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Top 5 Myths about Guns

VO: Ashley Bowman
Script written by Matt Wende You've seen it in movies so many times that you're pretty much an expert at this point right? Well, it's not true of kung fu, and it's certainly not true of guns. Welcome to WatchMojo's Top 5 Myths, the series that finds the biggest myths people actually believe and dispels them one by one. In today's instalment, we’re looking at myths about guns that are perpetuated by Hollywood movies. Head over to WatchMojo.comsuggest to submit your ideas for our next video!

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Script written by Matt Wende

Top 5 Myths about Guns

You’ve seen it in movies so many times that you’re pretty much an expert at this point, right? Well, it’s not true of kung fu, and it’s certainly not true of guns. Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Myths, the series that finds the biggest myths people actually believe and dispels them one by one. In today’s instalment, we’re looking at myths about guns that are perpetuated by Hollywood movies.

#5: Bullets Can Still Hit You Through Water

We all know that the water is a bad place to be in an action movie. It’s cold, it ruins your badass outfit, and it makes you an easy target for foes trying to fill you with lead. Seems logical, since bullets can punch through wood and some metals, so why not water, right? Consider this though: what hurts more, belly flopping off a diving board, or off a bridge? The faster you’re moving, the more force you hit the water with, and the water hits back just as hard. Slow moving bullets, such as pistol rounds, impact with less force, and can travel through up to 8 feet of water in the right conditions. Any rifle round or bigger will lose all its energy impacting the water, and will not be able to kill you after a few feet. So, next time you’re being chased by a helicopter, go for a swim.

#4: Cars Are Bulletproof

Who needs water when you’ve got a car? If there’s one thing Hollywood has taught us about getting shot at, it’s that you can always rely on the ingenuity of the automotive industry for safety. Trust us, though; you’re better off with diving in a pool. Cars are built with structural support to keep them safe from other cars hitting them, but the metal panels on the car’s body are kept light to save on weight. A bullet could easily punch through a car door, travel through the car’s cabin, out the door on the other side, and still be lethal to the action junkie who thought he was safe. There is one bulletproof part of a car, and that’s the engine. All that heavy-duty metal is just too much for a little bullet to make it through. Just don’t expect to drive off after the gunfight.

#3: Bullets Cause Things to Explode

So if you throw a couple bullets at a car, it’ll cause a flashy explosion, right? Not the case: in fact, car manufactures actually work pretty hard to make sure the gas tank is protected and won’t explode at the slightest rupture, so the car has to take serious damage for that kind of fireball to happen. It’s true, though, that under certain conditions, many things will explode when shot, such as pressurized objects like spray paint cans, but even then they usually need an open flame source nearby to really get that booming explosion you see in the movies. Directors often use sparks from gunshots to illustrate where the bullets are going on screen, but in reality there’s only a spark if the bullet hits a specific metal, and even then it’s not usually enough to ignite anything. Sorry, Michael Bay!

#2: Bulletproof Vests Will Stop Anything

Who hasn’t cheered when our favourite character is saved by a bulletproof vest? Hey, if it works for Doc Brown it’ll work for us! Turns out his field was obviously in time travel and not ballistics. So does body armor stop bullets? Depends on the armor, but more importantly it depends on the bullet. High-end soft body armor, which is typically made of Kevlar, is rated to stop up to a .44 Magnum, which is great if you’re being chased by Dirty Harry. But rifle bullets, which are smaller and moving a hell of a lot faster, will shred soft body armor. Military and tactical police units use armor plates, made out of steel or ceramic material, and will stop some rifle bullets. However, even if the armor you’re wearing stops the bullet, there’s still significant energy transfer. So it doesn’t mean you’re safe.

#1: Silencers Make Guns Super Quiet

Let’s make one thing clear: gunshots are really freaking loud! That rock concert that left your ears ringing was in the neighborhood of 130 decibels. A jet engine is around 140. Your average gunshot… 160! Bruce Willis has permanent hearing damage in one ear from making "Die Hard", so be careful. That’s okay, just slap on a silencer. The problem is, when a gun fires, you’re actually hearing three different sounds at the same time: the action of triggering the gun, the gunpowder exploding, and the bullet breaking the sound barrier. A suppressor will help with one of these sounds, but at best you’re knocking 30 decibels off. In other words: that’s still extremely loud! Maybe not deafening, but the other henchmen are definitely going hear it.

So how many of these myths did you believe? Here’s what Google searchers are asking about guns: For more mind blowing Top 10 lists (no not actually), and completely safe Top 5s published daily, subscribe to!

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