The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 134: Unarmed and Unharmed

Premier Date: December 9, 2009

It is possible to shoot a pistol out of a person’s hand without injuring him.


Adam and Jamie made several plywood cutouts and equipped their hands to hold a revolver with the same amount of force that a typical person would use. They placed the guns in three different positions – drawing from the hip, pointed ahead for a shootout, aimed sideways at a hostage – and fired at each. Only the “hostage” position allowed them to shoot the gun away while not injuring its holder due to bullet shrapnel. They then devised separate methods for determining whether a person would be startled enough to drop his gun if it were hit. Adam built a paddle with a gun butt and allowed Jamie to hit it with a baseball bat, delivering roughly the same kinetic energy as a bullet; he dropped it on impact, but Jamie was not satisfied with the result. He attached a short side barrel to a revolver, intending to fire a bullet out of it so that the recoil would match the kick of a bullet in flight hitting the gun. This rig did not work properly, so he removed the side barrel and attached a second grip upside down on top of the revolver frame, mounted on a swivel. Each man held the gun in all three positions (“draw,” “shootout,” “hostage”) while the other triggered it remotely at a random time. Jamie dropped it in “draw” and “hostage,” but not in “shootout,” while Adam held onto it in every situation. Owing to the difficulty of hitting the small target of the revolver, the high risk of shrapnel injuries, and the unpredictable reactions of the person holding the weapon, Adam and Jamie classified the myth as busted.

A bus can jump over a 50-foot gap in a roadway, land safely on the other side, and continue driving.


The Build Team acquired a bus with the same dimensions as that used in the film, then built a small-scale model of it as well as the stretch of road in question. Running at a calculated speed of 20 miles per hour, the bus plunged off the end of the road and crashed into the support posts at ground level on the other side. When the gap was halved, the bus still dropped far enough to hit the far end of the roadbed head-on. The team theorized that hidden ramps placed on either end of the gap may have helped the bus to make its jump safely. After outfitting their full-size bus for remote-control steering on an airfield, they did a speed test and found that it could go up to 58 miles per hour, rather than the 70 miles per hour depicted in the film. With the 50-foot target distance scaled down to allow for the lower top speed, they jumped the bus off a ramp; it fell far short of the target, but remained relatively intact until it hit a concrete safety barricade. Since the bus could not make the jump, the team declared the myth busted.

(This myth is based on a scene in the movie Speed.)