Author Topic: Paintball Laws in the UK  (Read 1546 times)


  • Administrator
  • Jr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 102
    • Paintball Association (Singapore)
Paintball Laws in the UK
« on: 27 December 2010, 04:57:37 PM »
The Firearms Act and Paintball

The Home Office does not consider paintball markers to be firearms because they fire frangible ammunition which breaks up on contact rather than inflicting a penetrating injury. The paintball industry uses the Air Weapons section of the firearms act to regulate the sport. Air weapons do not need a license if they fall within the following criteria, outside this criteria a licence is required. (This is a brief summary of the main points)

For a paintball marker to be classed as an "Air Weapon" and therefore not require a licence it must not be fired above 12 ft/lbs for a "rifle" type and 6 ft/lbs for a "pistol" type. Nearly all paintball markers come under the "rifle" type, only markers like the "splatmaster" come into the "pistol" category. If a marker fires above these limits they will then come under the Firearms Act and require a licence or be classed as a prohibited weapon. The recent amendment included carbon dioxide as an approved propellant previously only compressed air was allowed. Paintball markers must also only fire approved paintballs. Paintball markers must not be fully automatic i.e. when pulling the trigger once, two or more paintballs must not be discharged.


This statement supersedes any other statement previously issued.
Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003

The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 has made a number of changes that affect firearms legislation. There are three main areas which are amended:

(1) Possession of firearms in a public place

(2) Air weapons age limits

(3) Prohibition of certain air weapons

(1) Possession of firearms in a public place

The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 Sec 37 amends Section 19 of The Firearms Act 1968, which deals with possessing certain firearms in a public place. This section now reads as follows:

A person commits an offence if, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse (the proof whereof lies on him) he has with him in a public place

(1) a loaded shotgun

(b) an air weapon (whether loaded or not)

(c) any other firearm (whether loaded or not) together with ammunition suitable for use in that firearm, or

(d) an imitation firearm.

The above is effective from 20th January 2004.

(2) Air weapon age limits

Previously, there were certain provisions, which allowed the possession of air weapons by persons over the age of 14 years. The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 Sec 38 affectively changes this age to 17 years.

It is an offence to give an air weapon, or ammunition for it, to a person under 17 years of age. It is not an offence for that young person to receive it.

It is an offence for a person under 17 years old to be in possession of an air weapon, or ammunition for it, except:

As a member of an approved club for target shooting.

Whilst at a shooting gallery where only air weapons or miniature rifles not exceeding .23 calibre are used.

Whilst shooting under the supervision of a person aged 21 years or over, on private premises, including land, provided the missile is not fired beyond those premises.

From the age of 14 years old, whilst on private premises with the consent of the owner. No supervision is required.

It is an offence for a person under 17 years of age to be in possession of an air pistol in any public place except as at (a) and (b) above.
A public place means any highway or place or premises to which, at the material time, the public have or are permitted to have access, whether on payment or otherwise. You may not have an airgun in a public place without proper reason. An airgun is deemed as loaded if there is a pellet, dart or anything else in the gun or magazine, whether cocked or not.

To stay within the law a paintball marker must not be fired above 330fps when using an average weight paintball, this equates to 12 ft/lbs. All tournament markers are restricted to a maximum velocity of 300fps, which equates to 9.9ft/lbs and site markers should be used at between 250-280fps to be safe for customers. This equates to 7ft/lbs-8.7ft/lbs.

To check your marker velocities use a chronograph.