When Hollywood’s film and TV creators need prop guns of virtually any flavor, they turn to the first word in silver screen firearms: Independent Studio Services. In their forty-year history, ISS has grown from one man and his garage to become the largest prop house in the world, with eleven locations in the US and Europe. A major component of their impressive 1.5 million piece inventory is the largest private armory in North America, with more than 15,000 firearms. ISS can provide period-correct historical weapons, blank-firing modern guns, they can customize existing weapons and dress them up to be futuristic sci-fi pieces, and more. Their prop guns, armorers, and technical advisors need so many blanks for all the productions they work on, ISS even founded a sister company, High Desert Theatrical Blanks, just to manufacture screen-purposed ammo. The key gun guru behind this massive operation is lifelong firearms professional Larry Zanoff.
Zanoff has amassed an impressive firearms-related curriculum vitae, starting with real-world experience in the Israeli Defense Force. TFB was fortunate to have him as our podcast’s third guest earlier this year, and if you haven’t listened to that episode, do yourself a favor and go check it out. Zanoff’s list of screen credits spans decades, and includes a wide spectrum of different films, TV series, and even several video games like the Call of Duty series. His official IMDB bio reads:
Larry Zanoff has been involved with firearms his entire life. A combat veteran of the Israeli army, Larry is P.O.S.T. Certified, holds a college degree in law enforcement and the administration of justice, and has worked in U.S. Law enforcement, as well as the privet security industry. An additional college degree in gunsmithing and firearms technology led to Larry holding several positions in the firearms manufacturing industry. The above life experience has led Larry to a position at the largest rental armory in the film and Television industry, providing custom weapons manufacturing, actor training, on set armorer services, safety training, and more. Larry continues to be active outside the entertainment industry as well, by providing weapons training to the military, and various government, and law enforcement agencies.
In addition to watching the shows Zanoff has been on and listening to our podcast episode with him, now you have a new opportunity to access his expert insights into the world of Hollywood guns. On Thursday, August 27th, Britain’s Royal Armouries is hosting a virtual event (found in this link) during which their official Keeper of Firearms & Artillery, Jonathan Ferguson, will discuss movie guns with Zanoff. This will be broadcast on Facebook and YouTube. The event is scheduled for 7pm local UK time (UTC+1), which will be in the afternoon for most TFB readers who are here in North America. It should be well worth checking out! If you do tune in, please come back to the comments below and let us know what you think. See you at the range.