I recently bought an air rifle from the us and want to take it with me to the UK. How could I take it or ship it?

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    Have you looked into whether it is legal under UK law for you to possess your air rifle in the UK?
    – phoog
    Sep 1, 2017 at 22:19

1 Answer 1


There are number of elements to your query: exiting the US by air, governed by TSA regulations and those of the carrier and, subsequently, entry into the UK and the UK governing laws and regulations.

TSA guidance on

Compressed Air Guns

Carry On Bags: No
Checked Bags: Yes (Special Instructions)

Including paintball markers, may be carried in checked baggage without compressed air cylinder attached.

An excerpt from an article by Mike Zhang, owner of Airsoft Megastore, offers advice on what to do, and what to expect.

The most important thing to know when traveling by plane is that all guns are treated equally - airsoft guns, real guns, and even paintball guns are treated with the same level of severity and security.

Current regulations state that all arms (this includes all airsoft equipment) can be taken onboard the airplane, but must be packed in your checked luggage. That means you cannot have any guns, airsoft pellets, canisters or anything else in your carry-on luggage. Storing these items in luggage that you intend to carry onto the plane and have access to throughout the flight will result in some pretty unpleasant face-time with the TSA agents. Not to mention the risk of missing your flight!

It is also necessary to declare your gun (airsoft or otherwise) at the ticketing counter as any undeclared arms that are found in checked baggage will be considered a threat and may result in damage to your luggage or at worst, your arrest. Stored weapons that will be dispatched in checked luggage will be identified by specific tags on the bag or suitcase.

Additionally, pump and spring airsoft shotguns must be dismantled before being packed away in your luggage and all CO2 canisters must be emptied and detached from the gun. To check whether your gun is allowed onboard the plane, check the TSA site and be sure to talk to your carrier as each airline has their own rules.

Importing Realistic Imitation Firearms (UK Border Agency) BASC Air Rifle Code of Practice

Gov.UK Guidance

Realistic imitation firearms, which are imitation firearms that appear so realistic that you cannot easily tell that they are not real, can only be imported into the UK in certain circumstances. See further information for more details.

Section 36 The Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 (Specification for Imitation Firearms) Regulations 2011

Anyone 18 years of age or over may buy an Airsoft BB Gun without any background checks. If you are buying online you will be required to tick a box to confirm that you are 18 years of age or over. If you are buying from our shop or from our stand at a show we may need to see ID for age confirmation.

Since October 2007 you can only buy a realistic imitation firearm (one that looks like a real gun i.e. black) if you meet one of the following conditions:

  • You have a current UKARA membership http://www.ukara.org.uk
  • You are a member of a fully 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 your Crown duties

Legal Air Rifle & Air Gun Law | What Is The UK Law

Transporting airguns

Anyone over 18 years of age can transport their air rifle or pistol, however, all airguns should be transported in a securely fastened case – this case must prevent the air gun from being freely picked up and fired.

The gun cannot be cocked and ready to fire.

The gun cannot be loaded with a pellet (whether cocked or not).

  • 1
    The law as to what is legal for air guns varies slightly in different parts of the UK, Scotland now has a separate Licencing system.airweapon.scot
    – Sarriesfan
    Sep 7, 2017 at 1:34

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