Concealed Weapons Licenses/Permits

Idaho offers three ways for an eligible, non-prohibited adult Idahoan to lawfully carry a concealed weapon.

  • Basic Concealed Weapons License
  • Enhanced Concealed Weapons License
  • “Constitutional” or “permitless carry”

About the basic CWL:

This is Idaho’s original concealed-carry permit.  To qualify, you must be at least 18 years old and satisfy certain training requirements, which may vary by county.  The basic CWL is recognized in about 25* other states.

Our take:

If you are older than 17 but not yet 21, the basic CWL is your best option, and we recommend it.

You get broad reciprocity for easier travel, and you don’t have to wait until you turn 21.

What you don’t get, generally, is adequate training, and it’s really important to understand why:  states adopt their firearms training standards to protect themselves from civil rights lawsuits—not to make you a capable protector of yourself and your loved ones!  Do not make the mistake of measuring your competence against any state concealed-carry training standard.  If you are serious about your role as protector, enroll in MoD.Handgun.1.

*Laws, including those affecting reciprocity, are always subject to change.  Before traveling, we check here for the latest info.

About the Enhanced CWL:

Created by the legislature in 2013, this has quickly become Idaho’s preferred concealed-carry license.  To qualify, you must be at least 21 years old and meet a slightly higher training standard than for the basic CWL.  The Enhanced CWL is recognized in about 39* other states.

Our take:

If you are at least 21 years old, the Enhanced CWL is your best choice.

You get the broadest available reciprocity for interstate travel, plus a few other specific benefits like “campus carry”.

In lieu of national reciprocity, we salute the state’s effort to secure broader acceptance of Idaho’s CWLs through improved training standards.  The legal education requirement, in particular, can be extremely valuable, as the topic is often overlooked and underappreciated by beginning students.  For MoD.Handgun.1, our Boise-based defense attorney provides you with expert instruction on Idaho’s laws pertaining to guns and other weapons, self-defense, and use of force.  We also provide you with a paper copy of the law and plenty of lines for your notes.  We also guide you through interstate travel.

*Laws, including those affecting reciprocity, are always subject to change.  Before traveling, we check here for the latest info.


In 2016, Idaho joined a growing number of states (now more than 25!) to acknowledge that the right of the citizen to carry a firearm (specifically to “bear” arms) stems not from a permit, but from pre-existing rights protected within the United States Constitution.  According to the Idaho Attorney General’s Office, this means…”You may carry a concealed weapon on your person without a concealed weapons license if you are at least 18 years old, a citizen of the United States or a current member of the United States Armed Forces, and you are not disqualified under Idaho law from obtaining a concealed weapons license for a reason other than not having attained 21 years of age.”

Our take:

This is the correct move by the state.  We think the phrase “shall not be infringed” was chosen advisedly by our founders, and restrictions imposed at any level of American government violate the 2nd Amendment. 

Regardless of what we think, the reality is that police in Nevada (for example) may arrest you if you carry concealed without a valid license.  So while we agree philosophically with Idaho’s adoption of Constitutional carry, we also remain grateful (in an awkward way) that our Enhanced CWL allows us to carry in Nevada.

The siren song here is zero training.  We cannot reconcile a state-imposed training requirement of any kind attached to free exercise of a Constitutionally-protected right, but we also know with absolute confidence and certainty that you will be a better protector with training, learning, and practice.  So while the state has done the right thing by dropping the training and permitting requirements, don’t let that lure you away from doing the right thing—which is to seek excellent training!

If you don’t quite know what all of this means, that’s alright!  Sign up for MoD.Handgun.1 and we’ll help you make sense of it all while becoming a reliable, lawful protector!

*Laws, including those affecting reciprocity, are always subject to change.  Before traveling, we check here for the latest info.

For an Idaho basic or Enhanced Concealed Weapons License, the application process looks like this…

  1. Learn.  Complete firearms training approved by your county sheriff, such as our MoD.Handgun.1.  If you pass the class, you should receive a certificate.
  2. Apply.  Visit the office that handles CWL applications in your county—typically either your sheriff’s office or DMV.  (Note that some counties accept walk-ins and some require or encourage you to book an appointment online.)  Turn in your training certificate and your application form.  You will also be asked to present ID and create a fingerprint record.  At this time, you will pay the application fee, which varies by county but is typically under $60 for first-time applications and under $40 for renewals.
  3. Wait.  The county will conduct a background check, which takes some time.  Most often we see results in three to eight weeks.
  4. Check your mail.  Upon approval, you will need to return to the county office.  They will take your photo and print your new CWL card.


MoD.Handgun.1 is also valid for Oregon‘s Concealed Handgun License (“CHL”), through the sheriff’s office in Malheur County, Oregon.  On completing this class, you should make a photocopy of your Idaho “Training Certificate of Completion” form so that you can surrender the original to Idaho and give the copy to Oregon.  Apply and schedule your appointment for payment and fingerprinting here.

The actual language of the statute: (see the full text here)

(i) The course instructor is certified by the national rifle association, or by another nationally recognized organization that customarily certifies firearms instructors, as an instructor in personal protection with handguns, or the instructor is certified by the Idaho peace officers standards and training council as a firearms instructor;

(ii) The course is at least eight (8) hours in duration;

(iii) The course is taught face to face and not by electronic or other means; and

(iv) The course includes instruction in:

1. Idaho law relating to firearms and the use of deadly force, provided that such instruction is delivered by either of the following whose name and credential must appear on the certificate:

a. An active, senior or emeritus member of the Idaho state bar; or

b. A law enforcement officer who possesses an intermediate or higher Idaho peace officers standards and training certificate;

2. The basic concepts of the safe and responsible use of handguns;

3. Self-defense principles; and

4. Live fire training including the firing of at least ninety-eight (98) rounds by the student.

The training provided in MoD.Handgun.1 is valid not only for Idaho, but also for Oregon‘s Concealed Handgun License (“CHL”), through the sheriff’s office in Malheur County.  On completing this class, you should make a photocopy of your Idaho “Training Certificate of Completion” form so that you can surrender the original to Idaho and give the copy to Oregon.  Apply and schedule your appointment for payment and fingerprinting in Vale, Oregon, here.

Reciprocity refers to a mutual official recognition of concealed weapons licenses or permits between two states.  (Terminology may vary from state to state.)  For example, Idaho honors Montana’s “Concealed Weapon Permit” for Montanans who travel in Idaho, and Montana honors Idaho’s basic and Enhanced Concealed Weapons Licenses for Idahoans traveling in Montana.

Please be aware that just as terminology varies from one state to another, so do the permissions and restrictions that apply to concealed carry!  For comprehensive information, sign up for MoD.Handgun.1.

“Prohibited persons” is a term originating within the federal government to describe individuals who are barred by federal law from purchasing, owning, or possessing a firearm.  Most often, this label applies as the result of criminal conduct, mental illness, or another disqualifying factor.

“Ineligible persons” is a term used by the state of Idaho to describe people who do not meet the legal requirements for issuance of a concealed weapons license.  They are said to be “ineligible” under Idaho Code 18-3302(11)(a)-(n), as represented below.

The statute reads…

(11) A license to carry concealed weapons shall not be issued to any person who:

(a) Is under twenty-one (21) years of age, except as otherwise provided in this section;
(b) Is formally charged with a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one (1) year;
(c) Has been adjudicated guilty in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one (1) year;
(d) Is a fugitive from justice;
(e) Is an unlawful user of marijuana or any depressant, stimulant or narcotic drug, or any controlled substance as defined in 21 U.S.C. 802;
(f) Is currently suffering from or has been adjudicated as having suffered from any of the following conditions, based on substantial evidence:

(i) Lacking mental capacity as defined in section 18-210, Idaho Code;
(ii) Mentally ill as defined in section 66-317, Idaho Code;
(iii) Gravely disabled as defined in section 66-317, Idaho Code; or
(iv) An incapacitated person as defined in section 15-5-101, Idaho Code;

(g) Has been discharged from the armed forces under dishonorable conditions;
(h) Has received a withheld judgment or suspended sentence for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one (1) year, unless the person has successfully completed probation;
(i) Has received a period of probation after having been adjudicated guilty of, or received a withheld judgment for, a misdemeanor offense that has as an element the intentional use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another, unless the person has successfully completed probation;
(j) Is an alien illegally in the United States;
(k) Is a person who having been a citizen of the United States has renounced his or her citizenship;
(l) Is free on bond or personal recognizance pending trial, appeal or sentencing for a crime that would disqualify him from obtaining a concealed weapons license;
(m) Is subject to a protection order issued under chapter 63, title 39, Idaho Code, that restrains the person from harassing, stalking or threatening an intimate partner of the person or child of the intimate partner or person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child; or
(n) Is for any other reason ineligible to own, possess or receive a firearm under the provisions of Idaho or federal law.

For the basic Concealed Weapons License: Title 18, Chapter 33, Section 02, here.

For the Enhanced Concealed Weapons License: Title 18, Chapter 33, Section 02K, here.

Our Training

Our original classes are titled to indicate what type of firearm will be studied, and the order in which classes are available for students.  For example, if you want to learn about handguns, you would start with MoD.Handgun.1.  On successful completion of that class, you would be eligible to enroll in MoD.Handgun.2, or to repeat MoD.Handgun.1 if you wish.  If you want an AR-15 class, (which we intend to offer someday) you would begin with MoD.AR-15.1, then graduate to MoD.AR-15.2, and so on.  We plan to use this consistent framework throughout our original class offerings.

There are, however, two other types of training we offer that don’t conform to this framework.

  • Private Training is available for you or your group by request.  If you prefer the individualized pace and solitude of this approach, or you wish to train your whole family, church security team, or other cadre, Private Training can be a great option.  We can most likely work with any common, safe, modern firearm/s you wish to learn.  Or for a modest fee, you can try some from our collection to help inform your future buying decisions.
  • NRA classes have their own titles and progressions.

The Ministry of Defense curriculum is designed to be sequential.  For example, if you don’t know how to rack the slide (MoD.Handgun.1) you’re going to find it pretty difficult to clear a Type 3 malfunction with only your support-side hand (probably MoD.Handgun.3, someday).  The sequential progression is how we insure that our training is thorough and methodical.  Plus, even our basic classes truly have something good for literally everyone.

That said, if you have prior advanced training and would like to attend one of our advanced classes, please contact us to discuss options.

The short answer is, “no.”  In Idaho, the official hunter education program is administered by the Department of Fish & Game.  If you need training to qualify for a hunting license, click here.

That said, we can help you improve your skill with just about any firearm—including what you intend to use for hunting.  Also ammo selection, zeroing optics, carry methods, etc.

Ministry of Defense is here to support young shooters as well as adults.


  • For our classes, we allow minors who have reached the age of 15 to attend, as long as they are…
    1. Accompanied by a parent or legal guardian who is authorized to sign our liability waiver on their behalf, or
    2. Attending with a responsible adult who has the written authorization of a parent or legal guardian of the minor.  Such authorization must be presented to Ministry of Defense at least 72 hours prior to class start time.  Minors must satisfy all prerequisites in our curriculum.
  • For Private Training, we have no policy establishing a minimum student age.  The Private Training format allows us to accommodate a wide range of ages—and also statures, maturity levels, attention spans, etc.


Simply put, if you have a minor that you would like to bring to class, the best thing is to contact us to discuss options.

Our concealed-carry class, MoD.Handgun.1, introduces holster configurations, materials, options, and accessories, and prepares you to make excellent selections when shopping.

But there are critical nuances to drawing and re-holstering, and the consequences of failure are, quite literally, dire.  Statistically, a high percentage of negligent discharges (so-called “accidental” shootings of self and/or others) occur when the gun is on its way into or out of a holster.  Because safe use of a holster relies entirely on safety habits that beginning students have not yet developed, we reserve use of the holster for MoD.Handgun.2.

If you have ten toes and a pulse, you will appreciate that we do not force holsters into a one-day, eight-hour class that must also cover so many other important topics, both in the classroom and on the range.

We also want to maintain a low barrier to entry for our introductory training.  A good gun belt, holster, and magazine pouch will start at about $150.  And even if the expense is no problem, the marketplace options are dizzying, and novices would almost certainly show up to class with equipment that we cannot allow on the range.  (Hint: DO NOT go to Walmart and buy a Blackhawk Serpa for use with your Old Navy belt.)


Each course description (accessible through Training in the menu above) includes firearm recommendations.

Yes!  Assuming you are legally eligible to own or possess a firearm, your options include:

  1. Borrow.  Perhaps you have a friend or relative who has been nudging you to go shooting or buy a gun for yourself.  A friend like that may be delighted to hear that you are training and just might be willing to loan you a firearm to use for the day.
  2. Ministry of Defense offers rentals for in-class and range use.  If you rent our firearms, you are required to buy ammunition from us and use only that ammo in the firearm you rent.


We think training before buying produces the best results, as you are then equipped to evaluate the guns available for purchase.

In times of plenty, ammo is generally available at specialty gun stores, sporting goods stores, and certain department stores.  In rural areas, you may also find ammo at grocery stores, hardware stores, or even convenience stores!

We encourage you to buy ammo from local brick-and-mortar stores as you are able.  But if pricing or selection are an issue, you can certainly find ammo online.  Private citizens routinely buy, sell, and trade ammo on local classified site, ZIdaho.  For bulk purchases, we really like SG Ammo.

Please see your class description for important required and recommended equipment.

Here are some general “must-haves”:

  • Eye protection.  Acceptable examples are ANSI-rated for impact-resistance with clear or shaded lenses.  You can find these at any gun store or hardware store, and they typically cost about $5-$15.  If you must wear prescription glasses to see on the range, we allow you to do so, but you implicitly accept full risk that your eyewear may not protect against firearm-related mishaps.  For glasses-wearers, you really should talk with the folks at Tactical Rx.

  • Electronic ear protection.  Over-ear (muffs) or in-ear products are acceptable.  Electronic hearing protection safeguards your hearing and also enables you to communicate on the range, both of which are very important to safety on the firing line.  If you don’t have electronic ear pro, no problem: borrow a set from us at no extra charge!  Yeah, we’re just cool like that—but don’t be offended when we wipe them down with sanitizer between users.

  • A baseball cap.  Yes, this is required.  The bill of a cap helps to keep your neighbor’s scalding brass from lodging between your glasses and your eyeball!  Keep in mind that most full-brimmed hats won’t work with muff-style ear protection.

  • Shoes.  Footwear must provide full coverage and protection of the feet.  The prospect of nails, glass, bees or biting insects, hot brass, and sunburn at the range make it really important to wear proper shoes.

  • A portable chair.  Folding chair, camp chair, lawn chair—they’re all good.  Many of our classes include several hours at an outdoor range, sometimes during hot weather.  You will want the option to sit down under our shade tent while you relax, reload, re-hydrate, and recuperate.

  • A refillable water container.  Useful in the classroom and absolutely essential on an outdoor range!  We provide ice water for refills.

We also highly recommend the following:

  • Note-taking materials.  A written record reinforces learning and may also provide legal benefits in the event that you must act in self-defense.

  • Food and beverages.  Please feel free to bring snacks, drinks, or meals to the classroom or range.  NO ALCOHOL!  We do not guarantee that any class session will include a break at what you consider to be meal time, but we invite you to bring food and beverages so that you can manage your own nutrition.

    • Always wash your hands after handling guns and ammo—especially before eating.  This will reduce intake of lead and other toxic substances.
  • First aid/personal care.  Please bring any non-impairing prescription medications you require, as well as aspirin or ibuprofen, sunscreen, and any other items that may aid your comfort and health during your training session.

  • Adjustable clothing.  We recommend layers appropriate for the season.  Plan on inclement weather and pack accordingly.

  • Fuel.  The transition from our usual classroom to the indoor range is no big deal, but outdoor ranges tend to be somewhat removed from urban population centers.  Make sure you have enough gas—say, 50 miles range, as a minimum.

One final piece of guidance.  If we host classes away from Meridian, we try to choose venues that are comfortable, reasonably provisioned (water, coffee, vending machines, etc.) and where restrooms are readily available.  But remote outdoor ranges can vary widely—some having a full array of amenities and some having very few.  Please plan appropriately.

General Questions

Yes!  Click here for gift cards.

Refunds will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

In principle, we like the idea of refunds, but the practical side gets a bit tricky.  We put a lot of time into preparing any single training session, and most training sessions require us to pay for certain expenses up-front.  So refund requests—especially late cancellations—are very disruptive to our ability to offer said training sessions.

In the event that we must cancel a training session, we will contact enrolled students individually to discuss options.


These are Col. Jeff Cooper’s brainchild in aid of ensuring safe handling of firearms.  They have been adopted nearly everywhere, and revised over the decades by many different instructors, writers, and academies.

Here is a functional approximation of Cooper’s own.

  • Rule 1: Always treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
  • Rule 2: Always keep a firearm pointed in a safe direction.
  • Rule 3: Keep your finger off of the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
  • Rule 4: Know what lies in line with your target (meaning, in all directions around it: foreground, background, up, down, to the sides).


It’s worth noting that while wording may differ slightly from one version of the rules to another, we have preserved what we understand to be the original order.  This will be helpful: the conventional order allows instructors the luxury of shorthand references to a particular rule.  For example, if Bob has a hasty trigger finger, his instructor might simply call out, “Hey Bob—Rule 3, Rule 3!”  Some instructors even offer entire classes based on a rule’s numeric designation, such as this from the elite Palisade Training Group.

Our MoD.Handgun.1 class provides an excellent treatment of The Four Rules.