top of page
Screen Shot 2022-12-11 at 8.51.55 pm.png


Movie Guns Australia by Sabre.jpeg


For cast and crew safety only a Licensed Armourer (holder of a current QLD Theatrical Ordnance Suppliers License) is allowed by QLD Law to legally bring weapons or replicas of weapons of any kind onto a set, verify weapon types and to oversee weapon safety.  This includes use of real weapons, replica weapons, de-activated weapons and gel blasters.  

To take any weapon or replica of a weapon (which includes imitation / replica, de-activated guns and gel blasters) onto a film set or stage production without a QLD Theatrical Ordnance Suppliers License is unlawful (see QLD Weapons Act Division 7).

An Armourer’s job is to ensure the safe selection, usage and storage of any weapons taken onto set.  Even a replica / imitation requires a Licensed Armourer to verify that it is indeed a replica / imitation and to prevent anything that is not approved to be on set being accidentally handed to a cast member.

No weapon that is capable of chambering and discharging a live round of ammunition should ever be taken onto a film set and likewise live ammunition should never be taken onto a film set.

Any drill rounds / dummy ammunition must be identifiable as inert and certified by the Armourer.

Treat every on-set weapon whether blank fire or replica / imitation as if it is a real and loaded firearm.  Even replica / imitation guns should be thoroughly cleared and checked / verified as such whenever used to the satisfaction of surrounding cast and crew by a Licensed Armourer.

Weapons should be supplied and supervised only by licensed Armourer and only accessible to the Armourer when stored. 

Cast are to only handle weapons under the direct supervision of the licensed Armourer. 

With all weapons (real or replica / imitation) trigger and muzzle discipline should be adhered to at all times as best training and practice unless authorised by the Armourer during performances.


Local authorities, Police and public / residents should be notified of filming in any public areas that will have visible weapons so that public alarm is not caused.  "Filming In Progress" signage around approaches to a location is also good practice to help avoid public alarm.


The Armourer should work closely with Producers, Director, First Assistant Director (First AD), Safety, Key Grip and Stunt Co-ordinators to ensure proper usage of any weapons on-set.


Queensland: Weapons Act 1990, Weapons Regulations -  SEE CURRENT ACT HERE 




The Producers, First AD, Armourer and the Safety Officer should discuss the proposed use of any weapons at the start of each day.

All cast and crew should be totally confident that no live firing weapons or ammunition are on set. No other crew members should handle weapons unless it is deemed safe and essential for setting of stunt or art effects.

The First AD must make allowance for cast handling weapons to be properly briefed and trained by the Armourer.

Before any weapon is handed to cast the Armourer must have the opportunity to properly clear / verify it and and inform surrounding cast and crew of the state of that weapon in terms of it being loaded, unloaded / a replica gun etc.  Good practice is for at the very least a 3 way buddy system to have occurred from the Armourer, a senior crew member (ideally Safety / 1st AD) and then the cast member before a weapon is ever used on set.  Weapons checks from the Armourer, First AD, Safety and any cast and crew in proximity to sight and verify weapon clearance and its state of readiness is actually ideal.

All cast and crew have the right to ask the Armourer to visually inspect a weapon’s state of readiness and safety with the Armourer at any time. 

Handling or usage of any weapon on-set must be with the approval and supervision of the Armourer.  An Armourer has the right to stop any usage deemed to be unsafe or inappropriate at any time and to remove themselves and their weapons from set if they deem any behaviour or practices as unsafe. 

If simulated pistol whipping / butt strikes etc are to be performed using cast or stunt actors soft rubber moulds should be produced of those weapons for optimal cast safety.



Sabre has access to a wide range of Military and Police subject matter experts who can work alongside us as advisors and extras.

Pros and Cons of Real Guns with Blank Fire vs Replica and / or C02 Gas Actions


Replicas / C02 Gas Actions




  • Look the same but are far safer in terms of risk of injury or death from muzzle blast, fragments, or live ammunition being accidentally brought to set.

  • Cheaper to obtain (handy for multiple hero guns and replace breakages than real), use and insure for.

  • Actors not used to weapons (which is most) are far less consciously and sub-consciously concerned than they would be with handling a real weapon, so may look more confident with them / can focus on their natural performance more.

  • No hearing protection required.

  • Less impact on public / civil authorities if filming on open sets.

  • Faster set ups / much easier for production as proximity and angles for camera, cast and crew to firing much less concern.

  • Less stoppages and takes from jams and resetting of guns.

  • Cannot chamber any live rounds.

  • More relaxed cast and crew with non-lethal guns and high tolerance for mistakes / errors.  Most actors, stunt professionals and production crews seem to feel safer using replica / C02 actioned guns than having real weapons onset these days.

  • Post-production effects are now excellent and can easily add desired onscreen impacts.




  • Some models may have slightly less functionality than real ones and require cut aways for some close up reloading actions on some autos.

  • Less visceral recoil / blast so reliant upon actor’s technique and post effects.



Real Weapons with Blank Fire




  • Mostly full functionality. 

  • Muzzle blast and some recoil.

  • Actors that are highly gun aware (typically in the minority) may prefer real guns.

  • Possibly fewer post-production effects required.




  • Even blanks are dangerous and muzzle blast / fragments can injure or kill.

  • Expensive to source, use and insure for so harder / more expensive to have multiple hero guns or replace damaged items.

  • Longer set ups and rehearsals required for angles, proximity, stunts and safety.

  • Hearing protection required for all in proximity and set cleared of all non-essential cast and crew.  

  • Higher chance of public alarm / issues with authorities on open sets.

  • Blanks can jam and fail frequently requiring more takes.

  • In the unlikely event that a live round is loaded into one, it will fire it.

  • Actors not familiar with guns (most) may take a long time to look confident with real blast and blank firing, so may look less confident / have more startle reflex and overreact to firing onscreen than they would using a replica / gas gun.

  • There is zero tolerance for mistakes and errors when using real weapons and so there are higher levels of oversight and tension on set required to professionally manage and oversee this.



NOTE: By QLD Law / The Weapons Act a Theatrical Ordnance Suppliers License is required to take any real weapon or a replica / imitation onto a stage or film set (including replicas, gel blasters, gas guns etc).

Film Armouer Gold Coast Australia_edited
bottom of page