A lot of guerilla filmmakers will settle for light plastic toy guns (painted squirt or spring-loaded BB guns). And, truth be told, squirt guns and spring-loaded guns work well for background guns, but nothing will be the look and feel of a full metal, gas blowback Airsoft Beretta replica. The weight of the gun and blowback motion are what will sell 99% of your gun battles. With the toy props, it is easy to tell when the actor is just pretending and faking a gun&’s kick when fired. We&’ve all seen fake machine guns being fired in low budget Sci-Fi Channel films. Sad. It is worth the extra expense of the higher end Airsoft gas guns.
Finally, fake guns. I&’m going to go ahead and group everything else under this category &– squirt guns, Airsoft replicas, spring-loaded guns. In truth, for a low budget filmmaker, these prop guns all require additional work in post production to make them a viable option. For pistols I wholeheartedly recomment gas blowback Airsoft guns, and the full metal ones in particular. Airsoft guns tend to be highly accurate replicas with excellent weight for your actors to work with, realistic loading and the ever-important blowback action when fired.
Like any red-blooded, American, male indie filmmaker, I have fevered dreams of putting together a bad-ass action flick with a ton of martial arts and&…most important&…Guns. However, like a lot of you, I have been completely baffled as to how to pull it off safely and on a budget. Anyone who has done any sort of research in regards to obtaining prop guns for a film has come across the standard options. Let&’s take a quick look at those options:
Real guns loaded with Blank Rounds. This is the choice for most big budget flicks. What looks better than a real gun? The problem for an indie or guerilla filmmaker is the added expense of hiring an armorer to manage the guns, as well as the high cost of both real guns and the blank ammo. And let&’s not forget the biggest problem with real guns firing blank load ammunition: safety! With a semi-experienced crew, short shooting schedule and microscopic budget, safety can be a major issue when it comes to prop guns on an indie film shoot. What does this mean? Well, it means real guns with blank ammo isn&’t an option for for most of us.