Man tests steel-toe boots by shooting his foot with a .45 caliber bullet

Content warning: This post contains some very graphic images of a man who literally shot himself in the foot with a .45 caliber bullet. Read it or don’t, I’m not your dad. 

There’s nothing more ‘Murican than beer, guns, and steel-toe boots. And perhaps a combination of the three led to an incident where a man thought it’d be a great idea to test the durability of his steel-toe boots by shooting them with a .45 caliber bullet.

The average person would probably assume they’re not, or at least not care to test it. Or, if they did decide to test it, they’d be smart and take their foot out of the boot first. Or, if the desire is to see potential damage inflicted, put something inside the boot (that isn’t your foot). You know, like what this guy did with several different types of ammunition:

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Turns out, the answer is that pistol rounds couldn’t penetrate the steel toe, but some of them put a substantial dent in the steel. Certainly this would have resulted in some fractured bones and ruin your weekend. The .30-06 rifle round had no problem going through – and through his cinder block backstop.

But I looked all over the Googles this morning to see if there’s anything debunking the story, and I couldn’t find anything. It’s possible that it could be some sort of flesh-eating bacteria, or something different. But the original story seems plausible, so I’m going to apply Occam’s Razor to it.

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But before we get into the pictures – again, this is a warning that they’re extremely graphic and you should scroll down at your own risk – I thought it’d be interesting to talk about the physics of the bullet.

Now, let me preface this by saying I’m not a gun enthusiast. But from what I’ve gathered, a standard .45 bullet has a velocity of 830 feet per second (253 meters per second). That’s 566 miles per hour (911 kilometers per hour).  The standard load (size of the bullet) is 230 grains (15 grams, or .53 ounces). So we have a mass of 15 grams moving at 253 meters per second towards a target zone that is, on average, 2.5 mm thick.

So as I said above, regardless of if it actually stopped it, you’d feel a bit of a pinch.

I couldn’t find a specific example of someone shooting a steel toe boot with a .45, but I did find this video of a guy who shot through 24 gauge steel using a 9mm bullet. 24 gauge steel is 1/40th of an inch (.635 mm) thick. It went through more than a few of the layers rather easily.

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So, consider this. The 9mm round went through 9 layers of the 1/40th inch thickness steel. And because there are multiple layers of steel, opposed to just one large single piece, there is more surface area to dissipate the energy from the bullet. What this means is that the 9 layers of 1/40th inch steel will absorb more energy from the bullet than a single piece of 9/40th inch steel. This is why a woven fabric, like kevlar, is better at stopping a bullet than simply wearing a metal vest. More layers means more places for the energy of the bullet to go, which means it’s less likely you’ll penetrate the material.

But as our mystery scientist found out, apparently his steel toe boot couldn’t.

There. You’ve seen it. And you can’t un-see it. #Murica.

H/t: Wide Open Spaces


Written by Dan Broadbent

Science Enthusiast. Atheist. Lover of cats.

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