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Obtaining An FAC
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Obtaining an FAC

The process of obtaining your firearms certificate will take between four and seven months and is completed in 10 steps.

1) Locate your local rifle clubs this can be completed by contacting the NRA (details on the links page). My recommendation would be to start on smallbore, it is easier as you do not have to think about the elements taking control of the bullet so much, it is also a lot cheaper for the rifles, ammunition and accessories plus there are a lot more clubs around to accommodate your chosen sport so you will have more opportunities to practice.

2) Now you have discovered the local clubs which one will you join? The best advice is to check out their web sites and then visit the ones that you still fancy to see if you like the facilities & see if the natives are friendly.

3) Now you have chosen your club you need to register for probationary membership, this will involve signing a "section 21 form” stating that you have not been naughty in the past and paying a small fee.

4) Depending on the club rules, the frequency of your visits and a number of other factors your probationary membership will now last between three and six months, during this time your details will also be sent to the local police to see if they have any objections to your membership (confirmation of the section 21 conditions etc).

5) At the end of your probationary membership period, a committee member will propose that you are made into a full member, the rest of the committee will then consider your attendance, if you have participated in the upkeep of the club (all members of regional clubs are expected to do this) and of course, if you are considered safe with and around firearms. If no one has any objections then your full membership will be approved, this decision will be communicated to the police so that you can start on your FAC application.

6) Security:  

When purchasing your safe, remember to buy one that is twice the size that you think that you will need. You need to leave a space between rifles so that they do not scratch each other when getting them in & out. Think about scopes, most safes will not take a rifle with the scope still fitted so if you are going to get into F class eventually go for an extra deep safe.  Unless you wish to keep re decorating the safe will need to last quite a few years so it will need to cope with a growing passion as well.


Make sure that your building security is secure and you have an adequate alarm system with a dialler fitted by a competent engineer. Unfortunately due to having an alarm systems engineer as a friend I hear continual reports of him having to rip out and replace the rubbish B&Q type self fit systems after they continually wake up the neighbourhood with false alarms in the middle of the night.

7) Now what to put in the safe, you have been shooting for three to six months now so will hopefully have had a go at a few specialities & competitions,
prone target rifle,  F class  long barrel pistol  bench rest shotgun percussion revolver

and will have a record of how much ammo  you have been using each month. Experienced club members will be able to assist you with how to complete your application but it is basically a case of writing down what you need and the reasons why. As long as your request is reasonable & you have good reason for the request then you should be on safe ground. For the firearms you will need a section 1 license application (Firearms Form 101), for the shotgun you will need a Firearms Form 103, if you need to store or transport smokeless powder you for muzzle loading or for reloading your own ammunition you will also will also need an explosives license which is form COER 1A.

8) Next is the bit that everyone is terrified of until they have experienced it, the security inspection. A representative from the police firearms department will contact you to make an appointment, you take them on a tour through your buildings security measures, this is then followed by a chat about the items you have requested to be put on your license and your reasons for placing them on there. For example if you have requested a target rifle due to taking part in competitions and wanting to do better then there should be no issues, if you have requested something that you would not normally be able to use at your club then it would be refused as you do not have good reason for requesting it.

9) At this point, you may wish to consider becoming an NRA or NSRA member, the list of benefits is quite comprehensive including public liability and insurance for your rifle.

10) Several weeks later, your FAC arrives and you have the pleasure of announcing to the other club members that you can now go shopping. Before you do, see if you can pick up what you need on the second hand market. It will save you a load of cash in the future if you change your mind on the specialities that you are interested in and you could pick up a bargain that will make the other members jealous.

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Last modified: 03/09/12