How to write a motivation for occasional sport shooting [Manual Rifle]

When you submit a license application for occasional sports shooting, your motivation letter will be the most significant factor affecting the approval or refusal of your application. An occasional sport shooting motivation letter will be very similar to a motivation letter for occasional sport shooting. Contrary to popular opinion, membership in a sports shooting club is not a prerequisite. However, it will undoubtedly be advantageous.

Most refused firearm license applications in South Africa are due to “failed to convince the registrar”. In layman’s terms, the motivation letter was not sufficient. If your license is refused, you’re in for either a lengthy and expensive appeal process or starting from scratch and be subjected to another excessively long waiting period.

This is why I have written this guide to help you avoid this massive inconvenience and get that license approved. 

This guide is specifically written to help you write a convincing motivation letter to possess a bolt action rifle for occasional sport shooting under Section 15 of the Firearms Control Act, 2000.

How to write a motivation letter for an occasional sport shooting rifle

To write a convincing motivation letter for occasional sport shooting, you’ll need to include the following sections in your motivation letter:

  • FIREARM MOTIVATION” – Write an introduction
  • 1. TYPE OF APPLICATION” – Describe the type of application
  • 2. THE NEED FOR THIS SPECIFIC FIREARM FOR OCCASIONAL SPORT SHOOTING” Prove that you need the firearm for a specific purpose
  • 3. MY CREDENTIALS, EXPERIENCE, AND TRAINING” – Tell the registrar about your credentials, experience, and training
  • 4. PRESCRIBED TRAINING” – Give the registrar information about your prescribed training (proficiency training)
  • 5. SAFE STORAGE” – Give details about how and where you are going to safely store the firearm
  • 6. DETAILS OF THE FIREARM TO BE LICENSED” – Give the details of the firearm to be licensed
  • 8. DECLARATION” – Conclude the motivation letter with a declaration

Be sure to include a Table of Contents as above so that the registrar can quickly reference what information they need. It will also make it easier to read.

1. Write an Introduction

Here you are making the first impression. The registrar is likely going to skim through the rest of the motivation letter. The first page is what is going to receive the most attention.

Start by stating your full name, the type of application, your ID number, age, residential address, and contact information. Give them your cell phone number and email address. You want them to be able to contact you quickly if need be.


To The Senior Officer
Central Firearms Register
South African Police Service


Dear Sir/Madam

SUBJECT: Motivation for the licensing of a firearm in terms of Section 15 of the Firearms Control Act. (Act no. 60 of 2000)

I am Mr. [FULL NAME] number: [ID NUMBER], [AGE] years of age at the time of this application. Please find my ID attached.

I am a South African citizen and reside at the Street Address:

I am reachable by phone at [CELL PHONE NUMBER] or email [EMAIL ADDRESS]

I am employed with, [EMPLOYER NAME], doing full time [JOB DESCRIPTION] and my work address is [WORK ADDRESS].

Make sure that you attach a certified copy of your proof of address and ID document.

2. Describe the type of Application

Here you need to describe in more detail what type of license application this is. For example, this application is for a “manual rifle for occasional sport shooting in terms of Section 15 of the Firearm Control Act, 2000.” Then explain that the rifle for which you are applying falls under the relevant section, which allows for manual rifles, handguns, and manual shotguns.

You want to make it easy for the registrar to determine that the firearm you are applying for does indeed fall under the correct section of the Firearms Control Act. Remember, make the decision as easy as possible for them.


This application to possess a firearm for Occasional Sport Shooting is motivated in terms of Section 15 of the Firearms Control Act. (Act 60 of 2000).

The firearm is a Manually Operated Rifle in line with Section 15 of the Firearms Control Act. According to Section 15(1) of the Firearms Control Act, the Registrar may issue a license in terms of Section 15 for occasional hunting and sport shooting.

Before moving on to the following subheading of your letter, make sure that:

  • You clearly described the type of firearm you are applying for. ie: Manual Rifle.
  • You stated that the rifle is being applied for under the correct section, in this case, Section 15, Occasional Sport Shooting.
  • You made it clear that the rifle complies with the section you are applying for a license.

*Note that you may not license semi-automatic rifles under Section 15, occasional sport shooting.

3. Prove that you need the firearm for a specific purpose

In South Africa, firearm ownership is not a right but a privilege. So you need to prove that you legitimately need this specific rifle for a particular purpose.

There are two factors to consider in this part of your motivation letter:

  • Precisely what kind of sport shooting will you be participating in that requires this specific rifle.
  • If you have other firearms, you need to convince the registrar that they are not appropriate for the type of sport shooting activity you will partake in.

Sport Shooting Activities that require this specific rifle

You need to describe in detail what type of shooting activities you will partake in with this rifle. Explain the type of rifle that is required to take part in these activities. Some people want to take part in long-range precision shooting. It would be wise to explain that this type of shooting requires a very specific caliber (6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, etc.), with a very specific type of barrel (Heavy Barrel), a specific type of stock or chassis system (Free Floating Handguard, etc.).

Why you cant use any existing firearms for this shooting activity

Suppose you have another rifle licensed to your name, as in my case. In that case, it is essential to explain to the registrar why the rifle is not appropriate for the purpose of the new application. Here you need to dig deep and touch on as many aspects as possible.

In my case, my Howa 1500 .308, even though it’s the same caliber and barrel length, does not have the long-range capability that the rifle I am applying for has. But that is not enough. You need to be more specific about it. One good way would be to compare the accuracy capability of each rifle in a way that they can understand easily.

For example, my existing Howa 1500 in .308 is specifically a hunting rifle. It is lightweight, however, lacks the accuracy and features that the Accuracy International AT has. When shooting at 100m targets with my Howa 1500, the group (spread of the bullet holes) is 6cm, where the Accuracy International AT’s groups are only 2cm.

Go through each feature of your new rifle, and compare it to your existing one, highlighting where the current rifle is not appropriate. Let’s put all this together in the motivation letter.


This rifle is designed for the exact type of shooting that I am going to partake in

The Accuracy International AT rifle is specifically designed for precision target shooting. It is a heavy rifle, which helps to stabilize the platform while aiming and squeezing the trigger, ensuring accurate hits. It has a heavy match-grade barrel with a precision-engineered bolt action cut to the tightest tolerances, providing very high accuracy. The rifle has a one-piece aluminum chassis and is permanently bonded to the action. There is no movement between the stock and the rifle itself. The rifle has a one-piece rail for mounting a precision scope and a muzzle brake which drastically reduces recoil, making precision shooting much more comfortable. All of these features are what make this rifle the perfect choice for precision shooting matches.

My existing self-loading rifle in .308 lacks the accuracy required for sport shooting

You will notice in my application that I already have a .308 Howa 1500 rifle licensed to my name. I am sure you’re asking why I can’t use that existing rifle to participate in precision shooting matches? I have tried to use this rifle in many precision rifle matches. Still, it has continually failed to meet the required degree of accuracy to be competitive in any way. This has been highly frustrating and has led me to decide to get a rifle that fits the bill and allows me to be able to compete.

The Howa 1500 is a great rifle for hunting big game and close ranges, but not for precision shooting sports. It has a soft rubber rifle stock that bounces when fired. It is an incredibly heavy trigger and very lightweight, making it unstable. The action and barrel are entry-level and manufactured to much looser tolerances and cannot meet the standard required to compete in precision shooting.

This Howa 1500 can only really shoot groups of around 7cm at 100m, fine for hunting but terrible for precision shooting.

4. Tell the registrar about your credentials and experience.

In this part of your letter, take the time to demonstrate to the registrar that you are responsible and competent enough for firearm ownership. Here it will benefit you to mention any professional firearm experience you may have, for example, if you ever served in the Police Service or the Defense Force.

Here you should also mention your experience with firearms on a recreational basis. It will help your application a great deal if you have already taken part in shooting events for which the current application is motivated. Including other shooting activities will further demonstrate that you are familiar and safe with firearms. Hunting trips, pistol shooting, air rifle shooting, archery will all help to show that you have a respectable track record as a responsible person when it comes to firearms and related activities.
If you include that you attended shooting events or hunting trips, be sure to give them some evidence of this. Tell them when and where you attended each event, what exactly each even was for, and even include some photos.

Also, tell the registrar about your future plans. For example, is there a specific shooting event that you want to partake in the near future? Tell them all about it! Be sure to send them some proof of the future events such as a pamphlet of the event or something along those lines.


My History with Firearms and Sports Shooting

As a young boy, I was introduced to firearms by my father, and I was always shown how to safely store a firearm and use it safely. I have always been cautious with firearms and have had respect for them. This has continued to be true throughout my entire childhood and as an adult.
My grandfather was also an avid hunter. We would often go on hunts on his farm in Zimbabwe for Kudu, Springbuck, Warthog, and Impala. We would use his rifles of which he had a variety of. The two rifles I used was 300 H&H as well as a Bruno .223 Rifle.
My grandfather has since passed away, and I have not had the opportunity to hunt again.
I have also grown up attending shooting events with my friends. I particularly enjoyed precision shooting matches and have recently started to attend them again. These shooting matches are becoming more popular and hosted by PRS (Precision Rifle Series).
I have recently been a member of NHSA and have held “Dedicated Sports Shooting Status” since October 2015. That’s almost six years! I intend to continue my membership and hope to take advantage of their precision shooting competitions when this license application is approved.

Future Sport Shooting Intentions

Precision Rifle Shooting is becoming more and more popular, and there are more and more opportunities to compete locally. There are dozens of matches scheduled for 2021, hosted by, and I would like to start taking part in these as soon as this license is approved.

5. Give the registrar information about your prescribed training (proficiency training and competency certificate)


This is the more technical part of the motivation letter. Explain to the registrar that you have completed the firearm proficiency training for the specific type of firearm you are applying for. Tell them when and where you completed the training and attach certified copies of your certificates. You should have done two modules: “Knowledge of the Firearm Control Act” and “Handle and Use a Manual Rifle”.


Also in this section, tell the registrar that you have applied for and have been issued a competency certificate for the type of firearm you are applying for. Tell them the date the competency certificate was issued, where it was applied for, and your competency certificate number. You will also need to attach a copy of your certificate to your motivation.


Statutory Requirement

I have successfully completed the proficiency training in the SASSETA Unit Standards for:
 Knowledge of the Firearms Control Act. (Act no. 60 of 2000) Unit Standard 117705
 Handle and use a Handgun Unit Standard 119649.
 Handle and use a manually operated Rifle Unit Standard 119651
 Handle and use a Shotgun Unit Standard 119652
 Handle and use a Self-Loading Rifle & Carbine Unit Standard 119650

These proficiency certificates were issued by the following accredited firearm training provider:

Knowledge of the Firearms Control Act. (Act no. 60 of 2000) Unit Standard 117705
Certificate no: [CERTIFICATE NUMBER]
Course no: [COURSE NUMBER]
Address: [ADDRESS]

Handle and use a Manually Operated Rifle Unit Standard 119651
Certificate no: [CERTIFICATE NUMBER]
Course no: [COURSE NUMBER]
Address: [ADDRESS]

Please find my relevant certificates and statement of results attached.

Competency Certificate

After completing the above courses, I applied for my competency certificate to handle and use a manually operated rifle at [NAME OF POLICE STATION WHERE APPLIED] and it was approved on [DATE OF APPROVAL]. My competency certificate number is: [COMPETENCY CERTIFICATE NUMBER]

Please find a copy of my competency certificate attached.

6. Give details about how and where you are going to safely store the firearm

This is very important. You need to assure the registrar that you have taken all the necessary steps to ensure the firearm never ends up in the wrong hands. The first thing to clear up is your rifle safe.


Before making any statements that your safe complies with the relevant standards, be sure to read my article “What are the gun safe requirements for South Africa?” to make sure it does indeed comply.

When the firearm is not under your direct physical control, it needs to be stored in an appropriate safe. Explain to the registrar that your rifle safe is in accordance with SABS 953-1 as required by the Firearms Control Act, 2000. Give technical specifications of your specific rifle safe, including the wall and door thickness, height, width, and locking mechanism.

Explain that the rifle safe is bolted down per SABS953-1. Explain that the keys are always in your possession and that no one else has access to that safe. Also, be sure to make it clear that you intend on keeping the rifle in the safe when it is not under your direct physical control.

It helps a lot to install the safe in a concealed location and let the registrar know that this is the case. Be sure to attach a photo of the safe as proof of your claims.


In addition to the rifle safe, it is definitely worth it to tell the registrar about any additional security precautions you have taken to prevent the theft of your firearm. Where applicable, mention that you have an alarm system with armed response, electric fencing, dogs, etc.


The firearm will be stored and secured in a safe that meets the requirements as laid down in the Specifications for Storage of Firearms and Ammunition Part 1: Part 1: Safes. (SABS 953-1). ISBN 0-626-12749-1.

The Safe Dimensions are as follows:
Height: 120cm
Width: 23cm
Depth: 22cm
Thickness: 6mm

The safe has a double lock, and the keys are kept in my possession at all times. The firearm will be stored securely when not in use in the prescribed safe that is bolted with 14 x M10 bolts into my brick wall and concrete floor according to SABS953-1 specifications as required by the Firearms Control Act 2000. The safe is installed out of sight in my bedroom cupboard, and the bedroom itself also has lockable doors.

I live in a fully furnished house in access controlled and patrolled estate with 24-hour armed security by IPSS security. The entire estate is fully walled, and the perimeter and outdoor areas are well lit. I have a fully functional alarm system, and the estate has armed guards who patrol 24/7. I am located 6km away from Umhlali SAPS, and it is a 6-minute drive to my house. I also have a good relationship with my neighbors, and I am very security conscious and responsible at all times.

7. Give the details of the firearm to be licensed

Now it’s time to tell the registrar more about the rifle that you are applying for. Start by giving the make, model, caliber, serial number. Tell them where you bought the rifle with the name and contact information of the seller and the address where it is being stored while the application is being processed.

This is another opportunity to further explain why you chose this specific rifle. Speak about affordability, reliability, accuracy, the action, and it’s the ability to mount scopes, bipods, and other shooting accessories.

You should also emphasize the rifle’s safety features, putting the registrar at ease that the rifle is safe to be used around other people at events and matches. If it is a type of rifle that you have used before, be sure to let them know that this influenced your decision because you are familiar with the rifle’s mechanisms, etc. If possible, attach a photo of the rifle too.


Make: Accuracy International
Model: AT
Caliber: .308 Winchester
Action: Bolt Action (Manually Operated)
Serial Number: xxxxxxx

Current Storage of the Firearm
The rifle was purchased from [NAME OF PERSON OR GUN SHOP]

The firearm is currently in storage with the sellers until I acquire the license for it.

Choice of Firearm
I chose the Accuracy International AT rifle because of its reliability and accuracy. It is one of the most accurate target rifles on the market, and its quality is said to be the best in the world. The 20-inch barrel is nice and short to move around quickly when shooting from standing and kneeling positions. The barrel is also very thick and is match-grade, which is one of the reasons this rifle shoots so accurately.

The rifle is a bolt action, and it is manually operated. Its 3 locking lugs help improve the accuracy substantially, along with the very accurate barrel with a 1:12 inch twist rifling. This is the preferred twist rate for the .308 Winchester round and provides adequate stability for good ballistics. The rifle has a built-in rail to attach a scope, which will allow me to compete at longer ranges. I will be mounting a 5-25x variable power scope on this rifle. The rifle is heavy due to its aluminum chassis stock, making it even more comfortable and stable to shoot. The rifle has a magazine capacity of 10 rounds which is more than enough to compete in matches without having to stop and reload all the time.

Reliability is not an issue with this rifle. It has been vigorously tested, and this will allow me to be confident in my shots when shooting in a match. The rifle has a very easy-to-engage 3 position safety catch. Position 1 is fire, position 2 locks the trigger, and position 3 locks the bolt closed, making this a very safe rifle to use.

Choice of Caliber
The .308 is a versatile round with enough velocity to reach all target distances used in Precision Rifle Seris shooting matched. This caliber is ideal because I already reload ammo in the caliber. It saves me a lot of money to use my existing reloading equipment.

8. Conclude the motivation letter with a declaration

You have reached the final part of your motivation letter. Be sure to end it on a good and sincere note. Assure the registrar that you have no criminal record (be truthful though, they are going to check) inside or outside the borders of South Africa. That you have never been declared unfit to own or use a firearm and that you have no history of substance or alcohol abuse.

It is also essential to let them know that you consider yourself a mentally stable person and live a healthy, responsible, and sober lifestyle. Offer to put forward family and friends as character references. (In addition to your written character references)

After you have dated and signed the letter, include a small section at the end with the title: “REQUEST FOR A PRIOR NOTICE AND THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE REPRESENTATIONS BEFORE THE DECISION IS MADE”. What you are requesting here is that if the registrar decides to refuse the license, they contact you with such intent before officially refusing the application, giving you a chance to respond accordingly. It is not proven that it makes any difference. However, it is worth requesting and could save you the trouble of having to appeal a decision that could have been in your favor if you had an opportunity to provide more information or documents.

With that said, make sure that the contact information you gave is up to date.


I am a law-abiding South African citizen with no criminal record against my name & have never been accused or found guilty of any offenses at all, nor any offenses that can declare me unfit to possess a firearm as stipulated in Section 9 of the Firearms Control Act 2000 (Act No 60 of 2000).

I have sober habits & lead a healthy & responsible lifestyle. I know & understand the contents of this declaration & I have no objection to taking the prescribed oath. I consider the prescribed oath to be binding on my conscience and to live by it.

I have also proven myself responsible for possessing a firearm for the past 11 years of being a firearm owner.

I am mentally stable with no liquor or substance abuse & consider myself fully qualified to endorse this declaration as true and correct.

I intend to comply with the Firearms Control Act No 60 of 2000, and all that is said in my motivation is true & correct. I respectfully request that the firearm license mentioned in this document be approved.

I am willing to put forward any of my family, friends, or work colleagues to offer testimonials with regards to my character & my mental state. Please contact me if any further information is required in this application.



In accordance with (Section 3(2) of the Promotion of the Administrative Justice Act 3 of 2000 (PAJA).
Please take note that, if you choose to refuse my application, I would like to be informed/notified about your intention before you make the decision. All of my contact information, including email, physical address and postal address are disclosed at the start of this application. I herewith request that your notice of that intention must be accompanied by the reasons why you want to refuse my application. I kindly request that you also give me a reasonable time/opportunity to submit representations to you on why your decision should not be against me.

According to Section 3(2) of the PAJA, I am legally entitled to have my application processed as requested. If this is not done, the decision is procedurally unfair and I may submit an internal appeal or may ask for a judicial review against such a decision.

2 Replies to “How to write a motivation for occasional sport shooting [Manual Rifle]”

  1. Thank you very much for the clear and simple advice on writing your own motivational letter, it very helpful and clear to understand, I will definitely share this with friends

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *