UK Weapons and Firearms Law updated January 2018

What UK Weapons Can You Legally Own?

Many UK citizens think that ALL firearms are illegal, and therefore unavailable to the UK public - this is not true.
You have the perfect right to own many types of firearms, but you must be able to have a good reason to do so.

For full, in depth details, check out the UK Home Office Guidelines for firearms.
This is a detailed 270 page document outlining exactly the do's and don'ts of firearm ownership.

Remember this short article is about what weapons you can legally own, it does NOT cover self defence. A lot of people get firearm ownership and self defence mixed up.
You must have genuine reasons for owning a firearm: gun club member, clay pigeon shooting, pest and vermin control etc, not self defence.

However, the range of legal firearms that you can own and use may surprise you. 

Below Is A General Guide:
Firearms You Can Legally Own In The UK

UK Legal Firearms

UK Legal Firearms: Top to bottom

  • Civilian Hunting Rifle
  • Semi-Auto Shotgun
  • AR15
  • AKM
  • Anti-Material/Sniper Rifle
  • Long Barrelled Revolver (LBR)

As well as the above firearms, you can own a shotgun -
*in general*, shotguns under 3 capacity (2+1) Section 2 only require a Shotgun Cert (SGC). 

The list List is by no means exhaustive, there are hundreds of flavours of firearms available in UK.

uk firearms law certificate

All these above weapons will require a Firearms Certificate, but, once you have been fully vetted by the police, and have fully satisfied all the legal requirements they are all perfectly legal for a UK citizen to own.

The information here is true as of article date, and there are no current legislation changes to the UK firearms laws in the pipeline.

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    • Nathan on June 24, 2020 at 5:58 pm
    • Reply

    Hi all, can I obtain a firearms licence from have a general interest in guns and wanting to be a gunsmith?

    • Lee on May 16, 2020 at 3:21 pm
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    Don’t know if your still reading this since your post was in July last year.

    Guns for self defence are a No no as already stated but bows are not.

    It is perfectly legal to shoot someone in self defence with an arrow if they break in to your house as bow and arrows are considered sporting goods but you can’t grab your kitchen knife as it’s a weapon, go figure but frankly if situation occurred to me I would rather shoot them with an arrow which can be fatal at in home distances than get up close.

      • Paul on July 24, 2020 at 8:19 pm
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      That is complete nonsense! Of course you can use your kitchen knife to defend yourself at home! Self defence is a total defence to crime as long as the force used is proportionate and reasonable in the circumstances as you believed them to be.
      Yes, knives are “offensive weapons” but it is completely legal to possess and use them in a private place.

        • Hugh Hunt on September 20, 2020 at 3:13 am
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        Glad to see someone fighting against misunderstanding of this complicated part of UK law. It’s scary how quickly assumption becomes fact for some.

        • George Thorne on August 1, 2021 at 9:54 am
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        I agree, you can use a weapon, as long as it wasn’t premeditated I believe. So. Gun under the pillow is obviously not ok, but if you were cleaning it, and an intruder broke in, in the impulse reaction you may fire, this is legitimate self defence, not premeditated. But the guy writing this article knows more than me aha listen to him

      • Hugh Hunt on September 20, 2020 at 3:22 am
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      Hi Lee,

      Could you show us a citation backing up the following statement?

      It is perfectly legal to shoot someone in self defence with an arrow if they break in to your house as bow and arrows are considered sporting goods but you can’t grab your kitchen knife as it’s a weapon

      If bows and arrows are primarily considered sporting goods them why aren’t kitchen knifes primarily considered cutlery/ a chef’s tool of the trade etc?

      Best, Hugh

    • Jeff Grubb on March 4, 2020 at 9:34 pm
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    A number of air rifles, that are within the UK parameters can be increased in power by using stiffer springs, changing the regulator that sets the pressure under which the projectile is launched, or similar method.

    During a trip to someplace that doesn’t regulate such things, laying hands on an air rifle of the type you have or can have at home, and the modification parts, should be simple. The U.S. does not consider an airgun to be enough of a weapon, to regulate. Learn how to modify your airgun, and obtain the parts at home, BUT DO NOT INSTALL THEM until there has been a breakdown of law & order. If your modified air rifle will shoot a larger projectile, learn to cast lead and alloys containing lead, but are harder (withstand the engagement with barrel rifling better, and remain accurate).

    Have the parts to modify your air gun, and the bulk material for the projectiles in a place separate from YOUR airgun (Mum’s house, in plastic bags, on a sealed plastic tote). Retrieve them, when things START to go bad. Don’t use them unless you must. When normality returns, restore your airgun to its benign self but always stay in practice!

    There are other methods of having all of the pieces of an AR15, except one (this being the receiver, that bears the serial number and houses the trigger assembly. One of the ways to keep the receiver in a state of benign potentia, is an epoxy resin mold, that allows a person to fill the mold, wait, attach the other parts, and be ready to fire in a matter of about a day. I do not know what the UK has rules, to govern, such as the possession of a rifle barrel, or magazines for a rifle you don’t own, or how you would be best advised to obtain a supply of ammunition. Reloading materials could be hard to obtain, such as nitrocellulose Rifle Specific powder, lead azide based primers, or the most effective method of making a lead bullet that has a copper jacket, that engages the rifling at high pressure/speed, while the core, which is the source of weight, being lead, has a much lower melting point, than the outer copper jacket. I have ideas that are untested, but have not performed any processes yet, therefore, cannot provide the methods as advice. If you figure out a way to do it, get one of us Yankees to record the process and post it to YouTube, so you don’t end up on a watch list & others benefit from your knowledge.

    • Richard on February 8, 2020 at 2:24 pm
    • Reply

    I own 22lr rifles in the uk and i searched online for some rubber training bullets. I found some and placed an order. It doesn’t say anything about not being allowed in uk. It just says international sales only. I entered all my details and successfully placed an order for 10 rounds. Now will this get to me or will they say no and refund me. I sent them an email saying im in the uk an asked if they were just the rubber tips with no powered or shell. I done a search an found a site saying there uk legal so ihope they come. I also asked if they would be sent to a local gun shop for me to collect and do they require to see my licence before they send out the order. So I’m waiting to hear back from them now. But talking to my brother who also has guns told me that the fbi could get involved an contact uk police. So now im starting to worry a little as i only wanted these for practicing loading and unloading without using proper rounds as i also have a friend that want to learn and would be safer using these rounds first with him to get him use to safely loading and unloading and changing mags. Any info or help is greatly appreciated.

    • ian Smith on January 17, 2020 at 12:00 am
    • Reply

    If you apply for a license and are granted one.

    1. What measures do you need to take to store weapons at home?

    2. Once granted a license do you have to seek approval to by a particular weapon BEFORE you buy it or just notify them you have it after the purchase?

      • Ghaith on December 27, 2021 at 8:52 pm
      • Reply

      You can’t leave a bow strung all the time or it will lose draw weight and power. Therefore you are either damaging your bow by leaving it strung or taking the time to strung it in an emergency…
      Also bows aren’t like guns you can’t hold someone at bowpoint like you would at gunpoint so you can’t walk around ready to shoot someone you would have to draw the bow and aim all in the exact moment you came into view of the intruder

    • Unknown on July 31, 2019 at 1:51 am
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    Hi, i’m in a bit of a pickle and might need a shotgun to defend myself with. I don’t particularly like the idea of stabbing someone in the eye with a bic or screwdriver, or using ‘the old bill’ who quite frankly are about as useful as a paper machete. Police these days only really understand crimes, suspects, and identification which is not really very helpful if you are dead. The trouble is that I have a mental health diagnosis and obtaining a license would be a bit of a non-starter. I can assure you however that I am not a nutter, and have the same rights as anyone else to defend myself, with lethal force if necessary. I am a firm believer that the people who need guns most of all are those with mental health difficulties because they cannot resist a very corrupt system with the same impunity as those without a diagnosis.

    I mean, beatings, lobotomies, ECT, unrestricted incarceration, and I can’t own a gun?

      • Stickin_my_ore_in on December 5, 2019 at 3:37 am
      • Reply

      RE: Unknown on July 31, 2019 at 1:51 am

      Nobody can own a shotgun (or any gun) for self-defense purposes, only sporting or vermin control purposes. You should probably take martial arts or self-defense classes instead. Also, lobotomies haven’t been used since the dark ages as far as I know… Quote: “Lobotomy is rarely, if ever, performed today, and if it is, “it’s a much more elegant procedure,” Lerner said. “You’re not going in with an ice pick and monkeying around.” The removal of specific brain areas (psychosurgery) is only used to treat patients for whom all other treatments have failed.” So it would seem your fear is unfounded in that regard.

      A friend of mine has a tattoo on his wrist that reads “you’re only disappointed” because he suffers from an anxiety disorder and used to get stressed out when doing everyday things like shopping; not being able to find a product or service he wanted would make him angry and stressed leading to shouting at staff in shops and being thrown out by security or police. The tattoo reminds him that he’s only disappointed and shouldn’t get himself worked up about the situation but rather move on and try somewhere else. I admire his coping strategy as I think a lot of us can blow things out of proportion in our minds at some time or another, just remember that the chances are that you’re only disappointed and that’s OK.

      • Tom on January 14, 2021 at 4:24 pm
      • Reply

      You are a nutter

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