It seems that a human can't dodge a bullet once it is shot. That has been made rather clear by the articles I read. But is it possible (in a story context of course, I'm not trying this IRL :p) to dodge a bullet by looking at the direction the gun points at ? I'm currently thinking of this situation :
Person A is that character.
Person B can shoot projectiles with a gun-like tool at 200m/s (650fps), and stands at 10 meters of person A.

Could Person A have good enough eyesight to see when and where Person B will shoot with human abilities ? With training ? With better than normal eyesight ? Can it ever be a 'reliable' technique or would it need really favorable circumstances ?

First Edit : Or by using drugs ? I don't know if there's any that could temporarily improve your eyesight ?

Second edit : Maybe I wasn't clear enough. I meant to say that A sees B pull out the gun and have the time to try to move out of the gun's way.

Fifth edit : Okay let's be a little more specific than the fourth edit : would a close to zero reaction-time be enough to dodge the projectiles ? (and yes this is addressed in the answers)


closed as off-topic by Mołot, Azuaron, L.Dutch, JDługosz Apr 10 '17 at 16:15

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  • "This question does not appear to be about worldbuilding, within the scope defined in the help center." – Mołot, Azuaron, L.Dutch, JDługosz
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    $\begingroup$ Does A only have the time from when the bullet leaves the gun? Or is it when they see B is about to pull the trigger? Can A be dodging without knowing exactly where the bullet will go? Is A unassisted? Perhaps a AR headset could calculate where the bullet will go if B pulled the trigger at any given time. $\endgroup$ – Lio Elbammalf Apr 10 '17 at 13:10
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    $\begingroup$ On your second edit, the trajectory of the bullet can only really be calculated after B stopped aiming the gun. So A still gets way to little time. Now can he get out of the general way of B's gun? Of course, but it won't be exact. $\endgroup$ – Mormacil Apr 10 '17 at 13:15
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah...depends on your story background. How assisted could A be? Do they have futuristic tech? Is it a story about WWII, about a steampunk world? For someone to put it as and answer they would need to know if it fits your story. $\endgroup$ – Lio Elbammalf Apr 10 '17 at 13:33
  • $\begingroup$ Edited. Nowadays, real world $\endgroup$ – Nathan Coustenoble Apr 10 '17 at 13:37
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    $\begingroup$ In the 2002 film Equilibrium the clerics practice an art called "The Gun Kata". It doesn't actually require them to dodge bullets after the gun is fired, but it teaches them how to be statistically least-likely to be in the line of fire, at least AFAIU. There is a nice YouTube compilation of how they portrayed it in the movie. $\endgroup$ – kojiro Apr 10 '17 at 14:24

The Mythbusters tested whether a human could dodge a bullet from a sniper rifle. They determined that it was impossible in any real-world scenario.

During preparation for the actual test, they identified their fastest reaction time, in perfect testing conditions, as 490 ms. With the setup identified in your question, the bullet will travel from the gun to victim in

$$time=\frac{\text{distance}} {\text{velocity}}$$


The intended victim would need to register the firing of the gun, formulate the idea to move out of the way, and send the signals to the appropriate muscles in one-tenth optimal reaction time for a Mythbuster and one-half the optimal reaction time for the human species.

No pure human can do what you're trying to achieve. A human making use of some handwavium, however, can most certainly dodge a bullet at any distance.

In response to the OP's edit about dodging a gun being drawn:

This will depend on how fast the shooter can draw. The world record for the fast draw is 0.208 seconds, or 208 ms, but this is for the second shot fired in the competition round (less than 100 ms between shots).

According to these two forums, a "good" draw-and-fire speed is within 1500 ms. So, in theory, the intended victim could dodge a bullet from a gun that is being drawn. However, once the victim starts to move, s/he is committed to the movement, while the shooter still hasn't fired and, thus, can adapt to the moving target.

At this point, it just comes down to who has the better reaction time.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your answer, but please see my second edit. :) I clarified a bit $\endgroup$ – Nathan Coustenoble Apr 10 '17 at 13:19
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    $\begingroup$ @NathanCoustenoble See my edit. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Apr 10 '17 at 13:44
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    $\begingroup$ @NathanCoustenoble It depends on who has the better reaction time. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Apr 10 '17 at 14:07
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    $\begingroup$ @NathanCoustenoble yes, it comes to reaction times $\endgroup$ – Joe Kissling Apr 10 '17 at 14:07
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    $\begingroup$ At around 6-7 meters, you have enough reaction time to run up to the person and disarm/stab them. This is also something Mythbusters tested. 10 meters is just outside the charging range for most people. $\endgroup$ – Erik Apr 10 '17 at 14:53

Anyone who is trained with a gun knows to aim for the center of mass (torso). While it would be possible to move in such a fashion as to confuse someone aiming for an extremity, it would not be possible to do so with someone trained to shoot at the center of mass.

Assuming you are dealing with an untrained gunman, bobbing, weaving and zig-zagging would be enough to seem like your character was dodging bullets, and may even earn a reputation as being able to do such.

But there is no actual "real way" to dodge bullets, even if you were extremely perceptive because you simply couldn't move fast enough to get out of the person's line of fire. He only has to move his wrist, or at most, his arm. You have to move your entire body.

Edit added for third OP edit:

No amount of equipment would help because the shooter himself would constantly be retargeting, so at best you know where the bullet was being aimed until he moved again.

A better tactic would be to do something that would disrupt the shooter's aim, such as a displacement field (bending light to make you seem elsewhere) or something to disrupt the shooter's sight or equilibrium (flash or sonic weaponry)

  • $\begingroup$ This seems to me the best debunking of the bullet dodging method put forth in Remo Williams (basically, he listened for the trigger-finger to start to move, then dodged). It would be really tough in the time left to move your entire body out of the way. $\endgroup$ – T.E.D. Apr 10 '17 at 14:06

Not without superhuman abilities. It would be more believable then outright dodging bullets. But no a human would not have the eyesight nor the speed to calculate the exact aim of his opponent.

In regards to drugs, no. It isn't just your Eyesight that is lacking. It's the ability of the brain to calculate the trajectory of the bullet from the barrel. And after that still have the time to move out of the way. Drugs will not get you there.

And even if you could you run into another problem. The speed of your neural network between your eyes, your brain and your muscles. Even if you know after your opponent points the gun where the bullet will hit. You still need to tell your body to move. Your fastest nerves seem to be capped at about 120 m/s. Thta's not all of them, that is the fastest. Others only send at about 30 m/s. Your human body is simply to slow.


Concerning the tools A has, I didn't think of any in particular, but you can put it if it's something that could technically be made nowadays and be easily portable (like the AR-headset to help predict in what direction the gun will shoot).

It's not detection that's the problem, it's reaction time. Car air bags have similar reaction times.

So, bullet-dodging armor would be a harness attached to an incoming bullet-detection system. When bullets are detected, the harness could use explosive charges to move the wearer out of the way.

And then call for medical assistance, because getting moved like that is going to feel a lot like getting clubbed. People saved by airbags often have broken bones.

Still, I'd rather have a stroke than take a bullet to the head.

Edit: Oo. What about an AI monitor that can watch the faces of opponents to know when they are going to fire? In this case, all the harness has to do is anticipate their aim corrections and defeat those. You end up walking like a drunk guy as bullets pop all around.


The best you can do is detect the tension at the hand and forearm muscles when he attempts to shoot you and moving away half a second before the trigger is pulled.


Based on the other answers, it sounds like human nerves are the limiter here. If you're willing, your protagonist could have undergone some procedure (think riddick eyeballs), but relating to their nervous system instead, letting them react faster than other people are able. Perhaps then they'd be able to dodge bullets, and also potentially some other cool stuff that I can't think of right now.


In a highly futuristic situation you may invent something to make is possible within some realistic bounds.

You could have your Person A wear augmented reality enabled contacts or glasses, which in his field of view constantly keeps him aware of the surroundings and may possibly notify him that person B has I'll intentions, or if they're already in a standoff even better...

The AR will focus his attention on Person B. Looking at the attitude, expressions and movements of Person B, the AR would then warn Person A to get ready, he will be shot. As Rekesoft said, it will then look at the muscles of Person B, and identify the type of gun to assess at what point the trigger will go off, and then at the right moment tell him to jump in the optimal calculated direction...

This situation assessment may give Person A a few more seconds to mentally prepare himself for this situation buying a few extra milliseconds of reaction time. Keep in mind that the assailant may obviously be trained in fooling these kind of systems though...


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