Long Barrelled Firearm
UK target shooters are not permitted to own cartridge firing handguns, so why might you see what appear to be handguns on many club ranges?
The 1997 Firearms Act reclassified all centrefire and rimfire pistols as Section 5 items, effectively banning them from general use by UK shooters. Target shooters were then left with just 3 types of firearm which could be held on a FAC, i.e., centrefire rifles, rimfire rifles and muzzleloading firearms.
Some determined shooters pressed the Home Office to define a ‘rifle’, the response was “a firearm with a barrel over 30cm, and over 60cm overall length”. Soon a new firearms category emerged – the Long Barrelled Revolver (LBR).
Long Barrelled Revolver
Manufacturers realised that existing revolver designs can be adapted to meet the legal length criteria by fitting an extended barrel and a permanent 'wrist brace' to the grip. The example shown below is a .357" calibre LBR manufactured by Taurus of Brazil. Other types of LBR are available for a variety of common handgun cartridges including .22LR, .38/.357", .44" and .45ACP.
As they are all based on standard designs your new LBR can be modified with any of the usual revolver goodies. A rail might be fitted to mount a red-dot or even a scope. While speed loaders will be essential to reduce loading times; then a belt will be required to take a competition holster and speed-loader pouches.
LBR's are becoming quite widely used and there are competitions specifically for them at all levels in the UK. The monthly WNSC Gallery Rifle competition invariably has an additional class for LBR which is shot after the Lever Action stages are complete.
Long Barrelled Pistol
Since semi-automatic centrefire pistols and rifles are classified as Section 5 firearms it is not possible to apply the LBR design principals to existing centrefire pistols as they all employ a semi-automatic action. However, semi-automatic rimfire .22LR rifles are permitted, so with the growing popularity of LBR’s it was't long before the .22LR Long Barrelled Pistol (LBP) was created.
The first LBP’s were converted from .22LR Browning Buckmark rifles. Stocks were removed and replaced by a counter-balance rod, allowing them to be shot like pistols.
More recently the growing market has encouraged manufacturers to create many new LBP’s for the UK based on pistols originally designed as .22LR models (such as the 1911 TSC shown above). All are magazine fed, so they will hold more rounds than a revolver and magazine changes are much faster for most of us than using speed loaders. The challenges of shooting LBR and LBP are subtly different and each may suit a different user.
As with the LBR a LBP will generally have a wide range of potential modifications available and again a belt, holster and magazine pouches will be needed for competition use.
The UKPSA run the British LBF championships which includes a division for LBP. The monthly WNSC Mini-Rifle competition usually has an additional class for LBP which is shot after the Mini-Rifle stages are complete.