About the HBSA

The fundamental aims of the HBSA are to encourage the preservation of breechloading firearms and ammunition and to foster the study of all aspects of the subject, from the aesthetics of sporting guns and the engraver’s art to the functional aspects of firearms used by the soldier, target shooter and the sporting shooter. The HBSA considers that the private collection and use of historical arms and ammunition is essential to facilitate historical research, and to achieve preservation of these heritage artefacts for future generations.

As well as advising on care and conservation, and acting as a forum for the exchange of information, the HBSA pursues the study of historical smallarms through a combination of lectures, research reports and shooting activity. Monthly lectures are held in London and other venues. We have close relationships with the Imperial War Museum in London and the Royal Armouries in Leeds. – where we are acknowledged as a specialist group. We are also given access to arms and documents held in certain reserve collections.

The HBSA was founded in 1973 by a group of academics, students of arms and collectors concerned with the threat to the preservation of privately owned historical firearms, which represent an irreplaceable part of our social, industrial, military and sporting heritage. We are a national organisation with branches and membership groups that provide a regional presence in Wales, Northern England, the Borders and South West. The HBSA is the primary body for collecting, researching, preserving, shooting, and all aspects of historical breechloading smallarms within the United Kingdom.

We maintain close links with other European collecting organisations through the Federation of European Societies of Arms Collectors (FESAC).

Research papers, extracts from historical documents and articles written by HBSA members and others are published in our annual Journal. The proceedings of our meetings and other activities are published in a quarterly Report.

British Shooting in Figures
  • On 31 March 2010 there were 141,775 firearm certificates and 580,653 shotgun certificates on issue
  • The number of certificates on issue increased by 1.2% between 2009 and 2010
  • In 2010 there were 3,182 registered firearms dealers, an increase of 12% on 2009
  • At the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the Home Nations won 10 gold, 8 silver and 9 bronze medals for shooting. Shooting accounted for nearly 14% of the UK's medal haul
  • Some 480,000 people shoot live quarry in Britain
  • UK shooters spend £2 billion on goods and services, and the sport is worth £1.6 billion to the national economy
  • Shooting is involved in the management of two thirds of the rural landare of Britain. Two million hectares are actively managed for conservation as a result of shooting and shoot providers spend £250 million a year on conservation

Source: BSSC

  • Our NEWS page for more information and recent competition results
  • Our Calendar for forthcoming events
  • Our Competitions page for details of this year's events