“Should I get blank bullets?”
This might seem a weird question, especially if you’re not in the movie industry. After all, what other sensible use do blank rounds have other than for make-believe gunfights?
There are more practical applications for using blank bullets or blank guns than you might think.
But first, a word of caution. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that blank ammunition isn’t dangerous. Jon Erik-Hexum and Brandon Lee are just two examples of on-screen deaths due to blanks.
Blank cartridges have no bullets flying out the front, but they still have gunpowder. When fired, the exploding gas has the same force to propel a bullet. Some dummy rounds may even have more gunpowder for louder sounds to showcase a flashy action scene.
Why do people use blank bullets? Here are five reasons why you might need them.
Blank rounds can be fired from proper firearms or “blank guns” specifically designed to shoot only blanks. The barrel is either plugged or restricted in blank guns, but they still look and feel like the real thing.
Of course, target practice is out of the picture. Even so, using blank ammo offers a good starting foundation for proper gun handling and scenario training. The consequences aren’t so dire if you make a mistake during practice as opposed to using live ammunition.
Don’t Mess With My K9
Police, military, and hunting dogs need to be comfortable around firearms and gunshots. They will be put into situations where they need to stay calm even while hearing loud noises.
Their training may even involve knowing how to attack a person with a gun that’s being fired. For safety reasons, using blank cartridges is the most logical option.
“Go Ahead, Make My Day”
Prop guns and blank bullets have been around in Hollywood from the era of spaghetti westerns to modern blockbusters like John Wick. There’s absolutely no reason to use real bullets for theatrical purposes. Even the most hardcore directors and method actors wouldn’t be dumb enough to use live ammo.
Still, accidents can and do happen while on set and, in some cases, have resulted in tragedies.
Ready, Set, Bang!
You’re probably familiar with guns with blanks used to signal the start of racing competitions. These are known as starting pistols or starter pistols.
They’ve been used historically to start races in track and field and competitive swimming. Nowadays, they’ve been mostly replaced by electronic starting systems that only simulate the gun sound.
Other Uses for Blank Rounds
The three-volley salute is part of the ceremony for military and police funerals. Three shots with blank cartridges are fired into the air to honor the deceased.
They’re also used in some sports such as cowboy mounted shooting and in some forms of fast draw competitions.
Blank ammunition can also be issued to random shooters that are part of an execution firing squad. It’s theorized that some shooters may find solace if they know that they may not have fired a live round.
Always Exercise Caution
It doesn’t matter that you’re aware you’re using blank rounds. There’s no reason to be careless even when using blanks for any type of purpose.
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