In the UK, providing you are over 18, you can own an airgun without a licence provided it is considered ‘low powered’. In legal terms, to be exempt from licensing, an air rifle must not have a muzzle energy that exceeds 12ft/lb. In the case of an air pistol, its muzzle energy must not exceed 6ft/lb. If you own an airgun above these power limits without the relevant licence, you could face a jail sentence.
All airguns purchased from a registered firearm dealer will be guaranteed to comply with the law. If you are buying a pre-owned airgun privately, you should seek assurance that its power does not exceed the limit. Those who sell an airgun privately are strongly advised to provide this Certificate of Compliance – CoC – to assure the new owner that the airgun complies with the UK’s power limit.
Click the certificate image above to open the PDF, which you can either save to your computer or print through your browser.
Note: The energy – or power – of an airgun pellet depends on its weight and the velocity at which it is fired. A device called a chronoscope is used to measure the speed of the pellet, and very fine scales are used to establish its weight. If you don’t own a chrono or pellet scales, your local gun shop will be able to assist in establishing your airgun’s power.