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Firearm training: Getting shotgun competency in SA


Potential firearm and in this case shotgun owners in South Africa must know that the process starts at a firearm training centre and not with the SAPS.

The application process entails two phases – the first phase to establish whether the applicant is competent to own and operate a shotgun and entails successful completion of the prescribed training at an accredited training institution to obtain a training proficiency certificate.

The second phase is the shotgun licence application. Both phases take about 90 days each to complete and cannot be done at the same time.

Read more on how to legally obtain a firearm in South Africa here:

Firearms: How to legally obtain a firearm in South Africa

What should you do to obtain a competency certificate for a shotgun?

A potential shotgun owner must successfully pass the prescribed test to prove his/her knowledge of the Firearms Control Act of 2000 (FCA) as well as the prescribed training and practical test regarding the safe and efficient handling of a shotgun at an accredited training provider.

On receipt of the training certificate from an accredited training provider or the Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority (Sasseta), the person must apply to the SAPS for the competency certificate by completing the SAPS 517 (Application for a competency certificate) form.

The application and supporting documentation must be submitted to the designated firearms officer (DFO) situated in the area where you ordinarily reside.

Steps to follow:

Step 1

Find your nearest firearm training centre and make an appointment.

Step 2

Choose whether you want to operate a shotgun and start the training course for a shotgun.

Step 3

Pass the relevant courses for operating a shotgun, in this case Knowledge of the Firearms Control Act (SAQA US 117705) and Handle and use a shotgun (SAQA US 119652).

Step 4

Receive your training certificate from the centre.

Only once the training certificate has been received, the applicant may approach the police station to apply for the competency certificate to own a shotgun.

Step 5


Visit the local SAPS to apply for a competency certificate.

Documents needed to apply for the competency certificate:

  • Two copies of your identity document
  • Two colour passport photos
  • A copy of your training certificate in with your training results
  • Cash for payment – R70 at the time of writing this article
  • Two testimonials from friends and/or family
  • The completed competency application form

The police may interview your friends and/or family to ascertain whether you are competent to own a shotgun and registers your application with the provincial police headquarters from where it is referred to the Central Firearms Register.

The atrainingpplicant’s background and possible criminal record will be monitored to ascertain whether he should be allowed to operate a shotgun before a panel will approve or deny the application based on information gathered.

The competency certificate remains valid for the period of validity as determined in the Firearms Control Act, 2000, in respect of the licence for a shotgun.

Applicant should note that if a license is issued in respect of self-defence, the competency certificate will be valid for five years but if the license is issued for hunting/sport shooting, the validity of the competency certificate is now 10 years.


The competency certificate must also specify whether it relates to competency to:

  • Possess a shotgunLegally armed
  • Trade in shotguns
  • Manufacture firearms
  • Conduct business as a gunsmith.


If an applicant is under the age of 21 years, compelling reasons which require you to obtain a competency certificate must be submitted.

Extra documents that should accompany the application should include:

  • A sworn affidavit from a parent or guardian
  • A certified copy of the person’s official identification document or passport

For all your accredited training needs and advice contact Zero Points Down Academy:

Zero Points Down Academy

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