Frequently Asked Questions


Click on the links below for answers to questions.

What are the NRA Rules of Gun Safety?

The three fundamental rules of gun safety are:

  1. ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
  2. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
  3. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

What are the qualifications for obtaining a Concealed Pistol License?

In addition to taking a certified pistol safety training class, you must also pass a rigorous background check that includes a lengthy list of disqualifying factors. A complete list is included in the Michigan Application for a Concealed Pistol License, which can be found here.

Which class do I take to qualify for a Concealed Pistol License?

The “NRA Basics of Personal Protection in the Home” course complies with Section 5J of 1927 PA 372 of the Michigan Compiled Laws and meets the minimum requirements for safety training in the state of Michigan and most other states that issue permits. However, this class is not designed to make you an “expert” in the field of armed self defense and we highly recommend that you seek out additional quality training from competent sources. We would be delighted to discuss these options with you. Just ask us.

How long is the CPL class?

The NRA Personal Protection in the Home class is scheduled for eight (8) hours, including 3 hours on the range. This does not include the lunch break or travel time to and from the range. Please note; we teach to content and not to time. In some cases, depending on the makeup of the class, or unexpected delays at the range, we may run slightly longer than the time allotted. We are dedicated to making sure that each student leaves our class confident in what they have learned. If you have a special situation or need that requires you to leave at a certain time, speak to us beforehand and we will try to accommodate.

I don’t have a gun. What do I do?

If you don’t already own a handgun, don’t run out and buy one just for the class. We have loaner pistols that you may use for training and qualifying. Part of the class will cover how to select and purchase a handgun that is right for you. We suggest you wait until after the class to make your first purchase. We’ll even help you with that.

I have my own gun. Can I bring it?

You are welcome to use your own personal handgun for the range exercises portion of the class. Your gun will need to be inspected by the instructors / range safety officer (RSO) prior to shooting, in order to make sure it is safe and functional. Unless you have been informed otherwise, you may bring your pistol to class with you. However, it MUST be enclosed in a hard shell pistol case, in the trunk, and UNLOADED. Transporting the pistol in any other condition is a violation of state concealed carry laws. ABSOLUTELY NO AMMUNITION is allowed in the classroom at any time.

Can I borrow a friend’s pistol?

That depends. If your friend is attending the same class with you and you are both shooting in the same squad on the firing range, then you may share a pistol. It is currently illegal in Michigan for someone to be in possession of a handgun that is not registered to them unless they have a valid Concealed Pistol License. This rule also applies to firearms belonging to relatives (parents, siblings, etc.).

When can I file for my CPL?

You may file your application with the appropriate agency for your county of residence as soon as all of the requirements are met. Please read the application instructions carefully and follow them to the letter. You MUST file in person. You may NOT mail in the application or have someone else drop it off for you. We have heard that some agencies accept applications only during certain hours or on certain days. Contact your agency ahead of time to verify this and avoid frustration.

How long is my certificate valid?

Technically, there is no “use by” date on your certificate. The NRA does not consider them to expire. Also, there is nothing specifically written into the state statutes currently that stipulates how recent the mandated training must be. Anecdotally, we have heard of some agencies rejecting certificates that have a date older than one (1) year. You could probably fight it in court, but do you really want to spend that kind of money just to irritate your local sheriff?

How much time do I have to file?

If you are taking this class because you intend to apply for your CPL, we recommend you do so as soon as is practical. You do not need to purchase a gun first. In fact, it will be much easier to purchase a gun AFTER you have your CPL.

Where can I carry concealed in Michigan?

The law states that you may carry a concealed pistol anywhere that you have a legal right to be and are not in the act of committing a felony. The state of Michigan has a list of prohibited areas known as “Pistol Free Zones”. These are enumerated in the instructions and qualifications portion of the CPL application as well as on the Michigan State Police website. We will cover these in detail as part of the class. You MUST be fully aware of these prohibited areas. It is possible that you may be called to appear before your local gun board and asked to recite from memory the Pistol Free Zones prior to receiving your CPL.

Is my Michigan CPL valid in other states?

Michigan CPLs are currently valid and recognized in 37 other states. However, this list is constantly changing. Check here for the most current information. When traveling in other states it is incumbent upon the holder to know and abide by the carry laws of each particular state. As is often said, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse”.

Do I qualify for a Michigan CPL?

What can we say here? Law abiding U.S. citizens and resident aliens over the age of 21 who have been residents of the state of Michigan for at least the last six (6) months are eligible to apply. If there is some reason that you suspect that you may not qualify, you’re probably right. Again, the complete list of qualifications and instructions is found in the application packet found here.

I have a Medical Marijuana Card. Can I file for a Michigan CPL?

Umm….NO! (Seriously?)

What makes PFA/Citizen Defenders the better choice?

At PFA / Citizen Defenders, we pride ourselves on making sure each student leaves with the knowledge, skills, attitude and confidence necessary to be a responsibly armed citizen. Classes are intentionally kept small to ensure that you get the attention that you deserve. Our instructors and staff are committed to the armed lifestyle and carry every day themselves. But more than that, it is our commitment to our students “after the class” that truly sets us apart. Each student that successfully completes our CPL course is also entitled to one free hour of personal coaching on the range (by appointment), expert help in the selection and purchase of a personal protection firearm and holster, and a “home security assessment”.

How much ammo should I bring?

You should expect to need approximately 100 rounds of ammunition in the correct caliber for the firearm you will be using. This should be factory NEW ammunition. Please do not bring reloaded ammunition. If you have trouble finding the proper ammunition for your gun, notify us ahead of time. We can make arrangements for you to use a training loaner and we will provide the ammunition.

What documentation should I bring?

In order to take the class we require two (2) forms of ID. At least one of those IDs must be issued by a government agency (e.g. Driver License, State ID) with your picture on it. During the registration period before class, you will be asked to complete and sign the following: Disclaimer and Liability Waiver, Affidavit of Eligibility, NRA registration forms.

Do you offer private or group classes?

Yes. We offer other NRA firearms classes on both a private (by appointment) and group basis. Consider “hosting a class”. If you can get a group of 6 or more of your friends together and provide a “classroom” venue, we can come to you.

Do you offer special pricing or discounts?

Yes. We offer discounts for various groups and classes of people. Our discount codes may be entered on the registration site when signing up for class. Discounts are one per person and may not be combined with other codes. Additional temporary codes may be issued from time to time and will be published on our Facebook page. The permanent codes we have are as follows:

“Couple” – $20.00 Discount – May be used for married couples or similar partnerships.
“HOTS” – $20.00 Discount – May be used by members of Heart of the Shepherd church in Howell, MI
“JC” – $20.00 Discount – May be used by our friends who are members in good standing of any Jaycees chapter.
“Teach” – $20.00 Discount – May be used by teachers, school administrators and day care workers.
“Veteran” $20.00 Discount – May be used by currently serving and honorably discharged members of our nation’s armed forces.

All discounts granted are subject to verification prior to class.

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