At some point in your Clay Pigeon shooting experience, you’ll probably want to buy a gun – and to do that, you’ll need to obtain a Shotgun Certificate from your local police force – have put together a handy guide to completing the form – and getting your application processed without too much stress.

Checklist before starting

  • Current application form : you can download one at this link
  • 4 passport style photographs
  • An envelope to send off your application
  • £50 – at time of writing (Feb 2011)
  • Security – in most cases, you will need to have installed a gun safe at home – please refer to our guide for buying and installing a shotgun safe. The police WILL NOT issue your Shotgun certificate until they are satisfied that your shotgun will be held securely.


On receipt of your application, the Police force will make checks to see if you have any previous convictions. It is important to ensure all details of Part A, Questions 1 – 16 of the form are fully completed to ensure this can be done. All previous convictions must be declared on the applications form. It is an offence under Section 28A(7) of the Firearms Act 1968-1997 to make a false declaration when answering this question. It is not permitted to withhold any previous convictions by virtue of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1975 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (see note 4 on the application form). If the exact dates cannot be remembered give an approximations as well as the nature of the offence. Not all convictions are relevant but the offender’s age when they were committed and the length of time without re-offending are factors which are considered in addition to the seriousness of the offence.

Applicants who satisfy enquiries will normally be visited at home by a police officer. The Officer will discuss the application and proposed security arrangements. This officer will report to the Chief Officer of Police after his visit and if your application is approved, the certificate will be granted. If your security was installed and the officer inspected it on his visit, the certificate can be posted to you. If your security has not been installed, your certificate will be hand delivered by a Police Officer who will hand you your certificate once he is satisfied your security has been installed correctly.


Renewal of a shotgun certificate us £40, a police office will only be required to visit if there has been a change in circumstances (for instance moving house)

Completing your form

Part A:

  • Questions 1 to 13 This section must be completed with your personal details.
  • Question 14 Please refer to the notes on the shotgun Application Form.
  • Questions 15 to 16 These sections must be completed giving full details.
  • Please ensure that you sign and date the form.
Part B: 
  • Question 17 If you are applying for the GRANT or RENEWAL of a Shotgun Certificate, please give details of where, at your permanent home address, you intend to install, or your security is installed. The best method of storage to be a steel gun cabinet made to BS standards. Such cabinets should be anchored firmly to the wall or floor (both if possible) and locked by means of two good quality locks.
  • In addition to security of the weapons in the cabinet, consideration should be given to security of the cabinet keys. Experience shows that weapons are often taken from cabinets when the keys have been readily found.
  • Question 18 Give full details of any shotguns in your possession at the time of this application.
Part C:
  •  Questions 19 – 21a To be completed where applicable.
  • Question 21b If you already have a Firearm Certificate and wish to make your shotgun certificate coterminous (i.e. to expire at the same time) please complete this question. An additional four photographs are required, together with the fee of £40.00.
  • Question 21c please complete if applicable.
  • Question 22 If you have had a Shotgun Certificate refused or revoked in the past, please give the date and reason.
Part D:
  •  This section must be completed by your countersignatory. They should complete this section and sign and date it.
  • They should have known you personally for at least 2 years.
  • The countersignatory must be one of the class of persons identified in Part D on the back of the application form. The term ‘person of similar standing’ include persons whose names can be found in a public book of reference including members of professional bodies (such as architects, accountants, surveyors). Persons who hold, or have held, a regular commission in Her Majesty’s Forces or who are qualified teachers in recognised schools. An applicant’s employer may also sign if it is a well established business and the applicant is well known to him. Members of your immediate family, registered firearm dealers, serving police officers and police employees cannot act as countersignatories.
  • Once this has been completed you should then ask your countersignatory to endorse, date and sign the back of one of your photographs. You must also sign, with your usual signature, one of your photographs. Counter signatory : ‘I certify that this is a current true likeness of …………………’ & Signed & dated. Plus your signature.
Part E
  • You must read the declaration and sign and date the form.
  • If you are under the age of 17 years, your parent or guardian must sign and date the form.


  • For Grant and Renewal of Firearms Certificates you will require 4 photographs (passport type) as described in the notes on the application form. (DO NOT WRITE ON FRONT OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS)

Checklist – all the things you need to send

  • Completed form
  • Shotgun Certificate (if renewal)
  • Four identical photographs completed as above (eight photographs for Co-Terminous renewal)
  • Cheque – made payable to the police force of your application. For your security, cheques are cashed on receipt. – This does not indicate that your application has been accepted.

If part of your application is incorrect, it will be returned to you for amendment or completion, delaying your application

Send your Form to you local ‘ Firearms Licencing Unit / Department

List of UK Police Forces