Firearms Safety Course overview

From 1 March 2019, the Firearms Safety Course will be a three and a half hour session delivered by firearms instructors from the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council at venues across the country.  

The course consists of two parts

  • Firearms theory test (30 multiple choice questions) - to confirm your understanding of the Arms Code and firearms safety practices and legislation requirements
  • Firearms practical training session – covers hands-on safe-handling of common firearms types

When you attend the Firearms Safety Course

You need to present the letter from Police confirming that you can undertake the Firearms Safety Course and proof of your identity to the firearms instructor running the course.  

Email us at, or contact your nearest Arms Office, if you’ve lost your confirmation letter and we’ll send you a replacement.

Where Firearms Safety Courses are held

A list of upcoming locations for Firearms Safety Courses can be found at

When you sit the firearms theory test

  • You will sit the theory test before undertaking the firearms practical training session
  • You have 30 minutes to complete the test
  • If you don’t pass the firearms theory test on your first attempt before the start of the firearms practical training session you will be given a second opportunity to sit the test after the completion of the practical session
  • When you pass the firearms theory test, your course instructor will record the result on your firearms safety programme confirmation letter

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

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

The firearms practical training session

The firearms practical training session covers safe handling and use of firearms. During the session you will have an opportunity to practice:

  • State and apply the seven 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

Note: There is no live firing of firearms in this course.


As a result of this training you’ll understand how to handle and use a firearm safely. Your firearms instructor will work with you during the course to help you with any firearms handling or safety concerns.

What happens when you complete the Firearms Safety Course

You don’t need to let Police know that you’ve attended the Firearms Safety Course as we will be automatically notified of your attendance and the results of the firearms theory test and firearms practical training.

Police will contact you to arrange a time to interview you and check your firearms security. Police will also arrange to interview your referees and complete any remaining enquiries before making a decision on your firearms licence application.