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Storing your firearms, shotguns and explosives

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Advice on how to store licensed ammunition, firearms, shotguns and explosives safely and securely.

Certificate holders are responsible for the secure storage of all licensed ammunition, firearms, shotguns and explosives which must be kept in a secure place when not in use.

The Home Office have issued detailed advice around the storage and security of ammunition, firearms, shotguns and explosives which is available to download from the Home Office website (PDF, 54KB).

What are my options?

Wherever your ammunition, firearms, shotguns and explosives are stored, they must be stored in a locked gun cabinet or other similarly secure container to avoid them being used or accessed illegally. If you cannot show that you can meet this requirement, any application for a license may be delayed.

Routine checks are also carried out of existing certificate holders’ properties to inspect the ongoing security of their licensed ammunition, firearms, shotguns and explosives. Your license may be revoked until you can show that all requirements have been met.

Securing your firearms at home

Where you wish to keep your weapons at home, the level of security required will vary according to a number of factors, including the type and quantity of firearms and ammunition, the overall security of the premises and the local crime risk.

Gun cabinets and clamps are available from most registered firearms dealers. They are constructed of heavy gauge sheet metal and fitted with substantial locks and concealed hinges. The cabinet or clamp should be located in a protected part of the premises (not in a garage or outhouse), must be kept out of the sight of casual visitors and be securely fixed to the building.

In some circumstances, it may be necessary for the premises to be fitted with an intruder alarm system conforming to British Standard. Ammunition, rifle bolts and magazines should be stored separately in a steel box of similar design to the gun cabinet and secured in a similar way.

Securing your firearms away from your home

Where you intend to take part in target shooting at a club where storage facilities exist, you may consider making use of those facilities rather than storing your firearms and ammunition at home. We recommend that you speak to your local club secretary to discuss what options are available to you.