Frequently Asked Questions
Can I request additional photographs of an item?
Our eShop environment places certain limits on the size of photographs that we can show. Within these set limits we always try to show a good range of different views of an item. If as a potential buyer (not just a photo collector!) you feel that you need other or more detailed photographs, we will do our best to provide these. However, it can take between 7 to 10 days for us to provide additional photos - depending what our commitments are in terms of processing orders or new stock.
What is a deactivated weapon?
A deactivated weapon is a real firearm which has been altered in such a way that it is no longer capable of discharging any bullet, missile or other projectile. UK deactivated weapons will have been submitted to one of two Proof Houses (Birmingham and London) in order to check that they have been correctly deactivated to UK specifications. If this is the case they are stamped accordingly and have a deactivation certificate issued. This clearly states what the weapon is and records its serial number. This certficate provides evidential proof that the weapon is no longer a firearm in the eyes of the law and that it is perfectly legal for an individual to own.
Who can buy or own a UK deactivated weapon?
The simple answer to this question is just about anyone who resides in mainland UK over the age of 18. However, our company policy is to only supply deactivated weapons to customers over the age of 21. Although they are legal in some other EU countries, we do not supply deactivated firearms outside the UK. Within the UK, we can only supply post 1995 deactivated weapons to customers in Northern Ireland. NO FIREARMS AUTHORITY OR CERTIFICATE IS REQUIRED FOR OWNERSHIP IN THE UK MAINLAND.
Why are deactivated weapons so expensive?
There a number of different reasons for this. Firstly, there are different standards of deactivation (see below). Submachine guns and assault rifles deactivated to the pre October 1995 standards have fully moving parts and are strippable. After this date, this type of weapon had to be welded solid. As there is now a limited supply of these pre 1995 deactivated SMGs and assault rifles (mainly in private collections), they command high prices. We have to pay more for them and as a result, so do you. Due to the UK pistol ban, the supply of modern pistols is also somewhat limited. Nearly all of the modern pistols deactivated and sold in the UK come from Europe; next to nothing is imported from the US. Pistols bought direct from the manufacturer are very expensive; particularly Beretta and SIG Sauer manufactured items. As with any importation there are a range of costs which add to the final price of the item. These include currency fluctuations, import taxes and transport costs. Due to the nature of such items, secure transport is very costly. Once a weapon has been brought into the UK, it then has to be deactivated and proofed. The combined cost of this can range from about £40 to £100 depending on who does the work. The cheapest deactivated weapons tend to those acquired from military surplus stocks. These are less individual pieces and condition may vary significantly as they are usually purchased by dealers in bulk and then sold to other dealers such as ourselves. Inevitably, particularly rare items (irrespective of when they were deactivated), command higher prices; this is no different from any other collector driven trade.
In addition to the above factors, we are taxed just as every other legitimate company is. In particular, VAT is a major issue due to the high value of our products.
Deactivation standards differ between different types of weapon and also depending on when the deactivation was carried out. This reflects certain changes in the law. The following gives a general outline of the work carried out on the main categories of weapons during the deactivation process.
Pistols - current legislation requires that the barrel has a slot cut into it, the rifling is removed from the barrel apart from the last cm or so, a hardened pin or rod is welded in the chamber entrance, the locking lugs on barrels are ground away, the feed ramp is milled back, the frame rails are weakened, the ejector is ground back, the locking lugs inside the slide are ground down, the breech face is ground back and the firing pin is ground back or at times removed. Where deactivation has been done by a skilled professional, none of this work will be visible with the slide locked forward and very little of it with the slide locked back. Deactivated pistols have a full working action and can be fully field stripped. There are no major differences in pistols deactivated pre 1995 apart from the fact that some, but not all, do not have a pin welded in the barrel and they can therefore chamber inert rounds. However, it should be noted that even where this is the case, many of these pistols do not chamber inert rounds correctly because the feed ramp has been cut and the breech face provides no support for the round. March 2011 Update - The specification for pistols has been tightened as follows: all barrels must have a hardened steel pin across the chamber entrance AND a hardened steel rod welded along the barrel length (apart from the last 1 to 2 cm); aditionally firing pin channels must be sealed with weld at the breech face.
Revolvers - current legislation requires that revolvers have a hardened steel pin welded into the chamber entrance of the barrel, the barrel has the rifling removed as above, the cylinder has a large section milled out of the middle and a steel ring welded in place, the breech face is milled away and the firing pin is ground back or removed completely. Deactivated revolvers have a full working action and can be fully field stripped with the exception of the barrel. Pre 95 deactivated revolvers do differ from post 95 versions in that the cylinder chambers are left clear and will accept inert rounds. March 2011 Update - The specification for revolvers has been tightened as follows: all barrels must have a hardened steel pin across the chamber entrance AND a hardened steel rod welded along the barrel length (apart from the last 1 to 2 cm); aditionally firing pin channels must be sealed with weld at the breech face, i.e. where they protrude through the revolver frame.
Bolt Action Rifles - current legislation requires that the barrel is slotted for the majority of its covered length and has a hardened steel rod welded in the bore, the barrel is pinned and welded to the receiver, or the above slot is taken right through the receiver, the chamber entrance is pinned and welded or the barrel rod extends right to the chamber entrance, the bolt is cut back at around 45 degrees and the firing pin is ground back. There is no difference between post and pre 95 deactivation standards. Both types have full working actions and can be fully stripped apart from the barrel. March 2011 Update - The specification for bolt action rifles has been tightened as follows: firing pin channels must be sealed with weld on the bolt face.
Pump Action Shotguns - current legislation requires that the barrel is slotted for the majority of its covered length and has a hardened steel bar welded in the bore, the barrel and magazine tube is pinned and welded to the receiver through the chamber entrance, the bolt is cut back at around 45 degrees and the firing pin is ground back. There is no difference between post and pre 95 deactivation standards. Both types have full working actions and can be fully stripped apart from the barrel. March 2011 Update - The specification for pump action shotguns has been tightened as follows: firing pin channels must be sealed with weld on the bolt face.
Double Barrelled Shotguns - current legislation requires that the barrels are slotted for the majority of their covered length and have hardened steel bars welded in the bores, the breech faces are milled out and firing pins are ground back or removed. At times the extractor/ejector is also removed. There is no difference between post and pre 95 deactivation standards. Both types have full working actions and can be fully stripped. March 2011 Update - The
specification for double barrelled shotguns has been tightened as follows: on box lock guns
firing pin channels must be sealed with weld on the breech face. On hammer guns, firing pins must be removed and
the firing pin channels sealed with weld.
Sub-machine Guns - there are significant differences between pre and post 1995 deactivated SMG. Post-95 deacts are generally welded solid, i.e. barrel is slotted and has a hard steel rod welded in, the barrel is pinned and welded to the receiver or the barrel slot passes into the receiver and the two are welded together, the chamber entrance is pinned and welded or the barrel rod extends into the chamber, the feed ramp is destroyed, the firing pin is destroyed, return and other springs are removed, the bolt (or a dummy replacement) is ground right back and welded to the receiver and or barrel in the closed position and the trigger mechanism is ground back or weakened and filled with weld. On some post-95 deacts the cocking handle can be moved (without moving the bolt) and the trigger or fire selector have limited movement. Pre-95 deacts have similar work done to the barrel and receiver, but the bolt (although ground back) is able to move to the rear. Additionally, the trigger mechanisms are left largely intact and the whole deactivated weapon is capable of a dry firing action. Pre-95 deacts are not capable of chambering inert rounds. They can be field stripped apart from the barrel. March 2011 Update - The specification for SMGs has been tightened as follows: no part of the bolt may be left free to move; it must be welded in place in one piece (with the usual grinding back having been completed first). Additionally a ring or other structure must be welded into the back of the receiver to prevent the bolt from being withdrawn.
Assault Rifles - the specifications are largely as for SMG. However, gas assemblies are also often removed from both pre and post 95 deacts. On some post 95 deacts the flash hiders are also pinned and welded in place.
Light Machine Guns - specifications for these are largely the same for pre and post 95 deacts and are similar to those for assault rifles. BOTH types have fully moving parts and can be fully field stripped apart from the barrel (and flash hiders on post 95 deacts). The definition of a LMG for the purposes of deactivation and proofing is that it has a bipod - normally, it would be expected that this it a factory fitted bipod (usually to the barrel or front furniture) and is not simply an add on. March 2011 Update - The specification for LMGs has been tightened as follows: only LMGs on a pre-determined and published list will be accepted for deactivation with fully moving parts. All others must be welded solid. Those LMGs which share parts with assault rifles must be welded solid, e.g. RPK's.
Medium and Heavy Machine Guns - the work done on these is similar to a pre 95 SMG, Assault Rifle or LMG. They have fully moving parts and can be field stripped apart from the barrel. March 2011 Update - The specification for HMGs has been tightened as follows: only HMGs on a pre-determined and published list will be accepted for deactivation with fully moving parts. All others must be welded solid.
Rocket Launchers, Mortars, etc. - these are generally deactivated with mostly if not fully moving parts. All of the usual work is done regarding slotting and filling the barrel, grinding back firing pins, etc.
Bolt Action Only Assault Rifles - despite the fact that these look like assault rifles, any weapon which has been designed and manufactured as bolt action only is subject to the deactivation standards for BAO and not that of assault rifles. This means that it may have fully moving parts. Hence, there are retailers offering M4 Carbines deactivated recently, but with fully moving parts. This is completely legal.
All of the weapons above, when deactivated should have clear proof house stamps and will be issued with a certificate. At times, as with any piece of paper, certificates do go missing. In this situation, it is still perfectly legal to sell, purchase and own a deactivated weapon as long as the proof markings are clearly visible and the item has not been altered to bring it 'out of proof'.
Sound Suppressors - these are considered as firearms in their own right and as such are not legal for persons without the correct authority to own. They can be deactivated, but there is no set standard for how this should be done. Even if there were, there is no proofing process applicable to them. As a bare minimum in the deactivation of a silencer, the baffles would be removed and destroyed and a pin or rod permanently fixed into the bore.
Parts of Guns - there is no deactivation standard for parts of guns, e.g. barrels, receivers, frames, slides, bolts, trigger mechanisms, etc. There is some ambiguity in this area with regard to the law, but all of these items are considered restricted items.