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Airgun Safety

Airgun Safety

SARPA works to promote safe and responsible use of air rifles and pistols. We strongly recommend that shooters follow these common sense rules when using air guns.

  • Airguns should be stored unloaded and out of sight, with ammunition stored separately.
  • Guns and pellets should be stored under lock and key if there are children in the house.
  • Do not touch any gun without the owner's permission. If you are not sure how to operate a gun, ask the owner.
  • Always ensure the gun is safe when you pick it up, remove it from its case or storage place, or it is handed to you. This means opening the bolt or breech, removing the magazine if fitted, and checking that the gun is unloaded.
  • When you put the gun down or hand it to someone it should be in the safe condition.
  • Unless you're aiming at a target, always point the gun downrange, or towards the ground.
  • Never under any circumstances point a gun at a person.
  • Keep the gun pointing downrange when loading, and keep your finger off the trigger until you are aiming at the target and are ready to fire.
  • Only shoot at targets which have a clearly visible safe backstop, such as a solid wall or earth bank, behind them, which will catch any stray pellets. Never fire over the top of a hill.
  • Do not rely on the safety catch. You are the safety mechanism.
  • Only carry an airgun in a public place if you have good reason, such as visiting a shooting club or a farm or ground where you have permission to hunt. The gun and and any magazine must be unloaded, detachable magazines removed and the gun secured in case or cover.
  • Never display or brandish a gun in a way that could alarm or frighten people.


On the Shooting Range

  • The range is under the control of the Range Officer who will generally be a committee member or other experienced club member.
  • Only load and fire the gun at the firing line. When you put the gun down, or are away from the firing line, the gun must be unloaded, with breech open and magazine removed.
  • Do not sight or aim the gun away from the firing line, or when a ceasefire is in progress.
  • Always shoot downrange, at right angles to the firing line. Never shoot diagonally across the range.
  • One blast of the Range Officer's whistle indicates a "cease fire". On hearing this signal, discharge the gun safely into the ground, and place the gun on the ground unloaded with breech open and the magazine removed. The Range Officer will the inspect the gun to ensure it is unloaded.
  • Never cross the firing line unless authorised to do so by the Range Officer.
  • Do not resume shooting, load, aim, or shoulder the gun until the Range Officer ends the “cease fire” by sounding two whistle blasts.
  • Under-18's must be supervised at all times by a parent or guardian.


More information is available from the BASC Airgun Code of Practice