How to get your firearm license – all the steps

Getting a Firearm license in South Africa is no simple task. Before you can even purchase a Firearm you need to go through a number of steps to ensure you are competent to buy a gun. These steps include finding an accredited training provider, booking a and completing competency training. Applying for competency, purchasing a firearm and then applying for the license. In this article we will walk you through the steps and hopefully shed some light on the subject to help you through the process.

A Man holds a handgun in a gun shop.

Firearm competency, the first step.

First of all you need to get your Firearm Competency. To do this you decide which competency you want to get, there are a few options. (see the options here)

Competency consists of 2 written exams and one practical exam. The written exams give you an open book test that you complete on your own time and then a closed book test that you do at our range on the day you book to do your test. The first written exam is all about the laws in South Africa that pertain to Firearms. The second set of tests in on firearms, safety, handling and general knowledge.

Then you have to pass the practical test. In this test we assess your safety, handling and your ability to accurately fire the gun

If you have never handled a gun before we have an Introduction to firearms course that will help you pass the practical part of the Competency test – this is not mandatory, but it is recommended (find out more here)

Once you have completed the three parts successfully we will issue you with a certificate and a statement of results. Unfortunately, this does not mean you are competent yet ….

Firearm Competency Application

Your next step is to apply for competency with the SAP for this you will have to fill out a form and motivate why you want a firearm and competency.

Once you have completed all the necessary forms and added all the documentation needed by the SAP you can finally hand in your application at your local DFO (District Firearm Office)

And then you wait …..

After three to 6 months the police will get back to you and hopefully if all your paperwork was in order they will issue you with firearm competency.

I finally have competency ... now what?

You may ask, do I finally get to go and buy my gun?

Technically yes, but it’s not that simple!

Please do us all a favour, don’t pop into a gun shop and buy whatever the guy behind the counter recommends. Very often you will end up buying whatever they have in stock!  You need to be sure that the gun you buy is suitable for the purpose for which you want a firearm. You also need to make sure that the gun suits you and your abilities. In other words Shoot one before you buy one!

But my buddy’s friends brother’s cousin is a navy seal and he has a Glock!

So what, that does not mean a that is what you buy! Always Try before you BUY!

With this in mind we offer a fundamentals course where we present you with the 6 most popular handguns, you get to try them all and with our help and advice we help you narrow down the options to choose something that will ultimately work best for you!

Once you have found the gun that you shoot best with and that suit your needs …… No you can buy a gun!

Purchasing your Firearm, the next step.

In South Africa each Firearm is licensed separately so before you can apply for a gun license, you need to go and guy a gun! This does not mean you walk out the shop with your gun, nope, you walk out the shop with a lighter wallet and a piece of paper that says you bought a gun and it has all the details of the gun on it. You gun stays safely locked in the Gun Dealers safe until your license application has been approved!

Then once you have bought the gun and have the paperwork from the firearm dealer, you can start the process of applying for your firearm license; you fill in a bunch of forms, and write a motivation as to why you think you need a gun …..

You hand in your application at your local DFO

And then you wait …..

What do I do while I wait?

While you wait, if you have purchased your firearm through us, you can train with your firearm to ensure that on the day your wait is finally over, you are able to safely and expertly handle your new gun. If your firearm is not with us you can still train while you wait, but using one of our range guns.

Remember owning a gun and being proficient in its use to successfully defend yourself …. those are two entirely different things.

We believe responsible gun owners never stop training!

Firearm License Approved!

You would think this was the finish line …. nope not quite!

After three to 6 months the police will get back to you and hopefully if all your paperwork was in order you will be told you a have been approved to own a firearm …..

Then you wait ….. Approximately a month for the SAP to print your firearm license ….

Then you celebrate – you can now go and collect your firearm.

On a side note you can get a print out from the DFO and fetch your firearm based on that print out, before your license card is issued! If you do this remember a few things – you would need to carry that piece of paper with you at all times if carrying the firearm, it is not very strong so can get damaged easily. Not all Police at roadblocks will be familiar with this court ruling and you may well get some pushback if stopped.