Prohibited firearms and ammunition

firearms and ammunition

A firearm or shotgun certificate does not authorise the possession of any of the following, unless the certificate bears a condition authorising such possession for a specified purpose or as part of a collection:-

  • Firearms disguised as other objects.
  • Incendiary ammunition for military use.
  • Armour piercing ammunition for military use.
  • Expanding ammunition.

To receive comprehensive advice about exemptions please contact the Firearms & Explosives Licensing Department.

Ban on self-contained gas cartridge or tandem air cartridge firearms

  • Since 20th January 2004 it has been an offence to manufacture, sell, purchase, transfer or acquire any air weapon using a self-contained gas cartridge system.
  • Since 1st May 2004 it has been an offence, punishable by a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 10 years imprisonment, to possess a self-contained gas cartridge weapon without a firearm certificate.

What is banned?

The self-contained gas cartridge has the appearance of a centre-fire pistol cartridge. It is made of brass but charged with air/gas rather than powder. The air/gas is held in the cartridge by small 'O' rings, forming a seal. When the firing pin strikes the centre of the cartridge, instead of igniting a charge, the air/gas is released allowing it to drive the pellet forward. The pellet is held in a nose cone, which is screwed to the front of the cartridge, thus creating a self-contained, rechargeable cartridge.

The ban applies to any air rifle, air gun or air pistol that uses, or is designed or adapted for use with, a self-contained gas cartridge system. Manufacturers include Brocock, Saxby & Palmer, Umarex and Uberti.

The ban does not apply to weapons that use a CO2 bulb system because CO2 bulbs do not contain a projectile and are not therefore completely self-contained. No other types of air weapon are affected.

The ban was defined by Parliament in sections of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003, which received Royal Assent on 20th November 2003. The government decided to ban the weapons because some have been illegally converted by criminals, to fire live ammunition and used in crime.

The Act can be accessed here

A printed version is published by The Stationery Office Limited, reference ISBN 0 10

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