Can A Bullet Go Off If Dropped?

If you are a gun owner, you may have many questions regarding how to safely operate a firearm. For instance, you may wonder whether a bullet can go off if accidentally dropped and cause damage.

Can A Bullet Go Off If Dropped

Whilst it isn’t likely that a bullet will go off when a cartridge is dropped, you should still maintain the utmost care when handling a bullet. 

Whether a cartridge goes off or not is usually dependent on how it lands on the floor. Ion the bullet lands on its tip, then this will usually prevent any impact from occurring.

This is because there needs to be enough impact on the bullet’s primer in order to discharge it. This level of impact is highly unlikely to occur when it has been merely dropped on the floor. 

However, the surface that a bullet lands on may make it discharge. For instance, if your cartridge has been dropped near to a metal object, and it lands with a significant amount of force, the bullet could discharge.

This is because the primer would become inherently impacted, thus mimicking the firing pin on a gun. It is therefore to remain vigilant and mindful of your environment whenever you are handling any ammunition as despite discharge being incredibly unlikely, it could still occur.

This is why you should try to clean your gun when alone.  

Things To Avoid

In order to avoid causing danger to yourself or others, there are other issues that can occur when dropping a pullet.

You can bend your cartridge out of shape, inherently damaging the tip of the bullet and destroying the chamber by proxy.

When this occurs, this will stop you from hitting your desired target when facing danger. Dropping a bullet can also lead to the round becoming jammed, especially if you have dropped them in a muddy environment.

This is because you will inherently transfer the dirt to the chamber, and this can cause irreparable damage to your firearm. 

Thus, the best way to prevent any of these issues is to ensure that you are following gun safety rules. You can enrol in a firearm safety course in order to learn about how to properly handle your gun, and it’s ammunition.

These courses will also be able to provide you with crucial information regarding state laws and safety techniques.

You will also learn how to safely change bullets and maintain your weapon accordingly. Whether you are already in possession of a firearm or you are considering buying one, it is crucial that you become aware of how to safely transfer bullets to your weapon. 

Danger Of Accidental Discharging 

Whenever a gun is discharged by mistake, it is called an accidental discharge. This occurs in a number of situations for a variety of reasons.

Typically, this happens because the gun owner has mishandled their gun or stored it improperly. There are also numerous damaged firearms being sold by rogue retailers that can be incredibly hazardous.

Whilst the movies have often explored scenes that involve dropped weapons and tragic endings, the reality of dropping a firearm is far more complex. 

The Firing Pin

Whilst the manufacturing of firearms has improved over time. There are still numerous dangers involved in handling a weapon.

A lot of attention has been paid to improving gun safety, including the creation of the firing pin block. 

Whilst a bullet can discharge when dropped with enough force, the introduction of the firing pin block has reduced the likelihood of a firearm discharging when dropped.

The vast majority of modern weapons will come with this feature that serves to isolate the pin, preventing it from discharging accidentally if dropped.

Can A Bullet Go Off If Dropped (1)

The Gun Control Act of 1968 made it mandatory for manufacturers to run drop-safety tests to ensure that firearms do not discharge when dropped.

However, longer guns like rifles may not include this feature due to the difference in their internal design.

Thus, these firearms do pose a serious risk of discharging when dropped, especially if they are dropped on the butt of the gun itself as this may cause the inertia of the firing pin to move, regardless if the hammer is ready or not. 

The safety issues surrounding rifles date back to the midst of world war two, and there has been a history of deaths resulting from a dropped weapon.

This is because the seal on pistols can wear away over a period of time, which inherently impacts the hammer as it fails to hold it back.

Thus, modern revolvers are deemed to be the safest type of gun to own if you are concerned about dropping your weapon due to them containing a sidebar situated between the firing pin and the hammer. 


To conclude, a bullet can discharge if dropped with enough force onto a steel surface. However, this is unlikely to occur as bullets are typically dropped on their tip and without the impact required to discharge them.

Although a bullet is unlikely to discharge in this instance, it is still important for you to understand how to safely change the bullets in your gun in order to avoid distorting the bullets and damaging the chamber of the gun itself.

You should also ensure that you are cleaning your gun in an environment where there is no-one else around to avoid any injury or death.

If you are uncertain about how to handle your firearm appropriately or how to change the bullets safely, then you should attend a gun safety course to set your mind at ease and avoid unwanted hazards from occurring.

Matthew Osborn

Matt is an entrepreneur who has created and successfully exited multiple companies and brands. Now, he dedicates his time to Legionary, where he produces content on guns, family, and freedom.

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