How Many Water Balloons Does It Take To Stop A .44-Caliber Bullet?


When you hear the word “bulletproof”, you’re probably imagining a Kevlar vest, thick panes of plexiglass, or maybe the heavy metal plating on a tank. If someone told you water balloons could stop a bullet, you’d probably question their sanity. But Tim Shaw is out to get to the bottom of this mystery. Tim heads into a party store asking for bulletproof balloons, where he receives some predictably blank stares and quizzically raised eyebrows. After acquiring some regular party balloons, he recruits a handful of curious strangers to participate in his experiment. He describes his plan, and they look reasonably doubtful. Who is this guy, and what the heck is he talking about?

The balloons are filled with water, and strung up on a frame in a straight line. Tim asks his new acquaintances how many balloons they think it will take to stop a speeding bullet dead in its tracks. The man is amused, but not convinced, and flatly states that this experiment isn’t going to work. “It’s not like, military tactical gear or a shield or something.” he says. He says it just doesn’t sound reasonable, after all, they are only thin rubber balloons filled with ordinary water. The ladies are a little less skeptical, humoring Tim with some reasonable answers. One woman guesses it will take 7 balloons to stop a bullet, while the other is suggesting just 4. Tim shows them the .44-caliber magnum, and loads the magazine. This is one of the most powerful handguns in existence, used by the military and police all over the world. The .44 pistol is designed to project bullets across a great distance at high speed, and can even penetrate metal. So can plain old water really stand up to this kind of assault? The skeptic’s interest is piqued, and the ladies are excited to see if their guesses had any basis in reality. Tim takes aim and fires, with a rather interesting result.

The bullet flies through the air, seamlessly powering through the balloons, but its journey is cut quite short. As it turns out, Tim isn’t crazy (well, not really), and there’s some method to his madness. Water is so commonplace you’ve probably never given it much thought, but it’s actually quite a fascinating substance. Earlier, Tim’s new friend squeezed the balloon, and implied that water simply wasn’t dense enough to stop a powerful bullet. One of the women did the same, however she said that she felt like the water had enough substance to it to absorb the impact, and backing up her wager that the bullet would be stopped by only 4 balloons. However, density plays a key role in this experiment and its result. Take a look at what happens when Tim puts these water balloons to the test!

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