Firearms safety course

Theory and practical test

Book your course here


The Firearms Safety Course is a three and a half hour session delivered by firearms instructors from the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council at venues across the country.

The Firearms Safety Course consists of two parts:

  1. Firearms theory test (30 multiple choice questions). This will confirm your understanding of the Arms Code and firearms safety practices and legislation requirements.

  2. Firearms practical training session – this covers hands-on safe handling of common firearms types.

Reminder: Please check the MSC website before applying for a course and read the requirements for course attendance
Note: Though most venues will no longer require a Vaccine Pass, please check the MVP requirements of the course venue before you book. If you have cold or flu symptoms, please do not attend the course. Contact MSC so they can move your booking.


Do I have to attend a Firearms Safety Course? 


I’m applying for a firearms licence for the first time 

You need to complete the Firearms Safety Course

I’m applying for a firearms licence for the first time and I live in a remote, isolated area 

You need to complete either the Firearms Safety Course or the Whakatūpato programme.  

I already have a firearms licence but I need to apply for a new one 

Police will advise if you need to complete the Firearms Safety Course or the firearms safety test when you apply for your firearms licence. 

I’ve had a firearms licence before and I am applying for one again 

Police will tell you if you need to complete the Firearms Safety Course or the firearms safety test when you apply for your firearms licence. 

I’ve completed the Whakatūpato course 

As long as your Whakatūpato certificate still within 12 months from the date of issue, you don’t need to do the Firearms Safety Course before you apply for a firearms license.

I’ve completed the Firearms Safety Programme (passed the theory test at AA or VTNZ and attended a practical course) 

You don’t need to do the Firearms Safety Course before you apply for a firearms licence. 



What do I need to do next? 


Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4
Apply for a firearms licence Attend firearms safety course Join a club and find a mentor Follow the 7 firearms safety rules



About the course

It is mandatory for a first-time firearms licence applicant to pass the Firearms Safety Course.

After applying, you will receive a confirmation letter from Police confirming that you can register to attend a Firearms Safety Course. The course includes sitting a theory test and a practical firearms handling session.

Note: If you misplace or lose your applicant confirmation letter, which has the Applicant ID required to complete a booking, please contact Police by email to


Booking your course

Before you book

  • You need to have applied for your firearms licence with NZ Police and received your unique ID number. Find out how to apply here: Apply for a firearms licence
  • You need to study the Firearms Safety e-Learning online modules and the Arms Code thoroughly before attending. You can find these here: e-learning and Arms Code.
  • The course takes three and a half hours, so make sure you allow for this when you book.

How to book online

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

You can book online through to attend a Firearms Safety Course in your area.The booking service is administered by the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council (MSC).

  • On the MSC booking service website, click on the Book Now button for the course in your area and follow the steps on screen. It is recommended that you create a login and password so you can cancel or change your course date or location at a later date if you need to.
  • Enter the ID printed on your firearms confirmation letter*(issued by Police).
  • Please note on the booking form if you have any special requirements (especially regarding attempting the written theory test).

Other ways to book a Firearms Safety Course:

Alternatively, you can send an email to to book on a course that’s convenient for you.

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

You will be sent reminders to attend the course before the scheduled course date.

Course locations and upcoming courses

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


On the day of your course

You will need to present the following to your Firearms Instructor:

Note: If you have lost your Confirmation Letter please contact Police by email at to obtain a replacement letter with your applicant ID.


Course content

1. Firearms theory test | 30 minutes | Language: English

You will sit the theory test before undertaking the firearms practical training session.

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 - don’t just read it once.

Reading or language difficulties?
You can ask for extra time to complete the firearms theory test, or for the theory test to be read to you by your course instructor.


Re-sitting the theory 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.

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


2. Firearms practical training session

The firearms practical training session covers safe handling and use of firearms. Your firearms instructor will work with you during the course to help you with any firearms handling or safety concerns.

During the session you will have an opportunity to practice the following:

  • 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: Do not take any firearms with you. Deactivated firearms will be provided by your firearms instructor.



After you've completed your 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.


Firearms safety e-learning

The e-learning modules will help you prepare for your firearms theory test. Even if you’re an experienced firearms user, you can check your understanding of firearms safety in order to keep your knowledge up-to-date.


Find a mentor

After gaining a firearms licence, Police encourage new firearms users to join a shooting or hunting club and/or association or partner with an experienced shooter to build on the knowledge and skills gained from the Firearms Safety Course. Find out more here – Find a mentor.


Firearms Community Advisory Forum

New Zealand Police has established a Firearms Community Advisory Forum to act in a consultative and advisory capacity to Police. Find out more here – Firearms Community Advisory Forum


Helpful information

Firearms safety e-learning
Arms Code
Firearms Safety Course booking service

Need help?
Find your local Firearms Office