Home Office Approved Clubs and Approval

Home Office approved shooting clubs

Section 44 of The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 makes it a requirement for any person wishing to possess a rifle or muzzle loading handgun solely for target shooting, to be a member of a Home Office Approved Club.

Section 44 (1)(b) of the same Act requires an approved club to be specified on the holder's firearm certificate. However the certificate does not have to specify all the clubs the holder belongs to, only his principal approved club.

Any rifle, miniature rifle or muzzle-loading handgun club can apply to the Secretary of State, (i.e. Home Secretary via the Home Office), for approval as in accordance with Section 15(1) of The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988, as amended by Section 45 of The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997.

When a club has such approval, members of that club can possess firearms and ammunition, without holding a personal firearm certificate "when engaged as a member of that club in target shooting".

Approval also allows a free firearm certificate to be issued, by the police, to a responsible officer of that club, usually the club secretary. This allows him/her to purchase or acquire weapons and ammunition for the use of club members for target shooting. Club members may not purchase or acquire weapons or ammunition unless they hold a personal firearm certificate.

Applying for club Home Office approval

Application for club approval must be submitted on Form 124, obtainable from the Firearm Licensing Office or some shooting organisations.

If your club has, or intends to have, its own armoury for the storage of its weapons the application should be sent to the Firearms Licensing Officer which covers that area. If your club has no storage facilities, then the application should be sent to the Firearms Licensing Officer covering the area in which the club principally operates.

No fee should accompany your application at this stage. You will be invoiced for the fee, currently £84, on notice of 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 in England and Wales are forwarded by the police to:

Firearms Section (5th Floor),
Public Order & Police Co-operation Unit,
Fry Building,
2 Marsham Street,


Extent of approval

The Home Office approval will only cover target shooting with the types of firearms listed in the approval. There are three possible categories:

  • Full bore rifles
  • Small bore rifles
  • Muzzle-loading pistols


In exceptional circumstances the Home Secretary may 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 prevailing.