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Tired of unrealistic weapon and gunshot sound effects? Help us create an authentic library of gun SFX to improve your collection!
952 backers pledged $7,469 to help bring this project to life.


The Firearm Sound Library project video thumbnail
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We had a long, drawn-out discussion as to what prices we would set, which rewards to have, etc. In the end we realized something: we're all poor college students...and our hope is that other poor college students like ourselves can benefit from our work. In order for that to happen, we need this library to be affordable. Extremely affordable; as affordable as it can be. That's right...if we meet our goal, this library will become free for all to use, absolutely royalty free!

The sound you hear in the main video was an actual recording of the suppressed firearm system you see in the video. It gives you an idea of just how great the real deal is even with not-so-great recording equipment. In 192kHz with a seven microphone setup and a high-quality field recorder these sound effects will be a dream! Interspersed throughout the page are pictures taken during the demo recording session.

Check out our interview on!

 *CORRECTION: The Tascam DR-680 only records 2 Channels in 192kHz, not 4 Channels.

Great Sound is a Great Opportunity

Sound is one of the most looked-over elements in independent film making. Sound can make or break the quality of a film. In particular, gunshot sound effects are often neglected for several reasons. First, when you aren't filming a real firearm, you can't record it. Second, you may live in a state or country where particular firearms are illegal or hard to legally obtain. It's also not convenient to acquire a safe range location, the proper safety equipment and all the gear and know-how necessary to record your own sounds. Lastly, the internet does not have much to offer when it comes to high fidelity recordings, let alone a variety of types and calibers with authentic mechanism sounds, and even the few quality libraries currently available are usually bundled and cost hundreds of dollars.

Mic Setup Take 2
Mic Setup Take 2

There is one other sound which some might consider to be the holy grail of firearm sound effects. The suppressed gunshot. In essentially every single film big and small the sound of a suppressed firearm is completely fabricated. One reason is that most people have never heard a real suppressed firearm so the viewer has nothing to compare the sound in the film against. Another reason is that silencers are illegal for civilians to possess in several states, and in order to legally buy a silencer an individual must undergo an extensive background check, wait for paperwork to pass (sometimes as long as eight months to a year), and pay a $200 transfer tax in addition to the actual item which can cost between $400 and $2,000. Regardless of the reasons, authentic silencer sounds are not widely used, i.e. nonexistent, and we plan to change that. And let us tell you if you haven't watched the main video yet (SPOILER)...the real deal sounds incredible!

Recording for Posterity
Recording for Posterity

Use it Like You Know it

There is another element to firearm sound effects: proper application. Home many times have you seen a film where the bad guy points his pistol at someone and you hear some sort of cocking sound, even if the weapon has no external hammer or safety (like a Glock)? Considering that not many people have ever used a silencer, or any kind of firearm for that matter, it is important to help people understand what it sounds like to operate, disassemble, and even hold a firearm. For a silencer, there is an entire process to prepping and using it, and everything matters, down to the type of ammunition you shoot through it. As an additional resource for this sound library we will also provide useful information and videos concerning the proper application of these sounds which will walk you through the process of assembling and using firearms in a realistic manner.

Familiarization and Safety Brief
Familiarization and Safety Brief

Made for Maximum Customization

When it comes to creating an extensive collection of firearm sound recordings we don't want to stop with just high-enough quality recordings. We want these sounds to be used for anything and everything. Recording all our sound effects in 192kHz enables a whole range of flexibility for anyone wanting to time stretch, perform granular synthesis, or manipulate the sound in any other way. Also, when firing an unsupressed firearm the gunshot tends to be so loud that it is nearly impossible to isolate any of the more subtle sounds. With the two suppressed firearms at our disposal we can record the sound of a bullet traveling through the air and bullet impacts without the massive volume of the actual gunshot smothering these finer sounds.

Shooting Lanes and Downrange Setup Planning
Shooting Lanes and Downrange Setup Planning

Reward Details:

$1 – And you get it all. All the sounds for all the guns. Think of this as more of a "donate" button.

Going beyond the funding goal means more recordings as listed farther down on the page!

Recording the Marlin Model 1895. The Zooms had a really hard time with the volume on this one. Recording levels had to be turned way down.
Recording the Marlin Model 1895. The Zooms had a really hard time with the volume on this one. Recording levels had to be turned way down.

The Firearms:

The following are the firearms we will be recording for this project. By recording, what exactly do we mean? Basically, if it is physically possible to make one of these guns create a sound by firing it or moving any of the working parts, we'll be recording it. Loading and unloading. Safeties. Triggers. Magazines. Slides. Every single click, scrape, and bang. For firearms such as the 1911, this means nearly fifty unique sound effects, not including gunshots.

Adding a little oil makes quite a difference both visually and aurally.
Adding a little oil makes quite a difference both visually and aurally.

If we greatly surpass our goal, we will even throw in some recordings of medieval weapons: the spear, the sword, the bow, and the crossbow. Note: the sound of medieval-style bolts and arrows flying through the air is absolutely wonderful. Another option is renting threaded barrels for various firearms already on the list in order to record them with the silencer attached.

The photographer abandons his camera and takes up a different kind of shooting.
The photographer abandons his camera and takes up a different kind of shooting.

Now, back to our segment on using sounds. How does a filmmaker who has perhaps never use a firearm know how to utilize all these sounds (pistols such as the 1911 can produce up to fifty distinct sounds)? That's just another one of the many advantages we will offer you. We will be creating tutorial videos (as mentioned in the project video) that will sort of walk you through the way these guns function, the sounds they make, and more. Think of it as "Using Guns and the Sounds They Make for Dummies."

 Click HERE to see an example of the sounds we will record of the Walther PPQ!

Risks and challenges

Sound design:

The sound produced by a gunshot is very complex. The weapon's mechanism, the gases expelled from the muzzle and the receiver, the bullet passing through the air, the "sonic crack," and impact all produce unique textures important to producing the right sound from the right perspective. One of the most significant sounds a firearm produces comes from the reverberation from the environment. This sound not only places the gunshot in a real space, but it tends to bleed into the other aspects of a gunshot, making them difficult to manipulate. One of our challenges is to isolate the different events of a gunshot so they can be customized to fit the needs of any project.

Observing the law:

We have taken great care and will continue to be conscious of and abide by all laws concerning firearms in the state of Michigan. Silencers are 100% legal to own in most states, including ours, and the silencer we are using was acquired legally by one of the members of our team. All shooting and recording will be done on property which we have permission to use.

Safe firearm practice:

For any project which uses firearms, safety is paramount. We will only record at locations designated for shooting and all project members have been firearms-educated and will practise safe firearm handling. Hearing protection is a must for unsuppressed firearms; being exposed to a single gunshot can cause permanent hearing damage. All those Hollywood movies which have everyone running around shooting short-barreled automatic weapons in the fully-automatic fire mode? The very next scene should be those tough guys sitting on the floor holding their ears and hollering at each other uselessly. In addition, eye protection is recommended when using semi-automatic suppressed firearms as particle, gas, and lubricant blowback is a possibility.

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    This. Is. It. We want this library to be available to everyone, so donate and help us liberate this firearm SFX library for the entire filmmaker, sound designer, and music artist community! The main body contains all the details.

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