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What Caliber of Bullet Can Really Break a Lock as Seen in the Movies?


"Everyone has seen movies where somebody shoots a lock ... how feasible is that?"

Good guy or bad, when either encounters a lock in the movies, what is often their solution if they're armed? Shoot it.

The guy on the YouTube channel Demolition Ranch — described as "not your average gun channel" — though wondered just what caliber of bullet it would take to actually break a lock though.

"Everyone has seen movies where somebody shoots a lock ... and it explodes and they go through the door or gate they were trying to get through. I want to see, how feasible is that?" Matt, the host of the YouTube channel, asked.

Using "super solid" Brinks padlocks, Matt started with .22 long rifle ammunition out of a P22.

Image source: YouTube

"Barely made a dent," Matt said, showing the evidence and proving that the lock was still functional.

Even five shots later, the .22 long rifle ammunition was ineffective at breaking the lock. It did render the lock damaged so it could no longer be unlocked with a key.

Next up: a 9mm pistol.

One, two, three, four shots in, still no dice at getting the already damaged lock open.

"I think we need something with a little more power," he said, moving on to 5.56 ammo from a 16-inch barrel Kel-Tec.

Even though this bullet went straight through the lock, which had already endured previous hits, it was still locked. It took all the previous shots from a .22, a 9mm and four shots from the rifle to finally break off the lock.

"Probably disproves the bad guy running up with a 9mm, shooting a lock and running through, unless it's a really crappy lock," Matt said.

He didn't stop there though.

Image source: YouTube

"Even with one of the most powerful handgun cartridges in the world — .44 Magnum — one shot won't cut it," Matt explained after further demonstrations.

See what happens when he tries a 1-ounce slug out of a shotgun in the full video:

The Discovery channel's Mythbusters took on the Hollywood portrayal of popping off locks with firearms a few years ago and found similar results as Demolition Ranch.

As a bonus, check out Demolition Ranch's latest video showing if a spoon can stop a bullet:

(H/T: Reddit)

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