Air Rifle Codes Of Practice

British Association for Shooting & conservation

BASC 3rd January 2011 Revised February 2011 in association with ACPO


It is estimated that there are four million air rifles in the UK, the vast majority of which are used in a safe and responsible manner. This code offers guidance to those who shoot with them. 


The most important rule of gun handling is:





Above all, safety is the most important consideration. Always know where the muzzle of your air rifle is pointing and NEVER point it in an unsafe direction. Whenever you shoot, make sure you know where the pellet is going to end up before you pull the trigger.

18 Years

If you are 18 years or older there are no restrictions on buying an air rifle & ammunition, & you can use it wherever you have permission to shoot.


14 – 17 Years

It is illegal to sell an air rifle or ammunition to a person under 18 years of age. You can borrow an air rifle & ammunition, use an air rifle, without supervision, on private premises where you have permission.


You cannot buy or hire an air rifle, or ammunition, or receive one as a gift. Your air rifle & ammunition must be bought & looked after by someone over 18, normally your parent, guardian or some other responsible adult. You cannot have an air rifle in a public place unless you are supervised by somebody aged 21 or over, & you have a reasonable excuse to do so (eg. while on the way to a shooting ground). 


14 and under

 You can use an air rifle under supervision on private premises with permission from the occupier - normally the owner or tenant. The person who supervises you must be at least 21 years old.

You cannot buy, hire or receive an air rifle or its ammunition as a gift, or shoot, without adult supervision. Parents or guardians who buy an air rifle for use by someone under 14 must exercise control over it at all times, even in the home or garden.    


The BASC (British Association For Shooting And Conservation) Ideal Is.

That all who shoot conduct themselves according to the law and to the highest standards of safety, sportsmanship and courtesy, with full respect for their quarry and a practical interest in wildlife conservation and the countryside.


Never guess at what the law allows. If in doubt, contact BASC or your local police firearms licensing department.


BASC gratefully acknowledges the endorsement of this code by the Association of Chief Police Officers. BASC is a representative body for sporting shooting.