Basic Competency Course


  • Unit standard 117705 Knowledge of the Firearms Control Act, 2000 (Act 60 of 2000)
  • Unit standard 119649 Handle and Use a handgun
  • Unit standard 119650 Handle and Use a Self-loading Rifle or Carbine
  • Unit standard 119651 Handle and Use a Manually Operated Rifle or Carbine
  • Unit standard 119652 Handle and Use a shotgun


Self-study and exams

When you decide to take the step to obtain your own/first firearm, you need to first successfully complete the Basic Competency Course Unit Standard Training at an accredited training provider. Depending on the circumstances this course will take place within a full day’s training or an evening and morning.  Before you attend the class, your “open book” exams must be completed in the manual with a black pen. Self-study and completion of the open book exam may take up to 2 – 3 hours of study per unit standard. 

If you decide to take the Combination handbook, the 4 Unit standards are combined into one manual. You save on time and effort.

Once you have passed both “open and closed book” exams (formative and summative exams) of the 117705 Unit Standard (Knowledge of the Firearms Control Act), you may continue with the firearm basic competency unit standard theory and practical on the specific course.

The firearm unit standard training consists out of an ”open and closed book” exam for the theory part and a practise (formative) and evaluation (summative) evaluation, shooting live rounds and successfully being evaluated according to a checklist of procedures that must be done by the student.

One needs to pass all of the above-mentioned evaluations to receive a course certificate. 

SAPS Competency Certificate application

Once you receive the certificate from the training institute as well as the “Statement of Results” from PFTC, you may apply for a competency certificate at the SAPS by completion of a SAPS 571. Once you receive the SAPS competency certificate you may apply for the firearm license by completion of the SAPS 271 document and relevant supporting documents. 

Application for the SAPS competency requires that you must have South African citizenship or a permanent residential permit. There is no age restriction on attending the course. There is no restriction on nationality as well.

Age restrictions

An age restriction of at least 21 years of age is placed on the SAPS application requirement. In the case where you have dedicated status, issuing of a competency certificate and a licence may be authorised before the age of 21 years by the SAPS. Your motivation and proof of dedicated participation in the shooting sport or hunting activity are very important in the consideration for a successful application. Please provide evidence by means of photos, score sheets and targets, for example.

Period of validation of SAPS Certificate

Your SAPS competency certificate will be valid as long as the firearm licence used for that specific competency is valid. The firearm licence is the important aspect. Renew your competency with the firearm licence. For all other cases your competency will be valid by referring to the date on the card/document from the SAPS.

Please renew your licence and competency at least 90 days before the expiry date. 

Photos from completed Basic Competency Courses

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