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With the increased security on international (and internal) flights in the last few decades, what is the best way to transport airsoft rifles and pistols between countries?

There are several large international airsoft skirmishes - the most notable one that comes to mind is Berget in Sweden (http://www.berget-events.com/).

In the majority of cases, does an additional licence or permit need to be purchased? If there are specific, relevant exceptions please indicate these.

If a flight connects through a country where airsoft guns are illegal/banned, are there any further actions to be taken with the intermediate country?

Is there a service available (such as a courier service) that could be used to transport the weapons, so they don't need to be transported as luggage?

An answer to this might also apply to other shooting/archery sports, especially if countries worldwide do not make a distinction between airsoft weapons (which are basically non-lethal) and other projectile weapons.

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Ultimately, the best way to transport between countries is to drive to them - which is how most players get to the Berget event you have mentioned. As far as I know, you need very little apart from a large lockbox to keep ALL of your weapons in - this also includes any pyrotechnics you might be taking with you. I am assuming here that all involved with be registered UKARA players as well.

If you do wish to fly however, its a bit more complicated. UKARA membership goes without saying, but you will also need permission (in the form of a letter) from the police, confirming what you are travelling with, especially if its not two-tone and therefore classed a realistic imitation firearm (RIF). The airline and the airport travelling from and to will also need to be notified prior to the date of travel.

Couriers could be used providing you are 100% clear what it is you are transporting, but personally, I don't think I would trust them. I'd rather book it in, and be able to pick it up at the other end. That way, if something has been damaged, I can take it up with the airline immediately.

  • Thanks. Your answer does a great job of covering travel from the UK. If you could update to include any known differences when travelling from another European country, or the US, I'll award the answer. Presumably UKARA registration only applies for UK skirmishers? – oliver-clare Feb 15 '13 at 8:17

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