A shot in a million

I’ve been trying for some time to get good video coverage of a shot fired by a Jefferson County, Colorado deputy in January this year.  He was defending himself against an attack by two armed robbers at the time.

I’ve just come across this video report.  The deputy may not have been a top shot, but he was certainly a very lucky one! Watch in full-screen mode for best results.

That was a pretty extraordinary outcome. The only one I’ve seen that was remotel comparable was two bullets I found in southern Africa that had hit each other in mid-air and fused together. I’ve seen similar incidents reported elsewhere, so that’s not as unusual as I’d first thought; but it’s still pretty rare.



  1. Reminiscent of the famous counter sniper shot by Carlos Hathcock from the Vietnam war.
    Hathcock and his spotter were sent out to deal with a NVA sniper who had killed several US soldiers.
    Seeing a flash of light reflected from the sniper's scope Hathcock fired first, his bullet penetrating the other sniper's scope and the shooter's head.

  2. Yeah, in the book "93 confirmed kills", Hathcock said we had each other in our 'scopes, it was just a matter of who got on the trigger first." I've seen a.couple instances from the Civil War, where bullets fused together in flight, lead Mine` balls. Just goes to show it's not the one with your name on it, it's all those suckers flyin' around addressed "to whom it may concern"….

  3. I've read that fused in flight bullets were/are commonly found at Gettysburg. Such a huge number of shots were fired in that battle from grouped forces, that the carnage gave our military the revolutionary thought that forces should not stand about and act like they are on a target range. The Europeans had to wait for WW1 to learn that lesson.

    I don't recall the numbers, but the amount of lead fired there was staggering.

    BTW, the NRA funded an environmental lead hunt on that battlefield a few years ago, picking that location due to the amount of it distributed in and on the ground. No lead leeching was found to have occurred, even after 150 years. No ground water contamination at all. They concluded that the lead surface oxidizes very quickly, which seals it in.

  4. Mythbusters did at least one episode on that Hathcock scope shot, and their conclusion is that it probably didn't happen exactly as described. Using the same caliber, they could not get a bullet to pass through all the glass elements of a rifle scope. IIRC, they even found a scope the same as what the Russian sniper rifle would have been issued with, to verify their findings. Same result.
    Those optical elements are not window glass pieces, and there are more inside than most people would think. I was not surprised by their conclusion, having worked with optical systems in Silicon Valley.

    Not questioning the kill, but I suspect the bullet's path was not through the glass parts of the scope.

  5. In the 1980s, I worked an officer-involved shooting with certain similarities. A small town police officer was sent to a shots fired incident in a residential area. Parking a short distance away, he left his cruiser, carrying a 12-gage pump shotgun. He heard another shot and walked into view of a young man in the yard, waving a large revolver . The officer, holding his shotgun across his body, called out to the young man to put down his gun. Instead the man raised his revolver. The officer chambered a shell and brought the shotgun to his shoulder. As the handgun came level, pointing directly at him, the officer fired a single shot. The other man dropped his gun and fell. A sheriff’s deputy arrived almost immediately and secured the revolver. The gunshot man, still breathing, was removed by ambulance, but was dead on arrival at hospital.

    The shotgun shell fired was nine-pellet, 00 (double-aught) buckshot load. One pellet, the fatal strike, entered immediately below one eye. Another entered the right hand between the third and fourth knuckles, went inside the back of the hand and forearm, and came to rest at the right elbow. Four pellets hit a tree limb directly behind where the man had stood. Another pellet pierced a board fence, some 15 or 20 feet to the rear. That is seven pellets. The other two struck the revolver, an S&W M-28, .357 magnum. One pellet entered the muzzle, barely scuffing one edge. It traveled down the bore, entered the chamber mouth in line with the bore, It stopped at the inside rear of the empty cartridge case. The remaining buckshot pellet entered the front of the second chamber to the right of the barrel. It fused with the bullet of the loaded cartridge in that chamber.

    Two friends or relatives of the dead man claimed he had been murdered by the officer. One said the man had raised his hands in surrender. The other said he had dropped the revolver before the officer fired. Of course, these “witnesses” hadn’t examined the revolver before the deputy took it away. On arrival at the sheriff’s office, after examining the .357, I phoned the hospital and spoke with the attending doctor. He described the two gunshot wounds in detail. Clearly, four of the pellets ended up in positions indicating that the revolver had been pointed directly at the officer when he fired. I gave my report to the local Texas Ranger, who testified to the grand jury. They returned a “no bill” ruling, declining to indict the officer, and effectively closing the matter.

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