Uniquely British, the “Pistol Rifle”

Within the United Kingdom, handguns are effectively banned, with the exception of Section 5 owners (armed security), Section 73 (Historically significant pieces), and Black Powder handguns. Thus, due to working around the obscure wording of the law, UK shooters have found a niche “Pistol Rifle” that actually fits within the parameters of both being a rifle in measurement, but for all intents and purposes a handgun in function. The result is essentially an ultra long barreled revolver or handgun, with a “stabilizing support”, designed to counter-act the weight of the longer barrel. The exact specification being that a rifle must have a minimum length of 24 inches, and a barrel length of 12 inches. It must also be noted that there isn’t any regulation against placing the stabilizer of the “Pistol-Rifle” to a shooters shoulders and firing it from that position. Unlike the regulations regarding the pistol stabilizing braces in the United States.

P1000231 P1000237

The concept is very similar to the myriad of arm supporting braces that exist in the United States. UK shooters use this set up for 3 Gun competitions, where along with .22 LR rifles, can actually have a very high degree of performance, similar to 9x19mm and 5.56x45mm firearms in the United States. Many in the UK even have specialized minimalist holsters similar to those used in IPSC. These retain the “Pistol-Rifle”, extended barrel and stabilizer.

P1000233 P1000248

On this particular GSG, the barrel is extended to a length of 12 inches, while the arm stabilizer juts out from the bottom of the grip, it being riveted in place. Chopping either will result in the “Pistol-Rifle” being remanufactured into a conventual handgun, and thus illegal. Many in the UK like to invest in extended 16 round magazines as well. Myself being a foreigner, I could not legally discharge the piece, but took photos of the owner shooting it.

Very much thanks to Callum from the Youtube Channel English Shooting who made this post possible!


Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at miles@tfb.tv


  • HenryV

    Way to embarrass us all TFB. 🙁 😉 🙂

  • SlowJoeCrow

    Interesting, I see this as the conceptual mirror image of the AR and AK “pistols” we have in the US to sidestep the SBR tax and registration rules.

    • Tom

      Its nice to think that what ever else divides us as people we will always try to make the best of bad situations.

  • xebat

    God i wish the US had a more open immigration policy for people coming from Europe, like back in the day.

    • Cal S.

      Just grow a beard, dye your face, dress like a woman, and call yourself a Syrian. Quick, before the DoJ overturns the stay on the travel ban.

      Alternatively, move to Mexico, start a cartel, become ultra-rich, and then the ATF will actually GIVE you guns. Win-win.

      • valorius

        Just dressing like a woman and saying you’re a tranny would probably be enough to get in.

        • DanGoodShot

          Border patrol agent to male looking to cross our border.”May I see your identification and papers.” Random male’s response, “Oh I don’t need any honey, I’m a gay Muslim that feels America is the embodyment of all that is evil. I don’t plan on working. I will suck off the system, brake your laws and get paid to protest as much as possible sweetheart.” Border patrol agent,” You may pass.”

          • valorius

            Border patrol agent: WTF! Turn around and go back!
            ACLU and Democrat party: “OUTRAGE!!! RACISM!!! CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS!!!”

      • xebat

        Just end me fam. Just end me.

    • John

      When, like January?

      • xebat

        No, like in the early 20th century and earlier. At this point i’d sacrifice my dignity and much more to live in a nation that guarantees the right to bear arms.

        • M C

          You also have to put up with people claiming that Budweiser is beer. Barstaff swooning over my British accent more than makes up for that though.

          Adapting to everything else is surprisingly easy.

          • iksnilol

            Why did you get married then, you cauliflower, you?

            WHOLE POINT OF BEING A BRIT IN THE US IS TO SEDUCE WOMEN WITH YOUR ACCENT! Literally the whole point of it.

          • M C

            Getting married is what entitled me to live here! It has got me out of a couple of speeding tickets though…

          • iksnilol

            Well, don’t live there then. Go on a vacay, shag a mile of women and go back to merry ‘ole England to recuperate before heading out and doing it all over again.

            Goodness gracious, y’all.

          • Mike

            It only got me out of one. I received one ticket just 15 minutes after becoming an American. “Welcome to America ” was the comment from the cop.

          • RedCoat

            Also a fellow Brit in the US. I will say my collection of Enfields and other rifles keeps growing.

          • Miguel Raton

            As my Scottish ex-pat former roommate used to say, it was a couple of years after he got here b4 he figured out why Bud & other American beers “for canoeing lovers” exist. He worked in construction, & he finally sussed it that you can go to lunch, have a beer [or two] with your meal, & come back to work w/o being all bogged down [traditional English & European brews being a meal in themselves…]

    • Tom

      Well apparently now its racist to favor people with shared culture, values, language and history so keep dreaming.

    • M C

      It took me more than five years, thousands of dollars, a medical exam, vaccinations, a police background check (which I had to request personally – any US agency request would be denied as it would violate British data protection laws), an interview at the US Embassy in London (which took about two minutes) and an American fiance just to get an entry visa. Then a wedding, more money, time, another interview, another medical exam, biometric recordings, paperwork and travel restrictions to get a temporary (two year) green card. Then more money, time, travel restrictions and paperwork to apply for an upgrade to a full green card – which was rejected. Apparently this is fairly normal and to be expected as you are given the chance to appeal, which costs more money. More money and time to file an appeal, which was successful, which apparently is also fairly normal and to be expected – more money, remember? Then several more years and more money to apply for US citizenship. Then more time, more background checks, another interview to ensure I met certain citizenship requirements (I was a little concerned that, as I was living in Georgia at the time, these would involve watching NASCAR, drinking Budweiser and sleeping with my sister – fortunately these haven’t been compulsory since 1994, much to my – and my sisters – relief), a general knowledge test about the USA that you are given the questions AND answers to months in advance, and a swearing-in ceremony to become a US citizen. I even brought a job with me so I wouldn’t take anyone elses which, in an act of irony so obvious even an American politician would have trouble justifying it with a straight face, I was prevented from doing a few years later – research the “Black Friday” poker debacle for more info on that.

      10+ years, $5000+ and the possibility of being deported at any moment for any reason including no reason at all, versus a ten hour flight, a few hundred dollars for the flight, a few minutes filling out a visa waiver form on the flight, not getting on a return flight, and hoping for an amnesty for illegal immigrants at some point in the near future. I’m not surprised so many people opt for some form of the latter.

      Fortunately I decided on the former, so now the USA is stuck with me 😀

      • mike

        I did the same. I also want to mention I invested thousands in US made firearms. And I gave money to a divorce lawyer. The American dream.

      • datimes

        A plane ticket to Mexico and you walk across the border.

      • Old Vet

        I can speak to your horrific adventures in “Immigration-Land” as my wife is Chinese. Several thousand dollars later, she has a Green Card and is happy to be here with me. It took a year just to get her into the country and then her son was denied because of a glitch in our income assessment and waits in China now for another try in about 2 yr.’s or so. Oh, the fun we have had…..NOT!!!!

      • disqus_f62emCdwDh

        The opportunities to become a British subject appears commensurate more diffict, including finances to own or start a budiness, inter alia. I looked into this some time ago, and it appeard to be similar to what Scandinavian countries required.e

  • valorius

    Goofy laws give birth to peculiar children.

  • Edeco

    Interesting, weird. I’m sorry for, erm, my condolences. Anyway where those barrels coming from? I want one for a Buckmark.

  • Seth Hill

    Veeeeerry interesting

  • DanGoodShot

    Now, time for my non PC remark of the day (as if anything I say is ever “PC”). Gun laws are so retarded.

  • Mike Burns

    @Miles, by the way there’s basically no such thing as private armed security in the mainland UK. Sec. 5 owners are specific dealers doing deac work, film, etc.

    • TheNotoriousIUD
      • Mr Mxyzptlk

        I don’t believe they actually hold any weapons in the UK. When they are on a job in a country where they can carry weapons they use locally sourced ones. As for what Section 5 weapons actually are allowed, there are limited exceptions like in some areas where “normal” revolvers can be carried by game wardens in dense woodland, or veterinary or zoological use of pistols for humane killing, stuff like that

    • The Forty ‘Twa

      It is slightly more nuanced than that although I see what you are trying to say.

      Section 5 is weapons subject to general prohibition, it doesn’t grant exemptions for the activities you mention. The exemptions for dealers, film and theatrical use come from s.8 (s.9 for auctioneers) and s.12 respectively. Those sections allow for special exemptions from s.1 to s.5.

      If the weapon is not covered by s.5 then it is normally one of the sections between s.1 and 4 that comes into play instead. An over/under shotgun used for a film is still a s.2 weapon but there would be an exemption from the requirement to hold a certificate, s.5 doesn’t come into it.

  • Noishkel

    Hmm. You know you could probably build something like that as a Pistol Grip Only firearm.. Just give it a long enough barrel to match over all length and give it a fore grip. Of course you’d have to be able to prove it was always a PGO and just something you modified.

    • Tinkerer

      Like the Joker’s revolver from the Batman movie. The good one.

  • Sam Damiano

    I’d like the barrel and a bushing. If they are not already fitted just the barrel, I have a few spare bushings. May be two barrels, one to cut for best velocity.

  • Tinkerer

    Megatron approves.

  • John

    So… why isn’t there some kind of stock on the weighted end?

    • Mr Mxyzptlk

      Because they are trying to emulate pistols as closely as they can. They are held like pistols and shot like pistols, so no stock. You can get stocked pistols (along with actual arm brace pistols rather than the US “arm braces”), but that would rather defeat the purpose. A stocked pistol is also not as good a weapon as an actual rifle, along with most likely costing more than a comparable rifle and taking up a slot on your firearm certificate.

  • FlaBoy

    Saw some of these on the Grand Power European website. Suspected they had something to do with stupid laws…now I know. Just shows how stupid gun laws are, regardless of country.

    Now, if Eagle Imports would just bring in Grand Power’s long slide .45acp pistol, I’d be a happy camper!

  • Tma

    And the best part is that the whole law is stupid nonsense. … If someone wants to go pistol killing spree you can juts remove the stabilizer and cut the barrel. Maybe most infuriaiting thing about these laws is that they dont make any sense apart from harassing the lawfull owners who are willing to submit these idiocies.

    • MrBrassporkchop

      No they wouldn’t because that would be illegal!

      • AlexTobacco

        Why do you think the illegality would stop someone when they’re literally about to go on a killing spree?

        • Cottersay

          MrBrassporkchop was being facetious.

    • gunsandrockets

      I was surprised to hear of the black-powder exemption. I presume there has been a lack of crime in the UK involving rampaging Jesse James type characters?


  • DaveDerrick

    We call them Long Barrelled Pistols/Revolvers rather than Rifles. In the UK, it can be semi-auto only in .22 calibre, in others calibres they are sold as revolvers only.

    • Free&liberty

      Poor vassals.

      • Tassiebush

        Wheras the free American system let’s you own any type of gun or weapon without any restrictions that you find silly right!?

      • AlexTobacco


        Oh, wait, I have to go and pay $200 each time I want to buy a suppressor.

        Meanwhile in the UK, no restrictions

        • Pod

          Actually, in the UK, cans are restricted. However, they are no more restricted than the gun they are meant to be attached to. Basically, if you can get a gun in the UK, you can get a can for it. So from the Brit perspective, there’s no *additional* restrictions. But there’s still restrictions nonetheless.

          No restrictions would be Norway, or New Zealand, where cans are sold over-the-counter with no background checks or registrations. You can get disposable cans for dirt cheap.

    • gunsandrockets

      never mind. I took a second closer look.

      • DaveDerrick

        They don’t tend to suffer from malfunction, but they ain’t too accurate.

    • Anonymoose

      What matters is overall length, right? So why not a Buntline Special?

      • DaveDerrick

        Yeah that would be UK legal, if overall length is 24″ minimum and barrel is over 12″, then the rear brace is not required.

        • Anonymoose

          According to Uberti’s site their 18″-barreled Buntline has an overall length of 23.5″. I am disappointed now.

          • jamezb

            A custom grip could be made that flared an extra 1/2″ at the heel… I actually had a SA .Colt style 10″ .45 – can’t recall the brand off the top of my head, but it was a late 60’s-early 1970’s production product – that had such a grip. They just copied the basic Colt lines and extended the base and heel about half an inch or so while following the original contours. It was very comfortable and ergonomically intuitive.

          • jamezb

            I think it was an adjustable sight Hawes Western Marshall. Like this but a 10 or 12″

          • jamezb
          • jamezb

            only gun ever stolen from me. bastards.

    • Tassiebush

      Thanks for that. I was wondering about the calibre side of it.

      • DaveDerrick

        UK law would allow the calibre.

      • Steve_7

        The law prohibits “any self-loading rifled gun other than one chambered for .22 rim-fire cartridges” and also any firearm shorter than 60cm OAL and with a barrel length less than 30cm. The second definition of a “short frearm” originally came from European law, the Uberti Buntline with the silly long barrel came about several years before the handgun ban, because they can be sold with less restrictions across Europe.

  • MrBrassporkchop

    Why not take advantage of their stupid situation and put a front sight on the end?

    Or is it against competition rules?

    • gunsandrockets

      How about an integrated silencer?

    • R0CKnU

      It looks like the barrel has to be able to slip through the barrel bushing. A front sight would prevent assembly.

  • Scott Connors

    This illustrates just how incredibly _stupid_ gun control laws are. In the United States, such a set-up would result in a lot of legal hassles and possible jail time. In the United Kingdom, this is not only legal, it is mandatory! Oi vey gevalt…I need an aspirin.

  • Martin Grønsdal

    this makes me support the 2nd amendment, and (thus) freedom, even more.

  • Free&liberty

    Monarchs are afraid of armed peoples.

    • Free&liberty

      Can you take little advantage and make Glock (or other) “long barrel” pistols more tacticool with handgun PDW/CARBINE accesories like RONI?

      • Anonymoose

        Maybe with a 9″ Lone Wolf Barrel and a permanent ENDO stock adapter with an A2 stock on it…

      • Cymond

        Semi auto centerfires are not allowed over there.

    • HMSLion

      Monarch, hell. Talk to their Parliament.

    • MeaCulpa

      I don’t think the queen had much to do with the current gun laws in GB.

  • HMSLion

    I always thought the UK pistol owners should have been offered political asylum in the U.S.

    • Cottersay

      Me too!!

  • Nicholas C


  • Jason Lewis

    No pistols but you can buy all the suppressors you want.

  • The Forty ‘Twa

    “Myself being a foreigner, I could not legally discharge the piece, but took photos of the owner shooting it.”

    Being a foreigner you could legally shoot it, just backside covering by those you were with. Shooters themselves seem to make up even more silly rules than the Government sometimes…

    • The Forty ‘Twa

      Another error:

      “Section 73 (Historically significant pieces)”

      There isn’t a s.73 of the Firearms Act 1968. Antique firearms are dealt with under s.58(2) and historic firearms are normally dealt with by issuing a s.7 permit.

      Miles, are you going to edit this?

  • Bob S

    Why do you describe this with terms like “working around” or “sidestepping” the law, which play into the antis’ favorite boogeyman phrase “exploiting loopholes”. Why cooperate in their negative spin?

    When I use firearms, I am always and in every respect strictly and assiduously in compliance with all the relevant laws – which isn’t always easy. It sounds like our British cousins are too. So instead of describing how they are “working around” the law, why not say (with equal truthfulness) they are “carefully obeying” the law?

    It’s all about the framing!

    • iksnilol

      But they are obeying the law. No quotes necessary.

      • 22winmag

        The problem is not tyrannical gun laws. The problem is all the people who slavishly comply with the tyrannical gun laws.

        • iksnilol

          And do you have an unregistered MG? No, no you don’t. Why? Because you “slavishly obey”.

  • John
  • this is what the modern police state looks like. george orwell would be disheartened by the sight of the disarmed populace in the UK

  • 22winmag

    Fake news?

  • That isn’t still using a Browning lockup, is it? The barrel would take all afternoon to cycle!

    • AD

      It should be a .22 (only rimfires are allowed to be semi-auto if I recall), so it’s probably just a blowback. Don’t take my word for it though.

      • Cymond

        It’s a GSG 1911-22

  • jerry young

    Try to carry that concealed! I think it’s time to take your country back and get rid if the stupid anti laws that protect criminals from law abiding citizens

  • Mark

    These are called “long barrel pistols”. They are NOT classed as a rifle and have
    different laws covering them. One of the
    most stupid law is that only the registered owner may fire the long barrel
    pistol, no one else is allowed.

    Black powder pistols and rifles may be fired by anyone
    authorised by the owner.

    Semi-auto is only allowed in .22LR, but revolver long barrel
    pistols can be obtained in other calibres.

    Some police forces are reluctant to allow more than one long
    barrel pistol, though if a licence holder argues another is needed for a “different
    discipline” they can normally get another.

  • Rnasser Rnasser

    What a SAD state of affairs for shooters in the UK…