Acting : Safety note for actors working and posing with firearms by Colin Hussey

Colin Hussey

Safety note for actors working and posing with firearms

When handling any type of firearm on a set--or anywhere else, for that matter--always keep your finger off the trigger and resting on the trigger guard until you are absolutely ready and are cleared to fire the weapon at an intended target. Too often in publicity photos and posters, I see these poses by actors with guns that make me cringe, and I have to wonder how many accidental discharges happen because of people picking up guns with their fingers on triggers, rather than handling them properly. An actor friend of mine recently posted a pic of himself with a gun publicizing an action thriller in which he's one of the stars, and it prompted me to bring this up here, while it's fresh on my mind.

JD Hartman

The job of set safety is that of the Armorer. If he isn't coaching and cautioning the cast, then he's not doing a very good job. The armorer will always tell an actor when the prop weapon has a blank loaded.

Colin Hussey

Still, actors should be mindful of these four basic rules of gun safety: 1. Assume the firearm is loaded. 2. Keep it pointed in a safe direction 3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target. 4. Always be sure of your target and what's beyond it. Set safety in movies is everyone's responsibility. I'm not going to just assume that the armorer or anyone else is on the ball, unless I see that as being the case.

Andrea Dover

Thank you for posting this. Tragic deaths do happen (for example, The Crow set when Brandon Lee was accidentally shot). Every person must be vigilant about safety.

Dirk Jonker

Thanks, Colin, excellent advice. Handling a "prop" weapon correctly is more about preserving your discipline with guns than about how dangerous the weapon is. Always assuming that the gun is loaded and may fire keeps everyone in a safe place. Never leave a prop firearm unattended. There are many people on set, each with their own responsibilities and focus. If the armorer hands you a gun, make sure that it is safe and on your person at all times until you can hand it back. You may know that there is no chance that the weapon could possibly fire, but you can't say the same of any gun you're using or similar weapons you might find on a set.

JD Hartman

When on location in a crap part of town (known gang territory), handle the prop weapons as little as possible. Key step in preventing lead poisoning.

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