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WATCH: The Science Behind Why Some Bullets Are More Destructive Than Others

Each year, more than 100,000 Americans are shot. And the wounds to bone and tissue caused by specially designed bullets also are getting more severe, according to surgeons.

Not all bullets are created equal. The energy of a bullet is determined by its mass and speed, and its wounding potential hinges on its ability to transfer its energy to a target; even rounds that are similar in size, or look similar, can cause dramatically different damage.

In this latest "Let's Talk" video, we examine fourof the most common bullets in America. We explain the physics behind their differences in design, and show why the destruction caused by one round in an AR-15-style weapon can be so much greater than a typical bullet used in target practice or hunting.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Meredith Rizzo is a visuals editor and art director on NPR's Science desk. She produces multimedia stories that illuminate science topics through visual reporting, animation, illustration, photography and video. In her time on the Science desk, she's reported from Hong Kong during the early days of the pandemic, photographed the experiences of the first patient to receive an experimental CRISPR treatment for sickle cell disease and covered post-wildfire issues from Australia to California. In 2021, she worked with a team on NPR's Joy Generator, a randomized ideas machine for ways to tap into positive emotions following a year of life in the pandemic. In 2019, she photographed, reported and produced another interactive visual guide exploring how the shape and size of many common grocery store plastics affect their recyclability.
Rebecca Hersher (she/her) is a reporter on NPR's Science Desk, where she reports on outbreaks, natural disasters, and environmental and health research. Since coming to NPR in 2011, she has covered the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, embedded with the Afghan army after the American combat mission ended, and reported on floods and hurricanes in the U.S. She's also reported on research about puppies. Before her work on the Science Desk, she was a producer for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered in Los Angeles.
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