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When buying a gun how can I tell if it’s in proof?

I have seen a few guns advertised locally, but I have to confess I am concerned about the possibility of buying something that’s not safe.

Mike George
When buying a gun “in proof” and “bearing a current proof mark” can mean two entirely different things.

A proof mark is somewhat like an MOT certificate on a car, in that all it means is that it was safe on the day it was examined.

However, unlike a current MOT, a proof mark could be many years old.

If you have these doubts you can do one of two things: you can buy only from a registered firearms dealer, or you can take a private-sale gun to a gunsmith for a safety check before you part with your cash.

If you take the latter course, expect the gunsmith to make a charge for an expert examination, which will include checking that the gun closes tightly and safely, and that the barrels are free from dents and bulges and that they are not worn beyond safe limits.

You should also bear in mind when buying a gun that it’s illegal to sell an out-of-proof and dangerous gun, and this applies to individuals as well as to the trade.