These Hollow-Point Bullets May Be Safe to Shoot on a Plane

"By developing this 9mm ammunition, we've reached its technical and ballistic limits."

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

When Samuel L. Jackson declared in the TV-edited version of Snakes on a Plane that he “had it with these monkey-fighting snakes on this Monday-to-Friday plane,” he probably wished he had a gun to safely deal with the threat mid-flight. But, it can be incredibly dangerous for even a trained officer to carry a gun on a plane, as the fear has always been that bullets will pass through an assailant’s (or the snake’s) body, puncture aircraft walls, and lower the pressure dramatically depending on the number of holes and if a window has been compromised.

Researchers of a new project commissioned and fully financed by the Czech Interior Ministry at the the University of Defense in the Czech Republic claim they have developed a fool-proof, 100-percent safe bullet for air marshals to use on planes.

Hollow-point bullets are used by U.S. police all the time, but these bullets travel faster than competing hollow-point bullets on the market today, and they’re guaranteed to not penetrate the thin walls of an airplane cabin, nor pass through a human body.

“By developing this 9mm ammunition, we’ve reached its technical and ballistic limits,” Lt. Col. Ludek Jedlicka from the Department of Weapons and Ammunition at the Faculty of Military Technology, told the Associated Press.

Bullets after penetration of the gel block in increasing velocities – upper line shows the experimental results and the bottom line the simulation results


The full research has not been made public yet, but based on papers published by the researchers leading up to this bullet, it seems the higher the velocity of the bullet, the more it expands on impact and causes drag and flattening.

This could certainly mean more damage in the assailant’s body as the bullet tears through and damages more tissue. But, it also means bystanders will be safer from collateral damage.

Brass bullets (which are illegal to fire from a pistol in the U.S.) weighing 62 grains travel at unprecedented speeds for this caliber in today’s market — a 1,649-feet-per-second clip, reports By comparison, heavier 147-grain Speer Gold Dot hollow-point bullets travel at 985 feet per second.

Air marshal units in neighboring European countries are reportedly interested in the new hollow-point bullet tech as a way to better secure aircraft.