (2) of the Ohio Revised Code:
      • “(2) To satisfactorily complete the course, class, or program described in division (B)(3)(a), (b), (c), or (e) of this section, the applicant shall pass a competency examination that shall include both of the following:(a) A written section, provided as described in division (G)(3) of this section, on the ability to name and explain the rules for the safe handling of a handgun and proper storage practices for handguns and ammunition;
      • (b) An in-person physical demonstration of competence in the use of a handgun and in the rules for safe handling and storage of a handgun and a physical demonstration of the attitude necessary to shoot a handgun in a safe manner.”
  • Where can I conceal carry with the license?
    • You can carry anywhere unless not allowed by law. There are some forbidden places. And any property manager (owner) can also prohibit the CCW from entering. Read more details on pages 11-15 of the “Ohio’s Concealed Carry Laws” by the Ohio Attorney General.
    • A sign on private property can notify visitors not to carry a gun in the facility. Ohio law does not have a specific signage requirement. It doesn’t have to be this sign.
    • Photo: Model Ohio Concealed Carry Sign
  • Do most stores and restaurants prohibit concealed carry guns?
  • How do I carry a gun concealed?

    Photo: Hawg Holsters appendix carry holster with Glock 43 pistol for conceal carry
  • Hawg Holsters appendix carry holster with Glock 43 pistol for conceal carry.
    • There are many different carry methods and many different handguns. To safely carry a gun, you’ll need a good quality holster. A holster retains your gun and covers the trigger guard. The trigger guard area must be protected to prevent your trigger from being pressed while carrying. Notice in the photo above that the trigger guard is completely covered. This is a picture of my appendix holster for my Glock 43 by
    • Most will break down CCW carry into off-body and on-body. Off body conceal carry would be a bag, purse, or something else that holds your gun off your body. On-body conceal carry would be a holster that attaches to you or your clothes. It carries the gun close to your body.
    • There are many ways to carry a concealed gun and most CCW holders have preferences. But they are typically looking for a better way. Pew Pew Mom prefers the bra holster. Read her article “6 Reasons I Love My Women’s Flashbang Bra Holster“.
  • What is the best gun for CCW?
    • There isn’t one gun that fits all. Just like there are many jeans makers there are also a lot of handgun makers. The jeans that fit me might not fit you. You’ll want to try the jeans on before buying them. You’ll also want to test fire a handgun before buying it. Just handling it in the gun store is not the same as shooting it. You want to make sure that you can operate it and comfortably shoot it.
    • After you determine that you can shoot the gun, you need to determine how you will carry it. The pocket size pistol might be hard to shoot but easy to conceal and carry. Whereas a full-size Glock might be awesome to shoot but heavy to carry and hard to conceal.
    • Don’t focus to much on the caliber. While a higher caliber has great stopping power (knock down power). The higher caliber will be harder to get shots off more quickly and more accurately. The National Rifle Association and other experts recommend conceal carrying a 9 mm or higher for semi-automatics and a 38 special or higher for revolvers. But they also recommend carrying the highest caliber that you can reliably shoot. If that is the smaller caliber 22 LR, then you should carry a 22 LR. Lack of confidence in your shooting abilities will make you lose the fight before it starts.
    • Don’t think of your starting point as an endpoint. As you continue to train and practice you can build shooting confidence and familiarity with higher calibers.


The Last Thing You Need to Know about the Ohio CCW License

You can get the concealed carry license and be able to protect yourself and your family. The training is designed for beginner or even new shooters. You don’t need to feel scared. If you take a good class, you will become confident with shooting a pistol. Does that mean you’ll become John Wick? Of course not. You’ll need to continue to practice and train to develop the lifesaving skills.

Take the first step and begin your process. Don’t put it off until it is too late. Sign up for a class today and get your Ohio CCW License! You’ll never know when you “should” have had your concealed gun.

If you have questions or if you liked the details in this post, please make a comment below!

I’m just a phone call away. Do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.

I’m excited to meet you in an upcoming Ohio CCW class.

Click here to sign up for a concealed carry class!