0428 – All hands brace for impact!

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Link would say Mario is quite a gasbag…

Lesson of the day: The speed of sound is 340.29 meters per second, while the velocity of an 800 gram .50 BMG machine gun round is 882 meters per second. The M2 Browning machine gun has a maximum effective range of 1.8 kilometers. Therefore, at an optimal range of one kilometer, it would take only 1.13 seconds for a round fired from it to rip through your torso. Since it takes 2.94 seconds for the sound to reach you, it would take you 1.81 seconds of staring at the gaping hole on your chest to realize what happened.

In addition, if you were shot in the head, you would likely be dead before you had an opportunity to hear the sound of the gun.


9 thoughts on “0428 – All hands brace for impact!

  1. While your lesson of the day is very true for most rifles, I feel there is one other fact we neglected to realize. As something passes through air at a supersonic speed, the sonic-boom phenomenon happens as the air collapses back together in its original space. Though the target may not hear the gun itself, he can hear the bullet instants before impact (ahh, the whizzing sound, so beautiful).

    Oddly enough, though, if the target did have a headshot, there is a very strong chance that he would hear the impact before suffering enough damage to not comprehend it. Granted, a “fast” neural signal is about 100m/s, the audio pathways should be clear and responsive in most cases.


  2. @John:

    Neural signal speed is negligible overall in this example. I’ll agree you would hear the whizzing sound. However, I’m still inclined to believe the damage caused by a .50 cal headshot in the 1.81 seconds between impact and sound arrival would be so extensive that by the time the sound finally did reach the target, there would be nothing but bloody pulp where the auditory nerves once were. This is especially true if the target was fired on from the side and the round were to tear through along the horizontal axis of the head.

    However, that would really only be in the case of an ideal center hit, and your point is still quite valid for a grazing blow or off-center headshot, wherein one side of the head receives minimal damage compared to the other.


    I envision the airship from FFVI to be a rigid airship with an internal framework of steel or aluminum girders that supports the outside material and gives it shape (as opposed to a blimp which use ballonets, air bags located inside the outer envelope that expand or contract to compensate for changes in the gas). Regardless, a central puncture to the envelope that pierces the gasbag will take down either type of airship.

  3. ZSU-23-4 was here. M2 Browning is small-time.

    Also, wouldn’t airburst projectiles have been more effective? Stingers or other MANPAD weapons might’ve been good, too…Or are those beyond the budget of these mysterious assailants?

  4. Never said it was a M2 being used in the comic; I was just using it as an example.

    Regarding effectiveness, maybe the assailants wanted only to disable the ship by deflating the gasbag, in order to capture it…

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