Have seen that scene in movies where the villain is shot by a bullet. However, we never notice the bullet leaving the gun, we just see the villain get hurt. Bullets move so fast that they can’t be seen with the naked eye. How do they travel so fast? We are going to answer this question through this blog!
Let’s first take a look at what’s inside a bullet. Did you know that they’re designed a bit like fireworks?
When people talk about a “bullet”, they often mean a cartridge, which is a three-part vehicle with the actual bullet mounted on the very end. The cartridge is the thing you load into a rifle; the bullet is the part of a cartridge that fires out the end. The cartridge is arranged in three sections: the primer, the propellant, and the bullet metal itself.
At the back, the primer or the percussion cap is like the fuse of a firework: a small fire that starts a bigger one. The next section of the cartridge, effectively the bullet’s “main engine,” is a chemical explosive called a propellant. Its job is to power the bullet down the gun and through the air to the target. The front part of the cartridge is the actual bullet: a tapering metal cylinder that hits the target at high speed. It tapers to a point mainly to reduce air resistance, so it goes faster and farther, but also to help it penetrate metal, flesh, or whatever else the target may be made from.
When you pull the trigger of a gun, a spring mechanism hammers a metal firing pin into the back end of the cartridge, igniting the small explosive charge in the primer. The primer then ignites the propellant—the main explosive that occupies about two-thirds of a typical cartridge’s volume. As the propellant chemicals burn, they generate lots of gas very quickly. The sudden, high pressure of the gas splits the bullet from the end of the cartridge, forcing it down the gun barrel at extremely high speed. When the bullet leaves the end of the barrel, all the pressure of the explosions is released suddenly, resulting in the loud sound you know as gunfire. When bullets fly through the air, they do so at incredible speed. The fastest bullets travel more than 2,600 feet per second. Bullets travel over twice the speed of sound!