Do I need a license to join AMA?

You do NOT require a firearms license (a Possession Acquisition License (PAL) or a Possession Only License (POL)) to join AMA. It makes life easier and it is expected that new members would work on the courses and license once you join, but you can join the club first and then obtain your license later.

If you join the club before you have your license, you can still shoot other members’ firearms but you will have to make all your own arrangements and you can only shoot while under direct close supervision of a licensed shooter, as per Canadian law. AMA does not own or provide firearms except under our Junior Shooter program, and then again under close supervision.

Do I need to own my own firearm to join AMA?

You do NOT need to own your own firearm to join AMA but since the club no longer owns/provides club owned handguns at scheduled shoots, you will have to find someone willing to share theirs with you until you can obtain your own.

The club owns and provides target rifles to the Friday evening youth program shooters but that is the limit to the firearms available to members who do not own their own.

Do I need a firearm license?

In Canada there are currently two types of license: a Possession and Acquisition License(PAL) and a Possession Only License(POL). A PAL basically allows the holder to take possession of firearms they currently do not ownsuch as buying a new firearm. A POL basically allows the holder to continue to own/keep firearms they already own. All new licenses being issued now are PALs.

There are two further types of restrictions available on new licenses: Restrictedand Non-Restricted. Non-restricted firearms include most rifles and shotguns in Canada. Restricted firearms include handguns and certain specifically designated long guns including some sporting rifles such as the AR-15 rifle. If you want to buy a new firearm, you must ensure you have the correct license for the type you want to buy. Either type of license will allow you to purchase any type of legal ammunition.

Note you need a license to purchase ammunition so it is worthwhile to get your license even if you only plan on borrowing someone else's firearm.

How do I obtain a firearms license in Nova Scotia?

Contact Safety Services Nova Scotia

There are two courses: The Non-Restricted Firearms Safety Course and the Restricted Firearms Safety Course. The first course is needed for a Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) for non-restricted firearms (most long guns like most shotguns and rifles). The second course is for restricted firearms including handguns and some designated long guns including some sporting rifles such as the AR-15. You'll need the Non-Restricted course before you take the Restricted course. It may be possible to find a combined course that gets you both qualifications - ask the course provider.

The safety courses usually don't include actual shooting but they cover the basics of safety, current regulations and laws, and basic handling skills.

Once you have completed your course(s), you can apply for the appropriate PAL. The Canadian Firearms Centre (CFC) website ( can provide the application forms available for download. The CFC website also provides current info on the cost and the photograph, reference and other requirements.

Download the appropriate form from the CFC website, complete the form and mail it in with your photograph, check and information as indicated on the form/web site.

How do I join AMA?

To join the club just download and fill in the membership application form from our web page. Mail the form with a check to cover the first year's dues PLUS the initiation fee. Mail your completed application to the AMA Post Office Box as indicated on the form or Email a scanned version of the form to and Interac EMT payment to the same email address. Make sure you send the password.

Unless the applicant has previous shooting credentials acceptable to AMA (see below), they will receive acknowledgement of receipt of the application & fees and will be notified of the next introductory course scheduled. Introductory courses are scheduled once a month on a Sunday evening and take 2 hours to complete.

If the applicant does not attend that course, they will be able to attend one of the next two courses after which, AMA will cease notification of courses and return the applicant’s fees.

Once the applicant completes the introductory course, they will be accepted as a probationary member.

If a member applicant has previous shooting credentials acceptable to AMA (e.g. IPSC Black Badge certified, member at another gun club for more than 2 years (that can be verified easily), etc.) they will be accepted as a probationary member and do not have to take the introductory course.

Probationary members will receive a key card to the indoor range and they may attend the club during regular shooting hours. AMA will notify the Nova Scotia Provincial Firearms Office that the member is current and can purchase restricted firearms. Probationary members have all the same privileges of permanent members at AMA. After 3 months, the Board will approve the probationary member as permanent members if they do not do anything that violates range standing orders or anything unsafe or cause the club to be seen in any defamatory light. Probationary members will then receive a permanent membership card.

In summary, there are 2 levels of entry to AMA:
a. Membership applicant: Has neither rights nor privileges until they complete the introductory course.
b. Probationary member: Can attend the range facilities and can purchase restricted firearms (provided they are licenced accordingly) and can bring the firearms to the range. Must be approved by the board to remain a member after 3 months.

How long does the application process take?

Expect a response within two weeks turnaround time. If your application is accepted, you will be on probation for three months. If you do not break any safety rules in that period, the board will approve you as a permanent member.

What forms of payment to you accept?

Cheque or Money order made out to “The Atlantic Marksmen Association” mailed to our PO Box or Interac EMTs are the only acceptable methods of payment. We do not accept credit cards, PayPal, cash or debit. If you EMT, it goes to - ensure you send the password for the EMT with it.

When I Join AMA, when can I shoot?

As a general member, you can shoot at any of the organized shooting discipline sessions/time periods. See the most recent AMA newsletter for the current schedule.

As a Range Officer (RO) at the club, you can obtain a key and use the club anytime you want – within approved range hours, first come/first served.

To become an RO, you must be a member for at least one year, complete the RO training and certification and volunteer to RO to the general shooting program (Tuesday evenings and Saturday afternoons) once every couple of months. RO courses are offered when enough participants ask for/sign up for the course – usually twice a year. See the most AMA newsletter for the current RO schedule.

Do you recognize other Range Officer programs?

We recognize Shooting Federation of Nova Scotia (SFNS), AMA, International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC), and some law enforcement programs. AMA’s board reserves the final decision on approval regardless of your credentials.

Can I shoot alone?

Yes, as an AMA Range Officer, you can. See above for how to become range officer certified at AMA.

What is the Membership year?

The membership year runs from 1 October to 30 September of the following year. If you join as a new member after 1 May, submit the full membership and initiation fees, and your membership will cover you until 30 September of the following calendar year (i.e. just more than one year total).

Existing members pay full renewal fees regardless of what date they send in their membership fees. In other words, if you send in your renewal on 1 September, your membership expires 30 days later.

Can I visit the club before joining?

To find out more about the club, you can drop in during a regularly scheduled shooting time: Tuesday evenings around 6:30 to about 8:30 year round at our indoor range, and Saturday afternoons around 1:00 to about 3:00 (indoors during the colder months, outdoors during the warmer months) are your best bet. Wait for a break in the shooting and introduce yourself to the Range Officer (RO) on duty. He or she or another member should be able to show you around, explain how the club works, and answer any questions. Remember the RO is there to run the shooting so you might have to wait a little to get some of their time.

Can I rent the range or firearms for a private event?

Unfortunately AMA does not have sufficient staff or the insurance/licensing provisions to allow the club to be rented to private individuals or organizations for private shooting sessions. For example, we CANNOT host your stag party, business outing, etc. We may be able to do this in the future but for now, we cannot.

We do rent our facilities to certain organizations including law enforcement agencies, private security firms, armoured car companies, etc. but they provide their own firearms and technical support and they are covered by their own insurance. For more information, please contact the club.

Does AMA provide firearm training?

As part of joining AMA, new shooters will have to take a mandatory basic pistol course that is part class room instruction on safety and part practical training on the finer points of accurate pistol shooting. It is followed by a practical shooting test. Here you are coached until you can get five .22 rim fire rounds into a good group. 99 percent of new members qualify on the first night. Rarely, a member may take a further two to three nights to meet the standard. You also get a useful little book on pistol shooting that is included in your $15 fee for taking this course. The introductory course is conducted about once a month on Sundays and takes 2 hours to complete.

You will find there are always plenty of knowledgeable members who are more than willing to help a new shooter improve after this basic course. In addition, we encourage shooters to join our IPSC or House League competitions as these both provide a pleasantly low stress competition environment that further pushes you to improve.

AMA does not offer the Federal Firearms Safety Course required to get a gun licence. Contact Safety Services Nova Scotia for that.

New members who cannot prove membership or previous safety training at another gun organization will attend a mandatory basic orientation course, which consists of the club rules and some very basic pistol marksmanship. AMA offers the IPSC Black Badge Course to experienced pistol shooters and some ad-hoc training comes up occasionally for other disciplines. In all cases, the student is required to own & use their own firearm. We do not provide firearms for use. AMA does not offer tactical training, self-defence or that sort of shooting courses at this time. We are a gun club for people who are involved in the shooting sports.

Which shooting sports does AMA host/conduct?

AMA’s indoor range hosts casual (i.e. non-league) indoor handgun shooting on Tuesday evenings and Saturday afternoons. During the winter months we conduct both rim fire and centre fire handgun league shoots on Tuesday evenings. We also conduct a youth shooting program using .22 target rifles on Friday evenings.

Our outdoor range hosts the Saturday afternoon handgun shoots during the warmer months. We also have an outdoor rifle range capable of ranges out to 280 yards and a shotgun shack with clay pigeon throwers for shotgun practice.

AMA is an active IPSC club. This is a fun, active handgun discipline and you can find more information on the IPSC Nova Scotia web site (

On occasion we host rim fire rifle competitions and black powder matches.

Is the outdoor range open all year round?

Yes and no. The outdoor range is open to our range officers for use anytime. In order to become an AMA RO, you must be a member for a year, take our RO course and volunteer to RO once every two months at the club.

All year round, our rifle section holds organized shooting Sunday mornings at the outdoor range. Our Shotgun section holds organized shooting Saturday afternoons at the outdoor range. May-October there is organized shooting at the 50yard range. Other than that - the outdoor range is closed to the general membership.

Is alcohol or cannabis permitted at the club?

Cannabis, Alcohol, Controlled stimulants or depressants. AMA has a ZERO tolerance policy on the use of anything that detracts from a person's abilities to have a sharp mind and control.

If a person is suspected of any of these product's use they will immediately be told to leave the facilities and will be banned from future use or membership. Even if we smell alcohol or cannabis on you, you will be out. We take no chances.