top of page

Antique Arms - from weapons website

You do not require a weapons licence or a permit to acquire to take possession of an antique firearm. However, you should ensure that the firearm you intend to acquire fits the definition of an antique. 

An antique firearm is defined under the Weapons Act 1990 as a firearm manufactured before 1 January 1901 that is either:

  •     a muzzle loading firearm;

  •     a cap and ball firearm; or

  •    a firearm in which an authorised officer decides that ammunition is not commercially available


An antique handgun is defined as an antique firearm that is less than 75cm in length, other than pre-percussion handguns.  A pre-percussion handgun is an antique firearm less than 75 cm in length that is a muzzle loading firearm activated by fuse, matchlock, wheel lock, snaphaunce, flintlock or miquelet lock.

The diagram below provides a model for determining whether a firearm manufactured before 1901 requires a weapons licence or registration. Start by determining whether the firearm takes cartridge ammunition or is muzzle loading. Year of manufacture before 1 January 1901?


  • Antiques - Cartridge  

  • Antiques - Muzzle Loader

  • Antique handguns

​​​​You do not need a weapons licence or a permit to acquire to take possession of an antique handgun. However, you are required to give written notice to Weapons Licensing within 14 days of acquiring the handgun with the following information:

  •     Your name and address

  •     The type, make, calibre, action, magazine capacity, serial number and the year of manufacture of the antique handgun, and

  •     The place where the antique handgun is generally kept.

The antique firearms questionnaire below can be used for this purpose.

There are no fees payable for this transaction.

Registration does not apply where a person has taken possession of the handgun to:

  •     repair it

  •     store it, if the person is an armourer storing it for someone else, or

  •     store it on a temporary basis (not more than 3 months) without giving consideration for the acquisition of the handgun.

Handguns that do not fit the definition
If the handgun you wish to acquire does not fit the definition as described above (e.g. because ammunition is commercially available), you will need a weapons licence and a permit to acquire to obtain it.

If you believe the firearm you wish to acquire should be classed as an antique handgun, you can apply to Weapons Licensing to have it approved as such. The antique firearms questionnaire can be used for this purpose.

bottom of page