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Blank guns in a larp

01-11-2016

How to safely use blank-firing gun replicas in a larp

• Blank-firing guns are not real weapons, they can’t kill anyone.
• They aren’t toys, either; they *can* injure and will do so if not used properly.
• The blank-firing guns we use load blank cartridges (basically, a cartridge without a bullet: it has gunpowder, but no projectile).  They couldn't shoot a live bullets even if you tried (don't; the blank gun would explode in your hand).

 

General safety

• Blank guns are terribly loud and they produce a hot flash. This can hurt.
• To be extra safe, try to pretend that blank guns are real, and behave as such. This will help with roleplay, too.
• Don’t keep your finger on the trigger, unless you are about to shoot. Keep your finger extended along the barrel, in a resting position.
• Before holstering your gun, uncock the hammer and, if possible, put the safety on.
• If possible, use a proper holster, or a bag, or a large, safe pocket to carry your gun.
• Don't carry a gun around in your underwear, unless you like surprises AND you're into *really* rough sex.
• Don’t keep the hammer cocked, unless you are about to shoot. The trigger will be *very* sensitive if the hammer is cocked.
• Don't drop a blank gun on the ground.
• If you find a blank gun during the game, before waving it around, make sure its hammer is not cocked. Check if it's loaded or not.
• If a gun jams, usually it's just a cartridge stuck in the barrel. If you can't un-jam it yourself (by hand, or using a screwdriver or a similar tool) just ask to an organizer or to a player familiar with blank guns.

 

Shooting: where and how

• Never shoot blank guns if closer than 2 meters to your target.
• If your target is closer, take 2 or 3 steps back before shooting. If you can’t manage to do so, just give up the shot: safety trumps playability.
• Always point at the chest, not the face.
• Never shoot if your face (or anyone else’s) is close to the gun.
• Beware that the blank guns we use are “top-firing”; that is, the exhaust gases come out of the weapon’s side or top, not out of the barrel. So don’t shoot if somebody is standing next to you.

 

Don’t to dangerous stuff

• Very loud noises may cause tinnitus (ear ringing) in some rare cases. If you are, say, a professional musician in real life, you might consider wearing some kind of ear plugs before shootings. Even improvised earplugs should be more than enough; just make sure they are clean and that they don’t break into small pieces inside your ear.
Never shoot inside. The noise would be insufferable. If somebody with a gun is threatening you inside, find an excuse to get outside so that they can shoot you if they want.
• Never grab a gun from somebody else’s hand. In many guns, the slide will... slide violently when firing; this *will* injure your fingers if you put them where you shouldn't.
• If you really want to “wrestle” with someone who has a gun, be extra slow and careful, grab the arm not the gun, don’t use force but just create a scene (e.g., you can only put up a “failed attempt at grabbing the gun”, for dramatic purposes).
• Some "gun scenes" scenes are inherently dangerous and should be avoided, as they get the gun just too close to somebody's eyes or ears. They include: suicide; point-blank executions; jumping on somebody who is shooting; threatening someone by pressing a gun on their face/inside their mouth.

 

Loading cartridges inside a magazine

Pre-game safety workshop

Every larp which involves blank guns MUST include a detailed, practical safety exercise, strictly compulsory for each player (no matter their character's inclination to use firearms).

During that exercise, each and every player will have to:

load and empty a revolver, and/or a semiauto's magazine.
cock the hammer, and uncock it without shooting
load the cartridge inside the gun's chamber, and remove it without shooting (only for semiauto; in revolvers, the cartridge is always in the chamber)
• shoot the gun once, to get used to the noise and flash.

Participants playing armed characters should practice with both revolvers and semiauto (and with the rifle, too). They should try to load/unload/cock/uncock them more than once, until they're comfortable with doing so.

Please don’t be a moron

Any sensible person can learn how to safely use blank guns in a few minutes of practice.
Any moron can invent creative ways to act unsafely, with or without blank guns. Please don't be that moron!

 

Watch the Old West-style instructional video :)


Please note that the Confederate Flag on the background is meant as period-appropriate set dressing, not as a political statement.

 

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