# What happens when two bullets strike each other?

In Preacher S04E01 during the fight between Lara and Tulip, they shot each other and their bullet strike each other and fall down.

Is this depiction realistic? Can this happen in the same way in reality?

• I think this is a question for a different SE website...
– Roy
Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 15:53
• Specifically, Physics Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 15:55
• It is theoretically possible that might happen under some conditions, especially if the bullets have traveled a long distance and have slowed down a lot. Another possibility is the bullets might explode into fragments when they hit each other, and two shooters might be pierced by many of the fragments. And it would be statistically very likely that the two bullets would miss each other and hit the two shooters.. Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 16:09
• @JasonPSallinger we specifically have the tag realism for this kind fo questions. Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 16:16
• A google image search for "bullets hit eachother" will provide many examples of bullets that neither bounced back nor exploded into fragments. Bullets would not come to an immediate stop and fall straight to the ground, the way this question seems to be asking, but they absolutely can stick together after impact and land a short distance from the location of the impact.
– krb
Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 18:53

It's not really an exact scenario, but it should provide enough evidence to support the theory.

This SlowMo Guys video captures paintballs being fired at each other in slow motion, and while both the paintballs are different quality, and the collision angle isn't always perfect, the paint explosion shows a consistent opposed force.

this shows that two projectiles, when they collide with the same force, they will "stop" (i.e all exerted force from one projectile should negate the opposing projectile).

In addition to this, there is evidence of bullets "fusing" together when they collide in midair:

Source

If I'm wrong, please correct me!

Bullet A: size, chemical composition, speed Bullet B: size, chemical composition, speed

``````If (aSize = bSize, aComp = bComp, aSpeed = bSpeed)
if (speed = fast enough)
They should melt and fuse because of the chemical reaction from using
high velocity + massive heat from the force of the metal strike, then fall down.
in fact, this can happen even if the conditions aren't perfect.
if (speed = too slow)
They should bounce off each other in a random direction

If (any of the above conditions are not equal then)
if (aComp is tougher than bComp)
if (aSpeed = moving close to bSpeed)
bulletA should bounce the other bullet like a billiard ball smacking another slower ball.
The ricochet direction being random, but in the same general direction
that bullet was originally flying in.
If (material other than bullets is fired at each other)
It either explodes, fuses, ricochets, pierces, or explodes the target.
``````

Since this is a movie-the bullets hitting each other and dropping is plausible. I never saw it-but if the bullets fused, that would be more plausible. If you fired 100 bullets at 100 bullets you'd get different results some percentage of the time. It's a neat effect either way. And I think the Mythbusters used a stationary bullet and a moving one because the rifles didn't fire at the same time. Never saw it either just looked it up.

• * not always chemical reaction, but mostly a physical one Commented Sep 13, 2019 at 8:27