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Can I set up an air pistol target range in my garden?

A reader wonders if he can set up an air pistol target range at home. Graham Downing gives some advice.

Air pistols

Air pistols are great fun for target shooting

Would an air pistol target range at home be legal?

Q: I would like to set up a simple air pistol target range in my garage. It is a secure brick garage adjoining my house but it is only a few feet up my drive from the public road and in a suburban area. 
I understand that there are restrictions about shooting near a road. Can you please advise?

A: It is an offence to shoot within 50ft of the centre of a public highway without lawful authority or reasonable excuse if in consequence someone using the highway is injured, interrupted or endangered.

Using a backstop is crucial

I suggest you fit the end wall of your garage with a soft backstop that will catch the pellets without any 
untoward noise.

Be discreet and don’t attract attention

A large box stuffed tightly with old newspapers or magazines will do nicely. Assuming that your air pistol makes minimal noise, there should then be no reason for anyone on the road to know that you are target shooting.

Airgun backstop

Place a homemade sound muffler and solid backstop behind your target to keep your garden shooting within the law and maintain neighbourly relations.

Please make sure that you cannot be seen with an air pistol through any garage window and always ensure 
the pistol is in its carrying case when you move between your house and 
the garage.

No cause for alarm or concern

If nobody can see or hear you 
either shooting or carrying your air pistol, then you should be able to 
enjoy your target shooting discreetly and without causing alarm or concern to anyone.

Takeaways from reading this piece

  • Always make a safe backstop when shooting an air gun or pistol
  • Be discreet. Do not carry your air weapon in plain sight