This guideline is intended to be utilized by property department persons,
This manual has been distributed to:
|Copies of the current version as presented has been distributed to:|
|Every production you work on will be different in terms of the personnel, cast & crew, location, weather, etc. The caliber of the firearms will differ as well as the blank ammunition operating them. Keeping these factors in mind, let's always practice practical safety. Practical safety, together with common sense, must be the true director on the set. Your coworkers will be grateful when you show command presence while making safety decisions. |
ACTORS ON-SET PROCEDURES
TREAT EVERY GUN AS IF IT WERE LOADED!
In the past, some operators and prop persons have instructed actors to raise the firearm above their heads after they hear, "Cut". There are several good reasons that this practice should change.There could be a malfunction of the firearm and a "hang-fire" or late discharge, or the actor/stunt player might accidentally pull the trigger and discharge another blank while in the raised up position.
The probability of injury to the actor/stunt player and crew is greater, because:
|PROP MASTER / GUN WRANGLER|
Basic rules while operating all blanked firearms or blank-fire non-guns on the set:
|REPLICA WEAPONS |
Quite often production calls for the cast and crew, stunt players or extras to carry replica firearms. On almost every set I have worked, these props have been treated with complete disregard. This shows a very unprofessional attitude. These are not cheap and can be damaged beyond repair if mishandled or dropped. The working replica gun's value has increased in the past several years due to the new state and federal importation laws. (Most replica guns are imported.) Replica firearms should be treated with the same respect as operating forearms. Actors/stunt players should NOT "dry" fire or operate charging mechanisms until told to do so by a production authority.
Rubber weapons, which cost between $150 and $300 apiece were designed to be carried by stunt persons during falls and fight scenes. Most rubber guns look like the real thing. Treat them with the same respect you would a real firearm. Sure, it's fun to "fast draw" these props or point them at your buddy, but think of how others around you view this activity. The image you portray on the set is the image others rely on when considering you for possible future work.
WHAT ACTUALLY OCCURS WHEN A WEAPON IS FIRED - BLANK DISCHARGE-
How Far Away IS Safe?As described on above, the release of burning gas, blank wadding materials and brass particles from the crimp are elements of possible injury. There are so many variations of firearms and combinations of blanks used that we would need volumes to describe all the possibilities. Common sense must be used. Some of the blank ammunition boxes have disclaimers that state, "unsafe within 20 feet." This is the manufacturer's "safe" distance. Often the action being filmed calls for shots to be fired within 5 to 10 feet of another actor/stunt player. It is my suggestion to NEVER exceed the manufacturers recommendations for standoff printed on the box containing the blanks. Most military surplus blanks are not suitable for film or state wok because of their intended purpose. Never use no-name or white box blanks. Only use those produced by a reputable manufacturer. If there are no safety distances printed on the box, or you are unsure, check the blanks yourself. It is even a good idea to test one blank from every box.
A safe-check procedure or test-fire display should demonstrate a safe distance for a discharge. Set up a "C" stand with an arm out and hang a piece of white tissue paper from it. Stand back at the distance the director wants and discharge the firearm. Upon firing, if the tissue paper is shattered apart, step back a few feet. When the tissue no longer disintegrates from the shot, check for powder burns. If need be back up a few more steps. Finally, of course, you will "cheat" the point of aim by actually firing the firearm away from the other actor/stunt player.
NEVER, under any circumstance aim or shoot toward the head and face of another person. The weapon should ALWAYS be "cheated" or deflected away from the actor. If at all possible, arrange for the actor being shot to wear sunglasses. If it is a bit-part, there shouldn't be a problem making the recommendation.
"Common sense" guidelines that should be understood and practiced by the prop master/Gun Wrangler
He or she should:
| When the "big scene" calls for a plethora of operation firearms, |
it is suggested that you pace yourself in the following ways:
1. Have a walk-through and safety meeting before filming. Involve all crew members and actors who will be on set.
2. Determine which firearms are most reliable, and have those placed with actors closest to the camera.
3. Discuss with actors/stunt players the safety procedures with regard to firearms. There is no harm in checking everyone a second time, one-on-one.
4. Instruct the director or assistant director about safe zones of fire; i.e. brass, gas and wading.
5. Ask the director or assistant director as to their wishes in case of firearm malfunction during filming:
a. Have the actor/stunt player continue with the scene, with his/her finger in "ready" position (out of the trigger guard and along side the gun, or6. Make sure everyone involved understands the same malfunction signal. Chances are there may be a pyrotechnic special effect going on in the scene and you will only have one chance to "get it." Remember to practice common sense.
7. When the Gun Wrangler/ prop master hears, "Cut!" after the "big scene" or when there is a malfunction of a firearm,
he/she should retrieve the malfunctioning firearm first, then the others in the predetermined order.8. Do NOT permit any actor/stunt player to try to repair a malfunctioning firearm. Do not allow them to hang onto the firearms between "takes." Always lock them up in your "Gun Box" anytime you are not in attendance to them or cannot maintain direct oversight.9. Never allow anyone but yourself to acquire and dispense blanks. Always keep your supply of blanks locked up in a separate "Ammo Box." Diagrams of various types of firearms
Action - Not to be confused with what the Director says. This is the general term for the working components of a gun.
Ammo - An abbreviated term for ammunition, which is an object that is propelled out of a gun. A.k.a. round or bullet.
Ammo Box - A lockable metal or heavy wooden box in which blank cartridges are stored while ON-SET.
Assault Weapon - A type of semi-automatic firearm that has the look and operation of a military firearm.
Bullet - A misused catchall term for cartridge (case & projectile) or just the projectile.
DAG - A brand of blank ammunition that is manufactured in Germany that uses a plastic lip.
Dummy Round - A cartridge that looks real to camera but is "inert" (i.e. no powders or primers). Because these look real to the untrained eye, never leave them laying around.
Gun Box - A lockable metal or heavy wooden box with wheels where guns are stored between "takes.
"Gun Wrangler - A licensed contractor who is the actual possessor of blanked "live" firearms and has complete control over them at all times. He or she has the last word as to whether a SET-UP is safe or not.
Magazine - The magazine is a device which holds extra cartridges in a firearm. There are internal magazines and external detachable magazines as well as tubular magazines.
Pistol - A gun usually held in one hand that fires automatically
Prop Master - The over-all responsible person representing the production company with regard to all properties, both owned and rented.
Projectile - The cartridge component that travels out of the barrel.
Round - Another misused word the refers to a cartridge or "bullet."
Slide - The reciprocating part of a semiautomatic pistol that strips the round from the magazine, feeds the round into the chamber, and with it's extractor, expels the fired case.
|REPRINTING OF THIS MANUAL IS GRANTED AS LONG AS CREDIT IS GIVEN 'TO THE AUTHOR,|
JEFFERSON WAGNER AND ACKNOWLEDGE MOVIE GUN SERVICES AS THE SOURCE.
Background of the original author
Jefferson Wagner, 1994
Former L.A. Co. Sheriff Deputy reserve level I
Current Cal. D.O.J. Basic firearms course provider
Current B.A.T.F. Class III Lic.
Current Cal. D.O.J. Machine gun lic.
Current Cal. D.O.J. Assault weapon lic.
Current Cal. D.O.J. Short barrel shotgun, short barrel rifle lic.
Current Cal. State fire marshal pyrotechnic operators 3 card
Credits in over 100 feature films, foreign and domestic for stunts and weapons handling
Member S.A.G. 13 years
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