Behind the scenes: movie guns
If you’re like a lot of gun fans, you try to identify or evaluate every gun in every movie and TV crime show. It was a real treat to get a behind-the-scenes look at guns used in current and past films when I visited the Independent Studio Services’ (ISS) Weapons Division warehouse in Los Angeles earlier this month.
ISS supplies most of the guns seen in most entertainment media worldwide. The family-owned business provides training and consulting for directors and actors to ensure their wares are presented in the desired manner—whether that includes competent handling, historical accuracy, or simply making a memorable impression. An in-house gunsmith shop does modifications and repairs to keep guns running properly. The shop’s talent also crafts parts and features that can’t be obtained on the market, or are simply original.
ISS rules are that media coverage cannot name the productions that any weapon was, or is being, used in. Nevertheless, movie buffs may recognize a few in this collection of pictures.
The team spends a lot of time on the range testing weapons, providing training, and working out accurate portrayals of guns from the earliest flintlock to “ray guns.”
Here’s but a small sampling of the treasures inside the heavily guarded facility.
Eye candy in the revolver room.
You may be badass, but are you a make-your-own-axe-blade-and-mount-it-to-the-muzzle-end-of-your-shotgun badass? ISS gunsmith Scott Fritschler has done that, twice. This one-of-a-kind creation was broken during filming. Here, he’s showing the device mounted to the scattergun with his second hand-crafted aluminum mount.
This finely detailed stock was seen among the company’s dizzying array of shotguns.
Action movie buffs will recognize this monster, being shown off by Larry Zanoff, manager of Independent Studio Services Weapons Division. Zanoff proudly says the design, which was demanded by a movie director, was made in-house on a Beretta platform. They even found a way to put a working, decocking safety on the futuristic weapon.
Ebony and ivory—parade pieces reside next to historical rifles.
This original Gatling Gun is fully functional. Look familiar? Hint: a character named Carnegie.
ISS pitted Gatling Gun, above, against a solid piece of hardwood to ensure accuracy in a scene that entailed firing through a wall. 100 rounds at 100 yards resulted in a tight group and a pile of sawdust.
Gunsmith Brian Rogers works on a revolver frame. Currently, only three of the company’s four fulltime gunsmith jobs, located in LA, are filled—qualified people are encouraged to apply.
The outstanding collection of black powder handguns is enough to make a person think about John Wilkes Booth.
Of course there are black powder rifles too.
These ornately detailed stocks come from Turkey.
Thanks to friends at airsoft wholesaler JAG Precision for making this incredible visit possible. Did you recognize any of these guns? Let us know in the comments below.