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Imitation, replica or toy?

Information about the distinction between imitation and toy guns.

What is an imitation firearm?

Imitation firearms are defined under the Act as 'a device, the appearance of which could reasonably be mistaken for that of an operable firearm, but which is not designed or adapted to discharge a shot or bullet or other missile by the expansion of gases...'

All imitation firearms are classified as prohibited weapons under the Control of Weapons Act 1990 (Vic).

See s. 3—Control of Weapons Act 1990 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Restrictions on prohibited weapons

Any weapons that have been classified as prohibited, need special permission from the Chief Commissioner of police before they can be imported, manufactured, used, possessed, displayed or sold. Approvals are given by the Licensing and Regulation Division of Victoria Police.

See Victoria Police—Licensing & Regulation Division(opens in a new window).

When approvals are not needed

No approval is required if an exemption order has been issued by the Governor in council. This order could apply to individuals or groups.

See Victoria Police—Licensing & Regulation Division(opens in a new window) and Victoria Police—Weapons controls(opens in a new window).

What is a replica firearm?

Replica firearms are working copies of firearms. Replica firearms have to be registered. People need to get a firearms licence for their replicas.

See Victoria Police—Weapons controls(opens in a new window).

What are toy firearms?

The distinction between an imitation firearm and a child's toy relies on police policy. These policies stop toys from being classified as 'prohibited weapons'.

According to police policy a toy gun must:

  • have unmistakable characteristics that distinguish it from a real firearm (more than just a brightly coloured plug affixed to the barrel)
  • have been manufactured for the purpose of play or amusement, and
  • not work in the same way as a firearm.

The Victoria police site has some pictures to explain the differences see Victoria Police—Firearm classifications(opens in a new window).

More information


Control of Weapons Act 1990 (Vic)

  • s. 3—defines an imitation firearm

See Control of Weapons Act 1990 (Vic)(opens in a new window).


Victoria police

The Victoria Police website has more detailed information about the classification of weapons and firearms.