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Shooting Blanks

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In this episode of TFB TV, Miles and Cory touch on blank cartridges, one of the most-utilized forms of ammunition – for those who don’t really use guns, that is. Cory has been in reenactments for over a decade now, so he has quite a lot of experience in using blanks.

Blank cartridges have been around for some time, and are used widely, from Hollywood to reenactments to military and law enforcement trainings. While they don’t carry the same power and punch as actual bullets, they do require certain safety precautions and care.

There have been many incidents of people getting injured, or worse, dying, from blanks that have wrongly modified or live rounds that have accidentally mixed in with blanks. Most notably, Brandon Lee, Bruce Lee’s son, died on set after he was shot by a squib load bullet propelled by a blank round. Many of the accidents involving blank rounds happen during reenactments, Cory notes. This is why it’s so important to check all ammunition before anything else.

In addition, blanks can be difficult to work with, and there is a need for special attention to make sure that the firearms firing the blanks are reliable. This is more of an issue with semi-automatic guns, but manually repeating firearms can have some issues, too.

There are many kinds of blank rounds, from wooden-tipped cases that need a shredder on the muzzle, to polymer cartridges that are cheaper. Some rounds are brightly colored, like those used in training, to differentiate them from live rounds. But in Hollywood settings, the blanks are usually unobtrusive so they’re more lifelike.

Cory explains how guns work in relation to blank rounds, and discusses how the rounds are used, as well as the sources of these rounds – German surplus rounds, for example. He also gives some pointers on recoil and on the action that the guns produce when using blanks.

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