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Airsoft - The Law

Airsoft - The Law

Back in 2015 came the first stirrings of changes to how ‘lethality’ in law was going to be defined. For most gun sports, this isn’t too much of an issue, but people in the airsoft industry and the wider airsoft community realised that they would be on the front line of any battles concerning this topic. From the moment that the consultation took place, a huge effort was made to mitigate the potentially devastating effects that it would have on the activity.

So let’s get to the facts that we know…

What is the 2017 Policing and Crime Act?

The act is a far reaching piece of legislation that has been granted Royal assent recently; a particular section has some substantial implications for UK Airsoft players.

What does it mean for UK Airsoft?

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The 2017 PCA has laid down in UK law the maximum muzzle energy limits for airsoft replicas, specifically:

  • Any airsoft replica that is capable of fully automatic fire cannot exceed 1.3-Joules of muzzle energy (This equates to ~370 feet per second with a 0.20g airsoft BB)
  • Any airsoft replica that is capable of only semi-automatic fire or is a bolt action cannot exceed 2.5-Joules of muzzle energy (This equates to ~520 fps with a 0.20g airsoft BB)
What are the penalties for exceeding these limits?

For a fully automatic airsoft replica, the penalties are severe, as under the PCA, fully automatic replicas that exceed 1.3 Joules become Section 5 firearms; unlawful possession of which is a serious criminal offence, which can lead to a prison sentence if convicted. For semi-auto or bolt action airsoft replicas, under the PCA, exceeding 2.5-Joules means that they become subject to the same rules as air rifles, so firing them at a person becomes a criminal act.

What can players do to stay within the law?

For players who use auto electric guns (AEGs) it is your responsibility to ensure that your replicas are under the limit, get it chronographed, and if needed, get it downgraded, the penalties are such that it is simply not something to ignore. For players who use gas powered or High Pressure Air (HPA) replicas, it’s a little more complicated due to the features of HPA and the fact that gases behave very differently based on environmental conditions, specific details are still being worked out.

Check out the UKAPU Facebook page for more details https://www.facebook. com/UKAPU/ and please be sure to support them, along with UKARA, as they continue to protect our rights as airsofters.

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