Ishtiaq Shah, 22, was arrested by NCA officers in January 2020 after a search of his family home led to the discovery of a revolver loaded with nine rounds of live ammunition.
Investigators found the weapon in a sports bag which had been hidden in a bedroom wardrobe.
When in custody, Shah gave no explanation of how he came to possess the gun.
Forensic teams examined the revolver and found it to be a Turkish-made ZORAKI Streamer R1-C l model, which was chambered to fire 6 mm ammunition from a 9-chamber rotating cylinder.
The serial number and other markings had been obliterated on the frame in an attempt to make the weapon untraceable. However, the revolver bore marks indicating it had been sourced from the Czech Republic.
Shah claimed that, days before the NCA searched his house, a friend had given him the weapon which he believed to be a BB gun and therefore legal to possess. He initially told the court that he had never fired the gun, but under cross examination admitted that he’d fired shots in his house and replaced the spent bullets with extras he’d been given.
His DNA was also matched to the weapon.
Shah pleaded guilty to possessing the gun and ammunition at an earlier hearing, but after a three day trial was found not guilty of a further charge of possessing the weapon with intent to endanger life.
Martin Matthews, NCA Investigations Manager, said: “This investigation recovered a lethal firearm that was ready to fire live rounds and potentially cause death and serious injury.
“This type of gun is not easy to get hold of, and are traded for up to £2,500 in the illicit market, meaning there was serious criminality behind its presence at Shah’s home.
“The NCA works relentlessly to prevent criminals gaining access to firearms, and to pursue those who use them to bring violence and intimidation to communities.”