Airsoft in the Film and TV Industry

Airsoft in the Film and TV Industry

Anything you can do with a Blank firing weapon, you can do with an Airsoft equivalent in a much safer manner and with no need for a professional Armourer or expensive firearms insurance policies. Whilst it is helpful to know your way around your Airsoft prop weapons and practice appropriate firearms safety when handling them, the consequence for a mistake will never be death.

Following the tragic occurrence on the Rust set, additional precautions have already been introduced on many Film and TV sets, including a ban on live ammunition in some cases. This has resulted in Airsoft guns being used on film sets such as ABC's The Rookie, which replaced all its live firearms with Airsoft GBB pistols the day following the shooting. “As of today, it is Rookie’s policy that all shootings on the set will be done with an Airsoft gun with a CG muzzle flash added to the post,” creator Alexi Hawley wrote in a note dated October 22. “There are no more ’live’ weapons in the show. The safety of the cast and crew is very important. Any risk is too risky.”

Actors may or may not consider it worth their time to learn how to safely handle a firearm or replica, and due to being accustomed to handling firearms they are told are "props", may not treat live, lethal weapons with the respect they deserve. By using Airsoft guns instead of live weapons you can avoid upsetting the talent, save on costly insurance, and avoid hiring an Armourer, all while keeping everyone on set safe at the same time!

Why Choose Airsoft over De-activated Firearms or Blank Firing Weapons?

Blank firing weapons can make great props, with realistic function, noise and shell ejection, but they are not without their drawbacks. Most UK spec blank firing pistols have no hole through the barrel, as they release the hot gasses from firing through ports drilled into the top of the solid barrel. This can cause issues in editing, as the flash and heat mirage from the barrel ports will be very visible on film, and give away the fact that a blank-firing weapon was used for the scene. 

Blank firing weapons in realistic colours are hard to source, and often will have to be requested directly from the manufacturer, or imported from overseas. This is due to UK regulations on imitation firearms in the Violent Crime Reduction Bill requiring at least 51% of the replica to be unrealistically coloured. Although UK spec Blank firing weapons are some of the safest out there, they can still cause injury, they still require hearing protection for anyone on set and specific insurance related to their use. 

De-activated firearms are another option for Film making, and being actual firearms once upon a time, one might think they are the best thing to use as a prop. Once again, the UK's firearms legislation makes this complicated, as current specifications for UK de-activated firearms require the action to be rendered completely inoperable, spoiling the opportunity for shots of loading, cycling or disassembling the weapon. 

De-activated firearms can be great for certain uses, and provided the action does not need to be cycled at any point, can make a convincing prop. Unfortunately, due to their rare and antique nature, de-activated firearms are very expensive, and more modern weapons for use in a Film or TV series set in modern times are simply not available. 

Airsoft Firing Props

Gas Blowback Pistols and Rifles

Gas Blowback Pistols and Rifles are the most realistic Airsoft guns available on the market today. These replicas are exact 1:1 scale and feature perfectly realistic operations, such as moving slides and bolt carriers, and the ability to lock the slide/bolt back when the magazine is empty. Any scene where a gun needs to be cocked, a Gas blowback replica is the best thing for it, providing the audible metal on metal "click-clack" that the audience expects! For those dramatic "gun runs dry" moments, there is nothing else which simulates an empty firearm in the same way, providing an open and empty chamber and a locked slide, emphasising that the gun is empty. 

M4 Carbine
Mega Arms mml 308
KWA Mega Arms
Mega Arms MMl308
Umarex GLOCK 17 Gen.5 GBB Pistol
VORSK VX-9 Hitman
WE Europe W65U K Makarov Assassin GBB Pistol w/ Silencer, Black
TM Desert Eagle

When fired, Gas Blowback guns create a dramatic cloud of vapour at the muzzle and at the chamber, realistically simulating the hot gasses expelled from a real firearm, all while remaining cold to the touch, and absolutely safe. These Airsoft replicas are perfect for close up shots, especially shots involving cocking and loading, or disassembling the weapon and are also great for simulating recoil with their blowback action. The realism these replicas provide is unparalleled, to the extent that they are regarded as the closest thing to a real firearm amongst the tactical training community in the United States and are often used instead of real rifles for training scenarios which present a significant safety risk when using live firearms. 

Shell Ejecting Airsoft Rifles

Bolt Action Rifles

Double Bell KAR98k Shell Ejecting, Faux Wood

Airsoft bolt action shell ejecting rifles present a great opportunity for a Filmmaker. Like GBB pistols and rifles, they are 1:1 scale, and made from metal and wood and appear convincingly real on film. They are often very affordable and provide realistic action noises which are particularly useful when trying to convey a shooter frantically working the bolt to get off the next shot. These replicas can be disassembled in the same way as a real rifle and are fed from metallic shells which can either be inserted one by one for extra emphasis or 5 shells at a time using a stripper clip. When the bolt is worked, the shell is extracted and ejected, just like a real rifle, and is sent flying out of the chamber with a satisfying and immersive metallic noise. These rifles are often replicas of historic rifles, though they are not fixed to any particular time period, as in the real world these rifles often live extended lives after military service in the hands of civilians, criminal gangs and terrorist organisations. These rifles do not need to be fired in order to work the action, increasing safety on set and allowing multiple takes without wasting propellant.

Pump Action and Double Barrel Shotguns

Shell Ejecting Shotgun
Shell Ejecting Shotgun
Short Shotgun
Shotgun Shell

Similarly to bolt action shell ejecting rifles, these Shotguns feed from authentic-looking, self-contained shells, which are realistically ejected when spent. They are constructed from realistic materials, and provide an audible metal on metal "click-clack" when pumped, providing useful audio and preventing the need to edit in these noises in post-production. Like their rifle equivalents, they can be disassembled in the same manner as real shotguns, and are loaded in the same way a real shotgun is, offering the opportunity for loading up shots which are indistinguishable from those filmed with a real firearm. These shotguns are available in many different configurations, allowing them to be used for settings in almost any time period in the mid to late 20th century.


Dan Wesson Revolver
Chiappa Rhino
ASG Schofield 6" Revolver
Revolver Bullets

A staple of the Film making industry, nothing implies a legitimate threat quite like cocking the hammer of a revolver and seeing the cylinder rotating menacingly to align the next cartridge with the barrel. True to the real firearm equivalent, Airsoft revolvers have realistic operation, featuring swing-out cylinders or break open designs and metallic shells in an authentic brass finish. These revolvers are powered by CO2, though the CO2 is not necessary for their use as props, as all the functions of the revolver are mechanical and actuated using the trigger and hammer. These revolvers can be loaded from speed loaders, moon clips or individual shells, allowing for immersive reloading scenes, and the classic slow and exact loading procedure, building suspense as the character mentally prepares themselves for their next challenge. Their full metal construction and plethora of finishes available provide a wide variety of uses on Film, from a battle-worn WW1 Officers Webley to a high chrome finished Mafioso revolver, kept in a desk drawer, just incase. The availability of revolvers from all periods of history makes these especially useful for a Filmmaker, with revolvers available from the US Civil War era through Dirty Harry's time to the modern-day, with modern designs such as the Chiappa Rhino making a perfect handgun for the dystopian antagonist.

Rare Arms AR15

Rare Arms AR 15
Rare Arms Mag
Rare Arms AR15
Rare Arms

The Rare Arms AR15 is essentially a Gas Blowback Rifle, but with an additional function which makes it the perfect filmmaker's firing prop. The party trick of this rifle is its shell ejection function, which catapults realistic looking shells out of the ejection port with each shot, with remarkable force, just like a real AR15. The rifle is 1:1 scale and realistically loads, extracts and ejects shells, which is not only a complex operation but is only available in the Rare Arms AR15. This replica is perfect for firing scenes, can fire both semi and fully automatic and does not need to be loaded with projectiles in order to cycle and eject shells, increasing safety on set. Without disassembling the rifle it is almost indistinguishable from a real AR15, and there is no more faithful simulation out there. The Rare Arms AR15 has a fully reciprocating bolt carrier, astonishing recoil, and operates exactly like the real firearm in every way. You may get close but you will not be able to find anything else which provides the level of realism this rifle does. For more information on the Rare Arms AR15, check out our Livestream below:

Grenade Launchers

ASG B&T GL-06 MOSCART Grenade Launcher
King Arms M79 Grenade Launcher Replica - Real Wood
NUPROL Matrix MGL 40mm MOSCART Grenade Launcher
Specna Arms SA-G01 Noob Tube MOSCART Bundle

Airsoft grenade launchers are another highly available alternative to real launchers and deactivated launchers, appearing identical to a real grenade launcher, and functioning very similarly. Airsoft grenade launchers feed from self-contained shells, similarly to a real Grenade launcher, and dummy shells can be used in an Airsoft launcher with little difficulty to increase authenticity for loading and unloading scenes. When fired with an Airsoft shell, no projectile is needed to get the jarringly loud "BOOM", and a large cloud of gas expelled from the muzzle, accurately simulating the muzzle blast from a real grenade launcher. The noise of firing is actually very similar between Airsoft and real launchers, with the main difference being a slight increase in volume, something easily achieved in editing. Airsoft grenade launchers take a wide variety of forms, ranging from underslung launchers which mount to Assault rifles to historical Vietnam War era launchers, and more Police/SWAT oriented stand-alone and six-shot revolver launchers.

Airsoft Non-Firing Props

AEG Airsoft Assault Rifle

CYMA CM.048 AK Assault Rifle AEG
Bolt Swat A4
Bulpup Rifle
Cyma Thompson

This type of Airsoft rifle is the most popular in the sport and is already being used as both firing and non-firing props in Film and TV. The keen-eyed amongst you may have seen the odd brass inner barrel or high-cap magazine winding wheel featuring in a multi-million pound TV series. Fortunately, due to the realistic look of AEGs and their correct proportions, these tell-tale signs are not obvious, and the more professional production teams will take steps to conceal these areas, whether it is with crafty camera work or editing. Most of the time an AEG appears in a Film or TV show, the audience, including Airsofters, will have no idea!

AGM MP-44/StG-44 Sturmgewehr AEG
S 7 T m1918a2
Specna Arms SA-G13V - AR36E Assault Rifle

Airsoft AEG rifles are extremely close external replicas of Assault Rifles, Machine Guns and Submachine Guns, ranging from the modern to the WW2 era. These replicas are often made from metals, with realistic weight, balance, and feel which helps the non-firing prop appear to be a real rifle on Film. AEG's have functional controls, such as fire mode selectors and charging handles, and come with removable magazines, helping to create that sense of realism and allowing for "gearing up" scenes without using more complex, dangerous and delicate firing props or Gas Blowback Airsoft guns. With appropriate direction and application of special effects, these replica firearms can even be used in lieu of a firing prop. AEGs can be fired without ammunition safely, providing both audio and visual cues with which to tie after-effects to. 

Gas/Spring Pump Action Shotgun

Golden Eagle Type 870 M8877 Real Wood Sawn-Off Gas Shotgun
Tokyo Marui Keltec
Double Eagle M63 Spring Action 3 Burst Shotgun, Black

Spring and Gas shotguns can provide a cost-effective alternative to their shell ejecting cousins, especially when providing props for a horde of extras. These shotguns pump just like the real thing, have accurate proportions, and being made from metal, can provide the audible "click-clack" moviegoers recognise as the sound a shotgun makes when it's angry. These shotguns are very affordable, and available in a wide variety of configurations suiting almost any scenario, including aggressively-styled modern shotguns with door breaching chokes to equip a SWAT team to the classic wooden stocked shotgun one might find in the hands of a redneck rancher who wants you off their property.

Spring Bolt Action Rifle

Specna Arms SA-S03 CORE
Specna Arms SA-S02 CORE™ Sniper Rifle w/Scope & Bipod; High-Power Version
Specna Arms sa s02
NUPROL Tango Series T96 Bolt Action Sniper Rifle, Black

The Spring Bolt Action rifle usually takes the form of a Sniper rifle and can be fitted with large scopes and bipods, to complete the tactical look. These rifles have a similar action to a real rifle, though require some force to cock, and are better suited to scenes involving taking the shot than working the action, which is where the shell ejecting bolt action rifle excels. These rifles are also quite affordable, even with accessories, and given their accurate proportions and metal and high-density polymer construction, they can easily stand in for a blank firing rifle for rooftop Sniper/Assasin scenes. Spring bolt action rifles are available in several forms, with some leaning into the Law Enforcement/SWAT Aesthetic, and others appearing more like a Military Sniper rifle. Many historical WW2 rifles are available in spring bolt action form, and these rifles have particular attention paid to their finish and the fine details of the build, making these the best way to get authentic and safe WW2 era props.

How do I purchase realistic coloured Airsoft guns for Film Making?

To purchase a realistic coloured Airsoft weapon from us we require proof that you are in fact from a Film / Production Company. To satisfy the legal requirements on our end we need at a minimum the following bits of information:

  • A copy of the Company’s Insurance Documents which state it is covered as a Film / Production company.
  • The package must be delivered to a Studio or Address Associated with the company

You can submit the information required by us via the Defence Submission Section during the Checkout Process, and we will get in contact with you to verify any submitted information.