Applying for your first Shotgun Licence 

How do I go about it?

In the first instance you need to apply via your local Police Force. Most forces this is done on line, just search on the web using the terms "Shotgun Application (Followed by the county you live in)". 

On receipt of your application the Police will do their various background checks before coming out to Interview you, they may also want to talk to anyone else who lives with you, over the age of eighteen. This is simply to make sure no one  has any objection to you having a license or shotguns in the house.

The Police Official who will come out and interview you is known as a Firearms Enquiry Officer (FEO). Once they have completed their enquiries, they will comeback to inspect the security arrangements, that they require you to have, essentially a gunsafe. They are likely to have your license with them when they do this, which you will be required to sign immediately.

The entire process varies dramatically from one Police Force area to another, we recomend that you check out your Police Forces website to get a better idea.

Your license will last for five years, unless it is revoked during that time, at renewal the process is very similar to above, and you should apply for your renewal at least three months prior to your renewal date. If you’re existing license runs out prior to your new license being granted you will be required to transfer or surrender your shotguns to a license holder, Registered Firearms Dealer until such time as your new license is granted

Not all Police Forces are the same and they review and change their processes from time to time so the above should be taken as a guide only.

Am I likely to be approved for a Shotgun License?

It is probably easier to state the circumstances as dictated by Law.

If you have been sentenced to imprisonment, detention or corrective training for a term of three years or more, you are permanently prohibited from having any firearms or ammunition in your possession. This means for life and includes all firearms, even air weapons.

If you have been sentenced to imprisonment, detention or corrective training for a period of over three months but less than three years you are prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition for five years from date of your release.

When you apply for your license you must disclose all convictions including motoring and anything that you have been convicted of abroad.

You will not be considered a danger to the public or have intemperate habits; you will be of sound mind and be trustworthy and have good reason to possess a shotgun, in the eyes of your local Police Force

If you have a “past” this does not automatically mean the Police will refuse your application, other than the aforementioned reasons.

What can I expect when the Firearms Enquiry Officer comes to interview me?

As mentioned before all Police Forces are not the same so this should be taken as a guide.

You should be able to answer the most obvious question, why you are applying for a Shotgun License; you should also be able to demonstrate that you have some understanding about shotguns. This will cover safety and security aspects of shotguns as well as their use.

The governing body of Clay Pigeon Shooting in the UK is the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association (CPSA) and they run various courses that can help you gain knowledge and understanding of all these aspects. The FEO will expect you to have done research and learning, and that the application has not just been completed on a whim. You may like to do some background reading.

You should be able to answer questions about your past, remember, they may already know the answers to the questions, and they would not be interviewing you in the first place if they were going to refuse you, so be honest.

What security measures do I have to put in place?

Once again, different Police Forces will have slightly different views and the property where you live could also have an impact, flats may be viewed as a higher risk than a detached house, equally living in a built up area may have different risk to a rural location.

You will need a Gunsafe built to British Standard 7558, (OR provide the details of other security arrangements be it a another Licence Holder or a Club)

In the case of a cabinet at home it must be attached securely to internal brickwork where it needs to be  out of sight and this must be attached securely to an outside or supporting wall. The safe needs to be placed out of sight, such as under stairs, in the loft or at the back of a walk in wardrobe.

The placement of such in an out building such as a garage or other building outside of the house is generally not permitted.

Your guns must be kept in the safe at all times, when they are in your house, and only you, the license holder, may have keys to that safe. You must keep the keys with you at all times, you have a duty of care and to allow anyone else access, who does not possess a license, you would be failing in your duty and give possible reason for your license to be revoked.

When carrying your gun in your car it should be out of sight, and if you need to leave your car unattended for any period of time you should lock your car and take part of the gun with you, possibly the fore-end or stock. You have to take all reasonable care to make sure your gun can not fall into the wrong hands in any circumstances.

What type of gun should I buy?

There are many manufacturers of shotguns and each manufacturer have their own unique selling points. The right gun for you will depend upon your stature, whether you are looking to shoot game or clays. So it is important to take these into account and take the right advice.

Other aspects will be your own budget and possibly the aesthetics of the gun itself. Don’t rush into making a decision, take advice and where possible try the gun before you buy. All new guns will last a lifetime, if you take care of it, and spending more money does not mean that you will hit any more targets.

We will also show you how to clean and take care of your new gun purchased in store. 

Click here for further advice on buying your first shotgun.  

Should I have lessons?

Yes, it is important that you know the basics, a good grounding in safe gun handling,  as well as providing a good foundation as you progress. All too often people will buy a gun and shoot hundreds of rounds and miss more than they hit. Good instruction is an invaluable investment and receiving the right coaching and education provides a massive reward on your new found hobby.

As your shooting improves it is likely you will plateau or come across nemesis targets, then is the time to book a further coaching session. Many clubs will offer a series of lessons to take you through those early days, always remember to practice in-between.


It is vital to carry insurance, this is something you can arrange independently through brokers, or through the CPSA or BASC

If you would like any further information or guidance then please do not hesitate to contact us 01234 708893

Are You Having Difficulty Obtaining Medical Evidence for your New or the Renewal of your Shotgun Certificate

The introduction of medical evidence to New Applications and Renewals in certain cases can prove difficult for the following reasons

  • You GP simply refuses to do it
  • Your GP Practice no longer does reports
  • You consider they are charging too much
  • The predicted turn around is too long

There are numerous reasons why your GP may choose not to or delay the completion of the medical report, unfortunately this is now a requirement for your Application or Renewal to be processed.

There are a number of options available to you, both the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, have put measure in place for its members.

In addition have been specifically set up for this very purpose. They can been reached through