- Capable of knocking something down; overwhelming; irresistible: a knockdown blow.
- Internet lore referring to the ability of large guns like .45’s and shotguns to literally knock people off their feet.
Last week, I wrote about Ten Examples of the Internet’s Worst Gun Advice, and that created quite the discussion! A lot of the conversation stuck on the issues related to knockdown power. Some are still convinced that a shotgun will knock someone backwards, through a plate-glass window or into the next county. Others got hung up on related issues, like stopping power or lethality.
I decided that this was a great excuse to go to the shooting range and do silly things, so let’s talk about the literal definition of knockdown power. I don’t mean stopping power, or lethality or capability to cause damage. Those things are pretty clear concepts. I mean literal knockdown power. Can a projectile fired from a commonly available firearm literally knock someone off their feet? We aimed to find out – and brought a video camera along to document the experiment. There’s a link to the video towards the end of this article.
Since I couldn’t find any volunteers to get “knocked down” I decided to use a 50 pound bag of sand as a stand-in substitute. Yes, I’m the adventurous sort. I’m stacking the deck in favor of the knockdown power myth. Even though an average evil dude is likely to weigh 150 pounds or more, we’re going to see what various projectiles do to an object that weighs just 50 pounds.
One more thing. There was a lot of discussion in the comments last week about kinetic energy, bullets passing through targets and the concept of energy dumps. So to make sure that our Sandbag Stanley absorbed all the gusto and enthusiasm that each round had to offer, we clothed him in a bulletproof vest. It’s for science after all.