To Dodge a Bullet, You’d Have to See It From Three Football Fields Away | Smart News | Smithsonian

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To Dodge a Bullet, You’d Have to See It From Three Football Fields Away

Even the slowest handguns shoot a bullet at 340 meters per seconds

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Photo: McRoberts

These days, even movies about demigods from another dimension have scientific consultants. But if there’s a conflict between a good storyline and the laws of physics, the storyline will always win. Bullet dodging, Scientific American reports, is one such make-believe ability invented by Hollywood.

Regardless of your speed and finesse, no human can dodge a bullet at close range. The bullet is simply traveling too fast. Even the slowest handguns shoot a bullet at 760 miles per hour, SciAm explains. Humans can react to something in about 0.2 seconds on the fast end depending on the task and if they know something is coming. But in everyday circumstances the average reaction is more like 1.5 seconds.

With this in mind, MythBusters performed an experiment to find out how far away an average person would have to stand away from a speeding bullet in order dodge it, SciAm says. The answer, it turns out, is about three football fields—hardly the stuff of Hollywood. The news for would-be heros gets even worse, too. Unless you were peering through binoculars, you probably wouldn’t be able to see the bullet getting fired from that distance, meaning you wouldn’t know to dodge it in the first place. The bottom line: unless you’re Neo from The Matrix, don’t count on being able to dodge a bullet to save your life. 

If you’re still not convinced, here MythBusters gets into some details about the ins and outs of their bullet-dodging experiment:

More from Smithsonian.com:

Faster Than a Speeding Bullet 
An Assassin’s Bullet Took Three Years to Kill NYC Mayor William Jay Gaynor

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