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How to become a legal firearm owner in South Africa: Your 3-step process for beginners

In light of the high crime rate in South Africa, we as South Africans are privileged to enjoy the constitutional right to protect ourselves and to own legal firearms within the parameters of legislation, case law and the Constitution. No cowboys allowed!

The most frequent question we receive at HFG Attorneys and Legally Armed Paarl is: “Where do I, as an ordinary citizen, start the process to obtain a firearm?”

Step 1

The first step in the process is to start and complete your firearm training at an SAPS-accredited institution. After you have successfully completed this training, you will receive a proficiency certificate and statement of results from the particular training institution. These two documents form the ‘backbone’ of your application for competency. Ensure that the training institution is accredited by the SAPS and as well as the South African Professional Firearm Trainers’ Council (PFTC), to ensure compliance with the law.

Step 2

After you have finalised your training as per Step 1, you will have to apply for a competency certificate issued by the SAPS. For this application, you will need the original training certificates received during your training. HFG Attorneys in Paarl and Legally Armed will assist you with your competency certificate application. You will only be able to apply for a firearm licence once you have obtained your competency certificate from the SAPS. After your application was drawn up by Legally Armed Paarl, you must submit the applications to your local Designated Firearm Officer (DFO) in your area of jurisdiction. After submitting the application it could in practice take anything between three and six months to obtain your competency certificate from the SAPS, depending on the DFO and the process of the particular SAPS branch.

Step 3

After you received your competency certificate from the SAPS and you have – for example – already purchased your firearm from a dealer, you are ready to complete and submit your application for a firearm licence at your local DFO in accordance with the Firearms Control Act, 2000 (Act No. 60 of 2000). Once your application was successful and you received your white licence card from the SAPS, you are ready to collect your firearm at the dealer!


HFG Attorneys and Legally Armed Paarl can assist you with your formal application to obtain your competency certificate as well as with your firearm licence application that must be submitted to the SAPS. If you need assistance in this regard, please send an email to paarl@legallyarmed.co.za or admin@hfglaw.co.za.

It is advisable to obtain your dedicated sport shooting and dedicated hunting statuses from an accredited institution. This will ensure that you can have an unlimited number of firearms and ammunition to your name, as long as you are able to motivate the use thereof. Section 16 firearms can also be used for self-defence.

In this regard, read more here: legallyarmed.co.za/blog/2018/01/26/can-use-sport-hunting-firearm-selfdefence-legal-opinion/.

(This article is an information piece and not a formal legal opinion. HFG Attorneys accepts no liability for damages caused by errors and omissions)

Heinrich Gonzales
HFG Attorneys // Prokureurs in die Paarl
Criminal Law / Family Law / Civil Litigation / Fire Arms Control Act Specialist

About HFG

HFG Attorneys Inc. was established in March 2018 after opening the doors in the winelands valley of Paarl, Western Cape. The company’s head office is based in Paarl, but assists its clients anywhere in South Africa when needed.

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Company Details

HF Gonzales Attorneys Inc. t/a HFG Attorneys (Registration number: 2018/540437/21)