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How to become a theatrical armourer

Updated April 17, 2017

Australian law, specifically that of the state of New South Wales, defines a theatrical armourer as an individual who supervises and controls the use of firearms while working on a theatrical, television or film production. In this capacity, theatrical armourers can either purchase or manufacture these weapons and can also supervise actors and crew working with military and prohibited firearms. The law places theatrical armourers in the same category as licensed weapons dealers, and armourers must obtain a license to work.

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  1. Complete weapons training. New South Wales offers two types of weapons training certification, one for Long Arms (such as rifles) and another for Pistols. You must complete both types of training if you intend to supervise productions using both types of firearms.

  2. Submit proof of identification to the New South Wales Police. Australia uses a "100 Point" system for validating a person's identification, meaning that the proof submitted must total 100 points on the government's chart of identification types. For instance, a valid passport or birth certificate counts as 70 points (the most available for any one form of identification), while a valid driver's license counts for 40 points and a credit card scores 25 points.

  3. Collect all relevant information. If you are applying for the first time, you need to submit forms P565 "Employee Authority" and P566 "Close Associate". These forms provide the government with information about the company for which you plan to work in the capacity of theatrical armourer. You must also submit the relevant business permit (either "Registration of Business" or "Corporation Certification") and a Safe Storage Inspection Certificate, which certifies that you can provide a safe, locked space in which to store firearms. For tax purposes, you also will need to provide your own or your company's ACN (Australian Company Number) or ABN (Australian Business Number).

  4. Provide additional documentation for prohibited weapons licensing. If you wish to work with prohibited weapons on a production, you must also submit documentation from the production company that verifies the need for this type of weaponry.

  5. Fill out and submit form P649 "Application for a Firearms Dealer -- Theatrical Armourer License". If you are applying for a license for the first time, you will need to complete all of the above steps before you can submit this form. Mail this form and a check or credit card billing for AU$500 to: Firearms Registry Locked Bag 1 Murwillumbah NSW 2484.

  6. Tip

    On your P649 application, make sure to check all relevant boxes for the types of weapons you will supervise on a production or in future productions.


    On the job, licensed theatrical armourers must maintain strict control over all the weapons and ammunition used on the production. If a theatrical armourer oversees a production using prohibited weapons, he or she must also certify that these weapons have been rendered inoperable.

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Things You'll Need

  • Proof of identification

About the Author

Since 2005, James Rutter has worked as a freelance journalist for print and Internet publications, including the “News of Delaware County,” “Main Line Times” and Broad Street Review. As a former chemist, college professor and competitive weightlifter, he writes about science, education and exercise. Rutter earned a B.A. in philosophy and biology from Albright College and studied philosophy and cognitive science at Temple University.

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