Sound Moderators

​Section 57(1) Firearms Act 1968 defines a "firearm". See What is a firearm?

It should be noted that this definition includes "any accessory to any such weapon, designed or adapted to diminish the noise or flash caused by firing the weapon".

This "accessory" is generally known as a moderator or "silencer" and is subject to certificate control. Thus, first acquire and then possess a moderator you will need to have the authority on your firearm certificate, the same as you would for any firearm. You cannot legally possess a moderator unless you have the authority on your firearm certificate.

As with any other requirement for a firearm you will need to satisfy good reason. Every application for a moderator, as with any firearm, will be treated on its own merit, but if you feel you need one, then it should be included on your application.

There are a number of rifles that have built-in sound moderators whereby the moderator is a permanent fixture of the rifle and therefore separate authorisation is not required. However, an applicant would still need to fulfil the "good reason" requirement for such a firearm.

If you wish to request this type of rifle it is advised that your application should read along the lines of:

" ... .22 rifle with integral sound moderator ... "

It is an arguable point that moderators for full bore rifle are of questionable effectiveness in reducing disturbance to quarry, but can confuse them by diffusing the directional report of the rifle. They may though be appropriate for reducing hearing damage of the shooter or reduce noise disturbance for example during deer control in urban parks. However, an applicant will be expected to demonstrate "good reason" for noise reduction before approval to acquire such an item is given.


It is advised that sound moderators on air weapons (excluding those deemed as specially dangerous - exceed 12ft lbs kenetic energy) or section 2 shotguns are not considered to be component parts of a firearms.