Boiling Point: Things That Don’t – Issue #1


Another week, another verbose tirade of rage. With a noticeable lack of football this weekend (Damn it, Eagles!) many channels opted to man-up with man movies, which lead to me watching several hours of Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal films. That’s enough to drive any man mad, considering these were the recent flicks, not the classics like Bloodsport.

Watching these films did bring about one positive thing – or at least, I think it will turn out to be positive. It helped me come up with a new facet to Boiling Point, a subsection entitled “Things That Don’t.” These somewhat randomly occurring Things That Don’t will focus on the enraging inconsistencies or straight out fallacies that appear in movies.

Yeah, we all love suspending disbelief, but some times things are just a touch too stupid to ignore. Or as Dr. Spock used to say, “This fucking shit ain’t logical.” I think it was Spock that said that. Anywho, first up, inspired by 12 hours of direct to video action movies: Things That Don’t Stop Bullets.

In action films, bullets will punch through some surfaces like butter but then be stopped by pieces of wood and cloth, shielding our good guys from harm. The following are a list of things that, in almost all instances, will fail to stop most pistol rounds and rifle rounds. Sure, in some instances a few of these might stop a bullet once in awhile, but my requirement was this – would I trust this object to save my life? These failed the test.

  • Wooden Doors. Most bullets will shred through these no problem.
  • Average Metal Doors. These things are generally not steel, plus they’re thin walled and hollow.
  • Tables. Wooden tables, definitely. Most metal tables are cheaply made and would be penetrated as well.
  • Cars. The only part of a car that will reliable stop a bullet is the engine. Doors, not so much.
  • Interior Walls. Unless you live in a castle, a handgun round will punch through about 4 interior walls.
  • Furniture. Ever notice good guys flip a couch over and evade being shot? Fat chance.
  • Books. Sorry to break it to you, but common handgun rounds will shred through pocket Bibles and even Encyclopedias.
  • People. Good guys love using baddies as human shields. Only problem is, at close ranges there is a fairly good chance of a bullet coming out the other side.
  • Trees. Sure, Red Woods still stop handguns. But lots of bullets will smash through smaller trees or send splinters flying out the back.
  • Helmets. It’s a common misconception helmets are designed to stop bullets. They’re really to protect from shrapnel and to shield the head from debris. Direct hits, even form handguns, can penetrate steel (WWII) and even modern battle helmets.
  • Zippos, lighters, and watches. Modern handgun rounds are fast, jacketed, and fairly heavy. Direct hits on any of those objects and you’re done for.

Those are some of the more common ones you see in movies and I tried to keep them, for the most part, at a list that would stop both rifles and handguns. But in movies, plenty of bad guys use guns like the AK-47 (7.62x39mm), the M4/M16 (5.56x45mm) or when they want to look high-tech, the G36 (also 5.56x45mm). When dealing with rifle rounds, you need to be very discerning about what you choose to hide behind. Cinder blocks, bricks, a full inch of steel – none of that will stop a direct hit from a rifle. Even “bullet proof” things – like vests or glass, come in different ratings, resulting in many “bullet proof” items that can stop handguns, but not rifles.

Hollywood has confused two very different things – cover and concealment. Car doors offer concealment, that is, if you hide behind it, they can’t necessarily see you. Cover, conversely, will stop the rounds and actually save your life. Things like sand dunes, huge rocks, and engine blocks.

I love movies, and I love guns, and I want to see more guns and more bullets in movies. But sometimes, the ridiculous stuff that goes on just drives me nuts. Hiding behind a low level thug is not going to prevent the main villain from putting you in a grave when he’s blasting away with an assault rifle. A blatant disregard for guns and physics is a surefire way to send me past my boiling point.

For some cool examples of bullets going through lots of different stuff, check out the Box o’ Truth.

What other objects have magically stopped bullets that you can think of? If you have any ideas for future “Things That Don’t” articles, spout off below or email me directly – you will be credited if what you pick makes it onto the site.

Robert Fure is many things: horror expert, ruggedly handsome man of the world, witty prose composer, and writer of his own biography page. Beneath the bravado is a scared little boy, ready to grow into an awesome man and make lies about a scared little boy inside of him. Wait a minute...

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