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You need gun sound effects for your latest project, and you’re all out of ammo?
Not every aspiring filmmaker has an award-winning sound designer or state-of-the-art foley studio on hand.
If you’re desperate, you might find yourself banging together pots and pans in your mom’s kitchen to get the proper sound effects for your next project.
Or you might look around every practical corner to cut to make sure you don’t go over budget while still giving your project the best quality sound.
Finding the right sound effect can be a grueling task. On the one hand, there are too many options. On the other, not every option out there is worth your time.
I channeled my best Lord of War (2005) Nicolas Cage and scoured the internet underworld for some of the best affordable royalty-free gun sounds.
Let’s check out the arsenal.
SoundBible is an excellent site if you’re searching for your free and royalty-free sound clips in WAV or MP3 format. It’s a well-rounded website with copyright-free sounds for movie scores, game designers, and editors.
The royalty-free section offers creative commons, and public domain works. Each sound is available for commercial use without any hassle.
The royalty-free sound effects on this website are entirely free. There’s no secret language or stipulations that require payment.
The quality of the sound effects is decent and eligible for editing if you need to spice it up a little in post-production.
The website user interface has a poor design. Except for the large download button to avoid confusion, the design doesn’t compete with other options.
There is a limited selection of available gun sound effects. If you’re looking for sound effects for your action-packed thriller, you might have to search elsewhere.
2. Fesliyan Studios
Music Sound’s Fesliyan Studios is a hub of various royalty-free and free sound effects from commercial to trailer background themes and EDM electronic.
They boast of having a high-quality selection of gun sounds, including burst shots, single shots, machine guns, automatic gunfire, and more.
Right off the back, you can’t go wrong with their 100% free selection. Cutting out the costly addition of purchasing individual sound effects can set you back in a major way.
Fesliyan Studios offers optional attribution. If you don’t feel like giving them a shoutout in your credits, it’s not an obligation.
The website offers various gun sounds in different scenarios, including indoor rooms (small, medium, large) or outdoor distances (close, far)—no hassle of additional editing to the sound effect.
The types of gun sound effects are impressive. Each subcategory of sound effects breaks down into categories, from pistols and rifles to blowtorches and laser guns.
The free sound effects have decent quality. They’re not the worst on the market, but they’re not top-of-the-line. It’s the best bang for your buck. Free.
The website can use an update. Elements of the simple layout make sense, but it’s dated compared to some of the most minor, current websites.
Zapsplat is a royalty-free, professionally recorded sound effect library offering a selection from indie sound effect creators and designers.
Their extensive library provides in-depth information surrounding the effects, like software and plugin reviews and interviews with sound designers and field recordists.
The sounds are free-free-free! If you’re trying to avoid monetary transactions, you’re solid with Zapsplat.
Compared to the previous mentions, the selection of indie effects made by sounds designers and creators on Zapsplat is an excellent standard.
The best takeaway is the large selection of sound effects, totaling out somewhere around 650 different options—no need to sacrifice a specific effect due to a limited variety.
Zapsplat requires attribution. Although necessary, ascribing the gun sound effects to the particular creator and website can be tedious and affect the presentation of your body of work.
The only way to avoid the lengthy attribution is to subscribe to a monthly or yearly Gold Account. Once upgraded, you receive access to higher-quality sound and a larger library.
4. Boom Library
The Boom Library is a premium selection of professional, 12 multichannel source recorded weapon sound effects. The multichannel recordings allow for more versatility in the editing and placement of the high-definition SFX.
The sounds come in three different kits:
- Ready-to-use predesigned set
- The construction set of raw and clean-sourced sounds
- The bundle, which includes both kits
You’re getting the best quality selection of sound effects from each kit. Even with the smallest option, you’re receiving hundreds of high-quality 24bit WAV files that are fully compatible with Windows and Mac software.
The option of three kits lets you decide what is suitable for your production. If you have the budget to spare, purchasing the most extensive bundle gives you over 6,000 weapon sounds at your disposal.
It’s expensive. The idea of a bit of attribution or monthly subscription pales compared to the hefty price tags of these three sound packages. The smallest will still run you over $100 and the bundle, more than twice that amount.
Accessibility. Instead of being a point-and-click away, these large files can take a chunk of space. Each kit is available as a DVD, USB key drive, or downloaded as a whole, so be ready to free up some room on your hard drives.
Storyblocks is an affordable stock media subscription service that offers audio, video, and images. With a library of over 10,000 pre-recorded sound effects– it’s the best one-stop-shop for gun sound effects and more.
You’re looking at a fine selection. The gun sounds alone range over 1,500 options with different styles, atmospheres, and conditions included.
The website is well-built and makes access to their entire library and categorization user-friendly and straightforward. Every appropriately labeled sound comes with a preview of the waveforms.
The subscription sets you up for easy access and additional perks, but it’s not free. That could be a game-changer for your budget.
You can purchase a monthly plan priced at $1/day for unlimited access to the high-definition footage, music/sound effects, and After Effects templates.
If you’re just interested in the audio selection, you can access all the music and sound effects only for half that price.
Soundly is a complete sound effects platform in league with the top media on the internet. It’s a powerful search engine that supports a massive library of sound effects ready to drag and drop into your go-to editing tools and software.
Unlike other platforms with the quality of the Soundly library, this organized platform dedicates everything solely to sound effects.
Soundly has one of the best user interfaces and websites of the sound effects libraries out there. Additionally, the platform is easy to use and compatible with all the current technology and software.
The high-quality SFX library integrates with your workflow and popular editing tools like Logic Pro, Premiere Pro, and Pro Tools.
Soundly boasts 10 GB of cloud storage necessary for large files with metadata support.
The platform’s shared database easy for large production teams and provides discounts for multi-users.
Although free subscribers get access to 2,500 local files, the real perks are only available to the monthly paid subscribers.
Limited free access forfeits the use of 10 GBs of cloud storage, unlimited downloads, and frequently updated features.
7. Epidemic Sound
Epidemic Sound is a league of its own. Go with a library of this caliber if the budget is there.
With a single subscription, you can enjoy unlimited use of their royalty-free sound effect with premium sound design.
Epidemic Sounds provides one of the largest libraries on the internet. Just for gun sounds alone ranges from 700 – 1,000 SFX per category.
Is Epidemic Sound a little pricey? Yes. But you get what your money’s worth. A personal account gets you to access to 35,000 tracks and 90,000 sound effects. Each track and sound effect is considered the highest quality on the internet.
The website layout and features are top-of-the-line. When in the market for royalty-free sound effects, the presentation and accessibility of the platform and service can make or break the deal for paid subscriptions.
The only real setback is that you have limited access to all of Epidemic Sounds features without a paid subscription. The three-tier pay structure (personal, commercial, enterprise) is expensive, but each level provides more access for larger teams.
Are you interested in a more in-depth look at Epidemic Sounds and what they have to offer?
8. Motion Array
Motion Array is an all-in-one professional platform for filmmakers, with over 7,000 files added in the last 30 days. The subscription-based platform contains:
- Unlimited asset downloads.
- Exclusive plugins.
- Extensions for Adobe creative programs.
- Innovative methods of sharing content.
Much like the other expensive subscription-based service, the user interface holds up to the standard of modern web design and applications.
Motion Array has exclusive plugins and integrations with editing software like Adobe applications like After Effects, Premiere Pro, Photoshop.
Motion Array integrates with major editing software like Adobe programs, Final Cut Pro, and DaVinci Resolve.
Despite the extensive library of SFX, there is a limited selection for guns sounds.
The free subscription is extremely limited in comparison to the paid structure. A monthly or annual subscription opens access features including exclusive plugins, 25GB storage, portfolio site builder, and more.
I’ll be a straight shooter with you. If you’re looking for the easiest way out of your sound effect search– be willing to get some of the lowest quality effects on the internet. Sound designers and creators produce all the SFX at different levels, and the prices or lack thereof will reflect that.
Royalty-free sound effects eliminate the problem of having to come out of pocket every time that sound appears in your projects, but it can cost a little more outright or require strict attribution instructions.
Now that I gave you all the ammo you need to find the best royalty-free sound effects, get to work with guns blazing, friends!
Myke Thompson is a freelance writer, screenwriter, and humorist based out of Los Angeles. When he’s not working on his own projects, he supports other artists as a creative manager in music, art, film, and television.