I'm not native English speaker, apology for not being fluent. Right now I am trying to design gunshots. From what I've found out on internet, gunshots sfx are made up of attack(low), body(mid), punch(low), mechanism. I tried to grab different layers from library. But the main problem I am facing is running out of headroom. I know most people are talking about compression and limiting. So what is usual setting of attack, release, ratio? Should I use multi compression? Are there any plugins good for gunshots design? Right now I start lowering every layer level first to create more headroom. To use Req, H-comp, and mostly Flux Solera, which have clipper effect, to gain up gunshots sfx. I hope others would like to give me some ideas and share their experiences. Thanks all.

  • I've even come across people mimicking gunshots by slapping a flip flop on the floor Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 8:06

1 Answer 1


Great question, let's hope there are some equally great answers to follow.

Gunshots come in many different shapes and sizes (single shot, automatic, small caliber, large caliber, suppressed, silenced), as well as different environments (interior, exterior, small spaces, large spaces) and flavors (antique, modern, and futuristic weaponry). Each one has its own characteristic, and by the way, there are no rules. :) That's the good news.

You have the basic breakdown correct: Attack, body, punch and mechanic. (There are more, arguably, but I think those four cover the food groups pretty well). So, knowing the pieces, you just have to start arranging them to make your particular puzzle complete.

Not knowing what kind of gunshot you are trying to design, it's difficult to go into much detail about what will/won't work. What I do recommend is to put away your plugins and put on your listening ears. If you have a shooting range nearby, get a day pass and learn what real guns sound like (better yet, do some shooting yourself - personal experience can be an extremely valuable education, regardless of the subject matter). If you have a film/TV show/game that you are trying to emulate, play those scenes over and over and dissect what makes the guns sound so good.

If I had to recommend some plugins, I would say that a compressor/limiter is a useful tool to increase the apparant loudness of the shot (Waves MV2, L2, etc), while a tranient enhancer of some kind will restore the bite or attack (Waves TransX, SPL, etc). For low end enhancement you can go to Waves RBass or MaxxBass (I promise I'm not a sales rep for Waves :)).

Lastly, just sit down and start experimenting with different elements. Slight timing adjustments can make a HUGE difference, as can short/long reverbs and delays.

Have fun!

  • 1
    I think all the plugins you mention are on heavy sale right now, fyi.
    – user22688
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 14:50
  • Thank you. I tried today but still having no success. So I extracted the 5.1 audio from the blurry of John Wick2 and 13 Hours.Since I am doing a 5.1 movie mixing project and I studied their gun design from my Protools. I noticed that most of their gunshots are spreaded to LCR. And obviously, both L and R have the same layer which is usually high-frequency, the attack part. And the center one, I think that is body. And the most punchy sound is coming from LFE. Is this an usual practice for designing gunshot in movie mixing?
    – Ah Kei
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 19:52

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