How Fat Would You Have to Be to Stop a Bullet?

How fat would you have to be to stop a bullet? The Naked Scientists investigate, using a tube of gelatin to simulate fat. The answer? They don't even have tube long enough to find out properly!

Here's the interesting experiment nonetheless: Link - via Gorilla Mask


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I'm with Simon on this one; the amount of fat required to stop a bullet depends on lots of variables that they really didn't cover very well. Interesting premise, but projectile shape, weight, muzzle velocity and distance to target would all play into the equation.

Pretty safe to say that being shot is bad. Being fat is bad too. Avoid both to live a long life.
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Actually their experiment is not very valid, and I consider it quite a waste of time for them.

Of course, for rifle bullets, feet and feet of fat would be necessary. However, for small arms (pistols and revolvers), the experiment is invalid, because:

- most pistol bullets aren't as heavy as the ball bearing they used. Ball bearings are usually made of steel. Bullets are lead, antimony and, sometimes copper. A steel ball bearing of the same size of a bullet is usually heavier than the bullet.

- The 9mm Luger is a fast cartridge, but doesn't come close to 500 m/s (usually, 350 m/s for a 124 gr bullet)

- Most people are shot by small arms, not rifles, so, an appropriate experiment would be to use a common gun, like a 9mm or even a .38 Spl, which I know for fact than can be stopped by fat. Even a heavy leather jacket will slow a .38 Spl down enough to lower its damage to a minimum.

- A hollow point bullet, which expands on hitting soft targets, will deaccelerate considerably when traveling through the medium.

- Even when a bullet can be stopped by fat, what is most damaging is not the perfuration made, it's also the effect of the thermostatic shock that damages internal organs.

- AFAIK, only muzzle loading guns use round (as in "round ball") bullets, but then, their speed is very limited, they are made of lead, and their surface is not near as finished as a ball bearing.
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This question has actually already been answered in "The Ultimate Book of Notes and Queries" by Joseph Harker. It's an extract of all the best questions asked of the guardian newspaper. I don't remember the answer exactly, but basically you would have to be super-humanly fat to have any protection.
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