Import replica firearm from the UK to the USA?


Sr Member
Hello all,

Without knowing where to put this I decided to ask this question in the "Star Wars" category as it's directly SW prop related, so I was hoping that someone might either be able to provide insight or offer assistance.

After doing some hunting I managed to find a seller with a MGC C96 at a very reasonable price, but they are currently in the UK and they state "International orders are welcome, however, I am unable to send replica guns, airguns, deactivated guns, inert ordnance or grenades outside the U.K mainland."

My knowledge of UK laws are quite low, although after doing some research the only consistent way people seem to recommend acquiring non-functional replica firearms from the UK is to be a part of a reenactment group.

Does anyone have any insight into this, and/or any ways in which I might be able to work something out with this individual in a way that they would be able to legally export the MGC? Or if not, might there be some kind of third party/middleman that I could purchase the MGC through?

No, you're not going to get one from the UK. There are insanely strict laws regarding even Denix diecast replicas out of the UK. As I understand it, you have to belong to a accepted group to even buy them there.
They cannot legally ship even replicas to the US.
I investigated this a bit when I was looking into getting a Webley Mark I as a base for the Obi-Wan series blaster. There are shippers/freight expediters who specialize in moving air guns, replicas, etc, from the UK to the US and other countries. My understanding is that they are not always interested in doing it as a stand alone service, i.e. not for items that they themselves don't sell. For example, I was working with Cheshire Gun Room, to do a third party freight service for another seller who had a Webley in good condition. They had me in touch with a state side expediter in Ohio, that they work with. So, it was a bit of finagling to get everyone on board with what I wanted to do. It would have worked, but in the end I found a suitable example here in the states and ended up going that way.

I estimated that the expedite and shipping fees would not have increased the total cost that much over what I was seeing state side, as Webley air guns are generally cheaper in England. So for example you usually you might see Webley's going for $400-450 here in America. In England, I see suitable examples going for $250, but the fees to get it here would add $150-$200. So it was going to be a wash. Just using that as an example to show the financial aspect.

I dont know specifically about an MGC Mauser replica, but you might inquire if the seller works with an expediter. Cheshire is one of several sellers that will work with them. They have a lot of vintage guns, and some gun replicas too I believe.
First, I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, if you want a truly informed opinion you probably need to contact a solicitor in the UK who specialises in either firearms or import/export legislation.

Second, this is the result of under thirty minutes of investigation.

With those two caveats out of the way, I will note that I *am* a trained librarian and spent a decade working for Alberta Law Libraries, so this is the sort of thing I've some experience in researching.

From what I can tell: The UK places a number of restrictions on buying and selling "realistic imitation firearms." A "realistic imitation firearm" is something that isn't actually a firearm - that is, it cannot fire a bullet - but looks like a firearm and doesn't have obvious cues to say "this is just a toy." The rule appears to be either older than 1870 or at least 51% bright neon colours. The MGC replica would almost certainly qualify as a "realistic imitation firearm." This means that, legally, it can only be sold to someone who has a legitimate reason to own it, as defined by the relevant regulations. Participating in airsoft and making movies are legitimate reasons; collecting is not. Recreation of a movie prop is almost certainly not defined and so now you're taking a chance on what an individual customs agent or judge decides.

The second problem is that exporting firearms from the UK has a massive amount of paperwork involved. I'm unsure if a "realistic imitation firearm" needs to have that paperwork or not, but even if it doesn't, the existence of that paperwork means that UK customs is checking packages for things that look like firearms. So that means there's a chance that UK customs notices the MGC and then the seller is defending themselves against charges related to selling a "realistic imitation firearm" to someone who didn't have a legit reason to buy it. And if the paperwork does apply, then it would be a lot of back-end work for the seller.

Given all that, I can see why the seller doesn't want to bother with trying to sell this outside the UK. They can almost certainly find someone inside the UK that would be willing to buy it, for a lot less work on their end. Especially if they're a private individual who doesn't have the first clue where to start.

This, alas, does not help you in your end goal but hopefully gives you a bit more insight into what you're asking the seller to do. DamnYankee123's suggestion of finding an expediter is probably your best bet; telling the seller you're willing to do all the heavy lifting of finding out what's involved *and* offering to compensate them for the extra time and effort would probably help persuade them to actually agree to the whole process. Whilst doing research make sure to check for dates on the information. 2022 saw a whole bunch of post-Brexit changes to their import and export rules, so info that's older than 2022 probably isn't reliable.
In my experience it doesn't even have to look anything like a real gun, and they won't ship it. Even obvious toys get returned. I had a Space 1999 laser rifle returned to me by uk customs, and that is mostly acrylic and chrome tube with a small Marx toy machine gun receiver incorporated. It is a lot easier to import replicas weapons into the UK than send them out, as they won't put anything even vagueley gun-line on a plane. You can send it surface, as no planes are involved, but obviously it takes a long time, and cannot be insured or tracked. I would never attempt to export any kind of replica weapon without a written assurance from a known customer that it was at their risk and I was not responsible for any problems. It sucks, but I've tried to find a way around it, I don't think it's possible without the right business connections as described above, or someone like Propstore.
I don't think there is anyway to get a privately owned replica shipped from the UK to the US but there is a company in the UK called Home Page that sells all type of model guns and used to ship to the US. I've bought from them a numbers of times during the early 2000's and never had a problem. They also try and find particular models for customers so you might want to contact them to see if they still ship to the US and if they can find what you are looking for.
I live in the UK and it’s extremely hard for me to buy replica guns even, most won’t export as it is just too much paper work.

You can only buy replicas here if they are painted brightly,

Or If unpainted you need to be a member of a reenactment society, a museum or in tv/film/theatre. And then it all needs to be officially recognised organisations.

It is actually easier to buy deactivated weapons here, but I don’t think those can’t be exported, or at least the sellers I’ve seen do, possibly just too much hassle.

Similarly importing is very difficult too. So many hoops to jump through

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