JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As of 2021, there were more than 20 million concealed permits issued in the United States, almost 50% jump from 2016.
The scope of those who carry is changing. Women, men, people of all ages, backgrounds, races are licensed to carry. In a Google Trends search, people say they got their concealed weapons license because of the uptick in mass shootings, but for those who are carrying a weapon legally... it's hard to determine who is confident in using their gun.
"For me, it's always been just go to the gun range and that's where you practice, and you'll come out a better shooter," said Sarah Roberts, who is taking a self-defense class with Tactical Concealed Cary.
Pew Research Center shows half the people who own a gun, shoot at a gun range.
"A lot of people take their training seriously and they come here to do one thing and that's learn how to protect themselves and learn how to use their firearm," said Bryan Lamboy, works at BASICS: Range and Gun in Orange Park, Florida.
If you aren't comfortable shooting because you've never owned a gun or never held one, Tyler Wildman with Tactical Concealed Carry says the gun range shouldn't be your first training spot.
"On the gun range, you get a lot of luxuries," said Wildman.
He says, "you get to look at your gun if you have a malfunction, you can fix it.
"Maybe you can call the range officers over, but if you can't fix your malfunctions blindfolded, while looking at your threat, you're in a really weak position."
Tyler says his experience with teaching the Warrior Academy course at the Tactical Concealed Carry shows only 8% of people who are license to carry actually carry.
He says most people don't carry because they are not confident with their gun.
"I learned the proper stance for holding a gun and exactly how to hold it with your hands," said Sarah Roberts, student with the Tactical Concealed Carry.
Roberts says she has been handling guns for a lot o her adult life, but after taking the Warrior Academy, she says she has been doing some things wrong.
Wildman says the biggest difference between a well-trained gun owner and someone who does not have the ability to move around with the gun and handle it without concentrating.
"What we are is an armed combative training system. It's a martial art with a firearm. We're putting skills into context of realistic violent attacks," said Wildman.
Wildman says he believes once you take classes and learn how to use your gun properly, then he believe you should practice at a gun range.
"We train them in a quiet, safe environment, and then we take them to the gun range, and we see dramatic improvement," said Wildman.
"The more you build up your muscle memory of grab my gun, side grip, stance and things like that, it's all muscle memory," said Brian Lamboy of BASICS: Range and Gun.
First Coast News asked people in the Warrior Academy if they preferred training at the Academy or a gun range, and most preferred the academy before the gun range.
"Definitely learning here to practice properly at the gun range," said Meghan Holder, taking the Warrior Academy classes at Tactical Concealed Carry.
If you would like to train with the Warrior Academy, visit the link:
Also, the gun range in this story is BASICS Range and Gun at 179 College Drive Suite 5, Orange Park, Florida.