I never entirely understood the scene where Bruce and Alfred shoot bullets into bricks and they figure out a finger print from it.

How does that technology work exactly?

  • 1
    in the time and space of the movie not in reality ...
    – Aasim Azam
    Apr 21, 2013 at 22:48
  • 3
    Not quite a duplicate, but: What is the purpose of the ballistics test in The Dark Knight?
    – hammar
    Apr 22, 2013 at 4:34
  • Plot magic. A hollow point bullet is unlikely to have a usable print if you pull it out of the magazine. The scene is meant to look cool but it's not plausible.
    – user38150
    Jul 22, 2016 at 6:36

2 Answers 2


If you're looking for a real-life application of this scene, I can't say with any certainty if this technology exists or is merely a plot device.

What I can tell you are the mechanics of this scene, however.

Upon arriving at the crime scene, Bruce sees a bullet hole fired into the brick of the apartment. While obtaining this evidence, he says to Gordon that he's going to obtain fingerprints off of the shattered bullet in the wall.

He then returns to the batcave to use a minigun filled with different ammo sizes in order to gauge what kind of bullet he loaded into the chamber, matching the impact of a control brick with the brick he obtained.

Using the information of the size of the bullet, he is able to digitally reconstruct the bullet, and run an analysis on it for fingerprints (The real stretch of this whole scene).

Using the fingerprint information, he is able to compare it to a criminal database of Gotham in order to determine the name of Melvin White (a known Joker alias for comic readers).

  • I think I should have made clear how it worked in the film. I know something like is not real. But this makes sense. Thanks!
    – Aasim Azam
    Apr 22, 2013 at 21:21
  • Nice explanation, but I still don't understand why did he again do the test in his bunker ? What is the use of it ? Why don't he direct examine the brick he found on crime scene ?
    – bnil
    Dec 24, 2015 at 14:06
  • 1
    @bnil he couldn't tell from the original brick, because the bullet shattered itself and the brick from the impact. By using a fresh bullet, he hoped to get nearly identical shattering.
    – cde
    May 5, 2016 at 23:25
  • 1
    Shouldn't the fingerprints on the shell of the bullet and not on the bullet itself?
    – KumarAnkit
    Jan 15, 2019 at 4:29

The purpose of the test in the bunker was to determine how the particular type of bullet shatters when fired in to brick. With that knowledge, he was then able to digitally analyze the brick from the crime scene and reassemble the bullet and see the finger print.

  • 1
    @MeatTrademark its straight forward and easier to understand. The accepted answer is a bit convoluted.
    – cde
    May 6, 2016 at 1:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .