Weighing in

A few days ago someone hit me up on Discord to ask a gun question to clarify something for her daughter. I thought I'd answer it here.

The background

Legit steem-user @ryivhnn's daughter was watching a manga cartoon in which a scene depicting the idiotic game of Russian Roulette came on. You know, put one bullet into a revolver, spin it, place it to one's head and pull the trigger...I don't know why someone would want to do so, however it could be a legit torture or interrogation technique I suppose.

I believe two guns were involved in the scene, one with the bullet in it and one not. Something like that.

The question

Would someone picking up the gun know that it had a bullet in it by the weight?

The answer

If one bullet then I would say no they would not be able to pick the difference on simply picking it up. It's doubtful a human could feel the weight of one single bullet that is inside the gun. In the palm of the hand, a single bullet yes, but with the added weight of the gun? I don't believe so.

The test

Unfortunately I have no ammunition for my revolver currently and so the weight test had to be done with one of my semi-auto handguns. The 9mm CZ Shadow 2.

Below you can see the weight of the handgun plus one empty magazine, i.e. no ammunition loaded. 1220 grams.

The second image shows the same gun and magazine with 10 rounds loaded showing the weight of 1410 grams. The difference being 190 grams.

That makes each bullet 19 grams in weight on average.

I shoot a lot and would know instantly if this gun was empty, or if it had 10 rounds loaded. In fact probably with less rounds too...But when I tested it with my wife Faith just now...Well, at 5-6 bullets she wasn't 100% percent sure if it was loaded or not. With 10 in there she could easily tell it was full, or near full by the weight. One single bullet would not be noticable.


This ridiculous game is played with a revolver which allows the cylinder, the part the bullets go into, to spin. It is loaded with a single round and the cylinder is spun around. Once it stops only a close inspection will tell where the bullet is. But if it is in the right location the gun will go bang.

Here's the thing though; Only the one bullet is loaded. Let's assume that bullet is a .38...It means the bullet will weigh roughly the same as the 9mm round used in my test, 19 grams, or maybe a little more. In my opinion though, it would be impossible to tell it was in there by simply picking up the gun. Especially since the person picking up the gun is just about to put it to their head. I would expect some high-emotion in that circumstance, less clarity of thought.

Further to that, even if there were 6 rounds in the gun a person under duress, or not comfortable with guns, may still not tell whether there is rounds in it or not. I mean, how many have hefted a real gun with and without bullets in it? Some for sure, but many more have not.

Anyway, that's my conclusion so I hope this helps @ryivhnn.

Keep in mind that if I did this test with my CZ P09 (9mm) the result would be different. Because that gun is polymer, and therefore really light, it is much easier to tell what is in it as far as bullets go. Still, with only 3-4 in there I still doubt someone would pick it unless they were really comfortable with the gun.

A note: Playing this stupid game will not work with a semi-auto because when a loaded magazine is inserted the rounds are all on top of one another. Rack the gun (pull the slide back and let it go) and there is a bullet loaded into the chamber each time until the magazine is empty. Everytime the trigger is pulled it will go off.

As a responsible gun owner I have to say that stupidity and complacency around guns and irresponsible handling and use of firearms can only ever lead to something bad. People can, and do, get injured and killed through misuse and idiotic behaviour. A quick search on YouTube will demonstrate that. I'm not sure why cartoons have scenes depicting Russian Roulette in them either, however it's certainly not a legit use of a firearm.

If you're interested here's a video of a firearms instructor being a complete dick. You may have seen it, but watch again...It demonstrates that guns should be treated with a lot of care and respect. See it here. He has done so many things wrong here...And why is the gun even loaded during a demonstration of grip technique? I don't know what happened to him, but hopefully he isn't allowed anywhere near guns again. Ever.

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Comments 24

The "game" Russian Roulette origins from 19th century Russia - hence the name - and was done by some dumb ass aristocrats. Preferably when they were full to the brim with Vodka. It was for one seen as a proof of courage, but also it was about profit.
The question if you can tell if a round is in the revolver or not is matterless. It was played with only one gun, and that had always one round in it. The rules are simple:

  • 6 blue blooded idiots, who don't know what to do with their lives, sit around a table.
  • a revolver, preferably a Nagant, is loaded with one round. Then the cylinder is spun, so nobody knows where the round is.
  • then the first idiot puts the gun to his head and pulls the trigger. If he has bad luck, a new round is loaded into the gun.
  • In any case, the gun is passed on to the next idiot. He also pulls the trigger on his head.
  • This is continued until only one idiot is left, or several remaining idiots agree to call it a day.
  • The survivor/survivors get all the posessions of the dead. Not just what is in their pockets, but everything, all their wealth, real estate and so on.

As you see, it doesn't matter if you can feel the weight difference, you know there is a round in the gun anyway.

24.02.2020 01:44

God damn it. You have a Shadow? I might have to get all Ed Gein on your ass and wear your skin so I can have that. Been one of my dream guns for the last, like, 5 years. I'll just go wipe my tears on my Gen 1 P-07, I guess.

24.02.2020 02:09

Haha, you can wear my skin anytime! Lol.

I love my Shadow 2. Such a nice handgun. I've got a P09 also, more field oriented, but also a good gun. I like shooting both.

Do you get out and shoot much?

24.02.2020 02:16

I used to go way more often a few years ago when I had a steady flow of income. With my health having issues and other stuff going on my life, I only get to go a few times a year anymore. My gun collection has also shrunk down immensely having to cover stupid fucking emergency bills. Throughout the years since I was 18 I have owned a Saiga AK, Mossberg 500, Mosin Nagant, Bersa Thunder .380, M92 Pap AK, CZ-82, Rock Island Armory .45 1911, Marlin 1895 in .45-70 and an AR-15. Now I just have my P-07, a lower receiver for an AR-15 and the M92 AK which got royally fucked by a terrible gunsmith who left me high and dry, so I haven't been able to get it repaired.

24.02.2020 02:23

Sounds like you've had a few. Kinda sucks you can't shoot more often because I'd imagine that you really want to! I shoot a lot but can see a time when it will decline in the future, through age constraints (running around like a madman gets harder each year) and budget constraints also.

24.02.2020 02:29

Nah, I really wish I could go more. It's very boner inducing and therapeutic for sure. Though, some of those guns I don't 100 percent miss, shooting the 45.70 was fun and also felt like I was getting gang banged by a small dwarf with a hammer.

24.02.2020 03:26

Dwarf-hammer gang-bangings...Ah those were the days...Lol.

24.02.2020 10:23


24.02.2020 02:31

Damn...I should have compensated in the calculations for hollow points.

24.02.2020 09:35

Haha! Come on mate, we're Aussies...We don't worry about being too precise...Near enough is good enough. She'll be right.


24.02.2020 09:38

Ruleta Rusa. ¿Quién querría jugar a eso? ¿Será el gusto por la adrenalina?
Hace algunos años atrás, presté el servicio militar y conocí, por supuesto, a muchas personas con distintos intereses y gustos. Actualmente, no uso ni poseo armas en mi casa porque las leyes chilenas, país donde vivo actualmente, creo que no lo permiten... creo que yo no me lo permito tampoco. Recuerdo estar revisando el periódico y ver en la página de sucesos, la foto de alguien que creí conocer. Alex, como lo llamabamos los integrantes de la 4ta compañía, salía en el periódico porque creyó que ese juego era sensacional. Un disparo en la cabeza le segó la vida y sirvió como ejemplo que no se debe jugar con aquello donde el peligro no puede ser controlado. Una pérdida lamentable, pues apensa con 22 años, le quedaba un largo camino por recorrer.

Russian Roulette Who would want to play that? It will be the taste for adrenaline?
A few years ago, I was military service and met, of course, many people with different interests and tastes. Currently, I do not use or own weapons in my house because Chilean law, where I currently live, I think they do not allow it ... I think I do not allow it either. I remember being checking the newspaper and seeing the photo of someone I thought I knew. Alex, as we called the members of the 4th company, was in the newspaper because he thought that game was sensational. He lose his life by a shot in the head and he served as an example that should not be played with that where danger cannot be controlled. An unfortunate loss, because he was 22 years old, he had a long way to go.

24.02.2020 11:57

I do not understand why someone would want to play a game like this. It is completely beyond comprehension and makes no sense at all. A shame that young man was stupid enough to play the game His life was ahead of him and he threw it away. What a waste.

Thanks for commenting.


24.02.2020 12:00

Howdy sir galenkp! Excellent answer to that question.

25.02.2020 04:15

Thanks mate...Was a bit of fun doing the experiment. Fun is why I'm here, so it worked out.

25.02.2020 09:49

Thanks :D

In the anime I'm not sure what their particular variation of Russian Roulette was, I just know both characters were batshit insane so one of them appeared to be reasonably calm and the other one was crazy hyper because adrenaline junkie. Most of the people watching were sensibly and understandably terrified as far as I could tell from the background as I didn't watch that ep XD

They did eventually explain that the character that won (without killing the other one so yeh really don't know what the rules were) could tell which gun had more bullets in it by the weight so maybe they knew guns as well as you do? (which in and of itself would be terrifying given the characters are supposed to be 15-17 but then again this is anime and when you can have creepy 10yo kids being admirals of battleships high schoolers acting like worldly 40yos is nothing unusual) As I think I would have had to have both loaded and unloaded guns at the same time to be able to tell which was which.

Thanks for running the experiment for us, it was pretty interesting!

25.02.2020 06:25

I used to watch cartoons...About as crazy as it got was Wile E. Coyote blowing himself to smithereens with some ACME rocket or explosive device...Oh, I remember Tom getting hit with a mallet or some such thing by Jerry too...Oh, there was Elmer Fudd and his gun also I guess...But no Russian Roulette, and they all came back to life immediately on being shot, squashed or blown up. Lol.

Anime must be way more hard core than the cartoons I recall.

Anyway, all good. It didn't take me too long to do and it was sort of interesting to some degree. Although, the worst way to tell if a gun is empty is to judge it be weight. Just saying. :)


25.02.2020 09:36

Hello! I posted my blog post in your gun community because it is relevant. I hope you'll like it.


27.02.2020 06:13

Ok, I'll take a look.

27.02.2020 09:14