Questions About The Canadian Firearms Safety Course
The safety course is one of the greatest causes of concerns for people who want to get into shooting and hunting in Canada. I suspect this is because so many people have had incredibly negative experiences with schooling. The mere concept of a course stresses them out. But have no fear, it's a great class!
What is taught in the Canadian Firearms Safety Course?
The CFSC is designed to teach you two very important things:
- How to be safe with and use the different kinds of firearms you may come across
- How to obey the laws and regulations
That sounds pretty straight forward, and it is. The safety component makes up the vast bulk of the course. The course assumes no prior knowledge of, or experience with firearms. By the time you complete the class you will have learned about the many different kinds of firearms available, and how each of them works, as well as the fundamental rules of safety that apply to all firearms.
Where can I take the Canadian Firearms Safety Course?
There's actually an entire page on this website devoted to this question. The short answer is you need to find a local instructor certified to teach the class in your area. Go to the "Find a Class" page and select your province or territory to find out more about getting enrolled in a local CFSC
Can I take the Canadian Firearms Safety Course On-Line?
No. not even if you live very far from an instructor. There are websites out there selling practice tests, and study material. Don't mistake these for taking the course, or the test. You can buy them if you want to, but just be sure you know what you're buying. The CFSC and CRFSC must be taken in person.
How much does the Canadian Firearms Safety Course Cost?
There's significant variance! In some provinces the price is fixed, in others instructors set their own prices. The class generally runs about $50–225. Which is quite a wide range. So be sure to shop around before you sign up. My wife actually only paid $20 for hers.
There's also a fee to apply for the license, which you may be able to have waived. You may also pay someone to take your photo. This table contains a more complete picture of the overall costs.
|Expense||Low End||High End|
|One day CFSC class||$50||$225|
|Optional CRFSC class for restricted firearms||$0||$225|
|Licence application fee||$60||$80|
In addition to this, about every five years you'll have to renew your license. The cost to do so is the same as the original application fee. Like the application fee it may be waived for people who require firearms to sustain themselves or their family.
Is the Gun Safety Course Hard?
Not really, no. Finding the time, and coughing up the money seem to be the hard parts for most people. The vast majority of people pass without a problem, and that's the way it should be.
The course was designed to take someone who has no experience with firearms whatsoever, and get them to a place where they know how to be safe with all firearms they would be licensed to have, and understand the Canadian gun laws and regulations. The course does its job very well. It's a good course, and the people who teach it work very hard.
The cause of most failures seems to be people getting nervous about the test more than anything else.
Is the firearms safety class boring?
No, of course it's not boring. It's a class about guns! You wouldn't believe how often people send this question in. They're like "Oh I want to have years of fun going shooting, but not if I might have to be bored for a little bit first." But good thing for you it's a great class.
Most instructors also work very hard to take what is already a good class and make it exceptional. They're people who are passionate about the topic, and work that into their courses.
What happens if I fail the safety class?
You kick yourself. Then you go home and you study your book until you know it inside and out. Then you go back and you do it again!
I believe you have to wait until the next day to try again, but I could be wrong. As far as I know the regulation on instructors require there to be no refund if you fail.
You might be able to do just the test portion again. However, some organizations and instructors will not allow this. The price is the same regardless.
Now, all of that said in reality very few people fail. The course is very good and isn't designed to fail people, it's designed to teach people how to be safe and to know the laws and regulations.
How long does the Canadian Firearms Safety Course take?
It's 8-12 hours of jam packed fun! But it can be longer in some cases.
Sometimes the course is run in multiple parts across different days, for example to accommodate evening classes. If that's the case, then there will usually be some refreshing the previous content at the beginning of the later classes which would bump the total time.
I've had people tell me their class took sixteen hours. However, I'm kind of skeptical of that, there just isn't that much material to cover that it should take that long. It's supposed to be 8-12 hours, how it could just magically take an extra 4 hours is beyond me.
It may be that they were taking a combined hunter education and firearms safety class; if that's the case, the sky is the limit. Some of the provincial hunter education courses are long, some are short. So combining them can have big effects.
Basically you just need to check with your instructor first.
Do I have to be able to shoot well to pass?
Nope. There's no measurement of your ability to hit a target.
This is a common feature of european licensing programs, and many have criticized the Canadian program because it doesn't feature a skills test. However, if you follow the safety rules taught in the CFSC you would be safe, even if you can't shoot well. Notably because your firearm should never be pointed even remotely in the direction of anything that shouldn't have a gun pointed at it.
Does the class involve any shooting at all?
No. However, your instructor could possibly add shooting as an activity they do with you in addition to covering the core class. However the CFSC itself doesn't include any shooting.
If it did, it wouldn't make the class better. Adding a shooting component would make it a lot harder to find places to teach the classes. It would make it take a lot longer, and it would be a lot more tedious because you'd have to wait around while everyone before you did their shooting. Then on top of that, you'd have to pay for the use of the shooting range, the guns, the ammunition, etc. So no, it doesn't and that's a good thing.
That said, you can certainly ask your instructor if they might be willing take you out shooting for a fee.