Oh, it’s definitely possible.

I keep finding people on the internet debating if this is possible: Man drops dumbbell on bullet, shoots self.

Ok, dammit this is embarrassing, but I can say with the authority of first hand experience that this could definitely happen.

If you’re feeling particularly suicidal, you too can replicate this phenomenon (don’t do it, this is one of the most stupid things I’ve ever done).

When I was about 13 (I can’t remember exactly how old I was, it’s been too many years ago now), I decided it would be a good idea to put a .22lr round on the garage floor and whack it with a hammer.

To be fair, the garage door was open, and there was about 5 miles of untouched field on the other side of the street (all houses now, but it was my shooting range back then).

I don’t really know what possessed me to do this, it just seemed like the thing to do on a hot summer afternoon.

So I put the bullet down pointing across the street, told my two friends (who both thought this was a banner idea and were cheering me on in the name of SCIENCE I’m sure) to stay behind me, and gave the rim a good whack with a 16oz Estwing framing hammer (which I still own).

It fired. The bullet struck the field across the street throwing up a nice puff of dust, the point of impact was probably 60-80 feet away, and the time from when I hit the round with the hammer to the impact of the bullet was virtually instantaneous (so I’d assume it was moving at a pretty good clip).

The casing was still sitting right near where it started out, only one side was blown out.

The missing pieces of that case were embedded in the fingers of my right hand. At the time I thought they’d hit my hand and just torn the skin as they blew past. Fast forward about 8 years to a wrist injury at work, and a very curious doctor asking me how I got metal embedded in the fingers of my right hand. It took me a minute to put two and two together, but the doctor agreed that is most likely exactly what the metal on the xray was, and not to worry about it if it had never bothered me as my body would eventually either break it down or reject it (since it had been like 8 years he thought it would just stay there and be broken down).

I don’t know if it’s still there (haven’t had to have my hand xray’d in the last 10 years), but I do most certainly know that you can indeed cause a .22lr round to “fire” with enough force to break human skin by hitting the rim with something heavy at the right angle, assuming that the round is sitting on something solid (I’m thinking that a dumbbell dropped onto a carpeted floor with a thin pad would just about cover it).

God I feel stupid every time I have to explain to someone why this story is fully plausible.

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