UK Deactivation

UK Deactivation standards differ between different types of weapon and also depending on when the deactivation was carried out. The following gives a general outline of the work carried out on the main categories of weapons during the deactivation process (based on the 2010 specification). UK Deactivation was available from 1988 to 7th April 2016.

Pistols

  • The chamber/barrel is slotted and the rifling is partially removed; a tight fitting steel rod is inserted from the chamber entrance to around 10 to 20mm from the end of the barrel and welded in place through the chamber/barrel slot; where present, the locking lugs on barrels are ground away and the feed ramp milled back

  • The frame rails are weakened and where present, the ejector is ground back

  • Where present, the locking lugs inside the slide are ground down; the breech face is ground back; the firing pin is ground back or at times removed; the firing pin channel is welded

  • UK Deactivated pistols have a full working action and can be fully field stripped. There are no major differences in pistols deactivated pre 1995 with the exception that some, but not all, have clear barrels and they can therefore chamber inert rounds.


Revolvers

  • The barrel is slotted (the majority of this is often covered within the revolver’s frame) and the rifling partially removed; a tight fitting steel rod is inserted from the chamber (forcing cone) entrance to around 10 to 20mm from the end of the barrel and welded in place through the barrel slot; the barrel is pinned to the frame with a hardened steel pin

  • The cylinder has a large section milled out of the middle and a steel ring welded in place

  • The breech face is milled away and the firing pin is ground back or removed completely; the firing pin channel is welded

  • UK Deactivated revolvers have a full working action and can be fully field stripped with the exception of the barrel. Pre 95 deactivated revolvers do differ from post 95 versions in that the cylinder chambers were left clear and will accept inert rounds. 

 

 

Bolt Action Rifles

 

  • The barrel is slotted for the majority of its covered length and has a tight fitting steel rod welded in the bore; the barrel is hard steel pinned and welded to the receiver through the chamber

  • The bolt face is cut back at around 45 degrees and the firing pin is ground back; the firing pin channel is welded

  • The receiver is weakened by slotting/cutting underneath – often this will be done by extending the barrel slot

  • UK Deactivated bolt action rifles have fully working actions and can be fully stripped apart from the barrel. There is no real difference between post and pre 95 deactivation standards.

 

Lever Action Rifles

 

  • Deactivation of this type of firearm is broadly in line with bolt action rifles

  • The receiver is not weakened by slotting/cutting, but the pin used to fix the barrel permanently into the receiver extends across the face of the magazine tube blocking this.

  • UK Deactivated lever action rifles have fully working actions and can be fully stripped apart from the barrel. There is no real difference between post and pre 95 deactivation standards.

Pump Action and Semi Auto Shotguns

  • The barrel is slotted for the majority of its covered length and has a tight fitting steel plug welded in the bore; the barrel and magazine tube is pinned and welded to the receiver across the chamber entrance (normally through the bottom of the receiver)

  • The bolt is cut back at around 45 degrees and the firing pin is ground back; the firing pin channel is welded

  • The spring and follower are usually removed from the magazine tube

  • UK Deactivated pump action shotguns have fully working actions; the barrel is obviously fixed in place so they may or may not strip down depending on individual takedown procedure. There is no difference between post and pre 95 deactivation standards.

Double/Single Barrelled Shotguns

  • The barrels are slotted for the majority of their covered length and have a tight fitting steel plug welded into their bores

  • The breech faces are milled out and firing pins are ground back or removed; the firing pin channel is welded

  • At times the extractor/ejector is also removed.

  • UK Deactivated double/single barrelled shotguns have fully working actions and can be fully stripped. There is no difference between post and pre 95 deactivation standards.

Submachine Guns

  • The barrel is slotted for the majority of its covered length and has a tight fitting steel rod welded in the bore; the barrel is hard steel pinned and welded to the receiver through the chamber

  • 50%+ of the bolt is removed and the breech face ground back at 45 degrees; the bolt is welded to the receiver

  • The firing pin is ground back or removed and where appropriate to the firearm type/mechanism, the firing pin channel is welded

  • The trigger mechanism may be ground back/weakened and will be filled/fused with weld

  • Later specification (post 1995) UK Deactivated submachine guns do not have moving parts or dry-fire actions and can only be partially field stripped. Pre 1995 UK Deactivated submachine guns do have moving parts, dry-fire actions and can usually be fully stripped apart from the barrel. There is also a mid specification deactivation for submachine guns where the front part of the bolt is welded in place, but the back part can still move under spring pressure. This gives the impression of cocking the firearm, but it will not dry-fire. Very late specification submachine guns may also have a dummy bolt behind the cut-down original bolt. This can also move freely, again providing the impression of being able to cock the firearm.

Assault Rifles

  • The barrel is slotted for the majority of its covered length and has a tight fitting steel rod welded in the bore; the barrel is hard steel pinned and welded to the receiver through the chamber

  • 50%+ of the bolt is removed and the breech face ground back at 45 degrees; the bolt is welded to the receiver

  • The firing pin is ground back or removed and where appropriate to the firearm type/mechanism, the firing pin channel is welded

  • The trigger mechanism may be ground back/weakened and will be filled/fused with weld

  • The gas assembly is removed/destroyed and gas ports are often welded up

  • The flash hider is pinned/welded in place

  • Later specification (post 1995) UK Deactivated assault rifles do not have moving parts or dry-fire actions and can only be partially field stripped. Pre 1995 UK Deactivated assault rifles do have moving parts, dry-fire actions and can usually be fully stripped apart from the barrel. Later specification assault rifles may be deactivated in such a manner that although the bolt is welded to the receiver, the cocking handle is left free to move providing the impression of being able to cock the firearm without actually doing so.

Semi Auto Rifles

  • For full-bore firearms, deactivation requirements are broadly in line with assault rifles

  • However, .22 semi auto firearms do not have to be welded solid, have fully moving parts, dry-fire actions and can be field stripped apart from the barrel.

Light Machine Guns

  • The barrel is slotted for the majority of its covered length and has a tight fitting steel rod welded in the bore; the barrel is hard steel pinned and welded to the receiver through the chamber

  • The breech face is ground back at 45 degrees; the firing pin is ground back or removed and the firing pin channel is welded; locking surfaces/mechanisms may be weakened

  • The gas assembly is removed/destroyed and gas ports are often welded up

  • The flash hider is pinned/welded in place

  • UK Deactivated light machine guns have fully working actions and can be fully stripped apart from the barrel. There is no real difference between post and pre 95 deactivation standards.

Medium/Heavy Machine Guns

  • The barrel is slotted for the majority of its covered length and has a tight fitting steel rod welded in the bore; the barrel is hard steel pinned and welded to the receiver through the chamber

  • The breech face is ground back at 45 degrees; the firing pin is ground back or removed and the firing pin channel is welded; locking surfaces/mechanisms may be weakened

  • The gas assembly is removed/destroyed and gas ports are often welded up

  • The flash hider is pinned/welded in place

  • UK Deactivated medium/heavy machine guns have fully working actions and can be fully stripped apart from the barrel. There is no real difference between post and pre 95 deactivation standards.

Rocket/Grenade Launchers and Mortars

  • Although there are minor differences depending on the type of firearm, all have their barrels/tubes blocked with a steel plug, rod or pin permanently fixed in place; the barrel/tube is slotted where possible

  • Where present, the breech face is ground back; the firing pin is ground back or removed and as appropriate, the firing pin channel is welded

  • Firing mechanisms may be removed or disabled

  • UK Deactivated launchers and mortars usually have mostly moving parts and where there item employs an 'action' this is normally at least partially working. There is no real difference between post and pre 95 deactivation standards

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