Fisher Firearms Guide to Buying a Used Firearm



Fisher Firearms has been serving the shooters of South Australia, since the mid-1970’s when we first opened on Glen Osmond Road, Parkside.  We’re a family owned business and we moved to our current location in 1981 where we are still offering our customers personalized service and the best prices available.

We have a large warehouse and we are able to carry a large amount of stock at very competitive prices. We often have gun stock coming through our store, and our staff are happy to help you find the best gun option for you.

We care about our customer buying the right gun for them, which is why we’ve taken the time to put together this guide to buying a gun. We want you to be equipped with all the information you need to choose the right used gun for you and to be confident you’re aware of your safety responsibilities.

We’re always here to help — you can give us a call on +61(08) 8362 8977 or visit our website.


  • Obtaining a Firearms Licence in South Australia

  • Gun Safety

  • Basic Firearms Lingo

  • How Guns Work

  • Types of Guns

  • Buying a Used Gun



Before you can consider buying your gun, you’ll need to obtain a gun licence. We’ve included everything you’ll need to know about licencing below. For further information about firearms classes or purposes of use contact the SAPOL Firearms Branch.

First of all, take a look at the SAPOL Firearms Licence page for accurate information about the application process and fees.



Licencing classifications differ depending on the type of firearm you and use you have for it. The licencing you’re looking to apply for will determine the training you will be required to do.

A firearms licence is first broken up into classes (A, B, C, D & H), with each class representing a different type of firearm.

  • Class A: Air rifles, air guns, and paintball firearms; rimfire rifles (not self-loading); single or double barrel shotguns (not self-loading or pump action) and include receivers.
  • Class B: Muzzle loading firearms (not being handguns); revolving chamber rifles; centrefire (not self-loading); break action shotgun/rifle combinations. All other firearms not class A firearms (not being prescribed firearms, handguns, self-loading or pump-action shotguns), including receivers.
  • Class C: Self-loading rimfire rifles with a magazine capacity no greater than 10 rounds; self-loading shotguns with a magazine capacity no greater than 5 round; pump action shotguns with a magazine capacity no greater than 5 rounds, and includes receivers.
  • Class D: Self loading rimfire rifles with a magazine capacity of more than 10 rounds; self-loading centre fire rifles; self-loading shotguns with a magazine capacity of more than 5 rounds and a pump action shotgun with a magazine capacity of more than 5 rounds, and including receivers.
  • Class H: All handguns (including Air pistols)

Each class is then broken up into 12 categories :

  • Category 1. (Shooting club) licences
  • Category 2. (Target shooting) licences
  • Category 3. (Hunting) licences
  • Category 4. (Paintball shooting) licences
  • Category 5. (Primary production) licences
  • Category 6. (Security guard) licences
  • Category 7. (Contract shooter) licences
  • Category 8. (Commercial range) licences
  • Category 9. (Shooting gallery) licences
  • Category 10. (Collector) licences
  • Category 11. (Dealer) licences
  • Category 12. (Miscellaneous) licences


Police Background Check

Your local police station will forward your application to the SAPOL Firearms Branch, who will undertake a background check to consider if you are a suitable person to hold a firearms licence. You will need to bring 100points of ID.

If you are considered a suitable person, Firearms Branch will send you a ‘training letter’ advising you of the training you will be required to undertake.

Training locations will differ depending on the category of your licence, e.g :

  • Category 1 – The applicant is to join a shooting club to undertake the training requirements within the club. The club’s training officer will provide you with the relevant information for what is required at that club.
  • Category 2, 3, 4 & 5 – A TAFE course is required, information about venues of courses is supplied with the ‘training letter’.
  • Category 6 – a list of authorised security training instructors will be supplied with the ‘training letter’. Justification will also include proof of employment with a licensed security company.



After your background check, you’ll need to undertake the necessary training according to the class of firearm and its category. Some information about training for the various categories is included below.


Training for this category is done through your local club. Each club has a training instructor who can assist you in obtaining this type of licence.

Please note a club can only train for the classes of firearm it shoots. For example,

  • A rimfire and or air rifle club can only train for A1
  • A pistol club can only train for H1

You’ll need to make sure that your club shoots the types of firearms you’re interested in prior to undertaking the training. Most clubs shoot A, B and H so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Training will consist of both practical and theory sessions. Requirements will vary depending on the class of firearm and local club by-laws—please check with your club for details.

Once you have completed the training, the club will sign off the licence application for the appropriate licence class.

CATEGORY 2, 3, 4 & 5 – TARGET USE, HUNTING AND PAINTBALL, Primary Production

Training for Category 2, 3, 4 and 5 is completed through TAFE SA.

These courses are one full day and have a theory and practical component. The courses are coordinated at Regency Park and held at Wingfield Range and a number of country areas across the state

For further information about TAFE SA Courses, you can phone 1800 882 661 or visit TAFE SA Courses.

Prior to starting any training for Category 2, 3 & 4, please note :

Applicants wishing to apply for hunting on their licence will also need to apply for a hunting permit with the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR). Information and permit applications can be found at Information: DEW

If you’re hoping to start shooting in club competitions you’ll need to update your licence application to include Category 1.

Completion of Training

When your training certificate is received from the Club, TAFE, or otherwise, the Firearms Branch will send you a ‘data card’. You’ll need to take this to a photo point, provide your 100 points of identification and pay the prescribed licence fee.

Upon payment, an ‘interim licence’ will be issued.

Current Licence Fees from SAPOL

You should receive your photographic licence within 6 weeks.

Please note for handguns :

Graduated Access section 15A (4b) – Class H

The legislation now prohibits the purchase of handguns within the first 6 months from the granting of a Class H firearms licence for club use.

For the second 6 months of a new Class H licence for club use, the purchase is restricted to the following;

1 air or gas operated pistol or a .22 calibre pistol or 1 centre-fire pistol or,

1 air or gas operated pistol and 1 .22 calibre pistol or,

1 air or gas operated pistol and 1 centre-fire pistol

This restriction does not apply to muzzle loading or percussion cap and ball handguns. Refer section 15A (4e).

The club secretary may keep the graduated access provisions in mind when issuing purchase chits however the Adjudication staff within Firearms Branch will monitor this aspect.


You’ll cover gun safety during your training, but we’ve included some quick reminders about gun safety here.

Remember to :

  1. Treat every firearm as if it’s loaded
  2. Only put your finger on the trigger / inside the trigger guard when you are safe and ready to fire

It is your responsibility to keep your firearm safe, secure and locked away from people or children who should not be able to access it. Serious legal punishments are in place for being careless with a gun e.g. leaving a loaded gun where a small child can access it.

Modern, quality firearms don’t just fire on their own—even if dropped or bumped. Human error is the cause of the majority of gun accidents. Keep this in mind when handling your firearm, and be careful not to put others at risk.


Here we’ve included some basic information and terms to help you get an initial understanding of guns. This will all be covered in your training to achieve your gun licence.

  • Bullets: the part of the round meant to fly down the barrel to your target
  • Barrel: the long tube the bullets fly down—the longer the barrel, the more stable and faster the bullet will be when it comes out
  • Magazine: if the gun uses a detachable container to hold the ammunition, it’s called a magazine. The magazine might fit inside the gun, as  in inside the grip of a pistol, or it attaches to the outside of the gun
  • Stock or buttstock: This is the part you put up against your shoulder when firing rifles or shotguns
  • Grip or pistol grip: The part of a pistol you hold in your primary hand’s palm. Some rifles and shotguns also have a pistol grip in addition to the buttstock, where you hold it against your shoulder and hold a vertical grip with your dominant hand.
  • Safety: the mechanical lever that blocks the gun from firing
  • Casing: Inside the casing is gunpowder; on the back of the casing is the primer, a little spark plug that ignites the gunpowder inside the casing.
  • Shotgun ammunition: this ammunition is a little different because it fires lots of little projectiles instead of one bullet. That’s why shotguns are used in bird hunting – it’d be too hard to hit a flying bird with just one pellet, so you fire a bunch of pellets at once that spray out in a larger zone.
  • Trigger: self-explanatory



The purpose of a gun is to accelerate an object (the bullet) to very high speeds so that it can hit something far away with enough force to destroy it.

How that happens is similar to how a car engine works :

  • Gasoline goes into a small space, the spark plug causes it to explode, and the expanding gas can only push in one direction—this forces the piston to move, which eventually turns your wheels.
  • When you pull the trigger of a gun, a spring-loaded piece of metal strikes the back of the round on something called the primer. The primer is like an engine spark plug. This causes a spark inside the casing where the gunpowder is held, creating an explosion.
  • Explosions want to expand, but the explosion is trapped inside the casing—so the ammo is designed to give that expanding gas only one place to go. The explosion pushes against the back of the bullet, forcing it to separate from the casing. This catapults the bullet down the barrel and leaves the casing behind.

Almost every gun is built around this principle—the differences between guns lie in things like how they load the ammo into the barrel and what size ammo they use.



Pistols or handguns: These are small and can be held in one hand. They’re good for targets 5-50 meters away. Pistols are used for club competitions and matchs.

Shotguns: Shotguns have long barrels and require two hands. They’re good for targets 1-75 meters away. They’re commonly used by hunters or people who shoot clay pigeons.

Rifles: These are large, long barreled guns that come in a large variety of shapes and sizes. To fire, they’re held up against a shoulder and fired with both hands. They’re good for targets 100-500 or more meters away.

Keep in mind that each type of gun needs its own type of bullets—for example, you can’t put ammunition for a shotgun into a pistol.


If you’re a new shooter, we recommend starting at your local gun store. You’ll get the benefit of staff who have sourced the guns from reliable sellers and you can try out different options before buying. You’ll also get the bonus of a friendly face who can answer any questions you have.

Don’t be intimidated by going into a gun shop. The owners are there to help you find the right option.

We recommend avoiding used gun sales through private parties, especially if you’re new to shooting. It can be hard to tell if a used gun is in good shape just by looking at it—you really have to know what you’re doing. Guns endure explosions, cleaning chemical, moving parts and plenty of use, so chances are any used gun you’re looking won’t be in the best shape.

A gun store will be able to help you identify any defects and stock used guns that they know are worthy of a sale and safe to use in the future.
We recommendto come in and handle the firearms before you buy so you’re comfortable with how the gun feels in terms of grip in your hands, and so you’ll be comfortable with spending the money on a gun.

Quality, durability and performance matter in guns and your local gun shop will be able to tell you about the pros and cons of different options.

We hope this guide has made it easier for you to decide whether buying a used gun is for you. If you have any questions, we’re happy to help— you can give us a call on +61(08) 8362 8977 or visit our website.

Source :

Source :