-Many different ways to modify the action of the gun, depending upon the operating system.
-For example: Sig-Sauer P226 and Glock handguns which have a lockup point on the front of the barrel hood can have that sharp right angle on the front-top of the exterior of the chamber ground down at an angle to make it so the gun no longer locks up properly and can be cycled by blank rounds. (Notice the machining marks and the no longer square front area of the chamber hood (towards the front of the ejection port)
-Other methods include having a special blank adapter that is inserted or otherwise attached to the barrel that allows sufficient backpressure from the blank round to cycle the action properly.
-Blanks are still very deadly if not used properly. There have been quite a few cases of actors being seriously injured or killed by blank cartridges. For close up shots, a non-gun or flashpaper gun is used. These are things that resemble popular firearms but are fired electronically or have some sort of pyrotechnic paper that produces a flash, with the sound being added in post-production.
Some Notable Hollywood Handguns:
www.imfdb.org is a WONDERFUL resource if you are intererested in what firearms are used in your favorite movie, TV show or video game. It also has some awesome behind-the-scenes sections on certain movies & interviews with the armorers that worked on the movies.
1.) Raiders of the Lost Ark- Smith & Wesson Model 1917 .45 ACP Revolver
The main sidearm for Indiana Jones in the movie, there were actually two revolvers used on screen by Harrison Ford; one for filming in the U.S. and another S&W Mk.II Hand Ejector in .455 Webley used in the scenes filmed in Europe and the Middle East.
2.) Beverly Hills Cop I, II & III- The Browning High-Power 9mm Pistol
The sidearm used by Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) throughout the series, the Browning High-Power is a great, accurate 9mm handgun that has a long history of military and some police service. It was notable that, in the time the movie was made (1984) the changeover to semi-automatic pistols was slowly starting to begin. Having Axel Foley carry a single-action double stack semi-automatic may have been a nod to the rebellious nature of the character.
3.) Dirty Harry Series- The Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum Revolver
One of the most famous Hollywood Handguns, the Model 29 is the handgun used by Inspector Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) in the Dirty Harry series. The script had originally called for a 4” barrel, but one was not available. Eastwood personally got in touch with someone at S&W and had them make guns for the movie with the barrel that they needed. It was rumored previously that a S&W Model 57 in .41 Magnum was used, as that gun was easier to acquire, but the truth came out later.
4.) The Untouchables (1987)- Colt Model 1911 .45 ACP Pistol
In The Untouchables, Elliot Ness (Kevin Costner) is intended to carry a Colt 1911 .45 ACP. However, at the time it was easier to find 9mm blanks, and the 9mm blanks tended to be more reliable. Therefore, in the scenes where Kevin Costner has to fire his handgun, the gun is a Star Model B in 9mm Para. When the scene does not call for gunfire, the handgun is a standard Colt 1911.
5.) Blade Runner (1982)- COP .357 Magnum Derringer
In the movie Blade Runner, the character Leon (Brion James) used a COP .357 Magnum four-barrel derringer in the beginning of the film. The prop department modified the gun to fire two barrels at once, to increase the muzzle flash of the gun when fired. The COP .357 Magnum derringer is somewhat rare, and it was interesting to see such a rare, cool looking handgun used in a movie.
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