In theory, you could catch a bullet

Can you safely catch a bullet through a gun & quest;


Catching a bullet as it flies through the air is a tired old illusion - but is it actually doable in real life? Surprisingly, yes - at least in theory.

Shedding some light on the physics of the problem, Randall Munroe outlines a technique, what if? This should, in theory, allow you to catch a bullet. He explains:

A ball straight up would eventually reach a maximum height. It probably wouldn't stop completely; more likely it would be drifting sideways at a few meters per second. At this speed, as long as you were in the right place at the right time you could snap it out of thin air.

He suggests - well, actually he suggests, but least of all to suggest that it would work - using a hot air balloon to gain enough altitude without interrupting the air travel, which would make the ball. Altitude would vary, of course, depending on the gun and bullet, but an AK-47 would need you to be 1.3 miles in the air.

Interestingly, while the bullet would lose all vertical momentum, the rotational momentum delivered by the spiral of the gun barrel that would mean it was still spinning when you caught it. Of course not that should try. [Who?]

Image by Sheree (here temporarily) under Creative Commons license

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