The National Ballistics Intelligence Service has confirmed that the Steyr LP50 pistol is not a Section 5 or Section 1 pistol, and therefore its use can continue.
NABIS had confiscated LP50s and parts from the headquarters of Steyr UK earlier in the year after a routine inspection, and submitted them for testing. However, it ultimately decided that the LP50 is self-indexing and not self-loading, as defined by section 57(2A) of the Firearms Act 1968. The same applies to the Steyr Hunting 5 Auto air rifle.
Though this is not strictly a decision with legal authority, it is one the courts are unlikely to ignore. Accordingly, supply of both Steyr models to the UK has resumed. The move dispels worries that the confiscation of LP50 pistols could set a precedent for other action types in the UK. Mike Morton, editor of Airgun Shooter, commented on the decision: “These guns feature an unusual five-round stick magazine. The action is cocked with a biathlon-type side lever, and after the first pellet is fired, each subsequent shot is just a squeeze of the trigger away. The legal ruling does not, however, open the floodgates to a wave of semi-autos arriving on our shores – just this particular Steyr action. Each pellet is fired directly from the magazine, rather than being taken from the mag by a pellet probe and inserted into a breech. The guns are therefore self-indexing rather than self-loading – that’s the distinction. A true self-loading action is still only allowed in .22 rimfire.”