[Slow-mo Video] How Much Faster is a Rifle Round Than a Handgun Round?

Ever wondered how much faster rifle rounds are than handgun rounds? Now you can see it with your own eyes.

It’s no secret that rifle rounds travel faster than handgun rounds. That’s part of the entire design philosophy of a rifle round. Most handgun rounds travel around or little over 1,000 fps, while rifle rounds tend to travel around 3,000 fps, or even higher.

Comparing common bullet speeds

9mm Parabellum, the most common handgun round today, travels between around 1,100 fps to 1,300 fps. .45 ACP, a long-standing handgun round, tends to travel at 800 fps to 1,000 fps. Meanwhile, .223/5.56 travels between 2,750 fps and 3,7500 fps. .308 Win tends to travel at about 2,500 fps to 3,100 fps. Even some of the bigger rifle rounds, such as the .338 Laupa Magnum also travels around 3,000 fps. There are plenty of outlier cartridge loads and rifle setup that can travel faster or slower, but all of this means that handgun rounds tend to travel around 1,000 fps and rifle rounds tend to travel around 3,000 fps.

What gets really interesting, is using slow-motion footage to visualize how much faster rifle rounds really are compared to handgun rounds.

The entire video has some amazing slow-motion footage – the bullets leaving the muzzle in-particular is quite awesome. So I’d encourage you to watch the entire video. But here’s the bullet race portion, which can be found at 3 min 30 seconds.

Bullet Racing

I apologize for not having the entire segment contained in a gif, but I’m limited by file sizes. Go watch the video for the full segment.

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Brian Purkiss
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Brian Purkiss is a firearms instructor, competitive shooter, proponent for individual liberty and Second Amendment rights, and a web developer. He enjoys competing in and organizing Run and Gun Competitions, as well as shooting in USPSA, Outlaw matches, and 3 Gun.