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Montana Concealed Carry Laws

Last Updated: July 23, 2017

Disclaimer:  While the information provided here is legal in nature, it is not to be construed as legal advice, and is for educational and entertainment purposes only.


Every state has its own set of gun laws, so it’s no surprise that the laws on concealed carry are different from state to state as well.  As states go, Montana is one of the more gun-friendly ones, so getting a concealed weapons permit is a relatively painless process.  In this guide, we’ll go over all the requirements and steps in getting your permit, so you can start carrying in no time!

Montana State Flag
Montana State Flag

First Things First

For those of you who have already checked out our Montana gun laws page, you’ll know that a concealed carry permit, officially called a concealed weapons permit (CWP), is only necessary in some situations.  

A CWP is not needed to carry concealed, if you are:

  • Out hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, hiking, backpacking, farming, ranching, or doing any other outdoor activity where you may need the firearm for recreation or protection;
  • Outside the official boundaries of a city or town, or the confines of a logging, lumbering, mining, or railroad camp; or
  • On your own property, home, or place of business.

If you only ever see yourself needing to carry concealed in those situations, then you’re good to go!  However,  if you want to be able to carry outside of those limitations, or even carry when you’re in another state, you’ll need to get a CWP.

Luckily, as a shall-issue state, Montana will issue you a CWP as long as you meet all the requirements, and fill out the application correctly.

Requirements For a Permit

To qualify for a Montana CWP, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old;
  • Be a Montana resident for at least 6 months;
  • Be a US citizen; and
  • Complete a firearms safety course, or have a CCW permit from another state that requires a firearms safety course.

If you meet all of those requirements, then you can head down to your local sheriff’s office to pick up an application!

Of course, there’s more to it than just those four requirements.  You will still be denied a CWP if you:

  • Are not legally allowed to own a firearm under Montana or federal law;
  • Have been charged and are awaiting judgement for, or have been convicted of a crime that is punishable by imprisonment for a year or more;
  • Have been convicted of carrying a concealed weapon while under the influence or carrying in a prohibited place;
  • Were dishonorably discharged from the US Armed Forces;
  • Have an outstanding warrant for your arrest;
  • Have been adjudicated as an unlawful user of an intoxicating substance and are under a court order of imprisonment, probation, a suspended or deferred sentence, treatment or education, or any other condition of release or state supervision;
  • Have been adjudicated to be mentally ill or disabled.

It’s quite a list, so if you have any doubts at all, you’ll want to take a good look to make sure you do not fall into any of those categories.

Carrying Concealed
Carrying Concealed

Safety First

To satisfy the safety training requirement, you’ll want to make sure to look for a Montana-specific CWP course.  Any course with an NRA-certified instructor would likely be good enough for the CWP application, but you’ll want to double check with the instructor to be sure.  There’s no point in wasting good money on a course that doesn’t even get you a CWP!

The Waiting Game

Once you’ve provided all the requirement information and documentation (i.e. fingerprints, proof of completion of the safety course, etc.), you just need to sit back and wait about 2 months for your permit to be issued.

If you are denied for any reason, you will get a letter in the mail telling you exactly why you were denied, and what you can do to appeal the decision.  If you can’t resolve the problem with your local sheriff’s office, you can always appeal the decision to the District Court, and all the way up to the Montana Supreme Court, if necessary.

As long as you fill out the application correctly though, the only thing you should have to worry about is remembering to renew the CWP every 4 years.

Where do you think you’re going?

Even with a CWP, you cannot carry concealed in:

  • Government offices and restricted areas of the office building;
  • Financial institutions during normal business hours (carrying a gun into the bank is probably not a great idea);
  • A room or area of a business where alcohol is sold for consumption on the premises (i.e. not ok to carry at a bar, but a liquor store is fine); and
  • Any private establishments where the owners have prohibited firearms.

It’s important to keep in mind that although you cannot carry concealed in a bank, it is perfectly legal to carry concealed if you are just going up to the drive-up window, ATM, or night depository, or if the branch is in a mall or grocery store where you can deal with the teller over a counter in the mall or grocery store (instead of having to go into a bank-specific area).

Of course, it’s always a good idea to be aware of the policies of places you are going to and making sure your firearms will be allowed.  Generally, any place with metal detectors is probably a place you don’t want to be bringing your gun.  If you have to run errands somewhere firearms are prohibited, a car safe may be a good idea, to have your gun secured until you get back.

Car gun safe under seat
Locked Away and Out of Sight


A fancy word for a basic idea.  If your Montana CWP lets you carry concealed while you’re going about your daily life, it should let you carry when leave the state too!  Over half the states in the US recognize a Montana CWP, so there’s a good chance you will be able to keep your handgun strapped to your hip on your next vacation.

A Montana CWP is recognized in:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
Montana Reciprocity Map
A Montana CWP is recognized by the states in blue.

Just Visiting

If you have a CCW permit from another state, there’s a good chance Montana will recognize it and let you carry concealed just like you would back home!  You’ll need to be sure to carry the permit with you along with a photo ID, just in case you run into law enforcement officers that ask to see your permit.

Because Montana recognizes CCW permits from so many states, it’s easier to list the states that have CCW Permits Montana does not recognize.

Montana does not recognize CCW permits from:

  • Delaware
  • Washington D.C.
  • Hawaii
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island

If you’re from any of those states, you would only be able to carry concealed in the limited situations we listed at the beginning of this guide.  Otherwise, you’ll have to go without your trusty sidearm while in Big Sky Country.  But at least the scenery is nice.

Carry On

That’s it!  You’ve got all you need to know about getting a Montana CWP!  Take a look at our recommendations for concealed holsters if you’re looking to put that new permit to good use, and don’t forget about CCW insurance, too!

And for those of you who haven’t had a chance to check out our Montana gun laws page yet, hop on over and take a look!  We’ve got a quick and dirty rundown of all the gun laws you’ll need to know on buying your next firearm and being a responsible gun owner!

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