Harpenden, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

HAWC logo Members shooting a Detail Members shooting a Detail HAWC 35 logo

About Us

Harpenden Air Weapons Club was founded in 1982 and caters for precision target shooters for both 6 yard and 10 metre competition and practice.
We meet every TUESDAY NIGHT from 8 pm to about 10:30pm (Juniors 7:30pm to 8pm) close to the centre of Harpenden, Hertfordshire UK.


2017 and 2018 We are at full capacity with a waiting list for membership, and it is unlikely that vacancies will be available during this period. By all means email the information set out below to be put on the waiting list.


Contact the club for membership and training details by sending your full name, age and postal address by email to the email address below.

email address
We will send club address details only by surface mail - this is a normal security requirement.

Age groups and Skill Levels

Ages of current members ranges from 12 to over 80. We cater for .177 calibre target shooting, both rifle and pistol. Open sights single shot only for competition (NSRA Rules). Most competitions are in the Bedfordshire Smallbore Shooting Association (BSSA) and Hertfordshire Smallbore Rifle Association (HSRA) leagues, but there are other competitions available including NSRA, to which we are affiliated. Members are mostly from Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.


Shooting air weapons with this degree of precision improves strength, encourages responsible behaviour in youngsters, and enables those of any age and physical ability to compete on equal terms. We have some club pistols and a rifle available and can provide beginners coaching if needed. Newcomers would normally attend as visitors for a few weeks before joining.

Disabled/elderly access

Access for wheelchair from the car park has been improved by our landlords and is accessible with a carer and a car. Car park is unmetalled and on a slope. Access from the road to the car park is via a rough private road and there is no vehicular right of way, though we currently have permissive access for a few cars kindly granted by the landowner.
Shooting can be carried out whilst seated if required.
We have an appointed Child (and vulnerable adult) Protection Officer and rigorous protection protocols in place.

Duke of Edinburgh bronze awards

- subject to availability we can provide training for a defined time period with shooting as a "skill". We would set safety and performance achievement milestones for the 3 month period including 90% attendance target. If you choose to do this for 6 months that's fine by us but we would expect regular attendance and progress. We will assess your achievements against your plan and complete your booklet but you must agree "Air Gun Target Shooting" as a skill with your DofE Leader first. You are welcome to discuss this with us.
Remember we only meet on Tuesday evenings so homework would have to allow and you need a responsible adult to bring you. We reserve space for Junior shooting from 7:30 to 8pm.

See contact details above

Types of Air Guns for 10 metre Paper Target Shooting.

10 metre Target Air Rifles and Air Pistols are of similar design. Most are below 5.5 ftlbs and may have the F in a pentagon mark. Rifles of 12 ftlbs designed for hunting are not suitable for 10 metres and 6 yards and will not be allowed on the range.

Spring Powered.

Feinwerkbau model 65 The classic basic airpistol has a spring which pushes a piston, rather like a bicycle pump, and creates pressure to push the pellet along and out of the barrel. The heavy piston as it moves imparts a strong recoil on the gun and the barrel will jump and accuracy is compromised. A Webley Tempest for example would not be used for serious target use. On a target quality pistol or rifle, a heavy part of the mechanism is allowed to move in the opposite direction to the piston to counteract the recoil. This is usually either an identical piston linked with a rack and pinion to move in the opposite direction, or else the barrel and part of the weapon is allowed to slide backwards on a sled at the time of firing, like the barrel of an artillery gun.
The Feinwerkbau 65 pistol (sled type illustrated here) and 300S rifle, and the Original model 10 and model 6 (rack and pinion counter piston) are by far the most commonly used of the spring pistols.

Single-Stroke Pneumatic.

Pardini K58 This kind of airgun is pumped once by hand for each shot. Pulling the trigger releases a small spring-loaded weight which hits an air valve with a consistent velocity, releasing a measured shot of air. As there are few moving parts at the time of firing there is almost no recoil. Some strength is required to pump it. Pardini K58 illustrated here.

Compressed air, or Carbon Dioxide.

Feinwerkbau P40 This uses similar firing mechanism to pneumatic, except it carries its own supply of compressed air in a cylinder, typically 200 bar (3000 p.s.i) or liquid carbon dioxide which is at a rather lower pressure. Compressed air is either pumped in before the match using a special stirrup pump, or more usually decanted from a diver's SCUBA tank. CO2 is usually decanted from the type of gas cylinder typically used in fizzy drink machines or beer kegs. Feinwerkbau P40 illustrated here.

Typical compressed air target rifle

Feinwerkbau 700 Alu
Suitable for Olympic competition, costs are between GBP 2,000 and 3,000 typically and 4.5 to 5.5Kg in weight. A shooting jacket and trousers would be needed to get all shots in the 10 spot as in top competition.

Lightweight compressed air target rifle by Air Arms

Air Arms S400 MPR
The 3.1Kg S400 MPR Precision costs about GBP 740, 1/3 the price of a German olympic model and is ideal for young and adult club shooters especially those who find a 5Kg rifle too much to hold. Also for Target Sprint (run and shoot) comps. Made in England too!

Sight Pictures

When you look down the sights of a target weapon they look like this. On the left is the pistol sight picture. Note that only the foresight is in focus, and is held just below the aiming mark on the target, The rifle sight picture is more obvious, being concentric arrangement of peep-sight, fore sight and aiming mark

piston sight picture rifle sight picture

© Harpenden Air Weapons Club website 2006-2015 and later.