Locked in vaults, inside a wellsecured warehouse in Burnaby, B.C., is enough firepower to launch a coup, hijack a payroll, or topple a terrorist cell. Whatever form of mayhem the movie industry desires, Kevin Stadnyk, president of KMS FX, and Cameron Smith, the “lead armourer,” will bring both safety and authenticity to the set. Uzl submachine guns? Naturally. Colt Ml6? Why not add the optional grenade launcher? Style conscious? Consider the Heckler & Koch UMR a “New Age” submachine gun almost entirely made of polymer plastic.
KMS FX Is in its third year as a federally-licensed provider of authentic firepower, and rubber replicas, to B.C.’s $ 1.2-billion-a-year movie business. Almost as valuable, in a land lacking a gun culture, staff teach weapons handling, safety, tactics, and ensure such prohibited weapons as machine guns don’t stray from the set. “A lot of American actors are very familiar with weapons,” says Stadnyk, who’s also a constable with the RCMP detachment in Burnaby. “A lot of Canadians are actually afraid of them because they’ve been taught or bred to believe that guns are evil.”
Gun phobia and ignorance not only ruin an actor’s credibility, they're a danger to the set, says Smith, a former soldier. Even blank ammunition can kill. Smith is “hyper-critical” of the shoddy gunplay in some action movies. The company has armed such Canadian shows as Cold Squad and Da Vinci’s Inquest, and such heat-packing actors as Wesley Snipes, Kiefer Sutherland and Dennis Hopper. And it’s providing the armaments that Burnaby-based game giant Electronic Arts will portray in Its next James Bond video game. A booming business, In every sense of the word. Ken MacQueen
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.