Guide – What is a defence / UKARA?

In Airsoft terms, a defence buying Realistic Imitation Firearms (RIF) is essentially a way of proving that you have a valid reason for purchase. This is typically to stop Realistic Looking weapons getting into the hands of people who want to use them for reasons other than their intended reason.

In 2006 UKARA was formed in response to the ‘Violent Crime Reduction’ Act (VCRA), which specified that to purchase a realistic looking firearm the Individual must have a reason, or defence, for purchasing it.  If you have a valid defence you can purchase a Realistic Airsoft Rifle, if not the weapon must be two toned.

Two tone means the weapon’s primary colour must be a non Military colour, such as Red, Green, Blue.

The purchaser must also be over 18 years of age.

Defences – What are the defences

The following are defences for purchasing an Airsoft Gun are:

  • * The purchaser has a UKARA, or relevant defence

  • * The purchaser is part of a Reenactment Society.

  • * The purchaser is a Museum Curator.

  • * The purchaser is a member of a TV / Film Production Team.

Should you be part of any Reenactment Society, a Museum Curator or Member of a TV / Film Production crew and wish to purchase a weapon, please call us on 01484 644709 so that we can organise the sending of proof, such as Insurance Documents or ID Cards.

For further information please see: Legislation.gov.uk – Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006, c.38, Part 2, Imitation Firearms, Section 37

UKARA – What is UKARA?

UKARA Banner

UKARA – United Kingdom Airsoft Retailers Association

UKARA stands for ‘United Kingdom Airsoft Retailers Association’ and is essentially a big database of all registered Airsoft Skirmishers in the UK, which allows Retailers to check an individual to see if they are eligible to purchase Replica Imitation Firearms (RIF).  A UKARA Registration is recognised as a valid defence against purchasing an Airsoft Gun.

To obtain a UKARA registration an individual must visit an Airsoft Skirmish Site 3 times or more outside of 56 Days or 8 Weeks, at which point the site can stamp your paperwork which must be handed in to a Retailer for entry onto the database. Please ensure you send the paperwork yourself, rather than the site, unfortunately some sites batch process UKARA paperwork, taking the paperwork to the shop yourself will mean it is done there on the day.

If you do not wish to Skirmish or simply want to target shoot, then in order to obtain the weapon you must either have an alternate valid defence or have the weapon in Two Tone colours. Any weapon we have can be Sprayed Two-Tone in order to meet these requirements.

Other Airsoft Defences

Although we recommend to any customer that they get a UKARA defence, we realise that some people may not have access to this. We also accept the following defences:

  • * British Airsoft Club (BAC)

  • * SWAT PASS

Both these additional defences allow access to a database which we can check validity, but are not as widely recognised as UKARA.

When purchasing please call us on 01484 644709 so that we can organise the sending of proof, such as your Membership and Photo ID Cards.

BAC - Banner

BAC – British Airsoft Club

SWAT Airsoft PASS Banner

S.W.A.T. – Airsoft P.A.S.S.

Common  Questions

I don’t have a UKARA / Defense! Can I still buy an Airsoft Gun?

You can buy an Airsoft Gun, however you must be over 18 and the weapon must be sprayed a Two-Tone colour.

You can have a weapon Two-Toned by adding a “Two Tone Service” to your basket when purchasing. Remember to add one for each gun you wish to be Two-Toned.

Why does a Two-Tone Service Cost?

The reason for the price of the Two-Tone is because we fully strip the weapon, spray the relevant body parts, then reconstruct the weapon. To spray the weapon we use high quality Krylon Spray Paint, which is also available through the website.

“This gun X was made in X, so I don’t need a UKARA!”, “THIS ISNT EVEN A GUN!”

We follow strict guidelines when selling Airsoft Guns and Replicas, and we do not want to damage the reputation of the sport.

To decide whether or not to sell an item using UKARA, we follow the ‘Grandma’ test. This means that if we were show the item to our Grans, would they think it was a gun and call the police?

Nine times out of Ten, if it has a trigger, then it looks like a gun. We will not change this stance on a case by case basis.

Do I need a UKARA in Country X?

To buy an Airsoft gun, you only need a defence when purchasing a rifle in or ordering from a place covered by the VCRA, this is currently England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Countries outside of the UK do not require defences to be purchased, however if your country does require you to have a defence or there are specific laws covering Airsoft Guns we cannot be held responsible if your package is denied / destroyed by customs.

For example:

Customer X buys a Fully Automatic Airsoft AEG to be delivered to Germany where there is a restriction places on Fully Automatic Airsoft Guns, and the weapon is destroyed by customs.

We are up to date with most laws around the world, and if we find a purchase breaks any laws of the respective country we will not dispatch it, and simply hold the rifle until we contact you.

I have a firearms Certificate, can I purchase a none two-tone gun?

Unfortunately you cannot, the Firearms Act is different to the VCRA Act, and as such specifies different criteria for purchase. Although this seems unfair companies in the UK are bound by this law when selling RIF.

I am in the Armed Forces / Police, can this be my defence?

As an individual for personal use you are still bound by the same laws as any other Individual in the UK, however, if you are acquiring them on behalf of your Unit for training purposes they can be purchased.

In order to do this we must be sent valid proof, such as an email from a Superior, and the package must be sent to a Military / Police building.

I am part of a Reenactment Society, how do I use this as my defence when buying an Airsoft Gun?

To purchase a none-two tone weapon from us we require proof that you are a current member of a Society. To satisfy the requirement we need at a minimum the following bits of information:

  • A scanned copy of your Membership Card next to a Photo ID (Such as driving License)

  • Your Society Must have a Website with your name Listed on it, or a Contactable Representative

Please call us on 01484 644709 to arrange proof of defense and order via the telephone.

I am a member of a TV / Film Production Team, how do I purchase an Airsoft Gun?

To purchase a none-two tone weapon from us we require proof that you are in fact from a Film / Production Company. To satisfy the requirement we need at a minimum the following bits of information:

  • A copy of the Company’s Insurance Documents which state it is covered as a Film / Production company.

  • The package must be delivered to a Studio or Address Associated with the company

Please call us on 01484 644709 to arrange proof of defense and order via the telephone.

I am a Museum Curator, how do I purchase an Airsoft gun?

To purchase a none-two tone weapon from us we require proof that you are in fact a Museum Curator. To satisfy the requirement we need at a minimum the following bits of information:

  • A copy of the Museums insurance documents, stating the company is insured as a Museum.

  • The package must be delivered to a Museum / Building associated with the company

Please call us on 01484 644709 to arrange proof of defence and order via the telephone.

Will the Defence stop me being arrested?

No, the defence will not stop you being arrested should you be doing anything silly with the gun, it is a defence for point of purchase not for ownership.

Airsoft Guns may not be powerful enough to be lethal, but should still be treated as such. The everyday person will not know what Airsoft is, and if you are seen with a RIF by a member of the public and they call the Police, Armed Response will be notified.

Simply someone thinking you have anything that looks like a real firearm is reason enough for Armed Response to confiscate your Airsoft Guns.  Simply someone thinking you have anything that looks like a real firearm is reason enough for Armed Response to confiscate your Airsoft Guns.  Please remember, that if a member of the public sees you with your rifle it is a Firearms Offence, and can result in a minimum 5 years jail sentence.

Having UKARA is only useful if you are stopped by the police, and can provide another reason as to why you have Realistic Looking Firearms in your boot. However, do not presume that every Police Officer will understand Airsoft and will most likely not know what UKARA is. Stay calm and explain about the sport and where you are going. Preferably having a site booking by name that the Officer can call.

Please note that most Police Officers are not qualified to determine if an item is a firearm or not, and will have to request backup from a Qualified Individual, usually from the Armed Response.

Remember, you should only ever travel with the rifle in the boot of your car, either to and from a game site or to a shop / repair center.

What is a Photo ID?

A photo ID is a piece of Photographic ID, which shows both a picture of you and your address. Such examples of this are a Drivers Licence, or Passport.

When we request this we usually require a Photocopy or Scan of the document for our records. Please call us on 01484 644709 to arrange this.

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