Andreas Wahl — a physicist and daredevil stuntman — is known for putting his body on the line in experiments to prove physical laws.
Wahl once drenched himself with water and passed through flames to prove he couldn’t get burned (since it takes a great deal of heat to evaporate water).
He also sat on the end of a rope slung over a beam nearly 50 feet high and let himself be dropped — and his fall was broken by nothing but a small weight on the other end that quickly wrapped around the beam (to prove objects rotate faster when approaching a central point).
This time Wahl faced down the barrel of a gun — underwater — in front of video cameras.
Standing in a pool, Wahl held a string attached to the gun’s trigger at the other end — about 8 feet away — and then began his countdown.
“Shot incoming,” he said before intoning, “Three, two, one…”
Then Wahl pulled the string.
Cameras captured the moment the bullet hit the water and began heading for its target.
But the projectile didn’t have a chance, falling gently to the pool floor about halfway to Wahl.
After all his brushes with death and know-how, you might think the gutsy physicist would face down this experiment with no fear. But it isn’t always easy to push aside all emotion — and Wahl looked clearly relieved when the bullet sank to bottom of the pool.
Indeed he does have physical laws working in his favor. “It’s harder to create movement in water than in air, because water molecules are closer together than air molecules,” the video description noted.
More on this topic from How Stuff Works:
The reason why it is possible to fire a gun underwater is because the bullet is self-contained. Gunpowder is an explosive that contains its own oxidizer. Therefore it needs no oxygen from the air. The bullet casing is waterproof, so the gunpowder and primer stay dry when submerged. Therefore, when the firing pin strikes the bullet, the bullet behaves exactly the same way it would above water.
What happens in the next millisecond, however, is different. The bullet is now having to push water, which is much heavier than air, out of the barrel. There is so much drag in water that the bullet loses all of its kinetic energy within a few feet. …
Check out the underwater shot: