Top Five Tips For Performing With Firearms

We've all done it, right? Made a gun out of our thumb, index and middle finger, and pretended we were in the middle of a massive shoot-out. That we were James Bond or Lara Croft, the camera on us as we expertly wield our finger gun. I bet we've all made the firing sound with our mouths as we did it. If you were told that when you grew up, you didn't have to stop playing pretend, and you would actually get paid for it, you would jump at the chance, and that dream comes true for many of our skilled supporting artists and special action extras. 

That's the dream though, the make-believe part, and the reality of performing with firearms is quite different. There's more to it than just pointing and shooting, and prop guns are far more dangerous than your index finger. So we asked Chief Instructor Andreas Petrides to give us his top five tips for performing with firearms ahead of our next Gun Rush: Firearms For Film course. 



When allocated a weapon system (your gun), make sure you revise all the required drills under the Set Registered Armorer. The Set Registered Armorer is the person on-set who is in charge of all of the firearms. Make sure that you are confident with the weapon system and confident with your weapon handling drills to the point that they flow.


When securing the weapon make sure the weapon is positioned so it can be easily drawn from its holster or your trousers. You should practice the drawing drill, pulling out your weapon and taking aim, again and again, so it becomes smooth.


When performing with a firearm make sure you survey your performance area first.  Always look for the natural areas of cover within the set. It looks unrealistic to run through a gunfight without looking for cover. If you are positioned by the HOD (Head Of Department) you should make sure the areas are clear of hazards and have good firing positions/arcs to fire to perform from.


Always be prepared for weapon stoppages, this could be your gun jamming, or just simply not firing. If this happens, get into cover and clear the weapon accordingly, to get it ready to fire again as soon as possible.
If you should get a problem with the weapon and cannot get it firing again, keep performing, stay in cover and in character until cut is called, then see the Set Registered Armorer.


Always be prepared for change. This could be a change of your allocated weapon system or a change in the action.
Make sure you get fully briefed and are confident with the new weapon system and its function.
Make sure you are confident with all action or changes to the action prior to rehearsals.

Other points to remember:

  • Always remember the weapon system allocated to you is your responsibility and should be kept with you at all times.
  • Never fiddle/play with the weapon around others or allow them to take charge of the weapon.
  • Never go away from the set and into public areas with any weapon system, if you need to do so hand the weapon back to the Set Armorer.
  • Any Questions, issues regarding the weapon system go to the Set Registered Armorer.


If you want to learn how to perform with firearms for film and television then join us on our next Gun Rush: Firearms For Film Course! You can find out more HERE!

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