Importing handguns

The importation of handguns is controlled under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (the Regulations). Importers must obtain permission to bring handguns into Australia.

Handguns include single shot handguns, semi-automatic handguns, black powder handguns, air handguns and revolvers.

Sports shooters

The following limitations apply to sports shooters seeking to import handguns:

  • the calibre of the handgun cannot be greater than .38 calibre, however handguns of up to .45 calibre can be authorised provided they are being imported for use in specially accredited sporting events
  • the shot capacity of the handgun is no more than ten rounds for handguns fitted with a magazine or cylinder
  • the handgun can have a barrel length no less than 120 millimetres for semi-automatic handguns and 100 millimetres for revolvers and single-shot handguns. These barrel restrictions do not apply to handguns that are designed or adapted for competition target shooting.

These restrictions do not apply to black powder and muzzle-loading pistols and cap-and-ball percussion-fired revolvers.

Obtaining permission to import

Police certification

Certification to import category H handguns can be obtained from your state or territory police firearms and weapons registry who issue the required B709D - Category H – Police Confirmation and Certification form.

Firearm dealers can also use a B709DA - Ongoing Importation by Firearms Dealer – Police Confirmation form. Firearms dealers will need to provide details on the make, model and serial number of the firearms at the time of importation.

The original B709A form, or a copy of the B709DA form, must be presented to the Australian Border Force (ABF) at the time of importation.

To obtain permission to import in the form of a B709D and B709DA form you will need to contact your state or territory police firearms and weapons registry.

Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department

Police certification does not apply to the following:

  • handguns that have fully automatic firing capability
  • handguns that are substantially the same in appearance as a fully automatic firearm
  • handguns to which a firearm accessory is attached or integral.

These firearms require import permission from the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department.

To obtain permission to import from the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department, you will need to contact them directly.

Contact details

Contact details of the police firearms and weapon registries and the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department are available on the Firearms and weapons page.

Ammunition

Ammunition for use with handguns also requires police certification or Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department permission to be imported.

When ammunition is being imported with the firearms, the ammunition can be listed on the same import document as the firearms.

See Importing ammunition, magazines and magazine extension devices for further information.

Additional requirements

Handguns are also subject to safety testing and unique serial number requirements.

Safety testing

The ABF will undertake safety testing of imported firearms unless exemptions apply.

Safety testing requirements do not apply to a firearm that:

  • was manufactured before 1 January 1900
  • is designed or adapted for competition target shooting
  • was previously exported from Australia and the importer can produce the export permit
  • is being imported temporarily for a lawful competition or hunting activity
  • is being imported for official or specified purposes
  • has been deactivated.

Unique serial number

All firearms being imported into Australia must have a unique serial number unless they were manufactured before 1 January 1900.

Penalties

The maximum penalty for importing these goods without the relevant import permission is a penalty not exceeding Australian dollar 450,000, imprisonment for 10 years, or both.

Exporting firearms

For information about exporting handguns, see Defence Export Controls on the Department of Defence website.