There’s a TON of choices out there for self-defense learning and insurance.
And like you…I wanted to make sure I had the best.
I feel it’s one of those things that when you really needed it…you want it to be the absolute best.
Well…I guess there’s my seal of approval (since 2017)!
Read on to learn more about why I chose USCCA’s membership for both its learning library and added personal insurance benefits* all members get.
2021 Update: I’m an Elite member (with a better camera now). And I added an in-depth review of almost their entire video library.
Table of Contents
What’s Included in a USCCA Membership?
There are currently three tiers of USCCA membership:
- Gold Membership: $25/month (annual) or $29/month
- Platinum Membership: $34/month (annual) or $39/month
- Elite Membership: $42/month (annual) or $49/month
They differ in the amount of education and training content you’re able to access on the USCCA website.
Don’t worry…I’ll go over all the major points and differences between each tier.
Wait, What About “Concealed Carry Insurance?”
You probably know USCCA and other competitors for “concealed carry insurance” but it’s a common misnomer that stuck.
All USCCA members become insured on the self-defense liability insurance policy issued to the USCCA*.
And as of October 2021…it looks like the Association bought a new policy and there are no longer defense expense limits.
If you want to learn more about the insurance part…such as policy, numbers, lawyers, etc…see the full details here.
I’m not a registered insurance dude so I can’t list them here.
But what I CAN dive deep into are what other things you get with USCCA…and what membership tier to get for your end goal.
Free Pew Pew Tactical Handgun Course
BUT THAT’S NOT ALL! Sorry had to do that…
If you sign up for any USCCA membership you’ll also get free access to my Beginner’s Handgun Course which is normally $67.
I’ll take you from total gun newbie to someone safe and competent with handgun fundamentals.
Here’s a clip of how to fix a “double-feed” malfunction.
Every 2 weeks or so, an automated system will send you a coupon to sign up for my course for free.
Gold Membership Perks
Now…back to USCCA! What do you get with the beginning Gold tier?
Once you log onto the USCCA site…it’s a little overwhelming with all the stuff.
But that Protector Academy…that’s the good stuff.
With the starting Gold tier…you get access to Level 1.
The Handgun Safety and Marksmanship beginning video series is a great primer for everything handgun.
It’s a series of front-facing discussion, top-down views, and pictures of important concepts.
I also like how in the course they really hammer in the firearm safety rules.
If that’s the only thing you walk away with…you’re still good.
Plus you’re able to play at up to 2x rates if you’re like me and have gotten used to it on YouTube and podcasts.
Next up is the Children’s Firearm Safety & Fundamentals series which is great for parents of young ones like myself.
It’s definitely more engaging than the first one since the instructors are a real life couple.
They covered some good things for me:
- developmental stages vs age for when to start teaching children
- teaching mentality and different views when it’s children
- great examples of modified activities for dry-firing
Last up for Level 1 is the Range Requirements that you can fill in yourself.
And which consists of 2-hours instruction with a trainer, and 50 rounds into a target at varying distances with a 70% hit rate.
Easy peasy if you’ve got the fundamentals down. And you should…with both my course AND USCCA’s course!
Pass it and you’ll get a nice patch in the mail.
What else do you get in Gold?
Another great video series with Tim (founder of USCCA) and Kevin, editor of the USCCA Magazine (and full-time LEO).
Here they covered really useful (and actionable) info like how to choose the best seat in a restaurant, mentality for going to “sketchy” places, and more.
Highly recommend giving it a watch since the best defense is to never get into bad situations in the first place!
When to Use Deadly Force
Another good series that puts gun owners in hypothetical AND real situations…then answers their questions.
I found it good to think over situations, see how my actions differed from others, and then go over some FAQs for general situations.
- What are your own rights?
- How should you train?
- What do you teach your family?
Discounts and free shipping at their store. Pretty decent but nothing to write home about.
You also get their magazine digitally + paper copy.
Here’s the latest copy for me which goes in-depth into a case where a member actually used the insurance for a murder charge.
BUT…one thing I almost forgot was their 365 day money back guarantee.
If you feel it wasn’t worth it, even if you soaked up all the info, just call them up and ask for a refund.
You’re probably after the “concealed carry insurance” at this point…but the courses are decent and you have a very nice 365-day guarantee.
Check out the full details here.
Now…what about the next membership tier up?
Platinum Membership Perks
Again, you get the personal insurance benefits* like the gold plebes…but you unlock a bunch more educational stuff.
My favorite is the Proving Ground. But first…more courses!
Level 2 Protector Academy
Boom! First up is a class with world-renown Rob Pincus that goes over defensive shooting concepts.
With a big emphasis on concepts.
It has a different player that’s a small video and Powerpoint slides.
It really felt that it was some content that was repurposed for the course.
Not saying it’s bad info…since it’s really good mindset stuff.
But it got a little boring.
However, you do get some good info that hopefully sticks with you. I personally liked the stats that 86% of defensive shooting events occur between 9 and 15 feet.
That gives you some good training setup insight.
However at the end of it all I wish there was some more holster stuff or things at the range. Rob goes over advanced stuff like lateral movement and in-contact shooting but kind of leaves it at discussion only.
With Level 2 you also get some fun quizzes (that you can’t skip). I don’t mind since safety is super important and should keep getting refreshed.
But some questions were too definition-based instead of application.
Next course is a medical one in the same player format that goes over some useful info if you’ve never taken a med class before.
Overall it’s good info on what you can do before real medical help arrives.
There’s stuff on assessment (scene safety, life threats, distracting injuries, etc).
And easy-to-remember acronyms like ABC (airway, breathing, circulation).
There’s quizzes again and also gets randomly complicated…
Then rounds it out with things like heart attacks, CPR, diabetes, and stroke. Before going into setting up your own med kits of different sizes.
Next up is the in-person range test which is more difficult now. However on par with concealed carry qualifications if your state requires those.
The Proving Ground
Ok…my favorite part of the Platinum tier.
It runs normal people through real-life scenarios. It’s entertaining and gets you thinking of “what would I do?“
Plus the break-downs at the end are super helpful.
There’s a bunch of them and you get access to them all.
Sometimes things get…hostage-y.
And sometimes people run…a lot.
I won’t give you any more spoilers…but it’s good content and makes the Platinum level worth it for me if they keep producing Proving Grounds.
There’s small additional training that’s added every month and also a “Ask an Attorney” series. It’s ok but I didn’t watch too many of them.
You still get all the personal insurance benny’s and some more advanced classes. But it’s the Proving Ground that makes it worth the jump.
Since you CAN downgrade/upgrade…it might be worth it to start with Platinum, watch all the Proving Grounds…and then downgrade.
If that’s your thing.
Otherwise Platinum is a good middle-ground for more info. Check out details here.
And remember…you get my course no matter which tier you choose.
Now onto the Elite tier!
Elite Membership Perks
The highest tier…you get all the previous goodies AND even more courses.
Level 3 Protector Academy
We go through our fair share of survival on the site so I dove into the Emergency Preparedness Fundamentals first.
They do a good job of going through the basics starting with water…and actually deep dive into what purifiers to get for your specific purpose.
Don’t forget about fire! I like how the instructor was outside using specific firestarters. Much better b-roll for this course.
And of course food!
He then goes into home security with some good tips on how burglars get in and how to protect against that. Then ends with some firearms knowledge.
The next course is the Mass Shooter course…
There’s good stuff on why mass shootings are getting more prevalent but the above image was eye-opening info for me. With a much higher percentage of business shootings and a much lower percentage of houses of worship from what I thought.
Lastly, there’s the LaserTRAIN course which uses a SIRT laser pistol. I didn’t have high hopes for this one but it exceeded my expectations.
You can tell the instructor does this all day long and knows how to present information.
Especially good was how he broke down the main components of drawing from a holster.
Now…how about the Level 3 range test?
I haven’t had a chance to do it yet but it definitely ups the ante with both speed and precision portions at 3/5/7 yards with a much more challenging target.
Mastering Handgun Confidence
Done with Protector Academy? There’s three more standalone courses you get with Elite.
These get more in-depth than before.
You have Kevin again learning about the fundamentals of handguns…but also the caveats that separate a beginner from the more advanced.
One tidbit even I picked up from the trigger pull section was to think of pulling the trigger from the front sight through the rear sight.
This equalizes your internal focus onto both your fingers and your eyes whereas if you only focus on the front sight you skew your focus.
There’s also more advanced drills done at the range such as the wall drill, bullet hole rill, walk-back drill, and reset drill.
Overall a good “intermediate” handgun course.
Tim is back with the emergency prep guy for this series which starts off with securing your home.
Before diving more into setting up your own personal protection plan with the color codes of awareness and awareness of your surroundings. Things we’ve gone over before but now it’s more in-depth.
They also get into gun laws and the financial aftermath of what happens in a defensive gun shoot. Plus detailing what exactly are “castle doctrine” and “stand your ground” with a lawyer.
Next up is a little section on choosing your gun (which I felt was a rehash) and then a good section on the 10 concealed carry mistakes you can make.
#7…not trying our your defensive ammo in your gun. I know it’s expensive but you have to make sure it works…and that you know the difference in recoil!
Last up for this series is gun store etiquette which is always great info for first-timers to lower some anxiety when looking and purchasing firearms.
Armed and Ready
Last up…this course seems to be from DVDs since they talk about disc numbers. On the surface it seems like another rehash but there were some good tidbits.
The “Hard Truths” lesson gets you a little riled up and in the protector mindset after utilizing some news footage of bad guys doing bad guy stuff.
Before getting into guns (again) and holsters (yay).
They dive into all the malfunctions with actual on-the-range footage.
As well as some advanced stuff like movement and cover. Finally.
Then they end it with some pre-threat indicators since the best thing is avoidance…as well as some home staging.
Last up is what exactly is “deadly force” and what happens after a defensive gun use (lawyers, cops, phone call, and family plan).
It’s good to think of it now before something bad happens!
I just about covered it all!
And yes…you still also get the self-defense liability insurance that comes with any USCCA plan. See details here.
Elite Membership Verdict
Some just want it all and you get it with the Elite Membership.
The additional Level 3 Protector Academy courses are quite good…as well as the three additional standalone courses that get much more in-depth.
I’ll report back with what new stuff is added each month.
But my advice is the same as the Platinum…
Since you can upgrade or downgrade I would soak up the info…see if it’s worth the new stuff each month and then downgrade. You’ll still have your insurance regardless of what plan.
It took a lot of words and video watching to get here…
But if you’re only looking for “concealed carry insurance”…know that you get personal insurance* solely by being a USCCA member even at Gold tier. Details here. Remember I’m not an insurance agent…
But for those who are looking for that AND education…it’s a question of how much you want to learn.
I would get the Platinum tier to start so I have access to Proving Ground and Level 2 Protector Academy.
But if you really like to learn everything you can’t go wrong with Elite.
You can upgrade/downgrade as you wish and there’s a 365 day money-back guarantee.
PLUS…you get access to my Beginner Handgun Course ($67 value) with any tier. I get emails of signups from USCCA and then auto-send coupon codes every 2-3 weeks so please have patience!
The Fine Print
*The USCCA is not an insurance company. A policy has been issued to the USCCA. That policy provides the association and its members with self-defense liability insurance, subject to its terms, conditions, limitations, and exclusions.