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Gun Guide: Getting a handgun licence in SA

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If a person wants to own a firearm, for example a handgun, he/she must first undergo the necessary training at an accredited institution to obtain a competency certificate for a handgun. Only once a person has obtained the relevant competency certificate to own a handgun or any other firearm, he/she can apply for the handgun or firearm licence at his/her nearest police station. A South African resident needs a licence for every firearm that he/she possesses.

To read more on how to get your handgun competency, follow this link:

Gun Guide: Getting handgun competency in SA

Steps to follow when applying for your new handgun licence:

Download the application form (SAPS 271) and complete the form in black ink. It is important to write clearly and mark the relevant blocks with an X. All relevant sections of the form must be completed, and all the required fields filled out.

Also download the official SAPS Checklist for New Applications to see that you comply with what is requested and even download SAPS crime stats for your area if you apply to possess the handgun for self-protection (Self-defence).

Make copies of the following documents to attach to your application:

  • Two copies of your identity document
  • A copy of the Competency Certificate obtained
  • Copies of your proficiency training certificates issued by your accredited training provider
  • Copy of an electricity account not older than three months to prove you live at the address provided
  • Two colour passport photographs of yourself, which are not older than 3 months.
  • Copies of proof of current paid-up membership of all accredited associations and/or shooting clubs if relevant
  • Copies of your dedicated status certificates (either as hunter or as sports-person or both) if relevant
  • Copy of an endorsement for the handgun and its features for your purpose
  • 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 complete motivation stating the purpose and need for the firearm you want the licence for
  • A completed Safe-form with a full description of your firearm safe, documentation and photographs to show its nature, type and how and where it is bolted to a wall or floor, with SABS certificate or certificate from the manufacturer/seller if available
  • An endorsement confirming the applicability of the calibre and handgun for the stated purpose it will be used
  • A copy of the relevant invoice to confirm purchase of the specific handgun being applied for if it is for a new one.


Applicants should not attach any original documents to an application as you may need them again. The designated firearms officer (DFO) will certify all copies attached to your application when showing the originals. Also make a copy of your full application so that you can furnish a duplicate if the original gets lost.handgun

You may also add information on security facilities at your dwelling, like alarm, walls or electric fence around the property, likely crime in your area, detail about any other firearm training that you may have received.

Submit the set of documents to the DFO and make sure to obtain a receipt proving that you have paid the relevant amounts (R140 at the time of writing this article). This also proves that you have handed in your application.

Always remember, if you can defend yourself, you can defend your family; if you can defend your family, you can defend your neighbours; when neighbours defend each other, they defend their

Also read the 9 reasons why free, law-abiding citizens should be allowed to carry a gun in South Africa here: 

9 reasons why free law-abiding citizens should carry a gun in South Africa

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