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In the early 1900s the firearms manufacturers of the Province of Brescia found the key to their success in the quality and reliability of their products, and formed a consortium with the Towns of Brescia and Gardone Valtrompia, the Chamber of Commerce of Brescia, and the Ministry of Industry of the then Kingdom of Italy.
Thus, by Royal Decree Nr. 20 of 13/01/1910, the Proof House was founded and based in Brescia. Its laboratories were set up in the two major firearms-making towns: Gardone Valtrompia and Brescia.

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The Consortium partners granted a “one-off” allowance to overcome start-up costs.
Due to bureaucratic difficulties and the arrival of the First World War, it was only from 1st September 1920 that the Gardone V.T. division began to operate, while the Brescia division became active on 1st July 1921.
National Proof House tests were optional until 1923, after which law no. 3152 rendered them compulsory.
In 1925, besides the two divisions in Gardone V.T. and Brescia, a division of the Banco [National Proof House] was opened in Camerlata (Como), but it operated for about a year (from 2nd February 1925 to 28th February 1926). With Royal Decree 15th November 1925, the Banco di Prova became the “Banco Nazionale di Prova per le armi da fuoco portatili” [National Proof House for small firearms].
In 1928, Italy joined the Brussels Convention along with some other European countries, in reciprocal recognition of the arms tests performed by their respective Proof Houses.
The economic crisis which hit the Italian economy in the twenties led to the closure of the Brescia division of the Banco di Prova (closing on 1st May 1930), leaving Gardone V.T. as the sole remaining division, which went on to increasingly establish itself.
The headquarters was located in an old building on Via Della Vittoria and was transferred into its present site in Via Mameli in 1951.


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The National Proof House in almost a century of history has undergone several regulatory and organizational changes aimed at making it more responsive to the new technical and administrative requirements.

In particular:
- Law Nr. 186 of 23 February1960, which substituted Royal Legislative Decree Nr. 3152 of 1923 regarding the obligation to apply proof marks to portable firearms;
- Law Nr. 993 of 12 December 1973, by which the second Brussels Convention was ratified (adopted on 1 July 1969) regarding the reciprocal recognition of proof marks among certain European countries, currently Austria, Belgium, Russian Federation, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Spain, Hungary, and of the proof marks of the Republic of Chile, as well as the setting up of an International Permanent Commission (CIP) that shall establish the proofing criteria for the safety of the weapon end-users;
- Law Nr. 110 of 18 April 1975, which supplements and regulates the standards for testing firearms and ammunition by introducing the obligation to catalogue rifled firearms, and assigns the National Proof House the task of verifying conformity of weapons to the National Catalogue;
- Law Nr. 509 of 6 December 1993, which by establishing the Regulations for Testing Commercial Ammunition defines the National Proof House as the Competent National Authority for testing ammunition; consequently, the National Proof House has been renamed as "Banco Nazionale di Prova per le armi da fuoco portatili e per le munizioni commerciali" (National Proof House for Portable Firearms and Commercial Ammunition);
- Ministerial Decree Nr. 362 of 9 August 2001, regulating compressed air weapons and replicas of muzzle-loaded single shot weapons.

 

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The National Proof House, therefore, is institutionally the "technical supervisor" of the conformity of firearms and ammunition to the technical and legal standards, and can be considered the "Registry Office" of all weapons produced in Italy as well as of most of the imported ones.
Regarding firearms that have passed the testing process, the National Proof House applies the proof marks shown in the table. In addition to the aforementioned institutional duties, the National Proof House carries out other significant complementary activities, such as testing the ballistic resistance of vests, helmets, bulletproof glass, window and door frames, and armour platings in general, for Police Forces and for manufacturers, as well as for Security Service Institutes (for more information, please visit the section Special Ballistic Testing Activities).
The National Proof House is the only Authority that carries out testing of the firing ground of the Armed Forces and the Police Forces.
It also performs special tests on weapons and ammunition (precision, reliability, resistance, etc.).
The National Proof House is a "Public Body" managed by a "Board of Directors" appointed by the Ministry of Economic Development, which it answers to for determining weapons and ammunition testing fees.
The Board of Directors consists of 12 members, has a term of office of 4 years, and elects its Chairman.
The Director of the National Proof House is appointed by the Ministry of Economic Development, after consulting the Ministry of Defence, and takes part in the Board of Directors, with consultative vote, and with the function of Secretary.
The Proof House staff consists of a Head of the "Firearms Tests" Department, who directs and supervises the testing of the weapons submitted, a Head of the Ballistic Laboratory, in charge of the testing activities for commercial ammunition and of the special ballistic tests, an Administrative Office Manager, technical and administrative employees, shop workers, and technical inspectors.
Carrying forward the spirit of the founders to "improve the quality and reliability of Italian firearms-making", the National Proof House is coming out with a modernized presentation, starting with a critical review of its organization, the upgrading of its testing systems and instruments, and constantly checking the compliance and suitability of firearms to the needs of users, whether they are producers or end users.
In this perspective, the National Proof House has voluntarily subjected its quality management system to certification according to the standard UNI EN ISO 9001/2000.
The certification was obtained in 2005 from the oldest Italian certification body, the Italian Naval Register (RINA).

 
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