The process of testing firearms, components of firearms subject to testing, and inspection of cartridges aims to ensure the safety of the user.

The testing process includes pre-shooting checks, a test shooting and post-shooting checks. Test shooting takes place using test cartridges.

The inspection of commercial firearms cartridges includes checks on the existence of distinguishing marks on the elementary packing units, checks on the existence of distinguishing marks on each cartridge, checks on conformity of the dimensions, checks on the average pressure and overall safety checks.

Firearms and components of firearms that are subject to testing that are approved after testing, and basic packaging units for commercial cartridges that are approved after inspection are stamped.

The regulatory aspects will be discussed below.

Both the tests and the inspection fall under the authority of the FPS Economy. By contrast, the traceability, neutralisation, destruction and transformation of firearms and the approval of blank weapons fall under the authority of the FPS Justice.

Definitions

Firearm: portable (small) weapon with a barrel that can be loaded with at least one explosive substance as loose powder or contained in ammunition, i.e. a cartridge, that can be fired.

Pistolets à poudre noire
Black powder guns
Armes à feu longues
Long guns
Armes à feu de poing
Handguns

 

Convention: the Convention on mutual recognition of small firearms approved by the law of 20 January 1971 approving the Convention for mutual recognition of proof marks for small firearms and the regulation with appendices I and II, drawn up in Brussels on 1 July 1969.

C.I.P.: Permanent International Commission for the Proof of Small Arms founded via the Agreement.

C.I.P. bank: testing centre for firearms recognised by the C.I.P.

Testing centre for firearms in Liège: Belgian testing centre for firearms recognised by the CIP.

Conventional weapons: firearms and components of firearms that are subject to testing that are included in the regulation from the Convention as well as marketed ammunition.

Components subject to testing: original parts or identical replacement items, designed for a firearm, essential for its effectiveness, subjected to heavy mechanical forces when fired and included in the Convention’s regulation or, if not, in Appendix 1 of the Royal Decree of 26 April 2017 on determining the tests to which the various weapons must be subjected and amending the Royal Decree of 30 June 1924 approving the new general regulation for the firearms testing centre in Liège.

The components subject to testing listed in the Convention regulation are (CIP Decision XXVIII-63):

  • for all weapons, except revolvers: the barrel and the essential component of the locking mechanism (tilting in self-loading weapons, locking piece in other weapons) and the frame if relevant;
  • for revolvers: barrel, drum and frame;
  • for weapons whereby the chamber is not connected to the heart of the barrel: barrel, every chamber and the essential components of the locking mechanism.

Firearms and ammunition included in the Convention’s regulation: Tables with standard Cartridge and Chamber Dimensions (TDCC).

Marketed ammunition: ammunition that is industrially manufactured in large quantities, by loading frames with explosive substances and potentially also a bullet, balls or a projectile, the calibre of which is included in the regulation of the Convention, in elementary packaging for various units and intended for sale by an armourer.

Diverses munitions
Various types of ammunition

 

Unconventional weapons: firearms and components that are subject to testing and adapted to them, listed in Appendix 1 of the Royal Decree of 26 April 2017, manufactured individually or in limited quantities, and which are not included in the Convention’s regulation.

Special ammunition: ammunition whose calibre is not listed in the Convention’s regulation and whose explosive substance is complies with the manufacturer's loading tables.

Components subject to testing, listed in Appendix 1 of the Royal Decree of 26 April 2017: the frame, the barrel, the revolver’s cylinder, the pistols’ breech and slide, the closing and locking components, the rocker.

Obligations for conventional weapons

Firearms and components that are subject to testing will be tested. The testing of firearms and components that are subject to testing that are carried out or implemented in Belgium will be conducted by the Testing Centre for Firearms in Liège in accordance with the provisions of the Convention’s regulations. Imported firearms and components that are subject to testing that have already been tested by a CIP test bench and bear the appropriate markings are exempt from testing by the Testing Centre for firearms in Liège.

The firearms and components that have been subject to testing and approved bear the appropriate markings:

  1° Markings (stamps) defined by the Convention’s regulation according to the type of testing;

Poinçon pour épreuve ordinaire
Marking for ordinary testing

 

  2° The identification marking of the Testing Centre for firearms in Liège, given in Appendix 2 of the Royal Decree of 26 April 2017 establishing the testing to which the various weapons are subject and amending the Royal Decree of 30 June 1924 for approval of the new general regulation for the weapons testing centre in Liège;

Poinçon Liège

  3° The marking giving the year letter stated in Appendix 3 of the Royal Decree of 26 April 2017 establishing the testing to which the various weapons are subject and amending the Royal Decree of 30 June 1924 for approval of the new general regulation for the weapons testing centre in Liège or the full year in four figures.  

année 2016
Year 2016

 

Rejected firearms or components that were subject to testing shall only be marked with the identification marking of the Testing Centre as given in Appendix 2 of the aforementioned Royal Decree of 26 April 2017.

(Marketed) ammunition which is manufactured in or imported into Belgium shall be inspected by the Testing Centre for firearms in Liège according to the provisions of the Convention’s regulation. The elementary packaging for the (marketed) ammunition that has passed the inspection shall bear the marking as set out in the Convention’s regulation (the symbol of the centre involved in the checking procedure, the symbol of the CIP M and the concerned batch). This ammunition is said to be approved and may be sold sale in authorised trading outlets, i.e. armouries with a federal licence for storing ammunition in application of the Royal Decree of 23 September 1958 and general regulations on the manufacturing, storage, possession, sale, transport and use of explosives. 

Poinçons présents sur le conditionnement élémentaire
Marking given on elementary packaging
Poinçon présent sur le conditionnement élémentaire
Marking given on elementary packaging

 

Imported trading ammunition which has already been tested by a CIP and which has been equipped with the appropriate marks is exempt from testing by the Testing Centre for firearms in Liège.

Obligations for unconventional weapons

Unconventional weapons and their special ammunition shall be subject to testing by the Testing Centre for firearms in Liège, according to a specific set of procedures given in Appendix 4 of the Royal Decree of 26 April 2017 establishing the testing to which the various weapons are subject and amending the Royal Decree of 30 June 1924 for approval of the new general regulation for the weapons testing centre in Liège.

The aforementioned firearms and components that have been subject to testing and have been approved bear the following appropriate markings:

  1. The calibre on each barrel if it is missing;
  2. The identification marking of the Testing Centre for firearms in Liège, given in Appendix 2 of the Royal Decree of 26 April 2017 establishing the testing to which the various weapons are subject and amending the Royal Decree of 30 June 1924 for approval of the new general regulation for the weapons testing centre in Liège;
  3. The marking giving the year letter stated in Appendix 3 of the Royal Decree of 26 April 2017 establishing the testing to which the various weapons are subject and amending the Royal Decree of 30 June 1924 for approval of the new general regulation for the weapons testing centre in Liège or the full year in four figures;
  4. The marking regarding the type of test given in Appendix 5 of the Royal Decree of 26 April 2017 establishing the testing to which the various weapons are subject and amending the Royal Decree of 30 June 1924 for approval of the new general regulation for the weapons testing centre in Liège.

The testing of unconventional weapons with its particular ammunition, may be rejected if its specificities render this process impossible. The firearm or component that has not passed the test or has been refused shall only bear the identification marking of the testing centre as given in Appendix 2 of the aforementioned Royal Decree of 26 April 2017.

Sanctions

Pursuant to Article 13 of the law of 8 July 2018 on provisions regarding the testing centre for firearms, nobody may possess firearms, firearm components, or cartridges for shooting or use these for shooting, to sell, to offer for sale, whether in warehouses, stores, storage areas, or workplaces, that do not comply with the conditions of this law or its implementation decree.

Any violation of Article 13 is punishable by imprisonment for a period of 8 days to 1 month and a fine of EUR 26 to 25,000 and, where applicable, the seizure and confiscation, without compensation, of the offending firearms, the firearm components, and the cartridges, whether or not they actually belong to the offender.

All provisions of Book I of the Penal Code, including chapter VII and Article 85 shall apply to violations set forth in paragraph 1 subject to the provisions in the paragraph 3.

In case of recidivism within a period of five years from the date of a final judgement on the same offence, the maximum fines and penalties shall be doubled.

The Testing Centre for firearms in Liège ensures the surveillance, safety and conformity of firearms, components of firearms and cartridges through checks regarding the application of the provisions of the law of 8 July 2018 and its implementation decrees, and by investigating and establishing violations of the same provisions across the entire territory.

Testing Centre for firearms in Liège

The Testing Centre for firearms in Liège is an autonomous public administrative body whose management bodies are the board of directors and the director. The director is responsible for the day-to-day management and the board of directors for the financial and accounting aspects.

The Testing Centre for firearms in Liège receives no State subsidies. Its allowances come only from its work in accordance with its missions. Pursuant to Article 10 of the aforementioned law of 8 July 2018, the rates for fulfilling its task are set by the board of directors, with the exception of the rate for the destruction of weapons by judicial orders, so that there is no financial burden for the Public Treasury.

The task of the Testing Centre for firearms in Liège, listed in Article 3 of the law of 8 July 2018 on provisions for the testing centre for firearms, includes:

  1. Inspecting and certifying firearms, components of firearms and cartridges, according to the conditions set out by the King;
  2. Traceability, identification and categorisation of firearms manufactured in or imported into Belgium, in accordance with the law of 8 June 2006 on regulating economic and individual activities involving weapons;
  3. Approval of alarm weapons in accordance with the Royal Decree of 18 November 1996 categorising some alarm weapons as firearms requiring licences;
  4. Neutralising, transforming and destroying firearms in accordance with the law of 8 June 2006 on regulating economic and individual activities with weapons;
  5. Supervising firearms, components of firearms and alarm weapons in the context of this law and its implementation decrees;
  6. Certifying the technical characteristics of firearms;
  7. Development of expertise, participation in national and international working groups, and technical support of governments in the context of the tasks set out in this paragraph.


The testing centre develops the activities necessary for fulfilling its role and can also develop additional activities in line with its missions.

Étalonnage d'un capteur de mesure de pression
Calibration of a pressure measurement sensor
Inspection visuelle d'un canon de chasse
Visual inspection of a shotgun
Tir d'épreuve d'un revolver
Test firing a revolver

 

 

Contact

FPS Economy

General Directorate of Quality & Safety
Safety Department
Safety Regulation Division
Boulevard Albert II 16
1000 Brussels

E-Mail: cvc-csc@economie.fgov.be

Tel: +32 2 277 76 99

Testing Centre for firearms in Liège

https://www.bancdepreuves.be

 

Last update
22 March 2022

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