Measure Bullet Speed using Audacity

Neither Forever Geek or its affiliates encourage violating gun laws and request that you use guns responsibly.

If you happen to have a computer with Audacity on it, and a spare pistol or two, then you might want to give this experiment a try. The project will require you to be at a place where you can shoot guns safely, a metal target, a gun, a computer, tape measure, and Audacity.

The bulletâ??s ringing impact on the metal plate is heard clearly and is discerned in the spectrogram by the persistence of audio peaks at certain frequencies as the ringing trails off. The other peaks in the spectrogram are echoes of the shot and impact bouncing off other objects in the field.

Using the select feature in Audacity, it is possible to zoom in and measure the precise instant the bullet left the barrel, and when the impact sound returned to the microphone. For the above example, a time of 0.1575 seconds was recorded.

Listen to the MP3 of a gunshot.

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