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(VIDEO) Guy tries to bust open lock with one shot like in the movies

Which Caliber Can Bust Open a Lock? (DemolitionRanch/YouTube)
December 29, 2016

We see all the time in movies — a guy walks up to a lock, takes one shot at it with a 9 mm, and it’s magically broken. Is it realistic or just movie magic?

According to the guys at Demolition Ranch, it’s most likely just movie magic unless it’s a very weak lock. You’d need to fire off quite a lot of bullets with a 9 mm in order to make an impact, but what about with different calibers, and something bigger? The Demolition Ranch guys took it upon themselves to find out.

They are using some pretty solid padlocks of good quality and expensive too.


He starts off with a .22 long rifle and it barely makes a dent in the lock. It’s still locked and even opens nicely with the key. He fires three more times into the same padlock, which appears to still be intact. In fact, metal from the bullet is stuck on the front of the lock. Besides a few minor dings, the lock is still in pretty good shape, but the key is no longer able to be inserted.

Will a 9 mm pistol do the job? Not with the first shot at least. The second shot does the most damage so far and busts the bottom from the lock, but it’s still not open. Two more direct shots and it is still locked.

Check out what they determine is the best caliber to use to bust open a lock with one shot.

More power is definitely in order. Now he tries a 16-inch barrel KelTec rifle. This shot was destructive and went clear through the lock, but the padlock is still not opening. A couple more shots almost do the lock in for good but it still hangs on.

A few more shots and finally the lock is destroyed and opened.

Not satisfied, Demolition Ranch wants to continue with the experiment. What if he tackles the lock with bigger and more powerful rounds, like a .44 magnum out of a 20-inch barrel?

Two solid shots rock the lock, but it doesn’t unlock like in the movies. The third shot lodges the bullet in the side of the lock, and even though the lock is hot, it remains locked. Two more shots mangle the lock, but fail to open it.


For the third and final lock, Demolition Ranch is coming in with some oomph. A one-ounce slug out of a 12-gauge shotgun is next.

One shot destroys the lock and splits the wood it was hanging on, but the lock remains closed. The second one works and almost wipes the wooden pole right out too.

With one final caliber, they break out the Barrett .50 BMG to test the lock’s fate. One shot blows the lock to smithereens, proving that one shot can destroy a lock — with the right caliber.