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Do you have any good reference that you use when you need to identify an unknown firearm used in a movie?

Something visual, that have some informations and different kind of search engines (period of use, similar weapon, etc), and (most important) have information for european weapons too.

Sometime I can ask the director/editor, sometime I know the weapon, sometime you can guess what it's used, but a lot of time I find difficulty knowing the right firearm sound to look for.

(I'm looking for something to refer to have a first idea and to have a believable starting point: obviously the final sound could be something similar to the real thing or completely different, as needed by the movie).


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5 Answers

Max Popenker has a great reference site which is called "World Guns" http://world.guns.ru

the downside is that it doesnt have EVERY gun you might run into, but it is easily as good as am of the Jane's references (which tend to also be very costly).

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@Charles, thanks for the tip -- and good to see you back on the forum! –  Jay Jennings May 17 '11 at 3:40
World Guns has served me well for years. –  Chuck Russom May 17 '11 at 6:59
@charles, thanks, great site! –  Davide Favargiotti May 17 '11 at 9:34
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I don't know of a comprehensive search engine that addresses your needs. A better, more traditional route may be published books on the subject, such as Jane's Weapons Recognition, or similar.

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Thanks Jay, I'll check it out. –  Davide Favargiotti May 17 '11 at 9:33
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Well, for movies there is the Internet Movie Firearm Database, imfdb.com

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David Yewdall told a story in "From The Practical Art of Motion Picture Sound" about how he made a flip book for his effects editors on an action film that was similar to the silhouette guides people used to use to identify airplanes in WWII. He called it "see-a-gun/cut-a-gun."

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but you need to know what the guns are in order to create the book... –  Jay Jennings May 17 '11 at 3:40
I never claimed it was a perfect plan. –  Joe Griffin May 17 '11 at 5:52
@Joe Yeah, I remember that story from the Yewdall's book!! (But I'm not an expert of weapons, so it's quite difficult to createthat sort of reference). BTW here in Europe is difficult to have access to real firearms because of strict laws that rule gun licenses. –  Davide Favargiotti May 17 '11 at 9:42
I think the Yewdall example works best if you have a team leader who can do all the research and compile a reference document so that the rest of the team doesn't have to, and the project has internal consistency. Obviously if you're doing it all by yourself it's a different thing. I wonder if the weapons master on the show has a list of each firearm used? The producer could probably put you in touch. –  Joe Griffin May 17 '11 at 16:06
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Never tried it, might not work, but if you have a good shot of the firearm maybe Google Goggles could help:


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