Find out what you need to know before you do the Firearms Safety Course.

About the Firearms Safety Course

The Firearms Safety Course is a 3.5-hour session. 

It is delivered by firearms instructors from the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council (MSC) at venues across the country. 

The course is free, but you need to have paid for your firearms licence application. 

The Firearms Safety Course has 2 parts. 

1. Firearms theory test

Duration: 30 minutes.

Language: English.

Format: 30 multiple choice questions.

Support: You are welcome to bring a reader/writer or interpreter with you.

This test confirms your understanding of the Firearms Safety Code, firearms safety practices and legislation requirements.

You sit the theory test before doing the firearms practical training session.

Everything you need to know to pass the firearms theory test is in the Firearms Safety Code.

It's not difficult to pass the firearms theory test if you study the Firearms Safety Code thoroughly – do not just read it once.

If you do not pass the firearms theory test on your first attempt, you will be given a second opportunity to sit the test after the practical session. If you do not pass the firearms theory test on your second attempt, Police will let you know what will happen next.

2. Firearms practical training session

The firearms practical training session covers safe handling and use of firearms.

You must demonstrate safe handling of a deactivated firearm during your practical training session in accordance with the Firearms Safety Code. If you act in an unsafe way, you'll be removed from the session and Police will reconsider your status as a fit and proper person to hold a firearms licence.

Your firearms instructor will work with you during the course to help you with any firearms handling or safety concerns.

During the session, you'll have an opportunity to practice the following:

  • State and apply the 7 basic rules of firearms safety.
  • Identify the main components of a firearm.
  • Demonstrate safety precautions and states of readiness on various firearm types.
  • Know how to safely cross a fence and how to safely use a transit case/bag to transport firearms.


Who is the course for?

First-time firearms licence applicants must attend and pass the Firearms Safety Course.

If you’re an existing or previous licence holder, Te Tari Pūreke will let you know if you need to complete the Firearms Safety Course or the firearms safety test after your vetting interview.

Police will confirm if you should undertake the Firearms Safety Course after you submit your application for a firearms licence.

If you have a Whakatūpato certificate that is within 12 months from the date of issue, you do not need to do the Firearms Safety Course before you apply for a firearms licence.

If you cannot attend the course

If you’re applying for a firearms licence for the first time and live in a remote, isolated area, you can apply for the community-based Whakatūpato Programme.

How to book

After applying for a firearms licence, you'll receive a letter from Te Tari Pūreke to confirm you can register to attend a Firearms Safety Course.

The booking service is run by the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council.

Dates and locations:

Find out where and when a Firearms Safety Course is happening near you:

Theory test and practical training – Firearms safety programme website

Book online:

You will book your theory test and practical training together as the Firearms Safety Course.

Theory test and practical training – Firearms safety programme website

Book by email:

You can send an email to book a course that’s convenient for you:

Requirements – what you need before you take the course

1. Study:

You’ll need to review:

2. Apply for your firearms licence:

When you apply for a licence, you'll get a unique ID number that you need to book into the course. 

Apply for a firearms licence

If you lose your ID number, email

What to bring

You must not bring any firearms or ammunition with you. Deactivated firearms will be provided by your firearms instructor.

You must bring valid (current) photo ID with you to the course.

The name on your ID must exactly match the name printed on your Firearms Safety Course confirmation letter. If they do not match, contact Te Tari Pūreke immediately to request a replacement letter with the correct details. 

What kind of ID to bring

You can bring any one of the following current forms of ID: 

  • New Zealand passport
  • Overseas passport
  • New Zealand driver licence
  • Police identity card
  • New Zealand Defence Force photo identification
  • Kiwi Access Card (18+ card)
  • Identity document issued by the New Zealand government

If you are aged 16 or 17 and do not have the required photo ID for the course, you must bring one of the following non-photo IDs:

  • Birth certificate
  • Citizenship certificate
  • Permanent resident document
  • Identity document issued by a secondary or tertiary institution
  • Card issued by a New Zealand bank with your full name and signature
  • Educational record or certificate
  • Professional or trade association membership certificate

After you've passed the course

You do not need to let us know that you’ve attended the Firearms Safety Course as we are automatically notified of your attendance and the results.

It’s a good idea for new firearms users to find a mentor. You can join a shooting or hunting club, an association, or partner with an experienced shooter to build on knowledge and skills. 

Find a mentor




Need help?

phone Call 0800 844 431 (09 302 6500) for MyFirearms Support
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