Saved by an iPhone

A 25 year old man in the UK was shot in the chest by a teenager using a sawn off double barrel shotgun.

The incident took place when the victim approached a group of teenagers who had turned of the water supply to the block of flats where he lived.

During a confrontation, the teenager pulled out the shotgun and fired it at the victim.


Detective Inspector Gary McIntyre from Cheshire Police said if the victim’s phone had not been in his pocket “he would undoubtedly have died”.
Duggan’s actions that night were extreme and shocking – the victim went outside to speak to the group about the fact they had turned off the water supply resulting in the defendant shooting him with a powerful weapon.

Fortunately, the victim’s mobile phone took the brunt of the shot and, as a result of this, he survived. This is remarkable – had that phone not been in his pocket at that time he would undoubtedly have died.

I have heard reports that shooting buddies of a former Vice President of the United States have all purchased iPhone 5C phones.

Thanks to bugbite for the tip.

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.


  • sauerquint

    Bird shot is lousy at penetrating. He would not have “Undoubtedly died”, not that I want to take a load of bird shot.

    • iksnilol

      Would have ruined his day though.

      • KestrelBike

        we’ll know if Nicholas Sparks frequents TFB if a new book/movie comes out about a young Chav lad (domhnall gleeson) taking a chest of illegal birdshot ends up in the ICU and meets the young nurse of his dreams (emma watson) who takes him away from chav welfare/culture and the two holiday in Indonesia where she tragically ends up getting killed by a drug smuggler (thomas hardy) with an illegal subgun.

        • John Doe

          Well played sir…well played…

    • Richard Mango

      Birdshot can be lethal, especially at close range such as this encounter was. I highly recommend reading “Gunshot Wounds: Practical Aspects of Firearms, Ballistics, and Forensic Techniques” by Vincent DiMaio, M.D. Chapter 8 of the book details shotguns wounds.

      • Peadair

        Thanks for that title. I’ve located a copy for my own use.

      • noob

        looking at the pattern, I’d hate to think about the dense mass of shot at the middle tearing up his flesh and getting it infected. even with antibiotics.

        I wonder how deep that mass would have penetrated?

        • Brandon Savage

          Ballistics tests suggest 4 inches or less inside a human body. But 4 inches is enough to ruin your day.

      • maodeedee

        Absolutely. Just because birdshot works so poorly in ballistic Jello doesn’t mean it can’t or hasn’t ever killed anyone in real life

  • Sianmink

    And this is why you use buckshot. Thankfully for him, idiot chav didn’t know any different.

    • Yallan

      Maybe he knew, almost killing someone is better than actually killing someone. That way you learn your lesson.

    • uisconfruzed

      For home defense I use 1 1/2oz #4 turkey shot.
      Devastating results without the fear of over-penetration through walls and killing one of my family members or a neighbor.

      • Sianmink

        That’s still birdshot, minimum acceptable penetration is achieved with #4 buck. (My HD loads are #1 buck, 00 is for police, military, and ranchers) Can you even get turkey shot in lead?

        • uisconfruzed

          Yes you can definitely get it in lead, I have several boxes.
          I can’t see a perp standing again after catching a 3″ 1 1/2oz lead shell.

  • Jeff Heeszel

    Should have modified that into a wax slug. Unless wax is outlawed in the UK too.

    • Y-man

      Taofledermaus: a Wax slug would have KILLED the poor man!

      I’m HAPPY he did NOT modify that into a wax slug…

      • Jeff Heeszel

        I’m still wondering what wrapping the shotgun with Saran Wrap was supposed to do.

        • Giolli Joker

          Makes it easier to hide it up an orifice…:-P

          • Y-man

            Would be nice to mistakenly pull the trigger WHILE hiding it up an orifice!

          • Tassiebush

            “Bust a cap in his ass” so to speak…

  • mosinman

    but muh gun controls 🙁

  • Y-man

    Guys, I PERSONALLY feel – please don’t make comments sounding like the criminal could have done better, by using buckshot or modify into wax slug.

    We would have been talking about a brutal murder if so.

    This is one that I am happy that this f**ker was so STUPID, and did not have imagination to do these things.

    • Jeff Heeszel

      Oh come on. Chances are the story is fake. What police force uses a carpenter’s square for size reference?

      • Graham2

        The story is real. Uk police forces use similar scales to this in a lot of firearm photographs.

      • Bill

        Many: An identical “forensic scale” costs 8x as much. I have no life, and being a former detective and crime scene guy, have a zillion different scales. I built the majority of my crime scene kits from hardware stores, and mooched paper grocery bags from Krogers instead of paying a buck or more a piece for “evidence bags.”

        Just sayin’

        • Why were you covering the costs instead of the department? Is that how most departments operate?

          • Bill

            No/low budget, plus priorities. If I could save money on the little stuff, the department could pay for the higher-end stuff. And things like tires and gas.

            No, most departments don’t operate that way, but a lot of small and rural agencies have to improvise and adapt.

          • Ethan

            “Spend it like it was your own”
            If the rest of our government followed that motto like you do, our country would be in a much better place.

          • Tater


      • Grindstone50k

        Almost all of them? Is this your first time ever seeing a crime-scene/evidence photo?

      • noob

        maybe they didn’t have a handy banana for scale

        • iksnilol


      • uisconfruzed

        This kind

    • iksnilol

      Oh come on, it’s like he didn’t even try to kill the poor fellow.


  • MR

    Is the shotgun wrapped in Saran Wrap?

  • “I recommend birdshot for home defense, because it can’t go through walls. Nobody who gets shot by birdshot has a good day.”

    • DIR911911 .

      I got shot with a spit wad and it ruined my day

    • GPSrulz

      “I use buckshot, I want it to be their last day.”

      • iksnilol

        If you really meant that you would use Hexolitt32.

        Then again most of us don’t have the wallet for that stuff.

    • Grindstone50k

      My hallway and doors are too narrow. Pistols are my primary HD weapons.

  • iksnilol

    Has anybody done tests comparing the penetration of buckshot and birdshot, out of shorter barrels?

    If I were to saw down a shotgun, how short should you go?

    • DIR911911 .

      to just before the legal limit

      • iksnilol

        I was thinking from a ballistic standpoint. Would 30 cm barrels drain too much velocity? Or can you go shorter? To maybe 20 cm?

        • Steve Truffer

          Depending on brand/ powder used (as shotguns use pistol powders) you won’t see much in terms of velocity gained past 12-14 inches (30-36 cm), but you will see an exponential loss as you go shorter. this of course is only a rough outline, as things such as actual bore diameter, pressure (higher pressure = faster powder burn) powder used, etc. For example, BBTI shows most modern pistol rounds to lose ~50 FPS per inch of barrel lost going from 12″ to 9″, then ~80 per inch till 6″, then somewhat over 100 past that.

          Thus we could expect a standard 12 gauge, 2 3/4″ load to deliver roughly 1400 FPE from an 18″ (~45cm) barrel, 1300 from a 12″ (30cm) barrel, But only 735 FPE From an 8 inch (20cm) barrel.

    • Sianmink

      going from 18 inches to 10 inches loses you only about 100 fps in velocity, and I’d say that sawed off was right about the 10 range. Any shorter than that I’m not sure, but there aren’t many shorter than 10″ other than the smallest Serbu Super-Shorty (6.5″) and such.

  • I suspect that firearm was stored buried in the garden, which is why it was covered in plastic.

    I think that may also explain the lack of penetration, as the round would have been exposed to moisture and possibly only partially ignited.

    That’s the only explanation I can think of for why the shot failed to penetrate the phone casing at such close range. Even the smallest birshot can easily punch through thin materials at close range (1/4″-1/2″ plywood, for example.) When combined with the high density of shot when fired within such close range, a normal 12 gauge birdshot would have shattered the phone and imbedded it in his chest.

    Whereas here in the photo it looks like much of the shot was stopped on the plastic exterior of the phone, which is barely 1mm thick polycarbonate.

    • sauerquint

      I have personally shot a copier with three inch magnum bird shot. It didn’t even penetrate the plastic covers. It bounced back at me, I could see it coming at me – fast. There are also ballistic gel tests on you tube. Bird shot is good for little birdies.

      My fellow employees and myself took a trade in unit that no one wanted to a gravel pit and blasted away at it. A very satisfying day for us all.

      • MR

        What they should have done in “Office Space”.

  • USMC03Vet

    I bet Apple doesn’t cover it under warranty.

    • Brandon Savage

      They don’t, their accidental damage clause would say no.
      They do make exceptions all the time though, especially for soldiers overseas that had their ipods shot.

  • patrickiv

    Does saran wrap obscure fingerprints like rubber bands or something? Lol at the last sentence.

    • Tassiebush

      It would if you remembered to peel it off afterwards

  • The Forty ‘Twa

    Calling BS on this one. My first (and only) iPhone didn’t even survive falling 2 feet onto the carpet from my sofa. You as much as look at an iPhone in the wrong way and they seem to fall apart!

    • 6.5x55Swedish

      They didn’t say he was not hurt at all. The phone simply slowed down the shots enough to save his life.

      • The Forty ‘Twa

        I was making a slightly tongue in cheek comment about the build quality of Apple devices rather than a serious comment about the accuracy of the story.

    • Zebra Dun

      Yup, and toilet water is pure krypton for these phones.

      • iksnilol

        That’s because you did the mistake of turning on the phone to check if it works after dropping it in water. If you drop your phone in water, don’t turn it on, just dump it in a bag of rice for a day or two.

        I have dropped my phone in the toilet (luckily before peeing) and down the stairs a couple of times (luckily I am not as clumsy with firearms). I haven’t broken it yet, not even a crack. It’s all about taking care of your things.

        • Zebra Dun

          Good advice yet it wasn’t my phone it was the wife’s who for some reason always plays basketball with her Android, currently resting in a drying kit for phones.
          My phone is a Samsung Rugby III and it’s tough as hell, what saves it is the lanyard clip and a lanyard.

          • iksnilol

            I would also recommend a case, that’s helped me out (the case is so chipped now that it can slide out from one side).

          • Bill

            I loved my old Rugby flip phone, but couldn’t get the hang of texting on it. You could use it for a hockey puck. Or playing rugby.

        • noob

          that’s because the iPhone doesn’t have a GRIP ZONE.

          actually, fair point. why are phones all smooth as if they are meant to squirt out of your hands? don’t they know that that enrages customers?

          • iksnilol

            Geez, haven’t you played Watch_Dogs? Or watched Person Of Interest? The phones are smooth so you can hide them more easily or use them inconspiciously.

            Y’know, when hacking stuff or something.

  • andrey kireev

    Banning guns really saves people huh ?

    • John

      Yes. Because the only gun he could get his hands on was probably a farmers shotgun loaded with birdshot.

      Not someting firing 12 guage, .45acp, .223rem etc.

      • Steve Truffer

        What? You realize gauge is how one measures shotgun shells right? 12 gauge is the most common shotgun size in existence. Only in specific localities is 12 gauge not the de-facto size, such as Brazil (where 16 is much more available)
        Also, a mold to convert birdshot into a slug or buckshot is trivially easy to both make or aquire (think fishing sinker molds)

        • uisconfruzed

          Much simpler to drill a small hole in the crimp & pour epoxy in.

          • Brandon Savage

            You could be lazy and just put the fishing weights into a shell, not as aerodynamic but it would work.

            Shot placement is still the most important factor, close range into the iphone is lucky. Another foot back and the spread would have mattered.

          • GearHeadTony

            You guys should google “cut shells”. 1 shell full of birdshot + a pocket knife or razor blade = poor mans slug.

      • Ethan

        Um… 12GA is birdshot, among other things. Please do some research, friend

      • Grindstone50k

        When you don’t know what you’re talking about, it’s best to not say anything at all.

      • Core

        It is a 12 gauge doofus

  • 1911a145acp

    But WAIT! Guns are BANNED in England so this COULD NOT have happened! Since no death occurred from the use of an illegal firearm.. Can some of our frinds in Law Enforcement in the UK explain how this crime will be reported? Will it in fact show up as attempted murder with and illegal firearm?

    • Tom -UK

      Well for a start guns are not banned in the UK and that shotgun has been adapted from what would have been a perfectly legal to own. Most likely that shotgun was stolen from a legal owner then converted.

      It will most likely be recorded as the use of a stolen and illegally adapted shotgun used in attempted murder. It may have been rented out however rather than owned by the user.

      • 1911a145acp

        Thanks for the info. It does appear to be a sporting O/U that was illegally shortened at both ends. The plastic food wrap definitely seems intended to prevent fingerprints- clever.The shell pictured appears to be a low base, ( low pressure/low velocity ) light target load, coupled with a short barrel this would result in much reduced velocity for the shot column.The iPhone would be constructed of MULTIPLE layers of plastics and electronic components in an impact resistant case, so it should hold up against the soft lead pellets quite well.Renting guns to bad guys? Does the-“criminal” owner just keep the deposit now?

  • Bill

    An IPhone 6 would have given larger cover, but I don’t know if AppleCare covers gunshot wounds to hardware.

  • Bill

    I’d agree that the plastic wrap would be for burying the gun, though my preference is for capped lengths of PVC pipe 😉
    Then again, hoods like these aren’t known for brains or good decisions

  • TexianPatriot

    But you huns are illegal in the UK. How did this happen?

    • Graham2

      OK, I realise you mean guns not huns (we did our best to get rid of pesky huns in WWI and WWII) but guns are not illegal in the UK! Why do so many American people think we can’t have guns over here? Where do you get your information?

      We can have any kind of shotgun we want over and under, side by side, pump or semi auto, .410, 12 bore etc. We can own any bolt action rifle we want, either rimfire or centre fire up to .50 cal. We can’t have semi auto rifles above .22LR and .22 Magnum but we can still use what are called ‘straight pull rifles” ie AR15s, FALs, AKs etc but they can’t have the gas parts; it’s a pain but we can still compete as much as we want on some excellent ranges. We can’t have conventional pistols very easily, apart from those that have a barrel longer than 12″ and an overall length of over 24″- not ideal but we can still enjoy our shooting. They look a little odd, with the steel grip extensions but all sorts of practical style comps are possible with them. We can also easily own sound moderators for our rifles and shotguns, I own a very effective fully suppressed 12 bore pump action shotgun.

      Shooting is very popular over here, I just wish shooters in the US knew the facts!

      • mosinman

        aren’t firearms heavily regulated? i recall hearing to own one you had to go through a lot of paper work and prove that you needed the firearm in the first place. is that true?

        • Graham2

          Yes, they are heavily regulated but getting a firearm certificate is relatively easy if you’re law abiding, decent person. The paperwork isn’t too onerous, name, address etc and the names of a couple of people who can vouch for you. Your gun cabinet and general security are inspected by a member of the local firearms licensing team and if everything checks out you should get your ticket, which is renewed every 5 years. I own all sorts of firearms, as I’m a member of a gun club, compete in Civilian Service Rifle competitions and shoot foxes etc on a local farm. I may have to go through a few hoops to get my guns but it’s better than not being able to shoot and there are no magazine restrictions, bullet buttons and sound moderators can be acquired without paying a tax stamp. It’s nowhere near as bad over here as most people in the US think and it’s generally misinterpreted in the US media. The UK is a very nice place to live.

          • mosinman

            thanks for explaining. those laws sound rather bad to me, but not as bad as everyone makes it out to be.

      • Ethan

        One area the UK probably beats the US in is definitely Suppressors. Over here they consider it basically the same as owning a machine gun – its crazy. Using a suppressor is just being a good neighbor.

        • Sianmink

          It would probably be a different matter if handguns were legal!

      • Bill

        We Americans LOVE to have examples of countries with draconian gun laws, even if they aren’t true, so we can point at them and go, “hey, we could end up like :insert country here:

      • Sianmink

        Sure you can have shotguns but you need licensed and to submit to surprise inspections of your home at any time to ensure you’re in compliance.

        That’s a little too much of the state getting in my business. And by a little I mean intolerably.

        • Graham2

          THe whole surprise inspection thing was just a load of hot air and was another example of something getting into the media that is now supposedly fact, like the ‘fact’ that all knives are either banned or have to have a blunt tip!

          My gun cabinets and general security are inspected every 5 years, unless I tell the police I’m moving house or am moving my gun cabinets in my existing house. It’s hardly ‘Big Brother’ watching my every step. Sure, the police can come to my home at any time, like they can come to yours but they’d need a warrant and a good reason. We aren’t as oppressed as people in the US think.

          • Sianmink

            I have friends in the UK and the knife laws there are ridiculous. No locking mechanism allowed (Why? Is a locking knife somehow more dangerous?) and a blade under 3″, or you need ‘valid reason’ to have one in public. Sure there’s good, useful non-locking folding knives under 3″ in length, but they’d be a lot more useful (and safer to use!) if they were a smidge bigger and had a locking mechanism. I’m guessing umbrellas rated for self-defense use are even more illegal. (luckily nobody would ever know unless you have to use it)
            Being forcefully deprived of useful tools and means of self defense for a very dubious greater good (does ANY criminal worry about the knife laws?) really sours my opinion of the place.
            And the government has no business inspecting anything I own or telling me what I can or can’t say, and I have to say I like it that way. I’m sure you’re perfectly happy where you are too.

      • TexianPatriot

        I guess my assumption was wrong. It was based on what I hear and see from other sources, apparently unreliable. But huns should also be illegal.

  • MANG

    Link to source, please? (I know I can google it myself.)

  • Nathan Means

    If it had been a Nokia, it sould have returned fire.

    • Kevin Harron

      Would Have.

  • Nashvone

    Great! Another item in the debate on what “armor” is when it comes to ammo.

  • Kirk Newsted

    Nope, story is a hoax. No guns in the UK.

  • Mac Thomson

    Seen a lot of penetrated geese. They can stop a jet engine and are pretty tough it seems. Don’t tell people that bird shot is lousy at penetrating people. That’s just ignorant.

    • All the Raindrops

      A bird getting stuck in an engine ain’t got nothing to do with it.

      Birdshot is a bad penetrator.

  • uisconfruzed

    Detective Inspector Gary McIntyre from Cheshire Police said if the
    victim’s phone had not been in his pocket “he would undoubtedly have died”
    Gary’s real name is Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau

  • spiff1

    The important message here is that the banning of legally owned firearms ONLY benefits the politicians and criminals…And some times it hard to know the difference!

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Wow, British teenagers take regulation of their municipal utilities damn seriously.

  • Sevenmag

    No firearms allowed in Britain……..somebody didn’t get the memo.

  • Aaron E

    To have that grouping he must have been incredibly close when firing. The victim can thank the fact that it was birdshot just as much as having his phone in his pocket.

  • Daniel Bruce

    There’s an app for that.