Firearm License Process

New Firearm Owners

Apply for Competency

The first steps to take for any new potential firearm owner is to successfully complete the prescribed proficiency training from any accredited training provider registered with the Professional Firearms Training Council (PFTC) or make use of the in-house training provider at a Wildman store near you.

The training covers six basic unit standards,

  • Knowledge of the Act, Units Standard 117705 as well as practical tests
  • Use of a Handgun, Unit Standard 119649
  • Use of a Manually Operated Rifle, Unit Standard 119651
  • Use of a Shotgun, Unit Standard 119652
  • Use of a Self-loading Rifle or Carbine – Unit Standard 119650
  • Handle and Use a Muzzle-Loading Firearm – Unit Standard 243200

Unit Standard 243200 for Black Powder (muzzle-loading) firearms if you intend to purchase and own such a firearm. You do not need a license in terms of the FCA to own a black powder firearm, just the competency.

On completion of the training you would need to write the proficiency exam and complete the practical assessment. After successful completion, the training provider should provide you with the training certificates. You should also receive the Statement of Results which has reference to the PTFC. The training provider will also send your results to the PTFC, who in turn will furnish you or your training provider with an official certificate. You should make sure you receive this document as it is needed for your competency application. This certificate is proof of your qualification acknowledged by SAQA, the South African Qualifications Board. This qualification is the same as your matric certificate or university degree. It cannot lapse or be declared null and void. Hang on to ALL your original certificates.

Step two would be to apply for your competency certificate from the SAPS by completing the SAPS517 form. We can also assist with this.

Step three, the completed SAPS517 form should now be submitted to your local Designated Firearm Officer (DFO) together with copies of your proficiency documents as well as two character reference letters from spouse, friends or family or a neighbour. You would also need to have your fingerprints taken and pay a fee. Your DFO will now submit this application to the Central Firearms Registry (CFR)

SAPS will now do background checks and verify that you have no criminal record and if all is in order, issue you with a competency certificate.

Expiry of Competencies:

  • Self-protection – 5 years (Section 13)
  • Occasional hunting or sports-shooting – 10 years (Section 15)
  • Dedicated hunting or sports-shooting – 10 years (Section 16)
  • Professional hunting 10 years (Section 16A)
  • Business as a game rancher or in hunting – 10 years (Section 20)
  • Business other than game ranching or in hunting – 5 years (Section 20)
  • Possession of a Muzzle loader – 10 years (Black Powder Competency)

You are not allowed to conduct any business activities with a rifle you have licensed under Sections 15 or 16. Eg. Professional Hunter outfitter, security etc.…

NOTE: You must be in possession of a valid competency to apply for or renew any firearm license. Any competency, according the FCA should be renewed at least 90 day before it expires.

Once you are in possession of your competency certificate, you can now apply for your firearm license. SAPS do no longer allow for the submission of a new competency and firearm to be submitted together, you first need to submit your competency and then your firearm application.

Application of the License.

The application to own a firearm must be completed on SAPS 271, must be in black and all the relevant sections should be completed.

You will also need the following documents:

  • Copy of your Identification Document
  • Copy of your Competency Certificate
  • Copies of your proficiency training certificates issued by your accredited training provider;
  • Copies of your PFTC certificates – if available – confirming the validity of your proficiency training;
  • Copy of an utility account not older than three months to prove address;
  • Photographs of your safe showing fixtures to the wall to secure it
  • Two colour passport photographs of yourself, which are not older than 3 months.
  • Copies of proof of current paid-up membership of all associations and/or shooting clubs you belong to;
  • Copies of your dedicated status certificates (either as hunter or as sports-person [or both]) if relevant;
  • In the case of an application for a hunting firearm an invitation or statement from a game ranch owner that you may hunt on his farm – or that you do so regularly;
  • A full and complete motivation stating the purpose and need for the firearm you want the licence for; (guidelines and samples in the member section)

  In case of an estate

  • Certified copy of the Letter of Executor-ship.
  • Certified copy of Id document of Executor and Executors letter.
  • Transfer letter from Executor stating that the applicant is the heir of the firearm.
  • Alternatively, if not the heir, that the heir is not interested in the firearm.
  • Certified copy of the deceased’s death certificate and Id.
  • Copy of deceased’s license, front and back, if available – alternatively an affidavit from the executor confirming the missing documents

Do not submit original documents as it may be required in the future.

All these documents must be submitted to your local DFO. Be sure to make an appointment as not all DFO’s are open for new application every day of the week.

You would also need to have your finger prints taken again and pay a fee. Your DFO will complete a specific section of the application form and send it to the Central Firearms Registry.