How Can a Gun Loaded With Blanks Still Be Deadly?

The expression "shooting blanks" has become a common phrase. However, the literal meaning of shooting blanks is unclear. What is the purpose of shooting blank ammunition? Let's talk about blanks, their use, and the dangers they pose to your health.

Blanks were always used to fire during stage plays and movies. I assumed they were equivalent to caps in cap guns. In a young adult mystery novel, the name of which I have no idea of, each teenager is blackmailed into committing a crime. First, send a note to the victim asking her to meet at a specific time. The next one will steal her father's gun and the third will buy bullets. The bullet-buyer claims that the bullets were replaced with blanks when the victim, who is apparently dead, collapses. Although the bullet-buyer had replaced the bullets with blanks, the victim was still injured by the gun being held up to her chest. However, they did not kill her. Although I believed the book exaggerated the effects of blanks, it turns out that it was actually quite accurate. Blanks can be harmless from any distance but they can cause injury if they are pressed against the head of another person.

We must first look at the construction of a bullet to understand what blanks mean. To be effective, the bullet must contain something that sparks the firing process and can ignite quickly to create enough gas to propel the projectile forward. Bullets used to come in separate packages. Before firing the gun, shooters had to load each one. Bullets now contain all that in one package. The fuel (3) and primer (4) will be contained in a sleek outer casing (2). The projectile (1), which is a heavy metal object, will be at the top. It acts as a cap to prevent the powder from escaping. The bullet is the only thing that causes damage, as long as it's not pressed against anyone.

Because it is composed of dense, heavy material, the bullet does not cause any damage. The bullet's dense and heavy nature allows it to maintain its momentum while flying through the air. It can also tunnel into human flesh. You can replace the bullet with a piece wadded up cotton or paper, but it will generally do as much damage to your body as a piece of paper. The paper will fly farther than the metal bullet, and it will match its fragile mass against the pressure of any air it is trying to push through. It slows down and cannot cause any harm to flesh. You don't have to be concerned if it lands in your eye, unless you are unlucky.


People try to fire the guns at their bodies, which can lead to tragedy. Blanks can sometimes be loaded with more gunpowder because they are used for entertainment and show. To hold the paper better and allow more pressure to build up behind the gas, the edges of the casing have been bent inwardly. The gun shoots out a lot of gas very quickly. It expands quickly once it is out of the gun and is completely harmless. However, if you press a skull directly against the barrel, the gas and any other propelled material in front of it hit fast enough to shatter bone.

This has been repeated unfortunately a number of times. An actor from a television series knew that his gun had empty cartridges and blanks in 1984. As a joke, he put the gun on his head and pulled the trigger. The bullet and gas exploded so hard that it drove a portion of his skull into the brain. One person was killed and another injured in a New Mexico film shoot in October 2021 when a prop gun malfunctioned. There have been many other deaths on film and stage.


Blanks are not only used to make noise, but they can also be used for other purposes. They can cause serious injury if they are found within a few feet of you.

Via The Straight Dope & Prop Guys

Updated at 5:40 p.m. on 10/27/2021 ET: Updated at 5:40 p.m., 10/27/2021