Unlike in the United States, Britain requires that every single firearm imported, produced, or modified on the isle to be “proofed”. This means that at least two high-pressure charges be fired through that firearm before it can be allowed for public sale or usage. Proofing has been an official regulation since the 1600s when numerous Gunmakers put their heads together and asked that a standard be set for their industry. The problem they were trying to solve was that there were too many inconsistencies within firearms of the period and customers were suffering from this through improperly made guns. Today Britain follows the CIP standards set forth by a number of European countries. In the United States we have SAAMI which although is very similar, it isn’t government sanctioned as CIP is.
One of the fascinating things about the Proof House is that the work they do really hasn’t changed since 1637. Taking in a firearm or barrel at a time, proofing it, and sending it back out has been the business’s bread and butter for over 300 years of existence.
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