Firearms theory test

The firearms theory test is a computer-based multi-choice test that requires you to show that you understand how to safely handle firearms.

You will receive a letter from New Zealand Police confirming when you can sit the test.

Note: Please let the Arms Officer in the police district nearest to you know if you need help to sit the theory test because English isn’t your first language, you have reading or language difficulties, or you have any other special requirements.

How to prepare for the firearms theory test

Everything you need to know to pass the firearms theory test is in the 2013 Arms Code. You can read it online, or print a copy. It is not difficult to pass the firearms theory test if you study the Arms Code thoroughly, not just read it once. We also encourage you to complete the Arms Code quiz to check your understanding of the Arms Code.

Where to sit the firearms theory test

You can sit the firearms theory test at:

  • Automobile Association (AA) driver licensing outlets, (including all AA Centres, AA Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agents and the AA’s Rural Mobile Units), as well as
  • Vehicle Testing New Zealand (VTNZ) branches that offer driver licensing throughout the country.

Find a participating licensing agent in your area

Note:

  • You cannot pre-book as sitting the test is subject to availability on the day. 
  • The firearms theory test is not currently available through district councils that act as driver licensing agents.

What to take with you when you sit the theory test

  • Your letter from New Zealand Police confirming that you can undertake the firearms safety programme.

    Note: Email us at firearms.safety.programme@police.govt.nz, or contact your nearest Arms Office, if you’ve lost your confirmation letter and we’ll send you a replacement.
     
  • Proof of your identity such as your current New Zealand passport or Birth Certificate or your New Zealand driver licence when it shows the exact same name(s) and date of birth as your birth certificate and passport. Check the identification requirements if you don’t have one of these.


    The name on the Identification document(s) you produce when undertaking the Theory Test and Practical Course must exactly match the name printed on your firearms safety programme confirmation letter. If there is a difference, contact your local Arms Office immediately to arrange for a replacement letter with the correct details.

When you sit the firearms theory test

  • You need to present the firearms safety programme confirmation letter issued by New Zealand Police, and proof of your identity to the agent administering the firearms theory test.
  • You have 30 minutes to complete the test, but can ask for more time if you need it.
  • You must get at least 28 of the 30 questions correct to demonstrate your understanding of firearms safety. Seven of the questions relate to the seven basic rules of firearms safety. You need to answer all of these correctly.
  • When you finish the test, your test manager will record the result on your firearms safety programme confirmation letter and attach the theory test result.
  • You don’t need to let Police know the result of your theory test as we will be automatically notified.

    Note: You need both your firearms safety confirmation letter and theory test result to attend the firearms practical training. Email us at firearms.safety.programme@police.govt.nz, or contact your nearest Arms Office, if you’ve lost your confirmation letter and we’ll send you a replacement.

What happens when you pass the firearms theory test

When you pass the firearms theory test, you can book on a firearms practical training course at www.firearmsafety.org.nz.

If you have any questions regarding practical training courses and the Firearms Safety Programme please contact the Arms Officer for your district in the first instance. View Arms Officer contact details.

The Mountain Safety Council provides all firearms practical training on behalf of Police with courses run by qualified instructors.

What happens if you don’t pass the firearms theory test

If you don’t pass the firearms theory test on your first attempt, you don’t need to advise Police as we’re automatically notified. We’ll send you a new confirmation letter to let you sit the test again in a month’s time to give you time to study the Arms Code.

If you don’t pass the firearms theory test on your second attempt, Police will talk to you to understand the reasons why and determine what should happen next.

Language available

The firearms theory test is available in English.

If English is not your first language, you can use an interpreter. The interpreter should be an affiliate or full member of the:

  • New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters (NZSTI)
  • National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI).

They will need to present their ID card when they interpret the test for you.

If you cannot use a member of the NZSTI or NAATI, you can choose someone else to interpret the test for you. They must be over 18 years of age, and present a passport or New Zealand driver licence when interpreting the test. Your theory test will be closely supervised by your AA or VTNZ test manager.

For more information about these options, talk to an AA or VTNZ agent in the branch that’s convenient for you before you go to sit the test.

Reading or language difficulties

If you’re having difficulty preparing for your firearms theory test because of a reading or language difficulty, there are several organisations that may be able to help:

Please let the Arms Officer in the police district nearest to you know if you need help to complete the firearms theory test or practical training for any reason. They can discuss the options available with you.

If you have special requirements outside of what the Arms Officer can help you with, it’s a good idea to contact the AA or VTNZ branch before you go to sit the test.

Note: You can ask for extra time to complete the firearms theory test, or for the theory test to be read to you by your test manager.