"How hard is it to shoot off a lock?"

"How hard is it to shoot off a lock?"

"Answer: Very hard."

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56 Responses:

  1. kroker says:

    what total lunatics. just to have all of those weapons to try on the locks.

    • ciphergoth says:

      Perversely I have never been so grateful for the existence of gun nuts. If gun nuts have to exist, this is the sort of service they should be doing all of us!

      We demand more illustrated guides to Things Guns Do In The Movies That They Don't Do In Real Life! It's the pictures that make it.

      • Things Guns Do In The Movies That They Don't Do In Real Life

        #1. Knock people back ten feet.

        Due to conservation of momentum, if the shooter and the shootee are of comparable weight, the shootee won't be knocked back any farther than the shooter is by the kick of the gun, and possibly much less, if the round penetrates the shootee (because it will retain some of its momentum rather than giving it all up).

        The shootee might fall over due to not being braced. The shootee's physical reaction to being shot might include some sort of leaping-away behavior. But the bullet won't knock you back very far, not even if it's a shotgun at close range.

      • autopope says:

        Guns are Fun (in the right context, i.e. on a firing range with paper targets and safety precautions and all, as a recreational/sporting thing).

        Mind you, I'm kind of glad I live in .uk, where I can't spend all my surplus income buying up a collection of AR-15s (Cute! Cuter than Mac Powerbooks! And more expensive!) or worrying that the neighbours might be off their meds and in posession of similar.

    • Why exactly does weapon ownership automatically make someone a lunatic? If someone had an array of swords on display on their wall, those also being deadly weapons, would they also be a lunatic? Some folks are collectors, and some folks are just intrigued by weapons design. Yeah, there are whackjobs out there, but not everybody who owns one or more weapons is automatically a nut.

      FWIW, I myself own three pistols, a firing blackpowder Civil War-era repro revolver, a shotgun, and a military rifle. Last I checked I wasn't insane.

      Back to the topic, though - it was an interesting test. I always figured that locks were that tough. Ever tried to break one with tools? It also goes to show plainly that the whole "cop killer armor piercing ammo" debate is a red herring since practically any rifle in existence larger than a .22 can penetrate police body armor if they can cut through a thick steel lock that easily. Hell, popular hunting calibers are more powerful than typical modern military rounds since it takes a bit more to fell a large animal than it does to do the same to a human.

      • I always figured that locks were that tough.

        ISTR an ad (televised?) for a padlock something showing a rifle shot through the lock and the lock holding, just as this guy's tests showed.

        the whole "cop killer armor piercing ammo" debate is a red herring

        Not necessarily - I think cops are more prone to getting killed by handguns than by rifles. Your average thug cannot easily conceal a rifle shooting 5.56mm NATO, even in his baggy, baggy pants. That said, in general, the media doesn't know shit about guns. (Next time you hear anyone in media say the phrase "semi-automatic weapon", ask them how many bullets per pull of the trigger a semi-automatic weapon fires.)

        • ultranurd says:

          A video (Windows Media Player) that answers the question "how many weapons can you fit in your baggy, baggy pants?". I don't know what school/district prepared this.

          • Huh. Well, then, I have no idea why more thugs aren't carrying M4s.

            • lars_larsen says:

              You can fit a .223 rifle under your coat. The legal minimum limit for a rifle is short enough to fit nicely under a coat.

              26-1/2" overall length. Just about 2 feet.

              And thats if you're legal about it. You could cut the barrel if you wanted to go fellony (which I guess you would if you're going around concealing it under a coat.)

          • gfish says:

            Snort. How many you can fit in baggy pants if you just stand there carefully not moving, maybe. What a nice little piece of agitprop.

        • belgand says:

          Personally the labelling of anything with full auto as a "machine gun" has always been my pet peeve. Assault rifles and definitely sub-machine guns are not machine guns and are used in a completely different fashion. It's really not a hard concept to get your head around.

          The widespread misuse of "clip" when someone really means "magazine" has also been an issue, but due to the fact that it can be a bit trick to understand I'm more willing to let it slide... unless it's someone who is supposed to be knowledgable about firearms.

      • rsheridan6 says:

        FWIW, I myself own three pistols, a firing blackpowder Civil War-era repro revolver, a shotgun, and a military rifle. Last I checked I wasn't insane.

        Maybe you're so insane you don't even know you're insane, like a character in a Phillip K Dick novel. Then again, maybe not.

        I always figured that locks were that tough. Ever tried to break one with tools?

        Yes, it's easy to break a lock with bolt cutters. I had to do that to the lock at my storage facility when it froze, and it wasn't a problem, which didn't exactly give me a feeling of security about my stuff. Also, you can usually break one with a hammer and some patience.

        • The hasp of a lock is really the weakest point, and bolt cutters will make short work of one. Properly placed shots could very possibly do the same thing. I'm referring to the body of the lock itself, where this guy was placing his shots since he was going the movie scenario route and not a best-way-of-doing-it route. I have also seen some locks designed for specific applications that have the entire hasp shielded when engaged with the intended latch to deter bolt cutters, but I have no idea how tough the shielding is.

          Hammers will do the job on the lock body, as I've done it before, but it takes a long time to break it apart enough that the hasp disengages. It's not exactly something you'd have time for in a movie scenario "I'm being chased and encounter a locked door" like this test was exploring.

          It may be true that I may be slightly insane. I did try and run for public office recently. Getting into politics at all requires some sort of warped mind, I suppose :D

        • wfaulk says:

          If you're concerned about bolt cutters, the only choice you really have is to keep the cutters from being able to get at the hasp. You can get one with an armored hasp or one designed so that it's difficult to get at the hasp. Well, I suppose they both just make it difficult to get at the hasp, just in slightly different ways.

        • thealien says:

          When I was a kid, a friend's family lost the key to the lock to their garage. I happened to be over at the time and declared that removing it would be easy.

          As it turns out, with a hammer and chisel, it is. This was a MasterLock type lock. We just beat at the pins with a hammer and chisel and got the whole thing apart in a matter of... Well, it probably took an hour. It wasn't fast, quiet, or subtle. But it worked.

      • I thought about that and talked with a few people at length. And it seems to be because Guns are tools solely designed for killing.
        "You own a Gun? Are you Crazy! That is like, like having a vial of Ebola sitting on your living room table! Those things kill people!"
        *nods* I understand that. By owning a Gun I am acknowledging that at some point I might be placed in a situation where I could be forced to use it to kill another person.
        Some people are horrified by that.

        That is why (for me) Guns are not toys. They carry with them a heavy responsibility and need to treated appropriately.

      • kroker says:

        yes - depending on why they have the swords, to keep on the wall, or to blast locks.

      • wfaulk says:

        If someone had an array of swords on display on their wall, those also being deadly weapons, would they also be a lunatic?

        Have you ever met anyone with swords hanging on their walls? I assume not, otherwise you wouldn't have to ask that question. (Though they might not be insane in quite the same way implied here.)

        • shaysdays says:

          I'm married to man who does have swords hanging on his walls, and I can assure you he is a lovable, sexy lunatic.

          He also acquired most of them in the past few years, so I'm not sure whether the swords are a causal thing or not.

        • Have you ever met anyone with swords hanging on their walls? I assume not, otherwise you wouldn't have to ask that question. (Though they might not be insane in quite the same way implied here.)

          Actually, as a matter of fact, I have. He also had battleaxes and maces on his wall as well. He was big into Scottish history, being descended from Robert the Bruce.

  2. sherbooke says:

    "We were not able to get a "Breeching round" for a shotgun, but my friend Blain had sent me a sample 12 gauge Brennke slug to test and this seemed like a good time to use it." (my emphasis). It doesn't say how, but I guess it wasn't via courier :-)

    • Although the USPS won't, private shipping firms like FedEx will ship ammo. There are online dealers that sell ammo by mail.

      • FedEx will ship just about anything as long as you promise it's not a biohazard (or, more to the point, declare what it is). And failing that, poor bastard shippers like DHL are hungry for business.

        • DHL has recently breeched Canada, assing it up for everybody. Completely incompetent.

        • sherbooke says:

          hungry enough to ship potentially unstable ammo. Huzzah! Just watch your fingers!

          • Ammo is stable, to be shippable, you have to be able to set of a blasting cap set among the rounds, and not have them go off (I would expect that having a few go off is ok, the blasting cap is likely to rip some open, it is that it cannot start a chain reaction). The kind of round he is talking about is a single piece, rather that many small pellets as is usally the case for a shotgun round.

    • lars_larsen says:

      I'm surpised he had a problem getting this round. I can buy it at the country store 5 miles away.

  3. knowbuddy says:

    The great ape sanctuary where The Girl works has a shelf in the visitor center devoted to locks that didn't make the grade. It's full of these type of locks, and many bigger, that the orangutans can literally twist off, snapping the hasp, as if they were made of foam. It's gotten to the point that the locks they buy all have hasps as wide as your index finger.

    Moral of the story: if you need to make a quick escape through a locked-up area, bring an orangutan.

  4. dfb says:

    "What Dick Cheney *really* does at the secure, undisclosed location."

  5. chetfarmer says:

    But my guess is that he'd have had better luck with the pistol rounds had they been jacketed rounds -- ie, lead with a coat of a harder substance on them. Granted, a handgun-toting person intent on doing damage to other humans would be using precisely the bullets he used, so maybe that's the point.

    Backing up a bit, I'd suggest that the characteristics defining a good lock-breaking round would be a jacketed round + a larger diameter (caliber). The former ensures you actually poke a hole through the lock, and the latter ensures said hole is large enough to cause lock failure.

    • His second test was 9mm JHP -- jacketed hollow-point. No hole. Pistols aren't very powerful.

      • chetfarmer says:

        I don't believe your description of JHP is correct. Jacketed hollow-point rounds are meant for expansion, not penetration, and have exposed lead and the eponymous "hollow point" on the business end. The "jacket" exists to prevent barrel fouling and to ensure the lethal "mushroom" expansion. Ergo, you wouldn't expect one to penetrate anything armored.

        While rifle rounds are definitely more powerful (manifested mostly in velocity) -- see the boxotruth site's other tests with body armor, for example -- it's not at all clear that a fully jacketed armor-piercing pistol round (e.g., the so-called "teflon bullets," made of hard alloy and coated with teflon to avoid damaging the barrel) wouldn't penetrate and destroy a lock. However, such rounds aren't particularly common and are in fact NOT what you'd want if you were primarily shooting at bad guys, so the test is clearly valid in the mythbusting sense. I'm just curious about other corner cases, specifically with a higher velocity, larger diameter pistol round.

        • cananian says:

          I encourage you to write to the guy at the boxoftruth website; he's often done follow-up test to answer just such questions as yours. I'm vaguely curious (but expect that a simple penetration of the lock will still be insufficient to release the hasp).

          • chetfarmer says:

            Good idea. Mail sent. It does seem likely that locks have been engineered to fail shut rather than open, so that anything short of destruction results in a frozen, not open, lock.

        • My bad. I still wouldn't expect much penetration - certainly less effect than the rifle rounds.

    • Of the hand guns he tests, at least half the rounds were jacketed (one each from the 9mm and the 45), the 44 probably was not, though it could have been.

      10mm of steel armor plate will stop all of the rounds he tested (including the rifle armor piercing). So it is hardly suprising that the hand guns barely dented the locks.

  6. Bonus points for the Ronin reference. That's one of the most egregious uses of a handgun on a lock I've seen, and kind of out of place in a movie that gets the driving more right than not.

    • chetfarmer says:

      Ronin also commits another pretty avoidable error. When Deniro's character is shot despite his body armor, he says the bullet got to him because the shooter had "sprayed his bullets with teflon." This is a reference to the popular misunderstanding of so-called "teflon bullets." The bullets aren't made of teflon; they're made of very hard alloy (usually tungsten). The teflon comes into play as a way to keep from damaging the gun's barrel; the armor-piercing aspect of the "teflon bullet" is its shape and its hardness, not its nonstick coating.

      Ergo, spraying regular bullets will have no effect on their ability to penetrate body armor.

  7. Good to know! So if it ever comes up - shoot the hasp not the lock! ;)

    • lars_larsen says:

      From my experience, a 9mm handgun round would just splatter off the hasp. Guns are dangerous and noisy anyway. Get a universal key (bolt cutters).

  8. phreddiva says:

    3. Pistols are pistols and rifles are rifles. Enough said.


  9. lars_larsen says:

    Solid slug shotgun rounds are the best when it comes to pure foot-pounds of force. They pack a punch.