One of my more popular posts was concerning getting a firearms license here in Canada so I figured I’d give an update. Today, I completed my course on “non-restricted” firearms; I used quotes because there are still many, many restrictions. “Non-restricted” means long guns such as shotguns and rifles, while tomorrow I will be doing the second part of the course for “restricted” guns which are really just handguns and have even more restrictions.
Apart from an air rifle, I’ve never used an actual firearm. I nailed the written portion with 100% and got 98% on the practical - I lost two percent since I forgot to engage the safety on the one gun that had the cross-bolt safety (a .22LR bolt-action), since all the other guns had the safety on the rear of the action as a sliding switch you could engage with your thumb.
The course itself is pretty much common sense along with reviewing requirements for gun storage and transportation. We got some practice using deactivated firearms where firing pins have been removed and used only dummy ammo with no powder or primer. The act of loading and cycling the different actions was very, very pleasant - we used the bolt, pump, break, semi-auto and lever actions, all of which are pleasant in their own way.
The course material is pretty dry and the instructors did their best to make it somewhat entertaining, but the practical portion was the one I was looking forward to. It’s strange how quickly I got used to it - checking those five types of guns safety and loading them up feels very natural now. The only thing I wish was covered was disassembly/reassembly of guns, but I suppose that varies from gun to gun. It also would have been nice to actually shoot, but I guess the government is assuming that once you know all the safety and legal bits you can figure out how to point and shoot on your own.
I’m really stoked about all this and am looking forward to trying some (deactivated) handguns. I can’t wait to actually get my permits and starting buying/shooting for real.