What is the legal age to obtain a firearms certificate?

Question: I am 15 years old and would like to take up stalking. At what age am I able to obtain a firearms certificate? I have had a shotgun certificate since I was 14 years old.

Jamie Stewart replies: No one under the age of 14 may use a Section 1 Firearm except for target shooting as a member of a Home Office approved rifle club or at a shooting gallery where no rifles larger than .23 inch calibre are used (e.g. at Fairs).

However, at the age of 14 a person may hold a firearm certificate and may then be given firearms and ammunition within the conditions on the certificate.

The law does not set a minimum age at which the holder of a firearm certificate may shoot without adult supervision. That is left to the discretion of the parent or guardian. So the answer is, yes you can get a firearm certificate, but you cannot buy or hire a firearm until you are 18.

You can gain valuable experience by joining a target rifle club. Hunting rabbits and small game with an air rifle is excellent grounding for deerstalking, as it is a combination of marksmanship skills and field craft.