Top Shot Academy

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Where are the Classes, and Where is the Range?

A. We instruct our CCW Classes at the

TLT Defense/ Top Shot Academy Classroom - 812 Mclean, Elgin, IL
We also teach fierem classes at neighboring ranges. Depending on scheduling, we utilize several indoor ranges within a 20 minute or less drive from our classroom, but usually across the street at Fox Valley Shooting Range

Q. Do I Need Prior Experience with Handguns?

A. The more training you have, the better. While there's no prior training requirement to take our class, we suggest that new shooters will benefit from an hour or two of private training with one of our instructors. During the private training session, we'll go over basic safety, firearm nomenclature, firearm familiarization, and depending on the length of your session we will do some live fire practice. To schedule private sessions, send an email to

Q. How Much Ammo do I Need?

A. The range qualification requires 30 rounds, we suggest you bring at least 60.

Q. What Handgun can I Qualify With?

A. The law indicates that you may qualify with any concealable handgun of any caliber. We do ask that you refrain from using magnum loads during qualification.

Q. Will I be Able to Practice Before I Qualify?

A. When we're on the range for live fire qualification, you will not be allowed any practice shooting or coaching. If you need extra help, we suggest private training or practice prior to the class. To schedule private sessions, send an email to

Q. Do I Need to Bring a Holster?

A. We provide a SIRT Training Pistol and BladeTech Holster for your use during class. You do NOT need a holster for the live fire qualification.

Q. Do I Need my Own Gun?

A. We provide a SIRT Training Pistol for the DryFire and Holster portion of your class. For the live fire qualification, most students bring their own firearm and ammunition. However, for those that either don't currently own a pistol or don't want to bring theirs, we rent a small caliber pistol and ammunition for a fee of $30.00

Q. What Prior Training Can Be Accepted?

A. The ISP has created a list of acceptable prior training. You can review the list here

Q. Do I Have to Take Finger Prints to Get My Permit?

A. Finger prints are optional and not required to get your permit. By giving the state your prints, it makes it easier for them to eliminate you from the pool of felons. If you don't give the state your prints, they may take an extra 30 days (above the 90 days) to review your background.

Q. Are My Non-Resident CCW Permits Enough to Get the Credit?

A. The ISP expects that you will provide to Top Shot Academy (as well as to the ISP upon your application) actual training certificates that prove you participated in instructor lead training to comply with the requirements for your non-resident CCW permit.

Q. How do I get the Military Exemption and How Much is the Class?

A. The ISP allows for an 8 hour exemption for Active, Retired, or Honorably Discharged members of the United States Armed Forces. The ISP prefers a DD-214 form as certification, and to date have not authorized us to accept other documentation as proof. The 8 hour (2nd day course) is $225.00 and includes Tuition, Live Scan Finger Prints, Type 10 Biometric Photo, and Range Fee.

Q. How do I get the 4 Hour Exemption, and How Much is the Class?

A. The ISP allows for a 4 hour exemption for several different certifications including Hunters Safety as well as the Utah Permit Class, and many other Non-Resident Permit Classes. However, we have not been able to find a viable way to exclude 4 hours from our curriculum. For the 4 hour credit, we allow a discounted course fee of $275.00 which includes Tuition, Live Scan Finger Prints, Type 10 Biometric Photo, and Range Fee.

Q. I Have Utah and Florida or Utah and Arizona, Can I Get the 8 Hour Exemption?

A. Most people with Utah and Florida or Arizona took these classes in a single day and have between 4 and 6 hours credit. We are unable to grant an 8 hour exemption unless you can provide detailed certificates that indicate the classes required for 2 different permits were taken on different days and/or total 8 hours of instructor lead training.

Q. I Have a Pistol/Firearm Training Certificate. How Much Credit Do I Get?

A. If you have an NRA Basic Pistol, NRA Personal Protection Inside the Home, or NRA Personal Protection Outside the Home certificate, you will be granted the maximum 8 hour exemption. The 8 hour (2nd day course) is $225.00 and includes Tuition, Live Scan Finger Prints, Type 10 Biometric Photo, and Range Fee.

Q. After I Select the Class, the Registration Page Goes Black.

A. On certain browsers it may appear that hitting "submit" takes you to a blank screen. If you scroll up, you will see the confirmation data for the class selected, and be able to continue.

Q. Where do I get the picture to upload?

A. The photos taken by the finger print vendor are the "Type 10 Biometric Photo" which accompanies the finger print record, and not available for student use. Prior students can take their own photo (selfie if you wish) and upload long as you follow the guidelines...head and shoulders, mouth closed, neutral expression on face, light colored background (no patterns), no sunglasses, and no hats. Then you can use the Crop Tool or any other tool you'd like to prepare the photo. For new students attending, we suggest handing your cellphone or digital camera to the finger print vendor, and have them take a photo for you.

Find the crop tool here:

Here are some of the highlights of the bill:

  • The license shall be valid throughout the State for five years.
  • The fee for the license is $150.00.
  • The license permits the licensee to carry a loaded or unloaded fully or partially concealed firearm on his person or in a vehicle.
  • The State Police must issue or deny the application no later than 90 days (but there are exceptions).
  • Law Enforcement agencies can object to an applicant for various reasons, however there will be an appeal process and a review board.
  • Qualifications for a license are - at least 21 years old, possess a current FOID card, and:
  • Pass extensive background checks: NICS, federal, state, & local criminal, mental health, domestic violence, and includes juvenile adjudications.
  • Finger prints will be in electronic format.
  • Head and shoulder color ID photo taken within 30 days preceding the application.
  • A photocopy of any certificates or other evidence of compliance with the training requirements.
  • There will be non-resident licenses. The fee is $300.00
  • There are areas where you cannot carry. See page 20, Section 65. There will be standarized signs for places where carry is prohibited.
  • Firearms training courses must be approved by the State Police and there will be a list posted on the ISP web site.
  • The training course or combination of courses will be at least 16 hours including range qualification.
  • Training courses will cover (1) firearm safety (2) basic principles of marksmanship (3) care, cleaning, loading and unloading of a concealed firearm (4) State & Federal laws relating to ownership, storage, carry and transportation of firearms and appropriate and lawful interaction with law enforcement while transporting and carrying firearms.
  • Applicants must provide proof of certification by a certified instructor that the applicant passed a live fire excercise with a concealable firearm consisting of firing a minimum of 30 rounds on a B-27 silhouette target; 10 rounds at 5 yards; 10 rounds at 7 yards; 10 round at 10 yards with a success rate of 70%. This does not have to be with gun you will carry.
  • The State Police shall recognize up to 8 hours of training already completed toward the 16 hour requirement if the training course is approved by the State Police and recognized under the laws of another state. Remaining hours must cover the State & Federal laws covering ownership, carry & transportation of firearms and the range qualification. Tha State Police shall accept 8 hours of training as completed if the applicant is active, retired or honorably discharged member of the United States Armed Forces.
  • Instructors shall be certified by the State Police and must keep records of all students trained and range qualified.
  • Preemption of Home Rule - any ordinance or regulation or portion thereof enacted on or before the effective date of this Act that purports to impose regulations or restrictions for concealed carry in a manner inconsistant with this Act shall be invalid in its application to licensees under this Act.
  • Consolidation of concealed carry license and FOID card - the Director of the State Police shall create a task force to develop a plan to incorporate and consolidate the concealed carry license and FOID card into a designation on the Illinois driver's license or Illinois ID card.

Here is a link to the Illinois State Police web site Concealed Carry page -