Blank ammunition is a type of firearm cartridge that contains explosive powder but no projectile or bullet. Because of this, many falsely assume that blank ammo is entirely safe to use. However, while it is far safer than real ammunition, blank cartridges contain the same explosive force as live cartridges.
Discharging a blank cartridge creates a gas jet that escapes through the gun barrel. This gas jet is strong enough to penetrate skin and bones at close range and can even result in death. For this reason, you must never point any firearm loaded with blanks directly at another person or animal.
A live cartridge (left) compared to a blank cartridge (right).
Some blank-firing pistols feature a completely blocked barrel meaning that no gas can escape through the muzzle. These types of pistols are perhaps the safest to use on stage or for reenactments, as the risk of accidental injury is greatly diminished.
Before loading any firearm with blanks, inspect the gun to ensure the barrel is clear of obstructions. Any foreign object or debris stuck in the barrel will become a projectile while the blank cartridge is discharged.
Firing blank ammo creates a loud sound that can cause permanent hearing damage. Additionally, the hot and sometimes unburned powder released when firing blank ammo can cause eye irritation and even severe eye injury. For this reason, we strongly recommend both hearing and eye protection.
When properly used, blank ammo is a safe and effective tool for recreating the sound and visual flash of live gunfire. Treat any firearm loaded with blanks just as you would a live gun. Always point the gun in a safe direction clear of people or animals. Keep hands and any other body parts clear of the barrel when firing. Always use hearing and eye protection. Remember that discharging blanks in public could result in criminal penalties. Bottom line: be smart about it.