Popular UKARA Questions

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These are taken straight from the UKARA website Q&A section/news feed.


Use the find function of your browser (CTRL+F) to find what you are looking for if you do not wish to read this in it's entirety, but we would appreciate it if you did. This is to stop repeat questions appearing on the forum :)


This guide has been compiled over a number of months, some of the information may no longer be valid or accurate, though we do try and update regularly. Please read thoroughly.


A RIF or in other words a black gun requires you to be 18+ and have a valid defence.

An IF or in other words a two-tone requires you to be 18+ only.


I am a member of the Armed Forces can I buy a RiF?

There are no exceptions to the legislation for members of any of the services, the crown servant section refers to purchase for the crown by crown servants not individuals. Service personnel are still required to become a member of an insured Airsoft Site or Club to be eligible to purchase RIF's. The same can be said for shotgun licences etc. they are not a valid defence.


Due to service commitments I cannot play enough times when at home on leave to qualify/how quickly must I play the 3 games?

The time period over which you have to play your 3 games is at the discretion of the participating game site providing the 3 games are not played in a time that is less than 2 months, the maximum time period is 12 months.


I am under 18, can my parents buy me a RIF?

Not unless they are members of one the approved purchasing groups, it would appear that there is no problem of a gift from an eligible purchaser to a minor.


I am under 18 can, I buy an Imitation Firearm or "Two Tone"?

No you cannot, an IF cannot be purchased by a person under 18 years of age.


Who are UKARA?

UKARA are a group of Airsoft retailers who have formed an association to protect their businesses and enable the sale of Realistic Imitation Firearms (RIF's), to the newly restricted recognised and approved customers resulting from the Violent Crime Reduction Act (VCRA).


Why have they set up the UKARA Scheme?

Under the new act it is the responsibility of the seller to verify that the purchaser is approved, and they may be prosecuted if they fail to do this with due diligence.


How will the UKARA scheme do this?

UKARA has set up an Independent Data Base which will be used to list eligible purchasers and allow UKARA retailer members to check sale recipients are bona fidi.


Who are the eligible purchasers?

The only groups of persons now allowed to purchase RIF's are Film, TV, Museums, Theatres, Crown Servants, and persons engaged in Re-enactement activities, and airsoft skirmishing. All these purchasers must be over 18 years of age.


What must Re-enactment people and Airsoft players do to show the are bona fidi?

Both these groups must show that their activities are covered by third party liability insurance and that they are over 18, in the case of Airsoft Players they must also show that they are regular players at an accredited game site. Which means they must be a member of a game site with the appropriate Airsoft Insurance cover.


How do players become members of an approved game site and eligible to buy RIF's?

The games site has to record you as a member and preferably issue you with a membership card.

To qualify as an airsoft skirmisher you must be a regular player at that game site having attended not less than 3 times in not less than 2 months and no more than 12 months.


Why the UKARA scheme?

The UKARA scheme allows certified game sites to join a list on the UKARA web site to show they are participating in the UKARA scheme, this then means that they can approve UKARA player application forms, the game site having been registered and issued with a validating stamp and recognised signature.


Why is this an advantage?

If the player downloads a Player application form from the UKARA web site he can have this confirmed by his UKARA registered game site and then send it to any UKARA retailer with his first order, who will then enter the players details on the UKARA Data base. This then means that he can then order from any UKARA member retailer and providing he includes his UKARA game site numbers he can be verified and thus sold to.


My game site is not on the UKARA game site list, can I still register with UKARA?

No, if your game site is not on the UKARA list then you cannot get your player form validated, you would need to wait till your site joins, or go to a UKARA approved game site.


Will UKARA use my personal information for other purposes?

No, your information is protected under the DATA protection Act and may not be divulged to any third party unless authorised by you, if you are at any time unhappy you may have your details expunged from the record. It is only there to allow retailers to confirm you are eligible to purchase.


Can I have my RIF sent to a different address?

No, RIF's must be sent to the registered postal address of the player.


How do I purchase from a UKARA dealer at their shop premises?

If you take suitable ID such as a drivers license passport etc. along with your UKARA Players number the retailer can check that you are the registered buyer by checking the Data system.


What do I do with my players application form?

Once you are a member of a UKARA game site and have been a regular there for more than two months, having played at least 3 times, you can get your form verified and then send it off with your next order to a UKARA retailer.

You will have to do this by post, and if your actual order is via the net or phone make sure you reference the two together, posting a day in advance of your order would probably also help. Your form can also be sent to a Core or Associate retailer as it makes no difference, though please do not post directly to the UKARA Admin.

When they process your order they can add you to the Database, and once this has been done you can order from any UKARA retailer quoting your UKARA site membership number. Please remember RIF's can only be sent to your registered address.


Why don't UKARA change the law concerning painting and purchasing of Imitation and Realistic airsoft guns?

UKARA is a retailers association and although we did put forward our views to the Government of the day when the Violent Crime Reduction Bill was being drafted we did not get all our ideas accepted and ultimately we did not draft the bill nor have any ability to change the current Act only Government can make and revise UK law.


I am under 18 can I own an Airsoft gun and play airsoft?

There is no legal restriction to the ownership or use of an airsoft gun whether RiF or IF related to age you may not purchase a RiF or an IF if you are under the age of 18.

There is no restriction other than game site own rules and insurance cover as to the age of a player of Airsoft.


Can my parent buy me an airsoft gun?

They can buy an IF but not a RiF unless they are a member of an insured game site, although if you are under 18 you can be given or win a RIF or IF.


Is a red tipped, or camo painted gun legal to import as an IF?

No to class as an IF a gun must be 51% government approved bright colour or clear see through plastic.

Accepted bright colours are:

- Bright red

- Bright orange

- Bright blue

- Bright yellow

- Bright green

- Bright pink

- Bright purple


Could you give me more information on how to obtain a Airsoft licence?

There is no such thing as an Airsoft License (or A "UKARA") you can become a member of an insured game site and if appropriate register through that game site onto the UKARA database.


If I/I have/I am going to, import from Hong Kong, USA, etc will Customs impound my gun?

If you cannot prove that you are an eligible importer the Boarder Agency will impound and destroy your import without compensation, if you are an eligible importer e.g. a member of an insured airsoft game site, (and UKARA registration helps a great deal) make sure that you have clear information put on/with your import proving your eligibility.


I want to buy RiFs not to play Airsoft but to use in my back garden or hang on the wall?

The VCRA was expressly designed to eliminate RiFs from the UK, Airsoft players only got a "Special Defence" because they proved that they needed them for the realistic element in playing Airsoft.


I have changed my registration details e.g. moved or a different email address what should I do?

Your first course of action is to contact the game site that you are registered with as a member, tell them of your change of address or other details and ask them to update you on their own records and on the database, to which they should have access through their own players section.



Hopefully this answers some of the questions that keep coming up.

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