There are a few fundamental laws surrounding playing airsoft in the UK and its worth familiarising yourself with them as its surprisingly easy to get into trouble or even prosecuted if you dont know the law.
UKARA stands for United Kingdom Airsoft retailers association and was originally formed in response to the 2006 violent crime reduction bill where the aim was to enable the safe and secure method of supplying realistic imitation fire arms ( otherwise known as RIF'S ) to airsoft players.
Essentially it is one big data base of every airsoft player in the UK that enables an imitation gun retailer to identify if a person is eligible to purchase an imitation weapon.
There are several reasons (also known as defences ) that an individual may want to purchase an imitation airsoft gun.
In no particular order these are
1, You simply want them to plink cans or target shoot.
2, You enjoy a regular skirmish at your local airsoft centre.
3, If you are a member of a TV or film crew.
2, Part of a reenactment society.
3, A museum curator.
4, You are a registered member of UKARA
Outside of these defences anyone can still purchase an airsoft gun providing they are 18 years old or over and the gun is two toned meaning one of its primary colours is not military ie blue or orange.
How To Get A UKARA License
The simplest way to obtain a UKARA defence is to visit a recognised skirmish site 3 times or more over a 56 day or 8 week period or greater. The site is then able to issue you with the appropriate paperwork which is to be passed to a registered retailer such as Airsoft world who can then submit this to the UKARA database.
You do not need to skirmish in order to purchase a RIF, you may just want to target shoot and in which case you can still obtain an airsoft gun providing it is sprayed in two tone colours and you are over the age of 18.
A company like Patrol base will be able to do this for you on request and for a small fee.
These laws are in place for very good reason and its worth remembering that if caught transporting an imitation weapon the police have every right to stop, search and confiscate said weapon.
Generally speaking, in the UK the police force (unless specially trained) are not taught to recognise the difference between a real gun and an imitation airsoft gun. As a result if a member of the public were to report someone seen with what looks like a real gun an armed police unit unit would be deployed.
If at this point you are lucky enough to get away without being shot you potentially face fines of thousands of pounds and up to five years imprisonment.