Air rifle pellets
Air rifle pellets

What do I need?

You don’t need a firearms certificate to possess most air rifles. If you are over 18*, you can buy or borrow one, download some targets and shoot at them on land where you have permission to use your air rifle, find out how to safely create an air rifle range at home.

Firstly, you’ll need an airgun itself – there are many different types to choose from, so it’s important to do your research and find one that suits your needs and budget.

The most common starting point is a spring-powered air rifle. They are generally cheaper than PCPs and you can pick them up second-hand in good condition at very reasonable prices.

The minimal amount of recoil and simple composition of ‘springers’ will help you to develop your shooting skills, technique and accuracy. ‘Springers’ are usually break-barrels but can come with under leavers or side-leavers. If you decide to try rimfire or centrefire rifles later in your shooting career, the skills you have learnt with your air rifle will help you immensely.

PCP air rifles are gas powered, they are extremely accurate and have little, if any, recoil. They are great for learning the basic fundamentals of marksmanship but require more maintenance and tend to be more expensive than springers.

Trigger technique, shooting position, controlling your breathing, and managing recoil can be practised and developed using an air rifle in the field or on a range.

Progressing onto live quarry with an air rifle will help you develop your hunting techniques.  These skills are transferable if you decide to try deer stalking, pest control or other forms of rifle shooting.

A good way to start out would be to attend one of BASC’s Firearms Awareness or Air Rifle training courses.

Don’t forget to wear appropriate eye and ear protection when shooting and if you have an audience, they may need PPE too.

A route into other forms of shooting

Air guns are also a way to get into shooting sports. They don’t require licences*, both guns and ammunition are more affordable and you may even be able to shoot in your own garden.

If you want to progress into other shooting disciplines you have already acquired some core skills, safety and experience. If you get hooked on airguns there is plenty to explore from pest control and hunting quarry to field and target competition at local, national, international and Olympic levels… Good luck and get plinking.

*as well as being 18 you cannot be a prohibited person.