Checklist for Obtaining a Handgun License
- Have a gun, and know how to load and shoot
You would be surprised to find out how many people try to get this license when they don't even know how to hold a gun. The skill
requirement is not high, but it is not zero; you will be asked to demonstrate your ability to safely handle, load, and shoot a handgun
of at least .32 cal (9mm is more common). If you do not yet know how to shoot, we teach a
"Learn to Shoot" class several times a month, which
will get you up to speed quickly. Rental guns are available for this class, but you really should have
your own for the CHL class, otherwise, what is the point? We no longer rent guns for the CHL/LTC class, except
to students we have trained, or people who can document their experience (military or LEO). Experience has shown
that most people who do not own a gun do not actually know how to operate one.
- Check your eligibility
There are a few reasons you might be ineligible to get a handgun license, but in general,
if you are a US citizen or legal resident alien, 21 or above, with no criminal record (except minor traffic tickets), no wants/warrants,
no orders of protection against you, not addicted to drugs, and do not have a history of mental illness or domestic violence, you should be fine.
- Apply to DPS for your license, and get fingerprinted
The Texas Dept of Public Safety handles the application processing, background checks, and license fees (separate from class fees).
Start here for the application.
During that process, you will be given a chance to print a checklist. Do that, as it includes a barcode
you will need later. That will also come in an email you will get. You will also be given a chance to schedule
fingerprinting at a vendor near you. Do that also, as you cannot walk in to have that done.
- Sign up for a training class
The state-mandated training class takes about 4 hours to complete, followed by a short written test, and a shooting proficiency test. The class fee
covers everything except ammo and safety equipment. Except for private classes, these are usually scheduled on a Saturday morning. This may be done
before or after starting your application at DPS (previous item). Pick a date here.
- Submit the Certificate of Training to the DPS
After completing the class and proficiency test, you will be given a Certificate of Training (CHL-100).
Put that with the barcode and any documents listed on your checklist (i.e., veterans need a DD-214),
and mail it all to Austin. The address is on the checklist, or on the email. You can also upload
the documents to the DPS website.
Depending on the backlog, the wait can be 2-10 weeks. Recently, it has been shorter.