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Canadian Firearms Safety Course and Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course

Training January 6, 2011


As discussed in a previous post, if you wish to obtain a Canadian firearm license (PAL) you must first successfully complete the Canadian Firearms Safety Course and possibly the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course depending on the classification of firearms you wish to possess and acquire.

The Canadian Firearms Safety Course came into inception in 1994 and it was intended to be an all inclusive introduction into the safe and legal use of firearms.  When designing the course, the Canadian government met with various representatives from different branches of firearms use and ownership and asked for their input.

As could be expected, each group that was consulted had their own idea of what would be important to cover.  Police agencies wanted a legal studies section whereby the student would be required to demonstrate knowledge of Canada’s firearm laws.  Competitive and shooters felt it important to teach proper range use and etiquette.  Hunters wanted a section on field use and collectors thought a section on the history of firearms should be essential.

After sitting down with these groups the Canadian Firearms Center pooled all of the available information (while also borrowing heavily from pre-existing safety programs taught in the United States) and created the Canadian Firearms Safety Course.  Over the years this course came under many revisions as well as a major division whereby the majority of the information pertaining to restricted firearms was put into a separate course called the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course.  Prior to this division anyone taking the safety course would be eligible to obtain both restricted and non-restricted firearms.   Now, separate instruction as well as a separate written and practical test is required to be eligible for the restricted endorsement on ones firearms license.

The rational behind the division is one of dispute within the firearms community.  Some are claiming that the division is another intentional obstacle to navigate in an already onerous process while others think that this was done to cater to those who have no desire of ever owning a restricted firearm.  Regardless of the rational, our current course breakdown looks like the following:


Topics covered in the CFSC include:

  • the evolution of firearms, major parts, types and actions;
  • basic firearms safety practices;
  • ammunition;
  • operating firearm actions;
  • safe handling and carry procedures;
  • firing techniques and procedures;
  • care of non-restricted firearms;
  • responsibilities of the firearms owner/user; and
  • safe storage, display, transportation and handling of non-restricted firearms.

Topics covered in the CRFSC include:

  • the evolution of firearms, major parts, types and actions;
  • basic firearms safety practices;
  • ammunition;
  • operating handgun actions;
  • firing techniques and procedures for handguns;
  • care of restricted firearms;
  • responsibilities of the firearms owner/user; and
  • safe storage, display, transportation and handling of restricted firearms.

Upon completing the each course, the student will be required to pass both a written test as well as a practical test.  Each written test is comprised of 50 questions with a passing grade being no less than 80%.  If the student is successful in passing the written test they will then be required to demonstrate their practical knowledge of firearms by handling a variety of deactivated firearms and ammunition in range and field scenarios.  At all times during the practical testing the instructor will be quizzing the student on their ability to identify and handle requested deactivated firearms correctly and safely as well as require the student to articulate Canada’s firearms laws.

Canada borrowed heavily from the works of others when designing this course, in particular to Colonel Jeff Cooper’s famous firearms safety rules which was converted into the acronym ACTS and PROVE.


  • Assume every firearm is loaded.
  • Control the muzzle direction at all times.
  • Trigger finger must be kept off the trigger and out of the trigger guard.
  • See that the firearm is unloaded – PROVE it safe.


  • Point the firearm in the safest available direction.
  • Remove all cartridges.
  • Observe the chamber.
  • Verify the feeding path.
  • Examine the bore.

Arguably the PROVE acronym is rather redundant with the exception of examining the bore.  P is covered when controlling the muzzle direction at all times, R,O, and V are covered when you see that a firearm is unloaded, but hey it makes for a neat mnemonic.

Free study material for the CFSC and CRFSC can be found on a simple website my training company created at www.firearms-safety-course.com


Travis Bader


Firearms Canada Inc.


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