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Black Powder

Explosives and Black Powder

Each Firearms Team has its own Explosive Officers. They deal with all matters relating to explosives and the policing of the legislation contained mainly in Control of Explosive Regulations 1991 (as amended) and Manufacture and Storage of Explosives Regulations 2005. They also act and have powers of inspectors for the Health & Safety Executive.

Control of Explosive Regulations 1991 (COER)

These regulations:

1. Require a person who acquires or keeps explosives to hold an explosives certificate issued by the Chief Officer of Police.
2. Impose restrictions on persons involved in the transfer of explosives
3. Forbid a person who has committed certain offences or who has been sentenced to specific terms of imprisonment, custody or detention from acquiring, keeping, handling or controlling explosives.
4. Forbid an employer from knowingly employ a prohibited person in a position where he handles or has control of explosives
5. Requires up-to-date accurate records to be kept of acquisition and disposal of explosives.
6. Impose requirements for reporting loss of explosives to the police.

There are two COER Explosive licences:

Acquire only

This is issued to permit a person or company to obtain named explosives, which are to be used straight away and not kept overnight. Valid for up to one year.

Acquire and Keep

This is issued to allow a person or company to obtain named explosives and keep them in an approved storage place or manner. Valid for up to three years.

The main users of explosives and therefore those who require licensing are:

Sporting / Social use

For use of gunpowder for shooting and events where re - enactments of historical battles involve the use of weapons including muskets, rifles and cannons.

Mines, quarries, factories and TV/Film

To break up rock and displace large quantities of earth or used in the manufacture of goods or explosives. Special effects in TV/Film/Theatres


From bringing down large buildings, to use in underwater salvage and cave rescue.

Applying for an explosive licence

All applications must be submitted to the police using a Form COER1 or 1A, which may be obtained from your local firearms Enquiry Team.

Those who apply for the grant/renewal of either explosive certificate will be visited by an explosives officer in order to assess the application and where applicable to give advice with regard to secure storage.

At this time for most users there will be no charge unless granted with a MSER license/registration. We ask that all renewal applications be submitted up to 30 days before the existing certificate expires.

Applicants living in Council or leasehold properties MAY be subject to restrictions under the terms of their letting or rental agreements in relation to storage of explosives.

Manufacture & Storage of Explosive Regulations 2005 (MSER)

These regulations are concerned as the name suggests with the Manufacture and Storage of Explosives.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) deal with the licensing of manufacturing plants, factories and stores holding more than 2000 kilos of explosive and in certain circumstances can give exemptions.

The Local Authority deal with licensing of explosives which are in Schedule 1 of Control of Explosives Regulations 1991 as amended (COER). (Fireworks etc) up to 2000 Kilos.

Police are the Licensing Authority for all other explosives not mentioned in Schedule 1 of COER up to 2000 Kilos.

The Police licensing of Storage can be divided into the following three categories:-

Licensed 0.1 to 2000 Kilos of explosive
Registered 0.1 to 30 Kilos of explosive
Un licensed/Registered Up to 10 Kilo Black Powder,
5-Kilo Shooters Powder
15 Kilo Percussion Caps and small arms


Licences and Registration are subject to a sliding range of fees and can last up to 3 years depending on the circumstances. In some circumstances there may also be a fee for the COER certificate. There is no fee for Un licensed/registered storage.

All applications must be submitted to police using an Application for Licensed/Registered store form. This may be obtained from your local Firearms Enquiry Team (or downloaded from the forms page)

Shooters Powders are a new concept and specifically include: -

Black Powder
Smokeless Powder
Any other substance or preparation based on potassium nitrate or nitro cellulose

Appropriate safety measures

Any person who stores explosives shall take appropriate measures to prevent fire or explosion, limit fire or explosion and to protect persons from the effects of fire or explosion

Black Powder

Subject to a number of clauses, storage of Black Powder is permitted at home or businesses without needing a licence/registration or applying separation distances.
Storage will be in plastic/paper containers holding no more than 550 grams of powder. No metal should be used. The containers should be in a suitable storage box. Minimum requirements: -

Constructed using 18mm ply or similar
Compartment separators 6mm ply
Air gap of 30% between top of powder container and top of box
No bare metal on inside of box
Lid to be secured and with a good seal

The box must not be located under or near any means of access or escape. It should not be in the same room as flammable liquids or in areas where there is a risk of fire.

These pages are a very small and brief part of the regulations relating to explosives, which are too numerous and complex to explain within the limits of this web page. For further information contact your local Firearms Enquiry Team or visit the Health & Safety Executive Web site.

Send mail to cdrpc@btconnect.com with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright 2017
Chesterfield And District Rifle And Pistol Club
Last modified: May 03, 2016