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Magician’s Trick Revealed: Catching a Magic Bullet

Magic Bullet

How a magician catches a bullet fired at them without getting so much as a burn has held the fascination of audience members for years. Magicians Penn and Teller popularized the trick to the degree that they are remembered for it. Of course no one can catch a bullet out of mid air, but the deception behind the trick is genius. Here is how it is done.

A gun will be needed to authenticate the realism of the act. Since a bullet will be used a BB gun, pellet gun or paint gun won’t do because the audience member called to examine the gun will know that a bullet can’t be fired from it. The magician most likely will have a gun designed for the performance. The bullet will either be a blank or a clay bullet. Blanks will explode in the gun chamber, but a clay bullet will be discharged from the gun barrel and could hit the person it is aimed at. This means that if a clay bullet is used it will have to be specially made in such a way that it to explodes in the gun chamber.

To perform the illusion of catching a bullet two people are needed. The person with the gun is usually the spokesperson and the distracter of the act. The spokesperson will pick several members out of the audience to examine the gun and the bullet to make sure they are indeed real. One of the audience members may be asked to inscribe their name on the bullet for later proof that was the bullet fired from the gun.

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The bullet is supposedly loaded into the gun, but instead is passed from the spokesperson to the one catching the bullet. When the bullet is being passed from one person to the next, audience attention is drawn away by the spokesperson, which emphasizes about the danger of the very real gun, the bullet and what will happen if the bullet isn’t caught. The purpose is to not only distract, but to make people think this is real and that the person getting shot at could actually die.

The person takes their place in the line of fire and after a few more words about what could happen the spokesperson aims and fires the gun. The loud bang appears to have hit its target as the person doubles over as though they’ve been hit. As they straighten they reveal the bullet. The whole time the bullet was hidden in the palm, mouth or sleeve and brought out after the firing of the gun. If the bullet was signed then the audience member who signed it will be asked to examine it to make sure that it is the same bullet. It is and the audience applauds.