View Full Version : Japanese sword vs machine gun

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Pierre Kewcharoen
10-30-2007, 12:34 PM
Sword took 7 shots before breaking. If you watch closely, the bullets actually get sliced. Enjoy!


Lan Powers
10-30-2007, 04:14 PM
There also was a story that went around about the Japanese high-command exhorting the troops with a demonstration of "superiority" by cutting the barrel off of an american mchine gun that was captured by using one stroke.(See the power of the traditional versus the evil western....yadda, yadda)
I have heard this several times over the years, and it always made me want to see it on video.
Don't know if it is true though. (I doubt that it is)

Similar thought, *sword and machine-gun* and another interesting tidbit for thought.

Tony Hudspith
11-17-2007, 11:41 AM
Wow! Awesome!
I've told all my students and friends to look at this clip. I have been around firearms for most of my life and know the damage they can cause but for the sword to withstand such force it truly is an amazing spectacle to see.
Thanks for posting this clip it made a boring tedious day that bit more interesting.


Josh Reyer
11-17-2007, 07:33 PM
Bullets = soft lead.

Sword = hard steel.

Of course the sword will win. You could do the same thing with a medieval broadsword.

Keith Larman
11-18-2007, 10:58 AM
Yeah, this is somewhat a parlor trick. Old guys in the smithing community talk about doing similar things with knives, swords and axes. The key is alignment. But in the end a soft bullet vs hardened steel -- the steel will tend to cut the bullet. But after enough impacts the edge starts to go and then it will take damage.

Kinda cool, but in the end not entirely surprising.

11-19-2007, 07:19 AM
Were the bullets full metal jacket or soft/hollow points? And how did they arrange to get a .50 caliber machine gun? Maybe they explain it in Japanese, but the only words I understood were "nihonto" and "machine gun."


11-19-2007, 11:19 AM
Since the .50 cal M2 Browning shown in the video most probably used military cartridges, they would be full metal jacketed bullets. The M2 was the standard machinegun for US aircraft and armored vehicles in World War II. It's still in use today.
The .50 BMG cartridge comes in several versions, including an armor piercing round. If that was what was used and the katana managed to split seven of them, that would be pretty remarkable.
Here is a photo showing relative sizes of various firearms cartridges. the .50 BMG (which was the one used against the katana) is the leftmost (and largest)
From L-R: .50 BMG, 300 Win Mag, .308 Winchester, 7.62 x 39 mm, 5.56 NATO, .22LR

Keith Larman
11-19-2007, 11:30 AM
You need to consider the fact that the edge of a katana is usually around 60 on the RC scale. Fully hardened steel in the .55-.75% range of carbon (which is most sword steels) is *extremely* hard. Hence the construction of a japanese sword with a soft body to prevent the things from shattering on impact. It is also why they tend to hold edges forever -- they put your kitchen knives and pocket knives to shame in the hardness department. It is also why it is so hard to cleanly touch up an edge of a japanese sword... Also, Japanese edge design is very precise and well supported for forces directly aligned with the edge. I've seen (and also done) tests of swords against copper pipes and even against the back of other swords. The edge is a tough thing.

But most any well made sword with a well made steel and a well heat treated edge from any culture would likely perform just as well on this test. Heck, a $10 axe from Harbour Freight Tools (world's cheapest Chinese-made tools -- the disposable lighters of the tool world) would do it too.

If you want to see a blade get destroyed, just rotate it a few degrees out of alignment. Get behind a bullet-proof barrier and try again. You'll see a vastly different result.

Lorien Lowe
12-06-2007, 02:46 AM
'course, the poor guy standing behind the sword would still be pretty sol, even if he was only hit by fragments of bullets going near the speed of sound rather than whole bullets going slightly faster.