Long time browser... First time getting involved...

I'm working on a film that has specific notes, from EVERYONE involved, to include the sounds of the inner workings of a hand gun as it's fired. I've been told that the guns used are air-soft guns that we want to pass off as 9MM's. We have plenty of sounds of the actual shot being fired... What I'm hoping to get from this post is a brainstorm of ideas of how to pull off the inner mechanics of the pistol. I don't believe that putting contact mics on a 9MM will give us the desired sound, as they would like it to sound a little more fantastical. I'm not sure whether the shots in question are going to be in slow-mo or not (you would almost assume though, since they're asking for such clarity of something that typically would go unheard at full speed), as I have yet to see any footage. Just trying to get the idea train rolling... Any tips or ideas are greatly appreciated.


3 Answers 3


Getting a doorknob from a junkyard should do the trick.

And, I like adding in a bit of spring-action to my guns, so I used a three-hole-punch with squeeky (not TOO squeeky) hinges with springs in them. I've also used large staplers opening and closing because they have a spring in them, too.

  • The doorknob should be interesting... Thanks. This is what I was looking for, just a couple of jumping off points. Mar 2, 2012 at 16:01
  • doorknob is a good idea. pretty much anything that has some sort of mechanical clicking is good. Mar 2, 2012 at 20:59

If it is slow mo then it opens the door to use all sorts of different approaches..... I had to do this for the climax of the film The Warriors Way - might be worth a look if you want to see one approach, but it is so dependent on the visual effects... I layered a lot of elements for each moment in the timeline of the gun being fired eg

  • the finger clenching the trigger,

  • the trigger releasing (one element was a lift cable being twanged, slowed way down which worked as it evoked the tension release)

  • the hammer approaching the bullet, the hammer hitting the bullet, the bullet igniting (fireworks, black powder cannon, processed explosions)

  • the bullet starting to travel (spiralling as they do) down the barrell (i used metal scraping across an anvil & train screeches amongst other things) and I wont describe what happens then as its a spoiler for the film....

Remember if its slow motion and close up, then you can potentially scale the sounds up & use far heavier sounds than the reality would suggest....

Hopefully needless to say, it takes very tight editing and shaping/volume graphing to insure the attacks of different layers are exactly as you intend and rate as a composite sound....

  • Thumbs up for the great breakdown. Mar 5, 2012 at 15:58

Just a bunch of random weapon foley clicks and hits should do the trick. But I agree it is pretty important to know if its slow motion or regular speed. Regular speed you would probably only get a quarter of a second of time to work with if that. Slow motion would give you several seconds i'm assuming. It would be best to find that out before moving forward and if its possible, get a copy of the scene so you can design to it.

Also if they want more of a hollywood sound that is just 'cool' rather then realistic sounding, then I would probably use foley from a machine gun. The parts are heavier and louder. Or who knows, slam a door shut and that might be the sound you need.

I hope this helps.


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