You have a show that needs weapons. Do you need an actual firing weapon, just a replica, a rubber gun or a non-gun?

By reading on and familiarizing yourself with a few key terms, you can find out exactly what you need.

What do I need to rent a replica weapon or non gun from I.S.S?

We require a certificate of insurance. We accept cash, credit card, or company check. Please see accounting for setting up your show with us.

To rent any firearm, non gun, replica or rubber weapon, ISS requires ALL productions to provide a certificate of insurance – ABSOLUTELY NO EXCEPTIONS EVER.

What do I need to rent a firearm?

We require a certificate of insurance as well as account information for your production company. The state requires the appropriate permit. See below for the definition of a firearm.

I don’t have and/or can’t afford a certificate of insurance. Can I still rent a replica, non-gun or firearm?

Absolutely not. Sorry, no exceptions.

Is the non gun a firearm, subject to permits or regulation?


Can I rent weapons on a daily basis instead of weekly?

All firearms rentals are a standard seven day rental. Replicas and rubbers can be made part of a prop rental.

Does the ‘non gun’ slide rack/take a magazine/eject brass casing?


Can I get a replica revolver or rifle that can chamber a dummy round?


We are doing a suicide scene. Can an actor stick a gun in their mouth and fire it?

No. This is one of the most dangerous stunts/effects one can attempt with a weapon. Whether it appears so or not on camera, scenes from films you have viewed are usually effects shots. Consult an experienced professional.

What is a firearm?

Firearms are actual weapons, designed to fire real cartridges, that we have modified to fire blank cartridges.

Firearms use blank cartridges which produce muzzle flash and “bang.” Our firearms are manufactured by such companies as Smith & Wesson, Glock, Colt, Heckler & Koch (H&K), etc.

Firearms are regulated by the State of California, Department of Justice and by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. To rent firearms, you must have the Entertainment Firearms Permit issued by the California Department of Justice or a Federal Firearms License (FFL).

Details available at www.ag.ca.gov or search for “Entertainment Firearms Permit” on Google.

Blank ammunition for firearms

Blank cartridges for firearms come in different weight charges and powders.

FULL FLASH: The biggest flash and bang for a pistol, rifle or machine gun, etc. Your firearm will be “blanked” to fire full flash blank ammunition unless otherwise specified. Weapons run best when using full flash ammunition.

HALF FLASH: Half the load of the full flash. Half loads are used when less is preferred or mandated. Your weapon must be “blanked” to fire half load ammunition by one of our gunsmiths (at no charge to you.) Example: An honor guard at a funeral.

QUARTER FLASH: Half again. Safer and quieter than the full flash blank. Used when you need to be as quiet as possible, for example, shooting outdoors in Beverly Hills late at night. Also used in close quarter battle, for example, a “hostage rescuerdquo; in a jetliner.

SOLID PLUG AMMUNITION: Ammunition designed for use with a weapon that is “blanked” with a solid plug. A solid plug does not allow any flash, heat, or residue to escape the muzzle of the weapon. It is literally plugged solid.

Solid plug ammunition allows a semi-automatic pistol to cycle the slide and eject brass but there is no flash. Noise is also minimal. Solid plug ammunition is used in extreme close range and for dangerous gunplay that is scripted. Consult a professional.

BLACK POWDER, (BLANKS): Black powder is the precursor to modern flash powder. Black powder is used in period weapons, such as muzzle loading muskets. Extreme care and caution must be used with black powder. Consult an experienced, professional, weapons handler. *Note: Black powder loads produce the same flash as flash blanks but produce much more smoke. Not a good choice for small playhouse venues as the smoke is acrid and has a “rotten egg” smell.

Assault Weapons and Others

Assault weapons, machine guns, short barrel shotguns, and destructive devices are firearms that are strictly controlled by law and require a licensed gun handler to rent.

Multiple state permits and/or federal permits are required to rent these weapons. I.S.S. can provide your show with an accredited armorer.

ASSAULT WEAPONS: Assault weapons as defined by the state of California include a variety of military rifles and machine pistols as well as any weapon with a pistol grip and/or a detachable magazine, flash suppressor, bayonet lug, fixture for grenade launcher (ex: the TEC-9 pistol., the Colt AR-15 rifle.)

MACHINE GUNS: Machine guns fire multiple rounds with one pull of the trigger, whether from a magazine or linked belt. (ex: the AK-47, the M60)

SHORT BARRELL SHOTGUNS: Any shotgun with a barrel less than 18" inches.

DESTRUCTIVE DEVICES: This category includes flame throwers, mortars, tear gas delivery systems and grenade launchers.

Non Guns

Non guns are not firearms. Non guns electronically fire small explosive squibs which create “flash and bang.”

Non guns do not chamber any bullet or cartridge, do not have moving parts other than the trigger, and do not eject brass casings. Non guns are milled from a solid block of metal, so there is no magazine, chamber, or barrel.

Non guns were originally created for safety purposes and can be fired at closer distances than blank firing weapons. Again, there are always safety rules which must be followed to prevent injury.

There are no permits required to rent non guns.

Non Gun Safety Blank Ammunition

Non gun blanks are available in different weight loads which varies the intensity of the flash:

Full Flash: For use in rifles and shotguns only.

Half Flash: The biggest flash and bang for the non gun pistol

Quarter Flash: Half again.

Quarter Silent: The ¼ flash with the absolute least amount of noise (excellent for use with a non gun pistol fitted with a silencer.)

See our non gun page for a comparison video and learn more about non guns.


A replica is a metal or plastic model of the original firearm. A replica does not fire and will not chamber a cartridge. A replica can have moving parts.

I.S.S. carries a massive selection of replica handguns. We also have a selection of military rifles (M-16’s, AK -47’s, and submachine guns.) Some of these rifles are manufactured from factory parts but will not load, chamber, or fire any bullet or cartridge.

Replicas are not firearms. Replicas are not controlled by the government, but there are some laws and liabilities to be considered when renting a replica weapon.

Replicas can be rented with your prop rental order. You do not need to speak to the weapons department to rent a replica. Of course we will be happy to answer any questions you have.

Rubber Guns

Rubber weapons are highly detailed, solid rubber copies, molded from the original weapon. Rubber weapons were designed for use in stunts and action scenes. It is good to have a rubber double of the real firearm on hand when shooting action sequences.

Rubber weapons can still cause injures. Soft rubbers are available for realistic, hand to hand combat.

Again, your prop salesperson can help you with rubber weapons and we can answer any question you have.

Basic Safety

Basic minimum safe distance for blank ammunition is 20 feet. Always point away from the actor – you must cheat with the camera angle.

Minimum safe distance for non guns is 4 feet. There are exceptions as always and the face and eyes of a human or animal are especially vulnerable. Use caution and common sense.

Crew must be provided with vision and hearing protection. Flesh colored, soft earplugs for your actor are available in our Expendables Department.

Misuse of blank ammunition and weapons handling can cause fatal injuries.

There is much to learn to conduct a safe shoot – it is highly advised to consult an experienced, professional gun handler.

Other Weapons: Knives, Rigged Chainsaws, etc.

I.S.S carries a full line of knives, military bayonets, stunt knife kits and things like rigged chainsaws, rubber chain, and more. Your prop rental salesperson can help you with these items.