The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 112: Coffin Punch

Premier Date: November 5, 2008

A person buried in a coffin 6 feet (1.8 m) underground can successfully punch his or her way out, then dig up to freedom.


Based on tests with a martial arts expert, the Build Team determined that greatest force at which a person in a coffin could punch is about 1450 Newtons. Grant built a robot that could generate that force with a 3-inch (8-cm) punch, and it was placed inside a plain pine coffin. After 600 punches the robot had created a crack in the lid, but had not punched a hole in it. Then the team placed six feet of dirt on the coffin, and again the robot only split the lid and could not create a hole. To test what would happen if a hole could be made, the Build Team built an acrylic coffin outfitted with a trapdoor and a sliding panel to let dirt in. First Tory entered the coffin and 2 feet of dirt were placed on him. He was able to dig himself out. When Grant repeated this experiment with 6 feet of dirt, the dirt entered the coffin so fast and filled it so completely that there was no way anyone could escape. Based on these results, the myth was declared busted.

(This myth is based on a scene in Kill Bill.)

A police badge is bulletproof.


First, a silver star was tested, but the bullet easily penetrated it. A star on a copper shield was tested, but it also failed to stop the bullet. Finally, a star on a nickel shield was tested. It was heavily deformed, but it caught the bullet.

An MP3 player/iPod is bulletproof.


Firing an AK-47, Adam’s second shot cleanly penetrated an iPod after his first shot only grazed it. The myth came from a story about a soldier in Iraq who survived when the iPod he was wearing was shot. However, he was also wearing body armor when he got shot.

3 pizza boxes in a warming bag are bulletproof.


Based on a story that a pizza delivery boy survived a shotgun blast by holding his warming bag in front of him, Adam and Jamie first fired birdshot at a warming bag containing three pizzas, and it stopped the all but six of the pellets. They then used buckshot which easily passed through the pizzas. To see how far the buckshot would penetrate, 5 warming bags, each containing 3 pizza boxes, were placed in front of the ballistics gel dummy. Buckshot was fired at it, and the shot made it all the way to pizza 14.

Human fat is bulletproof.


Determining that the largest layer of fat around a human (Walter Hudson) would measure 16 inches, Adam and Jamie placed that amount of human-temperature cow fat in front of the dummy. The bullet made it all the way through the fat easily.

Human muscle is bulletproof.


Using the measurements of a man with 3-inch pectorals and 11-inch biceps, Adam and Jamie placed 14 inches of cow muscle in front of the dummy (assuming the man placed his bicep over his pectoral and the bullet passed through them both). The muscle failed to stop the bullet.

A mixture of cornstarch and water is bulletproof.


Adam reasoned that this mixture’s properties as a non-Newtonian liquid might allow it to stop a bullet. However, 6 thin bags full of the liquid failed to stop the bullet.

Bathroom tiles covered in a fiber-reinforced gypsum cement is bulletproof.


This material stopped rounds from a 9mm pistol, a .45 caliber handgun, and buckshot. It failed to halt deer slug or rounds from a M4 Carbine.

A belt buckle is bulletproof.


Although the bullet did pass through the belt buckle, a policeman who had been shot in the belt buckle and survived spoke with Jamie and Adam, saying that the bullet caused a large bruise but lodged in his shirt.