Slow Motion Videos of Pistol Firing Underwater

Smarter Every Day crew fired a Ruger P95-DC and a revolver in a glass tank filled with water and captured the shots using a high-speed camera recording at 2,200 frames per second.

It will come as no surprise to gun nuts that the pistols did not blow up underwater. Many gun manufacturers test their guns underwater to ensure they do not experience a catastrophic failure.

[ Many thanks to jdun1911 for emailing me the link. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Popedizzle

    Wow. There was a really log delay between trigger pull, the hammer falling, and the round actually firing. Pretty cool though.

  • anonymous coward

    Not smart enough to have a backstop, apparently…

  • STW

    P95 not P90

  • Samopal

    Interesting to see in slow motion. Also I believe that’s a P95, not a P90. 🙂

  • ThomasD

    The outgassing from the pistol is (hopefully) not coming from a bad primer seal – that type of leak would not self correct.

    I’d suspect it is gas flowing back around the case prior to the time when the case has expanded to fill (and thus seal) the chamber.

  • ThomasD

    I’ve had an additional thought – it’s most likely water vapor coming off the hot case as it expands to fill the chamber.

  • Glenn

    I am not surprised they did not blow up.
    I AM surprised that he had his finger inside the trigger guard while cocking the hammer on the revolver.

  • Great video!!!
    I don’t think small bubbles when hummer strikes are caused by gas leakage from primer !

  • I would imagine that if there were an air-bubble in the barrel that bad things might happen.

    I expected them to work; the Soviets adapted firearms to work underwater. They didn’t have great ranges, but they sure could out-range a spear gun.

  • gunslinger

    pretty neat. i would have liked to see the tank have a longer distance between the barrel and the wall. i would have rather seen the bullet stay in the tank instead of breaking it. I’m not sure if that was possible, but it’s just me.

  • Jeff

    Isn’t that what glock maritime plugs are for?

  • KEN

    Very nice. Good info.

  • JC

    Wow, not only did the guns survive, but the Ruger extracted and ejected the spent shell casing! Also, what was the revolver? I have never seen one like that before.

  • Matt G.

    Very cool. I so want a high speed camera.

  • Wyocen

    That appears to be a ruger p-95 not a p-90. I couldnt tell if the magazine was single or double stack but if it is single stack then it is a p-97.

  • Thomas

    Very cool. I love seeing high speed cameras put to use with firearms. But what’s funny is the t

  • Thomas

    the first thing that I noticed is that he was a Richland Bomber Alumni. (I have a couple of those t-shirts myself)

  • Pedro

    Fascinating stuff! Thanks for posting that, Steve.

    I had often wondered about the efficiency or otherwise of waterlogged pistols. I also feared a pistol would blow up if fired under water.

  • GeoffH

    That would be 2200 frames per second, not frames per minute. Normal film cameras rates are 1440 to 1800 frames per minute.

    I really enjoyed watching the video. Not something you can see elsewhere.

  • Woodroez

    I was surprised the P90 was able to fully close the slide underwater and with a round already in the chamber. I wonder if that fellow knows you aren’t really supposed to do that. But hey, it’s a Ruger.

  • john

    it’s a Ruger P95, not P90.

  • Cam

    To add my two cents as to what that outgassing is on the Ruger shot, I think personally it’s just a bubble forming and collapsing. You can see it on the revolver too: as the hammer flies forward, it’s bound to trap some water between it and the firing pin, or whatever else, and cause a bubble to burst.

  • SuA

    Nothing new here for all 3 points… All this has been studied before and you don’t need water for it either. Fun to watch, but this is old news.

    Case in point: remember the belgian Nagant 1895, so common russian surplus nowadays? The whole purpose was to get a cylinder to barrel gas seal (or rather in this case a case to barrel seal) to prevent the loss of gas and thus loss of velocity.

    However, they quickly found the loss of velocity was actually pretty damn minor and did not warrant the added complexity of pushing the cylinder forward.

    The cool side-effect was of course that the Nagant could be suppressed quite nicely.

  • Mike

    Guns and Ammo magazine did a whole item on this back in the mid 80s. They nused a 1911 in a pool to see how far it can be shot. Air is a liquid technically just like water so as long as the gun is completely full and no transition from air to water ( like a bubble in the barrel) there should be no real danger. Although I would hesitate using a rifle underwater the 45ACP is pretty low pressure.

    Anyway back to the item. The pistol fired fine and the bullets from memory travelled about the length of the pool. Action would not cycle though.

    There are specialized weapons designed to fire underwater that special forces like the SEALS and Spetnaz use. Usually these fire a dart type projectile that retains velocity better underwater for use against other divers or from underwater to surface for sentry elimination and such like.

  • Alan

    Air is a fluid, not a liquid. Air is a mixture of gases, and gases are fluids.

  • ThomasD

    Mike, technically speaking air is not a liquid. It is a (mixed) gas. Air is a fluid – ie. it flows. But unlike gases liquids do not automatically expand to fill whatever chamber container they are in, nor do they compress like gases.

    Which is a good thing, if you like hydraulics.

  • Mike

    Yes apologies I meant to say a fluid not a liquid.

  • j. johnston

    Interesting video… fun to watch… love the experts… DO NOT EVER TRY THIS WITH YOUR OWN GUN ugly things WILL happen !!! I,m sure he counted his fingers more then once… Here is my expert (observation)…( water depth )…. O COME ON,, I tried to use big words … ha ha ha ha ha…Just remember ya big shooters___The longer it is…………well,, nevermind.

  • j. johnston

    I,m sorry,,just had to come back… so how mamy cameras did you sell…………NICE!!! Wish I could afford one. Looks like it could be a lot of fun,,, so long as I can keep all my fingers lol.