How To Buy Your First Airsoft Gun In The UK
Buying an airsoft gun is a little bit more complicated than popping to the shop for a pint of milk. There are a number of laws and regulations to take into consideration. So, before you run out and buy your first airsoft gun, make sure you know the score.
What the law says
The sale of airsoft guns was enveloped within the Violent Crimes Reduction Act 2006 (VCRA). While not specifically referring to airsoft guns, the Violent Crime Reduction Act considers them realistic imitation firearms (RIFs). A RIF is any object that could be perceived as a weapon, whether it can fire anything or not. This includes everything from guns made of foam to novelty lighters to actual airsoft guns. To differentiate the legitimate sale and ownership of an airsoft gun, a defence has been put in place. This allows airsoft guns to be sold and owned under specific circumstances. Due to the manner in which this defence was granted and the disparate and varied circumstances under which a defence is given, the airsoft industry was asked to be self policing. There is no centralised scheme or membership system that is fully recognised by authorities across the board. To protect themselves from the scrutiny of the law, many retailers require their customers to be members of a body that records their airsoft activity. This shows the retailer that their customer has a legitimate reason to purchase an airsoft gun and will not use it illegally.
Here at Socom Tactical, we encourage our customers to register with UKARA – the United Kingdom Airsoft Retailers Association. UKARA was formed to help players and retailers operate a safe means of RIF sales for the benefit of the airsoft community. The UKARA database keeps a record of all participating Airsoft players and game sites and allows retailers to confirm player participation easier, for free. This protects retailers from the VCRA and allows them to sell you the airsoft guns and accessories you need.
Who can buy an airsoft gun?
You can only buy a realistic imitation firearm under the following circumstances:
- You must be over 18
- You are an airsofter with membership of an insured skirmish site
- You are a member of a properly insured historical re-enactment group or society
- You are a film, television or theatre production company
- You are (or are acting on behalf of) a museum
- You are a Crown Servant in pursuance of specific and relevant Crown duties
If you don’t meet these criteria, you can still buy an airsoft gun, but one who’s principle colour is significantly different from that of a real firearm. At Socom Tactical, we are able to provide two-tone firearms if required. If you have any questions about how to purchase an airsoft gun, get in touch or visit us in store.