Can you dodge a bullet?

“No, Humans can’t dodge bullets because bullets travel too fast that it becomes impossible to see them coming.”

Are you curious about dodging bullets because you saw Neo from the Matrix dodging bullets?

Well, it is almost impossible for a normal human to dodge a bullet unless you are Neo. There are several reasons why we can’t dodge a bullet. Let’s look at them one by one.

Bullet travels faster than cracking sound

Whenever a bullet is fired, a cracking sound is generated and we can definitely hear that sound. But do you think we can dodge a bullet by hearing the cracking sound?

The answer is no. Before we can hear that cracking sound, the bullet might have penetrated our body. We all know that the speed of sound through air is 343 meters per second. The typical speed of a bullet varies from 550 m/s to 1250 m/s which is more than the speed of the sound. Therefore, before we can hear anything to react to dodge a bullet, the bullet will reach us 1.6 to 3.6 times faster than cracking sound.

Bullet Visibility

There is a slight chance to dodge a bullet if we can see them coming but they cross our field of vision so quickly that our eyes can’t track them.

According to neuroscientists from MIT, the human brain takes 13 milliseconds to process information when our eyes see any object. The fast speed of the bullet makes it difficult to process the information of a moving bullet. Also, the small size of the bullet makes its visibility less. Therefore, we can’t dodge them because we can’t see them.

Reaction time of humans

Do you know for visual stimulus, the average human reaction time is 0.25 s. Now imagine that a bullet is fired towards you from 100m apart. Let’s say you are able to see the bullet coming. For bullet, it will take 0.18 sec to hit the target but the average human reaction time is 0.25 sec. Therefore bullet will hit first before you can react to it. Therefore human reaction time is also one of the factors that stop us from dodging a bullet.

What type of moving objects we can dodge?

In order to dodge an object, factors such as the speed and size of the object should be considered. The speed of the object should not more than the reaction and processing time of humans. The object should have enough size that we can track them from long distances. In sports such as baseball or cricket, the ball speed is low as compared to the bullet, and the size of the ball is large enough that it is visible from long distance. Therefore, players are easily able to follow the ball to catch or hit them.

Factors that affect the visibility of an object are

  1. Background Brightness
  2. Object Contrast
  3. Object size
  4. Viewing distance
  5. Glare
  6. Background Structure

Along with factors associated with objects, there are several criteria related to the observer as well such as sensitivity, and specificity.

Considering the above factors, it is almost impossible for humans for dodge to a bullet in reality unless you are the chosen one just like Neo from Matrix.

Professor Atom

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Professor Atom is a science enthusiast and alumni of IIT Bombay. According to him, every question can be solved with curiosity and mind mapping. ( Curiosity = Asking Questions = Learning )

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