However many, if not all PCP airguns and some modern springers are capable of exceeding this UK power limit innocently by something as simple as pellet type or (in the case of PCPs) the hammer valve needing adjustment after bedding in, not to mention the fact that they could be just as easily illegally uprated by criminals.

With the addition of AT (anti tamper) being fitted to PCPs the job of keeping an airgun UK legal is made more difficult especially when AT is not a legal requirement.

So seeing that thousands of innocent, law abiding citizens own/possess/use air rifles under 12ft/lbs energy, what’s to stop them being prosecuted in court if they ever get their guns tested by the police for whatever reason and are told their airgun is ‘capable’ of 12ft/lbs+?

Apologies for the long question but it’s one we feel needs an answer and no one seems willing to comment from the Airgun magazines who are all in bed with the industry.

David Frost
The reason you don’t get a clear-cut answer is because this subject has so many grey areas.

It is quite possible, for the reasons you outlined, that you could innocently find yourself in possession of an airgun whose energy slightly exceeded 12ft/lb (or 6ft/lb in the case of a pistol).

Even some error in manufacture could put a gun slightly over the limit, though others of the same model or even the same batch are below it.

To an extent you are dependent on the skill of the manufacturer in delivering a rifle that is legal but maximises the power, which may legitimately be used.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that there is little public interest in the police going around testing individual guns unless they have a good reason to believe that a particular gun may be breaking the law.

Such testing is far from routine and has to be done by a specialist forensic laboratory.

The best advice I can give is that you should use your airgun in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and carry out whatever maintenance he may recommend.

After that it is to an extent in the lap of the gods but unless you are deliberately setting out to sail close to the wind (which I don’t recommend) I doubt if you’ll encounter any problems.