Bulletproof Armadillos

A man in East Texas decided to take care of an armadillo pest in his yard. The man is from Marietta, southwest of Texarkana and at around 3 a.m. on Thursday morning he spotted the armadillo on his property and opened fire. He used a .38spl revolver and shot three times at the armadillo. He fired three shots and the final shot ricocheted off the armadillo and hit the man in the face. He was airlifted to a hospital. According to the sheriffs they were unable to find the armadillo.


Last April, Larry McElroy, 54, tried to kill the an armadillo outside his home in Lee County, Georgia, but it deflected the bullet. The bullet bounced off the armadillo, hit a fence, went through the back door and through the back of the chair where his mother in law was sitting in. No report on what type of gun he used and no information about the armadillo.

Mother-in-law jokes aside, both of these stories seem too fantastical. Can armadillo shells deflect bullets? I find it hard to imagine that it could deflect a .38spl bullet. I suspect that these guys were poor shots and missed the armadillo all together and shot something harder. What do you think? Have you tried shooting an armadillo?

Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


  • Charlie Taylor

    I’m pretty sure i’ve known people to kill armadillo’s with .22’s. So this is either a case of poor shots or evolution at work.

    • Hudson

      Please be aware that armadillos are carriers of some nasty diseases, handle with care!

    • Tom

      Maybe he just fired at an armadillo shaped rock?

    • AC11

      Or fake news.

  • OldOldLawyer

    Armodillos dont hurt much except digging up the yard and leaving lawns a mess….and the wildlife that comes to my rural property is 100% safe, except for skunks and large snakes, all else is welcome….however, I put in a hot tub where I could watch the flowing creek or stars or whatever……a hot tub must remain level or they are subject to crack when a huge armadillo decided to burrow underneath….at first I tried to scare him away with a water hose, waste of time…..then I tried a pellet rifle, they just bounced off…the last time, the thing actually ran at me….so, I shot him at arms length with a Secamp 32 auto, loaded with silvertips and he ran off…the second shot put him down…neither bounced off. Now, my wolf hybrid killed several by just crushing them in his mouth so they are not that tough….I too would be pretty surprised of a richochet that would come straingt back….now I have seen a 38 special wadcutter come straight back when fired at an engine block, but doubt an armadillo shell would do that….just my 2 cents.

    • hellofromillinois

      Whats wrong with snakes?

      • DIR911911 .

        *big snakes . . . he let’s the little ones chill

    • Joshua

      wolf hybrid? does that look as awesome as it sounds? and where can I get one?

  • Xtorin O’hern

    i think its less a question of how tough the shell is and more of a question of if the shell bent in such a way that it was able to ricochet the shot

    • Ko I

      I don’t know how true it is, but I’ve heard stories of bullets bouncing off of inflated tires. Same principle, I suppose.

      • FightFireJay

        A car tire is a much more elastic material. I should think a hard shell may deflect a bullet at an angle, but not reflect back at the shooter.

      • Bill

        I haven’t heard that, but I have seen bullets pass through inflated tires and the hole essentially sealed itself, resulting in a slow leak at worst.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Armadillos always wear their plates before ops.

  • wetcorps

    “According to the sheriffs they were unable to find the armadillo.”
    Seems like he just hit a rock and the critter ran off.

  • Otm Shooter

    The event happened at 3am…my vote is on him shooting a rock. There may not have even been an armadillo present…

    • nadnerbus

      There is a solid possibility that alcohol was present, however.

      • mikee

        If that is the case, serves the idiot right!

    • Badkarma060

      Could the armadillo be pro 2nd amendment, and have returned fire? 🙂

    • Dan

      Probably why they couldn’t find the armadillo. Maybe they should look at the rocks for hits. Maybe the fool was so drunk he had the gun pointed at his face.

  • Sickshooter0

    Come on people. Everyone knows the AR in AR500 steel is for armadillo. Case closed.

  • Swarf

    Pretty sure billyjoebobchuck just doesn’t want to cop to the fact that he missed the critter completely and hit a rock.

  • anonymous

    …the right of the people to keep bears and armadillos shall not be infringed.

  • Walt

    DRT 9mm will not penetrate an armadillo’s back. However just about everything else will. Both of these stories sound fishy.

  • Darren Hruska

    Dem damn bulletproof armordillos, I tell you! I think I may have to stuff a few living ones in a plate carrier and call it body armor. I’ll also make sure to feed them some of those five-pound gummy bears.

  • Jeff Smith

    I have shot an armadillo before. While deer hunting, the owner of the property asked my father and me to kill an armadillos we might see – they had been attacking her cats. My dad hit one on its left side midways between its front and back legs with a .30-06. The force tossed it about 30 feet from where it was shot. Despite having a 3″ wide channel taken out of its back and being nearly decapitated, it was still very much alive after 20 minutes of searching for it. I had to shoot it again to kill it.

    They’re incredibly tough animals with a hard, rounded shell. It’s conceivable that a bullet could ricochet off of one, just as it can off of a human skull. Ballistics by the Inch lists the average velocity of a .38 Special from a 2″ barrel as only being +/- 700ish fps, so that seems like it’s entirely plausible.

    TL;DR – Slow moving bullet + Hard, rounded object = possibility of a ricochet

  • Joe

    Armadillo O Truth test, it’s the only way to be sure.

  • Borchardt

    In my misspent youth, I shot enough armadillos to fill a rail car, and bullets don’t bounce off. Not .22lr, and for sure not .38 anything. The moron shot something else (rock, garden gnome, etc).

  • ghost

    Armadillos are illegal mexican recon SFs. It’s only natural they have upgraded their armor.

  • kawa1

    Hmmmm, I think my first wife’s mother was an Armadillo, well, in looks maybe.

  • Daniel Prickett

    I know 2 things about shooting armadillos.
    1- 12 GA shotguns kill them.
    2- they will jump seemingly 5-6 feet in the air when shot. With a handgun. Seriously.

  • SP mclaughlin

    Or maybe the armed-adillo shot back 😉

  • Bill

    After the verdict is in on armadillos, snapping turtles….immune to depth charges

  • RICH

    I don’t know about shooting armadillos but I know for certain that a .38 Special, 200 gr. lead bullet fired out of a 2″ barrel won’t penetrate a car windshield…… !

  • Azril @ Alex Vostox

    TACTICAL ARMADILLOS!!! – Yep, that’s the new name sought to be patented by every bulletproof-related-thing manufacture right now…

  • Tassiebush

    I’m actually quite glad they’re a pest because they totally look shootable!

  • Yallan

    Armadillos on the terrorist watchlist, growing their own level II body armor.

  • Nathan Means

    I get it they were ‘armor’dillos! Get it? Oh nevermind

  • Grindstone50k

    I hear their armor grants +20% chance to deflect.

  • wildbillb

    elk hunting, my friend wanted to dispatch a cow elk at 5 yds with his 1911 Colt. 3rd shot finally hit it, dazing the animal. in disgust, i had him use the rifle to finish her. as we gutted the animal, i found the 3rd .45 round laying ON TOP of the snow, with a dent in its side. it had hit the skull, flattened alittle, and landed 3 feet away on the snow.

    very unimpressed with the .45. i sold my .40 auto and now only shoot 9mm. seriously.

    • BigR

      9mm is a good round today, especially the hollow points!

      • iksnilol

        9mm has always been a good round, since it y’know can actually go through stuff. .45 has the cool factor but isn’t practical whatsoever (expensive, large, not particularily effective).

  • jeff k

    damn airsoft kids thinking their guns are real again

  • BigR

    I’ve shot armadillos’ with .22 Long Rifle, and have never had a problem. They might jump up and down for about 30-50 seconds, but the bullets always penetrated their shell. I’ve used round nose and hollow points and both did the job. I was a teenager and that was over 50 years ago.

  • Jon

    Maybe he was trying to kill one of those. Are there many Jurassic Park fans in Texas genetic labs?

  • James

    Idk about a .38 special but a .303 british will definitely defeat their armor. If I had to guess I’d say they are rated about a NIJ lvl .5

  • In Russian, armadillo are called Ironclads or Destroyers (depending on what naval translation you choose). Literally “armor-bearers”. So no surprises there.

  • Cymond

    From what I read about the McElroy case, it was a 9mm and the armadillo was killed.

    Second, a 9mm bullet can bounce off a man’s skull. http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2009/01/11/man-survives-9mm-head-shot/

    And finally, did the armadillo look anything like this? http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120724023819/es.megaman/images/c/c7/Mmxarmoredarmadillo.jpg

  • DIR911911 .

    reminds me of an old lewis black joke where he actually reads a newspaper article about two idiots that went frog giggin’ but on the way home the fuse popped for the headlights. being ingenious they noticed the fuse was almost exactly the same size as a 22lr. of course after a while the bullet heated up and discharged into the drivers crotch. I did the same thing but with a paper clip when i was younger , all it did was melt and burn my shoe.

  • ostiariusalpha

    Pfft. There are plenty of things that are fine to shoot at when it’s 3:00 AM…

  • Coolhand77

    given the carcasses that my dog has chewed up, and the road kill I have delt with…no…