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Why Get a RPAL?

The one question I get the most on our website and social media channels since becoming a CFSC and CRFSC (Canadian Firearms Safety Course and Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course) Designated Instructor would be Why bother getting the RPAL if the current Canadian Government has banned Pistols?

I’ll give you my opinion on why I still think it’s a good idea to get the RPAL (Restricted Possession and Acquisition Licence) in addition to the PAL (Possession and Acquisition Licence). Obviously, I’m aware that my opinion may be seen a biased because I make money from teaching these courses, but even if you didn’t take the CRFSC course from me, I still think it’s a great idea to have it.

Reason 1: Pistols were not the only restricted firearms that are available to RPAL holders

There are still a handful of restricted classed firearms that are available for purchase! Any Semi Auto Centrefire Rifle with a barrel length Under 18.5” are restricted class firearms. Firearms such as the shorter barreled versions of the BREN 2 rifle or short barreled pistol caliber carbines like the B&T GHM9 or B&T APC9 are available for RPAL holders. Even the WW2 era M1 Carbine rifles with an 18” Barrel are available for the RPAL holding history buffs out there. A lot of recreational shooters also use these for competition and practice at their local ranges. (If you’ve never tried a tactical rifle Match or 3 Gun Match, I put them high on the list of things to try before you die)

Other firearms that fall in the Restricted Classification are any firearm that will fire and is under 26” in length. For example, a pump action shotgun with a short barrel and a pistol grip.

Reason 2: Renting a Pistol From a Gun Range

In the Vancouver BC area, there are a couple gun ranges that will allow you to rent a Pistol from them to use at their range. If you don’t possess a RPAL, they assign a Range Officer to supervise you to make sure you are safe with that firearm. Usually, they will put their hand on your shoulder while you aim the firearm downrange and will squeeze your shoulder when you can press the trigger. Having worked as a Range Officer for many years, I totally understand and approve this approach. The silly things I have seen people without a RPAL try do with a pistol will boggle your mind. If you find yourself regularly going to a range to rent pistols for some fun and stress relief, it might be a good idea to get the RPAL and you will no longer need an immediate supervisor when you rent a pistol, because that RPAL proves you know and have been tested on the safe procedures of handling a restricted firearm. I would still recommend asking for a safety briefing if you are using a new type of firearm you’ve never handled before, but once you’re comfortable and become familiar with that firearm, you’re free to shoot without someone looking over your shoulder.

Reason 3: Occupation

When the pistol transfer ban happened, there were some of us Instructors that were preparing to no longer offer the CRFSC (RPAL) course. However, we were sent a memo saying we still had to provide the course because there are some occupations that require the RPAL for employment. For Example, CBSA (Canadian Border Officers), Armored Truck Companies and a few others required it. There are other security and law enforcement agencies that don’t require it, but applicants are taking the course to strengthen their applications. Also, the film/movie industry requires the PAL/RPAL if you want to be able to use a firearm that fires blanks. Without a PAL/RPAL, they would just give you a rubber gun.

Reason 4: Better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it.

I’m going to try not get political on this one, but while the current government seems to be hell bent on restricting access to firearms for legal firearms license holders, the Official Opposition Party has stated that given the opportunity, if/when they get voted in as a majority government, they will revert the gun laws back to what it was in 2016. Which would be a welcome change. If that happens, I imagine the waitlist to get into a firearms course anywhere will be very long. As well as the Leadtime to get your license approved and registered through the RCMP. If you want to beat the rush, now is as good a time as any. Should that election not go the way every firearm owner wants, it would be nice to hold the RPAL in hopes that the government would “grandfather” existing RPAL holders if they decide to no longer allow the public to even get the RPAL if they wanted it. Much like they did with the registered pistol owners.

In the end, getting your RPAL is a personal choice and one I would encourage you to consider. If you sign up for both the PAL and RPAL package at RECON Firearms Training, the RPAL is just an extra $70 over the cost of the PAL course, and you must attend another day of class. Should you want to add the RPAL course later, its $130. So to me, it seems like a bit of a no brainer.

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