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Handgun Safety & Purchase FAQs

Per request from several of our students, we have put our Intro to Handguns FAQ Guide on our site. Be advised that the information below is subject to change at any time due to CA confusing and evolving legal landscape regarding firearms. Please contact us at with any questions, and we look forward to having you in our courses!

Introduction to Handguns Course FAQ Guide:

Firearm Safety Rules (NRA):
      ALWAYS keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction.
      ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire.
      ALWAYS keep the firearm unloaded until ready to use.

Operating Semiautomatics:
      Follow ALL safety rules while performing the following. To load, insert magazine and cycle the slide. To unload, remove magazine and lock the slide to the rear, ensuring there is no ammunition remaining in the chamber.

Operating Revolvers:
      Follow ALL safety rules while performing the following. To load, press the cylinder release latch, open the cylinder, and insert cartridges into the chambers. To unload, press the cylinder release latch, open the cylinder, and depress the ejector rod to remove the cartridges or cartridge cases from the cylinder. Verify there are no cartridges remaining in the cylinder before closing it.

Check to ensure you have the right ammunition for your gun by matching the firearm (slide/barrel stamp), and ammunition box/ammunition headstamp.

Full Metal Jacket ammunition (FMJ) is typically used for range and practice use, while Jacketed Hollow Point ammunition (JHP) is intended for self-defense use.

To purchase ammunition, you will need a valid CA REAL ID (if you have a “Federal Limits Apply” ID, you will need a second proof of citizenship. E.g. Passport card, Birth Certificate, Social Security card), and pay for a background check to ensure you are not prohibited from purchasing ammunition and have a firearm registered in that caliber. It is a crime to purchase ammunition from out of state and bring it into CA (CPC 30314).


To purchase a handgun in CA, you must be a CA resident, not a prohibited person, and 21 or over years of age. You will need a CA REAL ID (same conditions as above with a “Federal Limits Apply” CA ID), a second proof of residence, and a CA Firearm Safety Card (provided with a passing score on the CA Firearm Safety Test by a CA DOJ Instructor). You will need to complete a background check at the dealer, and wait 10 full 24-hour periods before the firearm will be released for pickup.

The CA Approved Handgun Roster lists the handguns allowed for sale from a dealer in the state of CA, check this list before ordering a handgun from out of state to be sent to a licensed dealer in CA.

Every purchase or sale of a firearm in the state of CA must go through a Federal Firearms Licensee (gun shop), with very few familial or legal exceptions. Two CA residents can transfer a firearm to one another, conducting a Private Party Transfer (PPT) at a licensed dealer, where the buyer will need the same documents, background check, and 10-day waiting period before taking possession of the firearm.

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