Articles | Air Gun Law

Purchasing Air Guns & Ammunition in the UK

The laws concerning the purchase of air guns and ammunition are as follows:

You must be over the age of 18 in order to purchase air guns and ammunition, but you do not require a firearms licence so long as the power is not greater than the UK legal limit, which is 12 foot pounds of force (12 ftlb) for air rifles, and 6 foot pounds (6ftlb) for air pistols.

Air Guns & Young Persons.

Persons under the age of 14 can only use an air gun whilst under the direct supervision and control of someone over the age of 21, whilst on private property with the permission of the owner of the premises. A person aged between 14 and 18 can use an air gun on private property with the owners permission, without supervision. They may not possess an air rifle or air pistol in a public place even if it is in a securely fastened gun cover so that it cannot be fired. An air rifle or air pistol can only be carried in a public place by someone over 18, and it must be unloaded and in a securely fastened case.

Public Places & Highways.

You cannot carry an air gun in a public place without proper reason for doing so, e.g. travelling to and from a place where you have the right to shoot. The gun must be unloaded, and in a case which is securely fastened. A gun is loaded if there is a pellet or any form of projectile in it, including a magazine. The magazine must not be in the gun and it must be empty for the gun to be unloaded.

It is an offence to fire an airgun within 50 feet of the centre of a public highway. This applies even if you are on private property adjacent to the highway. Public highways include roads, bridleways and public footpaths.


If you go on to any land, including over water and in buildings, without permission you are trespassing. If you have an air gun with you it is classed as "armed trespass" which is a serious criminal offence, whether the gun is loaded or not.

Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.

All birds and animals are protected by law.

Certain species are classified as pests or vermin, and only these species can be legitimately shot. This can only be done by authorised persons. An authorised person is someone who has the proper permission from the land owner to control pests on that land.

Air Gun Prey.

The following pests are concidered suitable for controlling using an air weapon.The UK law is 12ftlb for a rifle and 6ftlb for a pistol.

  • Brown Rat.
  • Grey squirrel.
  • Rabbit.
  • Crow.
  • Rook.
  • Magpie.
  • Jay.
  • Wood pigeon.
  • Collared dove.
  • Feral pigeon.
  • House mouse.