Licensing firearms in South Africa is a three-step process. For some more information on all these steps, feel free to check out our YouTube video on “How To Get A Gun In South Africa”
If you have not yet had a read through the firearm licensing process, we have simply listed them below:
Step 1 – Proficiency
Step 2 – Competency
Step 3 – Licensing a Firearm
The aim of this article is to give you an understanding of why we need to complete the proficiency course, and what you as an applicant can expect from it. The aim of this course is to equip you with the knowledge and confidence to safely handle and use a firearm. These courses have been broken up into various unit standards, or rather modules as they are commonly referred to.
The modules applicable to the possession of a firearm are; Unit Standard 117705 – Demonstrate Knowledge of The Firearms Control Act, Unit Standard 119649 – Handle and Use a Handgun, Unit Standard 119650 – Handle and Use a Self-Loading Rifle or Carbine, Unit Standard 119651 – Handle and Use a Manually Operated Rifle or Carbine, Unit Standard 119652 – Handle and Use a Shotgun.
As a new applicant or learner, you have to complete the modules which best suit your needs. It is however imperative that you, as a new applicant, have to complete Unit Standard 117705 – Demonstrate Knowledge of The Firearms Control Act at least once, alongside any module based on the Handle and Use of a Firearm. This means that you will have to complete Unit Standard 117705 – Demonstrate Knowledge of The Firearms Control Act + Unit Standard 119649 – Handle and Use a Handgun, should you want to possess a handgun, such as a revolver or a pistol. If you are interested in applying for a licence to possess a bolt-action rifle for hunting or precision-based shooting activities, you simply need to replace Unit Standard 119649 – Handle and Use a Handgun with Unit Standard 119651 – Handle and Use a Manually Operated Rifle. Instead of replacing any modules with another, you can do both! Most academies offer a combination manual or combination package, including all the above-mentioned modules – this is often your best option as you will save valuable time and money in the long run. We ensure that we always inform all applicants of the combination before they make their final decision on purchasing any specific modules – we have often seen new applicants arrive at the proficiency class and notice that their peers have a full combination package, once they notice that the process is the same for them as it is for those doing all the other modules at once, they admit that they regret not taking the combination! However, we do not pressure anyone to take on everything at once.
Now, once you have selected the modules you intend to complete and become proficient in, you will have to complete some self-study. Each module contains a formative exam, often referred to as the self-study test or open-book test. The modules contain all the information you need to complete the formative exam, and the purpose of self-study is to prepare you for a summative exam or closed book test, which you will have to complete when attending class at your training provider. Some training providers will encourage multiple classes, some of the classes covering certain chapters of each module, while others classes will be focused more on the practical handling and use of the firearms covered in your selected modules. Other training providers like to have learners prepare as best as they can, and offer a morning class session before delving into any summative exams or closed-book tests. The purpose of this is to give the learners the opportunity to ask any questions on the modules or for the instructor to clear up any confusion with certain questions they encountered in the closed-book test. This class session equips the learner with exactly what they need to achieve success with the summative examination – once this examination commences, no help is offered to the learner, however, the learner is well prepared and any forgotten knowledge has been covered once again – all questions asked in the summative examination are based on the questions asked within the formative examination, some questions might be worded slightly differently but we assure learners that whatever they encounter in the summative examination, they have completed before.
The formative examination and summative examination mentioned make up the theoretical part of your proficiency course. Now, based on the theory covered in these exams you will have to demonstrate the safe handling and use of a firearm on an accredited shooting range. Some training providers start the assessment once the learners arrive on the range, while others offer instruction and detailed explanations of what they will be assessed on before learners are informed that the instructor may no longer assist and that the learner will now be assessed. Our team here at Gunlicence.co.za strives to give learners the best possible chance of successfully demonstrating the safe handling and use of firearms but providing sufficient explanations and demonstrations of the theory – we firmly agree with having learners understand what they are doing and why they are doing it, instead of purely assessing any outcomes.
Should a learner be unsuccessful with their assessment shoot, they are given the opportunity to retry at that very moment, or they may choose to recap on any theory or request more explanation and demonstration of the theory before coming back on another date to complete their practical assessment. Once the learner has successfully completed their summative examinations and practical assessment, they will be informed that they have passed. From here on out the training academy will provide the learner with a training service provider certificate alongside an official printout and signed copy of the learner’s PFTC Statement of Results certificate. With these two documents, the learner may now progress to the second step of the firearm licensing process as an applicant, and they will have to apply for their competency to possess a firearm.
As previously mentioned in this article, the purpose of the proficiency course is to equip a learner with the knowledge and skill to safely and confidently handle a firearm. However, the proficiency course covers the bare basics of handling a firearm, we encourage learners to get more practice and to continue taking part in more firearm-related courses, whether accredited or non-accredited courses. When it comes to firearms, you start a journey of lifelong learning. You can always improve and develop new skills to help you become even more proficient with your firearm and to use it as effectively as possible for whatever purpose you have licensed it.
You can have a look at the accredited proficiency training here – firearm-proficiency