Be Better: The Texas LTC Shooting Test

November 15, 2021

You bought a handgun and have taken a step toward being a more prepared and capable person—just another tool in the toolbox. You now have the option of carrying under Texas Constitutional Carry or by going further and getting your License to Carry (LTC). Getting your LTC requires that you pass a basic shooting test which we'll talk about further.

The Texas LTC Standard

Passing the Texas LTC shooting test is easy. Most people pass without any problems, even new shooters, as the standards are simple. All strings start from the 'low ready' position and can be fired one or two-handed. Low ready means you have your grip set, and the gun is about chest level. The strings of fire are:

3 Yards - 20 Rounds total

  • 1 shot in 2 seconds - 5 times
  • 2 shots in 3 seconds - 5 times
  • 5 shots in 10 seconds -1 time

7 Yards - 20 Rounds total

  • 5 shots in 10 seconds - 1 time
  • 2 shots in 4 seconds - 1 time
  • 3 shots in 6 seconds - 1 time
  • 1 shot in 3 seconds - 5 times
  • 5 shots in 15 second - 1 time

15 Yards - 10 Rounds total

  • 5 shots in 10 seconds - 1 time
  • 2 shots in 4 seconds - 1 time
  • 3 shots in 6 seconds - 1 time
  • 1 shot in 3 seconds - 5 times
  • 5 shots in 15 second - 1 time

In most cases, if all the shots are on paper at the three and seven-yard lines, you could miss all ten rounds at 15 yards and still pass. As a shooting standard, this is not acceptable. It does not do a sufficient job of testing the skills that will likely be required of you in a force-on-force event. Given permitless carry is now law in Texas, I make the argument that the LTC shooting test creates a false sense of preparedness for those that take and pass it. Instead, it should serve as merely a datapoint that describes your ability to shoot two-handed. This is one of several skills that should be considered as part of the minimum viable skills needed for a responsible person that carries a firearm.

A Higher Standard

The LTC can be passed blindly by a shooter with sound fundamentals. While writing this, I shot the LTC blindfolded and passed without issue - all rounds were on paper. Ultimately, if you are carrying and genuinely intend to protect yourself or the lives of those you care about, we MUST hold ourselves to a higher standard. Under psychological or physical duress, we can't think about how to grip the gun, drive the gun efficiently to the target, or consciously do any fundamental task of marksmanship. Instead, we need to be focused on how to solve the problem at hand or avoid the escalation to deadly force if a scenario still allows for that.

I am reminded of Haley Strategic's creed, ''Thinkers before shooters.'' The fundamentals need to be baked into your mind to be called upon subconsciously. The only active process should be, am I looking at the right thing, and is my gun oriented effectively over it. The rest of your mental power must be focused on solving the problem before you.

Some examples of standards that are easy to self-administer and effective measures of your skill are linked below.

In the book, Strategies and Standards for Defensive Handgun Training, authors Karl Rehn & John Daub discuss in detail the context surrounding a minimum practical standard for defensive handgun skills. Minimum in this case to mean, a realistic interpretation of where your skills lie in relation to the skills necessary as a person that carries daily. It is neither the end target nor a definition that you are low-skilled. Rather, we should ask ourselves, on our worst day, poorest effort, to produce a result that would achieve a minimum metric. If not, that should inform your training path and skill development. Realize also that these are perishable skills - one and done is not sufficient when the stakes are so high.

Get Training

The idea is you should hold yourself to a higher standard. Firearms are not a magical talisman capable of solving problems for us - they are tools that can only perform up to a percentage level of our training. Skills in combination will degrade yet you are always responsible and accountable for every round that leaves your barrel. So if you truly care about preserving the lives of those you care about, let alone yourself, train to a level that supports that way of thinking. Pressure test yourself against standards, the clock, or others in competition. Raise your level of training and bring those around you up.

If you're in the Austin area, we recommend our partners at Central Texas Gun Works for your LTC. After that, seek out further training to develop your skillset and then dedicate 15 minutes a week to dry fire to sustain those skills. You'll notice our instructors are constantly learning, training, and becoming more capable too. It's a journey that doesn't end.


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