Robbers fired a round from a starting pistol during the cash-in transit van robbery outside the Co-op store at Longstone Street shortly before midday.
Two masked men had approached security guards then threatened them, before firing the shot.
The men made off with a cash box in a red coloured Hyundai car and police believe they may have transferred to a white coloured van shortly afterwards.
The security guards were left shaken but noone was injured.
Two police helicopters were used in the search for the robbers and a short time later there was a security alert around a suspicious vehicle which had been left in the Glenties Drive in Lenadoon at 1.35pm.
Army bomb experts were called to an abandoned car but the incident was later declared a hoax.
Anyone who witnessed the robbery or who has information about either vehicle is asked to contact Police at Lisburn on 0845 600 8000 or ring Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
One of the robbers men was described as being of heavy build and wearing a mask, black top and dark bomber jacket the other was described as slim wearing a mask.
Lagan Valley Alliance Candidate Trevor Lunn called the incident 'wreckless' and a 'thuggish act.'
Mr Lunn said: "I strongly condemn this incident and it is deeply worrying that someone was prepared to use a weapon in the robbery.
"Those involved displayed no regard whatsoever for the safety of the public. I would appeal to anyone with information on this robbery and subsequent events to contact police immediately.
"I would also like to congratulate the police on recovering the cash box and the work they did in investigating the suspected security alert on the car in Lenadoon."