Fake/inert weapons at shows

My wife is very concerned for my health & safety when it comes to carrying fake and inert weapons at a show/convention/parade environment. Especially in today’s wild social landscape.

Not to mention if we’re allowed to carry at shows at all.

I’ve seen pictures of Cobra Troopers, Vipers, Snake Eyes, Bazooka, all togged up in EVERYTHING.

What do I do?

Guys in the 5th please answer because that’s my region.


Weapons have always been part of the optional editions to a costume, never feel that you need to bring a weapon to represent that character.

I’ve shared the same concern in the past and to present day. I never worried so much once I was inside of an event setting it was more of a concern of everything from my home to the door of an event that seemed to pose the most danger. I want to think that people who attend the con feel that people inside have been properly vetted and should feel safe. However, when Jimmy Triggerfinger sees a group of guys suiting up and walking through a parking lot carrying gun shaped objects and decides that this is his chance to be “the good guy” it’s a little anxiety driving. And it doesn’t need to be a trigger happy citizen that we need to worry about as police seem to be on edge with anything that could be mistakenly held in hand.

You need to do what makes you and yours feel the most comfortable. If that means leaving the weapon shaped objects at home, then do that. If you want to have a cheapo version of the appropriate weapon for that character that is painted completely day glow orange, then do that.


Definitely agreed. More often then not at a public event, especially if a place has strict rules, I just leave the weapons at home. For some characters this is easier than others.

If I do have them, I just make sure they’re obviously fake. Orange tips on firearms, zip ties and peace bonds for things, painted or designed so it doesn’t look too realistic. All are acceptable steps and probably already required at most cons.

It’s always about following the rules, being respectful and safe if you do carry them, and making yourself and those around you comfortable.

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Late to the party here, and not 5th but nearby in MO.

It will largely depend on the show/community you’re in. For example, I tend to carry very realistic prop weapons at our big show that we have a booth at, but we load them in preshow and drop them before leaving the booth.

Good alternatives for this are the brightly colored Adventure Force stuff or even Nerf.

I wrote a whole primer on props a while back.
Prop Weapons, A to Z from fake shooty to fake stabby and everything between

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This whole subject is such an issue in Arizona. Originally from Massachusetts, once we cleared the convention security, we could carry pretty much anything to include very realistic weapons and grenades with no issues. Here in Arizona you pretty much cannot carry any fake weapons of any kind no matter how fake they look. They had an issue a few years ago where a guy walked into the Phoenix convention with real guns trying to kill one of the Power Ranger actors. After that it was a no go on all fake weapons. It’s too bad but these are different times I suppose.

Sorry for the late reply, but here’s my pennies worth from a AF44 member.

Back in 2014, at local events, in the area I live, we had cosplayers attending events with Airsoft RIF’s.

We’d once had the police called on a guy at an event dressed up as Hawkeye from The Avengers for his plywood bow and arrow but he was near a major roadway and obviously spooked a member of the public.

The Armed Response Unit turned up, saw the likes of COD/MW characters, a guy from Hitman, a friend as a T-800 with a minigun and I was part of a Resident Evil group in my Hunk-cum-Centurion mash-up.

The police recognised what was going on after that and have since made an unofficial attendance at the events from now on, as closet-cosplayers no doubt.

Even at the London MCM event, it wasn’t an issue. They were a bit more rigorous with checking however.

Then on May 22, 2017 in Manchester, UK at the Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena, a suicide bomber blew themselves up killing 22 people and injuring 800 more.

It has nothing to do with cosplay, it had nothing to do with cosplay props, but the UK went pretty much hiked up security nationwide and cosplay events, with people having military-themed costumes, anything intimidating or threatening in terms of props was frowned upon.

I’d just made a box of pretend explosives, such as C4, landmines and an IED for my Firefly cosplay, but it has never been to an event because you can’t judge the reaction of the public.

At big, major events, you hardly see RIF’s at all and people stick to Nerf weapons but security see a weapon and scrutinise it.

At local events, the event organiser Lee, has known me for 10 years and knows with my Firefly, Umbrella Corp, Sith or Hostel cosplay, it incorporates weapons but I always identify myself to him and allow him to inspect what I have, although he never does. Given his level of trust for me, he knows me well enough to be both sensible and responsible both in and outside the event.

But away from my local area, it’s a different matter. If I go with a group, sometimes they have a group/guest dispensation. If I’m alone, it’s weapons that are visibly toy-shop cap-guns.

Having looked into going to Ireland for Dublin Comic-con, the ferry service DFDS said I would need a firearms license for my airsoft RIF’s, so if I can get away with avoiding pistol/rifle props, I choose another costume.

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