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How to: Apply for a Pistol Licence (B Endorsement)

I often talk to friends or people at the range and shooting events about pistol shooting, it seems many people who are already interested in shooting activities are keen to try pistol, but don’t know how or where to start. I know that information can be hard to come by at times, and often it seems like people are deliberately making it difficult. For this reason I thought I would give a bit of a shakedown of the current process here in New Zealand.

I will start by pointing out what I would hope is already generally understood information; Firstly It is illegal to shoot a pistol anywhere in New Zealand other than a pistol range which has been approved by the police for this purpose. You must have a specific endorsement on your firearms licence in order to possess a pistol (B Endorsement), and you may only transport it from your pre-approved security (safe) to the pistol range and back again (with the exception of to a gunsmith / store).

It is possible to attend a training course at a pistol range in New Zealand without first having a firearms licence (under strict supervision), but many clubs require that you have at least begun the process towards getting your licence. It is also a police requirement that, after 3 visits as a visitor, you must become a financial member of the club in order to progress your training.

Basic firearms licence

If you don’t have a basic sporting (A Category) licence, you will need to follow the following steps to get one:

  • Attend a firearms safety course (generally one or two evenings)
  • Sit a test on the information you have learned at the course (And pass of course)
  • Pay an application fee (paid at an NZ post shop)
  • Complete an application form from your local arms office (This application will require you to provide details of at least two character references)
  • Install security measures such as a safe / strong room
  • A police vetting officer will then visit you and your chosen character referees to discuss the reasons you would like to own firearms, ensure you are a person of good character, and check your security measures are appropriate
  • If all goes well, you should receive your licence in the mail.

Once you have your licence, endorsements such as the “B” endorsement for pistol shooting can be added to your licence. Or you can apply for endorsements at the same time as you apply for your licence.

The author engages some steel downrange.
The author engages some steel downrange.

Applying for your B Endorsement

In order to apply for your “B” Endorsement you will need to follow the steps listed below:

  • Join a pistol club, attend and complete their training programme (which should comprise of  at least 12 days supervised training and lessons)
  • Join Pistol New Zealand
  • Complete a club range officer examination
  • Complete a 6 month probation period with the club
  • Apply to the club to get permission to apply for your endorsement (the club must deem you as a safe and competent shooter)
  • Visit your Arms officer and get a form (POL67F), or download from the police website (you will need to get it witnessed by a police officer though)
  • Provide your POL67F to your club who will complete their section and send it to Pistol NZ
  • Pistol NZ will then complete their section and forward it onto the arms office [Editor’s Note: I am in the process of applying for my pistol licence, and the AO suggested that PNZ might mail the form back to me, and I could electronically submit back to the AO (i.e. via scan/email)]
  • You will also need to pay an application fee, again via NZ Post
  • You should then expect a visit from a police vetting officer to discuss the reasons why you would like to shoot pistols, inspect your security (you must have a “B” endorsed safe, not your basic “A cat” safe as there are much more stringent measures set on safes for endorsed firearms which can be found on the police website)
  • The vetting officer will also contact at least two referees again. Generally these referees will be people who have a reasonable knowledge and understanding of your shooting activities, rather than just character references
  • All going well you should then receive your new licence with relevant endorsements in the mail

Once you have your endorsed licence you may begin looking to purchase a pistol. Hopefully during your training period you will have had the opportunity to shoot a variety of pistols and types of events, and you may have established an understanding of what you want.

Acquiring a pistol

Once you have decided on a pistol and a place you are purchasing it from, you need to talk with your club and get an Application for a Permit to Procure “Pinky” form which will be signed off by a member of the club executive, authorising you to apply for a Permit to Procure. You take this form with you to your Arms Office and you will be issued two copies of a POL67C Permit to Procure form.

Once you have this Permit to Procure you take it with you to the person or store you are procuring the pistol from, and they will complete their section on the forms. You then take the completed forms and the pistol to your Arms Office who will inspect the pistol to ensure it is the same as the one originally applied for. They will keep a copy of the form so it can be entered in their records and you will be allowed to take the pistol, and your copy of the permit for your records.

Why is it so much effort?

I know that in reading this, it sounds like a long-winded process. To be honest, it is. I would estimate it taking about a year (or longer depending on circumstances) to fully complete the process. There is a reasonable amount of start-up and ongoing costs associated with owning pistols to be aware of (Application fees, Pistol Club joining fees, annual Pistol Club fees, Pistol NZ Fees, not to mention cost of firearms, ammo and equipment). However, after completing the process, I can understand why it is set up this way.

Pistol shooting is great fun, and you will meet some great people, but safety is key (things have the potential to go pear-shaped very quickly with pistols and their very short barrels). By completing the whole process, it ensures that only those people who are very motivated and keen, as well as competent and safe have access to these endorsed firearms. You don’t want to be competing in a match at your range with guys you don’t feel safe around. The knowledge that everyone you are shooting with has completed the above process does provide that assurance of competence and safety.

If you’re interested in shooting pistols, I would highly recommend contacting your local pistol club and enrolling in their next training programme. Visit the Pistol NZ website for a directory of pistol clubs throughout NZ.


Chris enjoys the competitive side of shooting, from pistol disciplines such as IPSC, Speed Challenge, Service Pistol, and 3gun/Multigun through to long range precision shooting. He also enjoys all aspects of reloading and getting out for a hunt when he can.

9 thoughts to “How to: Apply for a Pistol Licence (B Endorsement)”

  1. ‘It is also a police requirement that, after 3 visits as a visitor, you must become a financial member of the club in order to progress your training.’

    So its not written in law then.?

    1. I haven’t personally seen it written in law – but it could be somewhere. I know every range I have shot pistol at has had that rule. See below 2 examples from New Plymouth and Hamilton. No one says it’s a law – they say it’s a rule. It’s also in the PNZ handbook, but again, not specifically as a law.

      a. Visitors are only permitted to visit the club 3 times before being required to
      make a decision on joining. “B” endorsed visitors from another affiliated
      club may visit more than 3 times however must pay the club range fee each
      time. [Hamilton Pistol Club]

      All visitors to the NPPC are restricted to 3 visits before they must decide if they wish to join. [New Plymouth Pistol Club]

      From the start, when a person visits a pistol club, they come under laws and regulations expressly
      covering the use of firearms and, particularly, the use of pistols. On a second or third visit a decision
      must be made as to whether that person intends to join a club or not. Club officials must offer the
      visitor membership, or advise the person concerned that the number of visits is limited to three. [PNZ Handbook –

  2. Hi mate,I’m considering a move back to nz from Australia. I’m fully licensed and own a few pistols. What’s the process with transferring firearms and licensing or will I need to start over?

    1. Hi Darryl,

      Do you mean you’re fully licensed in Australia and have pistols there?

      If you had an NZ pistol licence and you’ve been away from NZ for over a year, I’m assuming you would have not been able to complete your 12 shoots for the year to maintain your licence.

      You may have to start all over… What I would do is look up the Arms Office for the area you will be moving to, and get in contact as soon as possible, as these things can take time.

      To bring pistols in would require permits, and they would need to be of a type approved by Pistol Shooting NZ for sporting use and approved by police as well. I couldn’t give you much more info as I’ve never done that myself.


  3. Thanks for sharing this info! It’s great to see how other places do this sort of thing.

    I’m so glad I’m a Canadian in Ontario! My Restricted Firearms Course took a weekend. The background check and license took 4 months. The transfer of ownership on my first handgun took a couple weeks. I DID happen to be a member of a club but that isn’t strictly necessary in Ontario (Other provinces force club membership before they will authorize transfer of ownership of a handgun).

    1. It’s amazing the spectrum of gun laws around the world. New Zealand tends to have a good balance of “you can have just about anything you want”, but you’ve got to go through all the hoops.

      Thanks for letting us know how it’s done in North-North America!

  4. I am doing daily pest control in my own native dense rain forest, aprox 500 hectares of private land and use a shotgun to shoot goats, pigs, rats, mustelids and every pests that’s predating our natives. Due the dense forest I am doing predator control it’s quite task to drag my heavy shotgun with me at all time. I imagine getting a Hatsan Sortie .25 airpistol would make life much easier plus the almost silent shots fired wouldn’t scare to much of the goats and pigs away when encountering them during my trap lines. From above information I understand that with a B-cat you not allowed to shoot the pistol outside the clubs shooting range. Is this a real law and I am indeed not allowed to shoot a pistol on my own private land or shooting range?
    Thanks for your insight.

    1. Hey mate,

      Sorry for the really delayed response! The alert email for your post got lost.

      Correct, you can only shoot a pistol on an approved range. Pistols may only be used for target shooting, not hunting / pest control.

      However! An air pistol is not the same as a pistol! You should check with the gun shop or your AO about the specific air pistol you are interested in, in case it as a restricted airgun, but chances are you can buy the air pistol you want (given you are over 18 or hold a firearms licence).


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