Sport target shooters and clubs
Trying handgun target shooting
Holding a general category handgun licence requires commitment; for those who wish to own handguns they must meet strict participation obligations to maintain their licence.
The Firearms Act 1996 (the Firearms Act) makes provisions to allow people to try the sport under supervision and instruction at an approved handgun shooting club, people interested in the sport may wish to complete the notice of receiving instruction or obtain a provisional general handgun licence prior to application. are excluded from this provision.
Notification of receiving instruction
If you wish to try handgun target shooting you will need to attend an approved handgun target shooting club and complete a Notification of Receiving Instruction (NORI) with supervision from an approved instructor.
Over a lifetime, an individual may only complete a total of 13 NORIs. Once you have completed the maximum NORIs you will not be able to continue to shoot with handguns unless you become licensed.
Provisional General Handgun Licences
Provisional general handgun licences are short term licences issued for between six and 12 months. A provisional licence does not allow the holder to acquire or own handguns.
Provisional handgun licence holders must:
- complete the within three months of the issue of the provisional licence
- maintain membership of an approved handgun target shooting club
Provisional general handgun licences cannot be renewed. If a provisional handgun licence is cancelled the licence holder may not reapply for a provisional licence.
General Category Handgun licences
General category handgun licences can be issued for target shooting or for work purposes.
You may apply for a general category handgun licence if:
- you have been a member of an approved handgun shooting club for at least 6 months
- held a provisional general category handgun licence
- have your application endorsed by your approved handgun shooting club
- have had fingerprints taken for the purpose of firearm licensing
If you hold a current licence in another state or territory that authorises the possession, carriage or use of handguns for the reason of target shooting you may apply for a general category handgun licence if:
- you can provide proof of a current interstate handgun licence (or equivalent)
- you are a member of an approved handgun shooting club in Victoria
- your application has been endorsed by your approved handgun shooting club
- have had fingerprints taken for the purpose of firearm licensing
Annual participation requirements for general category handgun licence holders
General category handgun licence holders who own handguns for the purpose of target shooting must meet annual participation requirements for each class of handgun owned. Failure to meet these requirements each year may result in your licence being cancelled and handguns surrendered.
For example, a person who owns one handgun must participate in a minimum of ten approved matches or shoots per year. The table below summaries the minimum participation requirements based on the number of handgun classes owned.
Number of handgun classes owned
Minimum number of participation events
Within the above requirements, handgun owners must ensure that the following requirements are met:
- six of these events must be matches
- six of these events must be as a competitor
- four events must be undertaken for each class of handguns owned (matches or shoots)
- participation must take place on no less than 10 separate days
In certain situations, you may apply for an exemption or modification to your participation requirements. You must apply for exemption or modification as soon as you become aware that you may not be able to meet the participation requirements for that year. Each application is assessed on its merits and you will be notified of the outcome.
For more information about participation requirements and other obligations consult the conditions for handgun target shooting and participation.
Ownership of general category handguns
If you hold a full general category handgun licence you cannot generally possess more than three handguns during the first six months of your full licence. During this period, new licence holders cannot possess more than:
- one .177 inch calibre air handgun
- one .22 inch calibre handgun or centrefire handgun
- one black powder handgun that is muzzle loading
Like most collector items, firearms and ammunition are collected for historical, thematic, commemorative or investment reasons.
There are four types of firearm-related collector licences in Victoria:
- Antique Handgun Collectors Licence
- Category 1 Firearm Collectors Licence
- Category 2 Firearm Collectors Licence
- Ammunition Collector Licence
Existing licence holders
Collectors are no longer required to hold multiple collectors licences. This means that you can:
- hold antique handguns under your Category 1 Firearm Collector Licence
- hold firearms previously registered under an Antique Handgun/Category 1 Licence under your Category 2 Firearm Collector Licence
You can request Licensing and Regulation Division to merge your licences when your lower category of licence is due for renewal (eg. roll your Category 1 and Category 2 licences together when your Category 1 licence is up for renewal).
Holders of an Antique Handgun Collectors Licence can display their antique handguns without a display permit and collect them for investment purposes however they can only do these things if they keep their Antique Handgun Collectors Licence (ie. and do not merge that licence into a Category 1 or Category 2 Firearm Collectors Licence).
Category 1 and Category 2 collectors can display their firearms or ammunition under certain conditions provided they have a Display Permit. There are separate Display Permit applications for individual collectors and for those approved collector clubs acting on behalf of their members:
Collectors can also carry or use their firearms under certain conditions provided they have a Permit to carry or use collector firearms. Again, there are different permit forms for individual collectors and for those approved collector clubs acting on behalf of their members:
References and help
To help you determine which licence you need and whether you need to register your firearms, see:
A Category A and B Longarm Licence is available to eligible people who wish to use a firearm for hunting, sport/target shooting or primary production activities. These people must be able to provide supporting documentary evidence with their licence application and each time they renew a licence.
The most popular recreational firearm licence in Victoria is a licence issued for the purpose of hunting. You must have a licence to hunt whether you will be hunting on crown land or on suitable private property.
Hunters wishing to hunt game in Victoria are also required to hold a game licence in addition to a firearm licence. You will need to contact Game Management Authority to apply for a game licence.
References and help
Game Management Authority produces the Victorian Hunting Guide which is designed to help you improve the hunting experience and keep up to date with changes to game laws.
The guide contains important information about firearm safety, hunter ethics, current bag limits and season dates for all game species in Victoria. Other information on game hunting is also available from their Website. If you wish to hunt on suitable private land, you will need permission from the property owner to do so.
Holders of a firearms licence issued for the genuine reason of hunting, sport or target shooting or primary production are authorised to hunt on crown land if such hunting is authorised. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is the regulatory authority for crown land.
You may also register your interest in hunting on crown land with DELWP. You will be issued a certificate confirming your registration which you may use to support the genuine reason for a Category A and B Longarm licence. The certificates are only valid for 12 months from the issue date.
Sport and target shooters are people who wish to shoot in firearm competitions. To have this reason endorsed on your licence you must be a current member of an approved target shooting club.
If you are a licence holder and do not wish to compete in the sport, but wish to attend a shooting range for target practice you are not required to have Sport/Target Shooting endorsed on your firearm licence.
Primary Producers are people recognised by the Australian Taxation Office as an individual, partnership, trust or company operating a primary production business. For some primary producers a firearm is an important tool for managing pest animals on their land. Victoria Police recognises those who run their own primary production business or work as an employee or manager of a primary production business.
If someone wishes to apply for a firearm licence endorsed for this reason they must be able to provide supporting documentary evidence with their licence application and each time they renew a licence.
Other authorised reasons for holding a Category A and B Longarm licence
You may be required as a part of your own business or as an employee to hold a firearm licence. In these cases you will need to provide thorough explanation and official documentation or a detailed supporting letter from your employer as to the reasons you require a firearm licence in the course of your duties.
These activities must be supported by another Act or Regulations.
Reviewed 08 April 2019