US Special Operations is testing underwater bullets

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

Created by Virginia’s DSG Technologies, the tungsten-tipped bullet works by creating a gas bubble as it moves through water. As Defense One reports, this massively reduces the amount of drag—a supercavitation effect that’s also used in torpedos and some boats. As standard bullets don’t have this effect, friction slows down their velocity, and they quickly stop when traveling through dense liquid.

U.S. Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, is reportedly putting the bullets through various tests, one of which involves shooting them up toward the surface from underwater. Odd Leonhardsen, DSG's chief science officer, said the bullets are being sold to other governments. While he never named them, he did say they were testing to see how the bullets performed when fired from helicopters into water, suggesting they could be used against submarines. Tests show the 50-caliber bullets can travel 60 meters through water or penetrate 2 cm of steel through 17 meters of water.

“This projectile is effective against submerged targets and targets in the air. Depending on the weapon and the used loading variant, this ammunition is suitable for use in partial or fully submerged weapons, regardless of if the target is in water or on the surface,” said DSG Technologies.

Exactly how these bullets create a gas bubble is unknown, but Popular Mechanics believes that they somehow use the gases from the burning gunpowder. Additionally, the ammo will work with existing weapons, and can also penetrate sandbags and body armor.

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Vulcanproject

TS Evangelist
Diving underwater IS a good way to avoid bullets. Normal bullets. Even a 50 caliber rifle can't fire a bullet that would kill anyone more than about 3 feet (1 metre) underwater, because water is nearly 800 times more dense than air.

So these new bullets extend that range considerably. I can see them being essential issue to naval and marine forces, perhaps the technology would even extend to naval machine guns and heavier armaments.

That and Roy Scheider could have done with a few clips full.
 

Capaill

TS Evangelist
Shooting the hull of a boat below the waterline is probably a lot more effective than shooting the decks. I guess that's another use for a bullet that can travel up to 17m below the water surface and still penetrate armour. I don't see it being much use against submarines - we're long past the age of diesel submarines needing to travel near the surface. The Coast Guard will probably benefit most from these bullets. Or Special Forces like Navy Seals.
 

Markoni35

TS Maniac
Well, shooting fish in a barrel just got a whole lot easier lol
Actually, I think the old bullet is more effective in shooting fish in a barrel. Because it's the shockwave that kills them. You don't really have to hit the fish, just the water. And they all die. But this new bullet creates a lot smaller shockwave, because that would dissipate entire energy of the bullet. Instead it dissipates a lot less energy which enables it to travel a much longer distance.

So with this bullet you actually have to shoot each fish separately. You have to be serial killer. Wasting at least as many bullets as there are fish. With the old-fashioned bullet you just hit the water and they are all dead. With one bullet. You become parallel killer, not serial.
 

PEnnn

TS Maniac
This reminded me of an incredible video I saw one on a Youtube: How many balloons filled with water can a .45 bullet penetrate??

The balloons were 1 foot apart when they fired a bullet from a few feet away. The .45 slug penetrated just 2 balloons then dropped before reaching the third balloon.... !
 

m4a4

TS Evangelist
Actually, I think the old bullet is more effective in shooting fish in a barrel. Because it's the shockwave that kills them. You don't really have to hit the fish, just the water. And they all die. But this new bullet creates a lot smaller shockwave, because that would dissipate entire energy of the bullet. Instead it dissipates a lot less energy which enables it to travel a much longer distance.

So with this bullet you actually have to shoot each fish separately. You have to be serial killer. Wasting at least as many bullets as there are fish. With the old-fashioned bullet you just hit the water and they are all dead. With one bullet. You become parallel killer, not serial.
Yes, but that would be killing fish by shockwave in a barrel. No fish shot in that method :p
 
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captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
I can't wait to see this new technology written into the scripts of future episodes of "N.C.I.S: Los Angeles"

With Kenzie in a wet suit, gunning down people from underwater. Are you kidding me, it'll be like a siren from the deep calling bad guys to their deaths.. :) .
 

red1776

Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe
I can't wait to see this new technology written into the scripts of future episodes of "N.C.I.S: Los Angeles"

With Kenzie in a wet suit, gunning down people from underwater. Are you kidding me, it'll be like a siren from the deep calling bad guys to their deaths.. :) .
or...or a movie reboot of Moby ****...
"Call me Ishmael *****"
Holding the gun sideways for the 'kill shot'
oh yes, this could be good!
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
This reminded me of an incredible video I saw one on a Youtube: How many balloons filled with water can a .45 bullet penetrate??

The balloons were 1 foot apart when they fired a bullet from a few feet away. The .45 slug penetrated just 2 balloons then dropped before reaching the third balloon.... !
Very interesting! I can't wait to see the garment version! ;)
 

netman

TS Evangelist
Today is water bullets, tomorrow is space bullets...Anything that can take the life away thrills the us military industrial complex...!!!
 

Rayneofpayne

TS Member
Well I mean that is all well and good but in reality what caliber are they, because last I checked it takes a 454 Casull just to go through a windshield, at almost 3 feet away, and the guy firing it had major shellshock from the shockwave of firing a 454 under water. So with that being said are these in any way practical for real use? Because the harm to the user might out weigh and benefit depending on the caliber being used.

If you want to see it for yourself Amazon Prime- Hollywood weapons season 1 episode 1, good show if your into this kind of mythbuster type show.
 

Rayneofpayne

TS Member
Diving underwater IS a good way to avoid bullets. Normal bullets. Even a 50 caliber rifle can't fire a bullet that would kill anyone more than about 3 feet (1 metre) underwater, because water is nearly 800 times more dense than air.

So these new bullets extend that range considerably. I can see them being essential issue to naval and marine forces, perhaps the technology would even extend to naval machine guns and heavier armaments.

That and Roy Scheider could have done with a few clips full.
Go watch "Hollywood Weapons:Fact or Fiction" season 1 episode 1. It's up on Amazon Prime.
They shot a Rugar 454 Casull at a windshield from 3 feet away underwater and according to them with the extra foot it would have in all likelihood killed a person behind it, so a 50 Cal in water probably would do it just fine. Now being shot at under water by a 50 Cal fired from above it would depend on how much energy is wasted penetrating the water...Pascal's law and remember saltwater is more dense depending on salt level so I'm sure there is a specific calculation you can come up with to figure out how many feet you would be safe at.
 

Vulcanproject

TS Evangelist
Go watch "Hollywood Weapons:Fact or Fiction" season 1 episode 1. It's up on Amazon Prime.
They shot a Rugar 454 Casull at a windshield from 3 feet away underwater and according to them with the extra foot it would have in all likelihood killed a person behind it, so a 50 Cal in water probably would do it just fine. Now being shot at under water by a 50 Cal fired from above it would depend on how much energy is wasted penetrating the water...Pascal's law and remember saltwater is more dense depending on salt level so I'm sure there is a specific calculation you can come up with to figure out how many feet you would be safe at.
It's already been tested with all sorts of calibers and weapons. A 50 caliber rifle barely does any better than much else. The point being brute force from extremely powerful weapons nets you relatively insignificant extra penetration in water.

A rifle that might give you another 1000 feet effective range in air will basically give you another foot or so underwater, such is the drag.