Criteria for Home Office Approval

​The following criteria must be satisfied before a club can be granted approval. Once granted, the same criteria become conditions of continued approval, which can be withdrawn if a club, at any time, fails to meet these conditions.

  • The club is a genuine target shooting club with a written constitution.
  • The principal officers of the club are responsible people who can be entrusted with the proper administration of the club.
  • The club has at least ten (10) members at the time of application and at all times whilst approved unless, exceptionally, the Secretary of State determines that there are special circumstances which justify a lesser number.
  • All members are of good character.
  • The club must appoint a member to act as a liaison officer with the police, and the Chief Officer of Police must have confidence that this person is providing the police with such information as they require to ensure that the activities of the club, and its members, are conducted properly and safely and give no cause for concern.
  • The club will maintain a register of the attendance of all members together with details of each visit, of the firearms which they used, and the competitions, if any, in which they took part.
  • The club will inform the police of any holder of a firearm certificate who has ceased to be a member for whatever reason.
  • The club will inform the police if any member who holds a firearm certificate has not shot with the club for a period of twelve (12) months.
  • The club will inform the police of any application for membership, giving the applicant's name, address and outcome of any application.
  • No application for full or probationary membership will be granted unless the applicant has informed the club of whether or not he/she has ever had an application for a firearm or shotgun certificate refused by the police or had such a certificate revoked.
  • Members, prospective members and guests must sign a declaration that they are not prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition by virtue of Section 21 of the Firearms Act 1968. See also What is a prohibited person?
  • The club has regular use of ranges with safety certificates for the categories of firearms in respect of which approval is being sought or granted.
  • The security arrangements for the storage of club firearms and ammunition are satisfactory.
  • The club does not run a day or temporary membership scheme.
  • The club does not have more than twelve (12) guest days a year. Guest members must be either members of a recognised outside organisation or people who are known personally to at least one full member of that club.
  • Guests must be supervised on a one to one basis at all times when handling firearms and ammunition by either a full club member or someone who is a coach with a qualification recognised by the UK or National Sports Council. The club secretary must notify each guest day to the Police Firearms Licensing Department of the area in which the guest day is to take place, at least 48 hours in advance.
  • Anyone applying for club membership must be sponsored by at least one full member of that same club.
  • Before becoming a full member, individuals must serve a probationary period of at least three (3) months, during which time they must attend and shoot regularly. The probationary member must be given a course in the safe handling and use of firearms on a one to one basis by someone who is either a full member of that club or who is a coach with a qualification recognised by the Great Britain Target Shooting Federation and governing bodies.
  • Until a probationary member has satisfactorily completed a course in the safe handling and use of firearms, he/she must be supervised at all times when in possession of firearms or ammunition, by either the range officer or a full member of that club, or someone who is a coach with a qualification recognised by the Great Britain Target Shooting Federation and/ or governing bodies.
  • The probationary period may be waived, at the club's discretion, for someone who is already a full member of another club approved for the type of weapons, or has handled firearms in the course of duty in the police or armed services, and has a statement from his/her existing or former senior officer stating that they are fully trained in handling weapons for which the club is approved, and is able to use them safely without supervision.
  • The club should never have more probationary members than full members, unless the Secretary of State determines that there are special circumstances which justify a greater number of probationary members.
  • There is nothing else that would make the club unsuitable for approval.


If approval is granted, the approval will be subject to a set of standard conditions which will reflect the approval criteria listed above. In certain cases, the Secretary of State may attach further specific conditions to a club's approval, as he sees fit.

Further Guidance on the Criteria for Home Office approval (LINK)

Variations in the terms of the criteria for approval

In exceptional circumstances, it is possible for the Home Secretary to allow some variation of the criteria, or the conditions of approval. However, he must be satisfied that it would be reasonable to do so in the exceptional circumstances which prevail.

Extending or renewing club approval

Approval lasts for six years and an application for renewal should also be made on Form 124 and submitted as above. A fee of £84 is payable, for which you will be invoiced on approval by the Home Office. Cheques, drawn on a branch of a UK bank, should be made payable to: "The Accounting Officer, Home Office."

Applications for club approval to be extended to cover additional categories of firearms should be made on Form 124, and submitted to the same Police Licensing Authority that dealt with your existing approval application. No fee is payable for such applications.