If you want to posses, buy or acquire ammunition and any gun other than a shotgun then you will need a firearms certificate. If you already have a shotgun certificate then you’ll find the process for obtaining a firearms certificate is quite similar. To get one, simply obtain the correct form and complete it (you can find it here), then send to your local police station with four passport photographs and a cheque enclosed to pay the fee of £88.

Firearm certificates are generally granted for rifles required for sports/vermin or target shooting, however you’ll need the details of two non-family members who have agreed to act as a referee for you and you must also have a ‘Good Reason’ for all firearms that you wish to possess. This may be evidenced by letter from the owner of land upon which you have authority to shoot and/or proof of full membership of a Home Office approved gun club. In respect of renewals, ‘Good Reason’ will be shown through regular use of all firearms possessed. We recommend downloading the Home Office Firearms Guidance pack before you start the process, as this is what the police use to base their decision on.

Most people begin with a rimfire in .22 or .17HMR for rabbiting or vermin control and it’s likely the police would encourage you to start in this way. Of course, if you are after a rifle for deer stalking in England you will need something over .240 and the majority of stalkers in the UK choose either a .243 and/or a .308. Some forces prefer the .17HR instead of the .22 because of the perceived ricochet danger of the .22.

The police will likely start you on a closed certificate, which only allows you to shoot over land you have permission to shoot on, which the chief officer of police has said is suitable for the calibre you wish to use. Later you may ask for the closed condition to be lifted, then you will be able to shoot wherever you have permission. Your licence must be renewed every 5 years.

Although formal training isn’t compulsory it is advisable and can help you get an open certificate sooner. Purdoms Training runs an introductory firearms course, see our courses page for full details including dates and costs. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us on: 0843 289 6040

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