Firearms Safety & Handling
Actors Workshop

“If an actor makes a mistake, they get another take.
If a weapons handler makes a mistake, you'll read about it in a thousand newspapers in the morning.”

Safety with firearms or replica firearms in film and theatre productions is not a place for amateurs or shortcuts. But how do you know for certain that the firearms and replicas are being handled safely? When are safety briefings necessary? What qualifies a person to call themselves an "armorer" or "weapons handler"? There is no guessing involved. Know the right questions to ask, and know the right answers you should be getting.

This hands-on workshop will answer all these questions, and far more. It is designed for film and theatre professionals who are serious about their career and serious about their safety. Not just for actors, this is for anyone who wants to learn how to safely and effectively use one of the common tools of the entertainment industry.

It's not good enough to make sure cast and crew are safe around firearms and replica firearms. They also need to KNOW they are safe.

Firearms Training for Film and Theatre
The Firearms Safety & Handling Actors Workshop is for actors, producers, filmmakers, crew and other industry professionals who want to learn about firearms safety, handling and authenticity on film and theatre sets. Participants learn how to be safer and more comfortable when handling firearms on set through demonstration, lecture, video and hands-on practice in a safe and controlled environment.

Custom designed for each host group, this workshop is designed to raise awareness about firearms safety in the entertainment industry and explain basic safety rules and industry guidelines. Open to industry professionals who may be dealing with firearms, it details how to keep cast and crew safe when firearms or replica firearms are being handled on set. It will also illustrate the various ways that productions can get the look they want, safely and within budget.

This hands-on workshop will increase confidence, show you how to be more safe on set and demonstrate how responsible handling can help add to the authenticity and professionalism of a production.

The workshop covers:

  • Firearms terminology
  • Firearms safety procedures
  • Industry safety guidelines
  • Working with blanks
  • Marksmanship techniques
  • Authentic handling skills
  • (Optional) Live fire target practice
This one- to three-day professional-level workshop is informative, challenging and fun. A small group of pre-selected participants will work one-on-one with experienced instructors to maximize safety and confidence.

Road of Iniquity
Photo: Kistikan Pictures, "Road of Iniquity"

Frequently asked questions:

1) In your three-day workshop, you get to practice with both blank-firing firearms PLUS real handguns with live ammunition. Why not just blanks?
  • “This is a hands-on workshop. If you are serious about your profession, you should be working with professionals who are serious about your safety. There is no better way to learn both safety and authenticity than to try your skills with real firearms in a safe and controlled environment. Live ammunition is NEVER allowed on set, and this is a unique opportunity to see how safety rules with prop and replica firearms translate to the real thing.”
2) I'm nervous around firearms. Is this workshop for me?
  • "Yes! You don't need to love firearms to learn how to work with them safely and comfortably. Treated with respect, firearms are as safe as any other prop on the set.”
3) We are not using real firearms in our production. We're only using replicas. What can possibly go wrong with that?
  • “There are safety and legal issues when using replicas. No one should be putting anything that looks like a gun in your hand unless they are prepared to follow the basic steps. One of the greatest myths about firearms in film is that replicas do not require safety standards and don't need to be handled by professionals. This is NOT correct and this workshop explains why."
4) Why should I care about authenticity?
  • "If your are serious about your profession, you should be serious about the details that help tell a good story and make the characters look real. You will be learning from instructors who actually train the real professionals with real firearms. You are not learning from some amateur who happens to have a firearms licence; you are learning from professionals who make their living teaching safety and advanced handling skills to professionals who carry and use firearms daily."
5) What is included?
  • “This workshop can includes one to three levels of awareness: Level I (basic safety, handling and terminology); Level II (advanced handling and authenticity); and Level III (hands-on live-fire practice.)
6) What are some of the most common mistakes actors make with firearms?
  • "Take the workshop and find out! It will open your eyes.”

dave at work1
With 30 years experience teaching military, police and government agencies on how to shoot firearms, and multiple articles published in national and international police magazines, Chief Instructor Dave Brown may be one of very few civilians considered an expert in police weapons training.

Dave helped design the Canadian Firearms Safety Course and Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course, literally “writing the book” on firearms safety in Canada. He has been recognized in courts as an expert witness, invited to address the House of Commons in Ottawa on handgun training for Canada Border Service Agency officers and presented to an audience of judges from across Canada on the science behind modern police firearms training.

As firearms safety coordinator in film and theatre, Dave has been entrusted with the safety of thousands of cast and crew. Known for a relaxed teaching style and a dedication to safety, he has coached some of the biggest names in Hollywood.

Dave has been invited to speak on the topic of firearms safety in film and theatre at webinars, workshops and conferences across Canada and the U.S. He helped design the firearms safety training module for IATSE theatre and film technicians in North America, and has been published in both Canadian Cinematographer and
American Cinematographer magazines.

Read the interview with Dave Brown on L.A. Talk Radio’s program “Film Courage”