What to Bring to the New Mexico CCW Concealed Handgun License Course

For a printable checklist of required and recommended equipment click here.

The 15-hour new license course is a basic defensive firearms course that will prepare the student for concealed carry, pursuant to the licensing requirements specified by the State of New Mexico. The live-fire exercises are conducted to train for real-world situations and that is why a serious defensive handgun with an adequate number of magazines, a holster, magazine carriers and a cover garment are required for live-fire exercises.


Tuition for the full 15 hour new-license course is $175 + 12.80 NMGRT, total $187.80.


For live-fire exercises, you will need a reliable handgun, preferably one you’re familiar with, and one you intend to carry once you have your license. The NM CHL law requires that you qualify with a handgun of at least .32 caliber. I would recommend that you bring a serious defensive handgun in caliber 9mm or greater. Any safeties and/or decockers on your handgun must function as designed. Every gun brought to the class will be safety-checked and possibly test fired by an instructor. Guns that are determined to be unsafe will be disqualified. For semi-automatics, you will need at least two magazines. For revolvers, bring at least two speed loaders (bring extra magazines and/or speedloaders if you have them).

CHL Qualification: For CHL qualification, bring the largest caliber handgun that you intend to carry, in the categories of semi-automatic or non-semi-automatic. You do not have to qualify with every handgun or every caliber you intend to carry; your license will list the largest caliber with which you qualified in the two categories of semi-automatic or non-semi-automatic. You are allowed to carry any caliber equal to or smaller than the caliber with which you qualified in either category.

Any firearm brought to the firing line for qualification must be unloaded and in a holster or gun case. You will need enough magazines or speed loaders to hold the 25 rounds of ammunition required for the live-fire qualification.

Do not load or handle firearms unless directed to do so by an instructor or range officer.

Live-fire Exercises: You may, but are not required to shoot the live-fire exercises with the same handgun(s) used for qualification. For example, if you shot the qualification with a .45 semi-auto, it’s OK to shoot the live-fire portion of the class with a 9mm.

You must have an adequate number of magazines or speedloaders for this portion of the class. Slow reloading impedes the progress of the class and is unfair to the other students who came adequately prepared. For this reason, DO NOT bring a single-action revolver or derringer for live-fire exercises.

Any firearm brought to the firing line for live-fire exercises must be in a holster. Do not load or handle firearms unless directed to do so by an instructor or range officer.

Holsters and Belts

You will need a practical, concealable strong-side (forward facing) hip holster that attaches securely to your belt. Cross-draw, small-of-the-back, chest, fanny-pack, pocket, holsters with flaps and shoulder holsters are not allowed because of safety considerations. IWB (Inside Waist Band) holsters are fine. The holster should be constructed so that you are able to draw and re-holster your handgun using only your strong hand. You should have enough ammunition carriers to accommodate the spare magazines or speed-loaders you will be using for qualifications and live-fire exercises. Magazine carriers should not be attached to the handgun holster.

Your holster must fit your particular handgun, cover its trigger and trigger guard when the gun is holstered, and must hold the gun securely so that it will not fall out accidentally during tactical movement. If a holster has a security device, such as a thumb-break strap, it must be secured every time the gun is holstered.

Wear a sturdy gun belt. Dress belts will not adequately support your holstered handgun and spare magazines or speed loaders. Pants must have belt loops that accommodate your gun belt, and the gun belt must be secured in these loops.


25 rounds per firearm will be required per qualification attempt for each firearm you want to have listed on your license. High-quality commercially-manufactured ammunition is recommended. You are encouraged to bring more ammo than you expect to use. Anything left over can be used for practice.

Safety Equipment

Proper safety equipment is required on the range at all times.

Good quality hearing protection is required at all times while you are on the range. This can be your choice of ear plugs or ear muffs or both. Electronic ear muffs are preferred because they make it easier to hear range commands. Anyone who is hearing-impaired should seriously consider the purchase of electronic hearing protection.

Eye protection is required at all times while you are on the range. Wrap-around safety glasses with polycarbonate lenses that are ANSI Z87.1-certified are required.

Safety glasses are inexpensive and can be purchased at most sporting goods and hardware stores (Metzger's, Home Depot, Lowe's, the Outdoorsman of Santa Fe) and are usually priced under $15. If you need to wear prescription eyeglasses, there are safety glasses that cover your regular eyeglasses. See safetyglassesUSA for lots of options.

Bring a baseball cap or practical brimmed hat to protect your face from hot ejected brass.


Bring a garment that adequately covers and conceals your handgun, such as a sport coat or a vest. Footwear should be appropriate for a harsh environment and provide for freedom of movement; hiking boots/shoes or athletic shoes are good examples, sandals are not.

You will be participating in outdoor range exercises. Weather and temperatures can change abruptly, so dress accordingly.

Other Equipment

For a printable checklist of required and recommended equipment click here.