Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default When Guns are Fired by Andre Pretorius

    Like blood through the veins of a body, this is how critical it is to have bullets through the barrels of guns. What many people fail to understand is that the success of the Firearms Industry relies 100% on guns being fired. The Firearms Industry is vast and made up of many different sectors that all use firearms for different reasons. Some of these would include manufacturers, collectors, sporting bodies, hunting, training, law enforcement and security to mention a few. Under each of these groups you will find even more variations, for example there are many different disciplines of shooting sports, involving Handguns, Shotguns and Rifles. Shooting Sports can range from self-defense type shooting to silhouette or clay target shooting not to mention the varying disciplines relating to caliber or type of firearm.

    When guns are fired it means money is spent on Shooting Ranges and at other facilities where it is legal to use firearms like game farms and the like. The firing of guns then results in the purchase of ammunition which feeds the business chain from manufacturer to retailer, even if the shooter is loading their own ammunition it still drives the purchase of reloading components and equipment. The firing of guns results in the need for firearm maintenance as well as accessories being purchased, that means cleaning kits, holsters, magazine pouches, spares and so on, all of which mean sales for a gun shop or other retail outlet. Guns being fired leads to repairs and modifications which supports gunsmiths. It really doesn’t matter for which part of the Firearms Industry guns are being fired, the fact remains that when guns are fired the Firearms Industry runs like a well-oiled machine. Without the success of the Firearms Industry we would not have the ongoing development and advances in firearms and ammunition technology that we have experienced for the past 100 years.

    With the aforementioned concept in mind, let us look at the reasons why Quality Assurance of firearm training is so crucial to the success of the firearms industry as a whole in a country like South Africa where competency testing is required by Law.

    The prescribed training and tests (currently referred to as Unit Standards) all contain a practical skill component or assessment referred to as a “Qualification Shoot” or a “Controlled Scenario” which must be achieved by the learner in order to be declared competent against that particular Unit Standard. This Qualification Shoot will specify the parameters of the particular shoot. This will include the distance to target, body position to be used, number of shots to be fired etc.

    The Accredited Training Provider needs to be both qualified and accredited to present training and administer assessments. The Training Provider is required to work within the parameters of a predetermined set of policies and procedures in order to ensure a safe environment for the client. Part of these policies and procedures include having access to the required equipment, training aids, classroom facilities and accredited Shooting Range.

    Firearm Quality Assurance was originally delegated to the POSLEC SETA then SASSETA and now function has been delegated to the PFTC. The Quality Assurer’s function is to ensure that every step of the training process is correctly and safely executed. The effect of Quality Assurance stretches way beyond only its effect on the training providers in the firearms industry. The quality assurance function will impact on the entire firearms industry as a whole causing a chain reaction and as such it should spark the interest of every sector of the firearms industry.

    There is no shortage of unscrupulous Training Providers willing to sell certificates, just as there is no shortage of persons willing to purchase training certificates without actually having done the training or completed the proper assessment.

    Let’s take a look at the potential impact of an unscrupulous Training Provider on the firearms industry who sells training certificates without the learner actually undergoing the prescribed training and test.

    When the legitimate Training Provider takes a learner through the correct process it results in the following income being injected into the industry:

    1. Income for the Training Provider
    2. Income for the Shooting Range
    3. The ammunition used must either generate business for a Gun Shop or Manufacturer
    4. If the learner has his own firearm, the exposure to practical shooting will often
    result in one or more of the following:
    4.1 The purchase of a cleaning kit or other accessories like a holster, a proper belt, eye and ear protection i.e. income for a retail outlet. It also leads to additional fees paid to join a club or shooting range.
    5. If the learner does not have his own firearm this will result in the purchase of a new or second hand firearm. For many people, the purchase of one new firearm leads to the purchase of additional firearms. The end result of this entire process should now be a safe, competent, enthusiastic new firearm user who is going to contribute positively to society as a whole and the Firearms Industry for years to come. This may be as a firearm owner for self-defense who shoots at least once or twice a year or as an active sport shooter who shoots once or twice a month or as a security officer who undergoes refresher training every year and so on. Growth of the firearms industry is only possible when guns are fired!

    When one compares the legitimate Training Provider to the unscrupulous Training Provider who sells certificates, we see the following scenario:

    The certificate is sold directly to the learner for a fee which goes straight into the Training Provider’s pocket cutting out all other sectors of the Firearms Industry. On a large enough scale the following effects become a reality:

    1. - Legitimate Training Providers cannot compete with the prices of the person who sells certificates. The illegal practice of selling certificates is unfortunately very lucrative as there are no range fees to pay, no ammunitions costs, no training material costs, no training aids or firearm costs, no Instructor or Assessor salaries and so on.

    2. - No use of ranges means NO Shooting Range fees which puts pressure on the survival of Shooting Ranges
    - No Shooting Ranges means no place where guns are fired which threatens the very existence of the Firearms Industry as a whole.

    3. - No ammunition purchases means income denied to the firearm dealer and ammunition manufacturer.
    - No firearm sales will be generated
    - No accessories will be purchased
    - No sporting bodies will be joined
    - in other words, NO GROWTH!

    This unscrupulous transaction leaves in its wake an entire firearms industry which has been stolen from, and a learner who is not competent. This incompetent learner could use the certificate to become a security officer posing a further threat to society as a whole. His incompetent or negligent actions with a firearm could result in the death of an innocent and when this happens, EVERYTIME this happens, the firearms industry as a whole is blamed. More laws are forced on the law abiding which do nothing to curb crime and incompetence.

    In South African law we can say Vicarious Liability applies “when one person has the ability to control or influence the actions of another, if those actions are negligent or unlawful then both parties may be held liable.” This means the Training Provider has not only a moral obligation but also a legal obligation to provide the correct training and assessment or face criminal prosecution when their actions contribute to the death of an innocent person. The firearms industry goes to great lengths to ensure safe and responsible firearm ownership and even one unscrupulous training provider selling certificates can threaten legal firearm ownership in this country. It must be eradicated and labelled as totally unacceptable by every sector of the firearms industry.

    A few years ago I was asked to sponsor the SABS/ NRCS annual fee needed for a shooting range in a small coastal town in order for this range to remain accredited. I was told that for the previous year only 48 people used the shooting range for the entire year and this generated range fees of only R1200. The NRCS annual fee is R1772.73 so there was a shortfall of over R500 plus there were maintenance costs for toilets and target frames. This is the only shooting range in town and at least 80km from the next available range.

    Here is the interesting part. There are 3 security companies offering armed response in the town. Between the security companies we found over 200 guards that carried firearms. There were two training providers operating in the town and one of them issued over 300 certificates for the year. Where did all the shooting take place???? You guessed it, there was no shooting for the majority of firearm users in the town. Certificates were being sold without proper assessment. The law is clear, security officers must shoot once per year. New firearm applicants must do theory and practical training. When this was reported to SASSETA we received no reply at all. Even after 10 requests for verification of training providers nothing was done.

    We reported the irregularity to the SAPS and were told that it was a SASSETA issue. This is the type of situation that was the driving force behind the creation of the PFTC in the first place.

    The unit standards dictate the number of shots to be fired for each discipline or category of firearm licensed to an individual or issued to a security officer. The number of shots fired or the amount of time required in training is not determined by the PFTC. The PFTC only quality assures that which has already been decided on by a law, regulation or unit standard. I won’t list all the ammunition amounts required in the 18 registered firearm unit standards but I will use only the Business Purposes Handgun unit standard, SAQA ID 123515 as an example.

    The qualification shoot requires a security officer to fire 25 rounds spread over three timed exercises. Let’s assume for a moment that all security officers in the more than 9000 PSIRA registered security companies are skilled enough to pass the qualification shoot first time, without any practice or training ammunition. The Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority monitors a private security industry which is 4.3 times the size of the SAPS. There are approximately 600 000 (Six hundred thousand) guards with firearm competency. If they are required to shoot only 25 rounds of 9mm ammunition per year, that is then 15 000 000 (Fifteen million) rounds of 9mm ammunition at an estimated value of R45 000 000.00 (Forty five million rand) just in handgun ammunition per year. How about 600 000 security officers paying range fees? Even at only R25 per person that is R15 000 000.00 per year in range fees alone. The reality of the situation though is that almost all security officers need to do the shoot twice to pass, not to mention how many need additional training and practice before they pass the 25 round timed shoot. On top of these figures you can add the shotgun and self-loading rifle ammunition which is required and the millions of rounds that should be fired by civilian firearm owners every year for training, sport shooting, hunting and so on. When a training provider sells certificates it cuts the industry out of vast amounts of business. What are unscrupulous training providers costing the firearms industry every year? It should be a topic of interest for anyone who earns a living from the Firearms Industry.

    So if you really are competent with a firearm then step onto the firing line with pride and prove it! Do your part, make the ethical choice and set the example! Don’t look for the training provider who will sell you a certificate under the table and be part of the unscrupulous bunch of thieves who steal from this industry of law abiding firearm owners. Report the illegal sale of certificates to the PFTC and let’s get rid of the culprits, who threaten the very life blood of this industry, which we know is BULLETS THROUGH BARRELS!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Kensington, Jhb

    Default Re: When Guns are Fired by Andre Pretorius

    Great read..
    I was unfortunate enough to be around security guards (the company name escapes me) when they were doing their 'refresher' once a year course. Out of a group of 25 odd only 3 managed to leave with certificates, I would have thought that landing 20 out of 25 would be easy enough for 'trained professionals' but the majority of the attendees could not even identity a safe direction. With the security business booming the way it is I'm afraid that without more regulations and more proactive laws/enforcement this might continue and become even more dangerous.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Hopefully where they can't fnd me...

    Default Re: When Guns are Fired by Andre Pretorius

    i have on occasion packed up and gone home from a range when security companies are attempting to get their staff to qualify.

    there is only so much you can take hearing the instructor begging the candidates to keep their eyes open when they shoot and not turn around from the line with a loaded gun before your nerve breaks.

    As usual the issue is not the legislation. The issue is the enforcement. Having someone report irregularities and nothing being done about it indicates a serious problem in the organisation it was reported to.


  4. #4

    Default Re: When Guns are Fired by Andre Pretorius

    Really good writeup. Its quite sad to see people selling certificates. And just shows how it harms the industry on the whole.

    Also quite scary when you think those guards maybe protecting your area.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013

    Default Re: When Guns are Fired by Andre Pretorius

    True. When everyone is honest everyone wins. When someone takes shortcuts everyone loses.

Similar Threads

  1. Andre-B
    By Andre-B in forum Introductions
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 22-11-2013, 09:04
  2. Guns & Ammo senior writer fired!
    By DS in forum General Firearm Discussion
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 08-11-2013, 09:32
    By RoryWill in forum Hunting Rifles
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 28-03-2013, 12:48
  4. Andre Naude
    By Andre Naude in forum Introductions
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 22-09-2011, 08:18
  5. Cops who lose guns will be fired
    By feroze in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 13-12-2010, 00:39

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts