The Daily Mail is a British tabloid best known for a format heavy on vivid, photography-intensive stories with relatively lightweight reporting. That doesn’t count against them in an article about a Finnish photographer who specializes in capturing images of the moment a bullet leaves the barrel of a gun:

These beautiful yet terrifying pictures capture the exact moment that a bullet leaves a gun barrel travelling at more than 1,200ft per second.

Part scientific research and part art the pictures were captured by ballistic photographer Herra Kuulapaa using several different cameras to create a high-resolution stereoscopic 3D effect.

His project began seven years ago using a group of amateur shooters in his native country of Finland, but has since expanded to help gun manufacturers figure out exactly what happens as their weapons are fired.

Mr Kuulapaa said: ‘The sports shooting community all over the world was hungry for information about what happens during the brief split millisecond moment when bullet actually leaves the barrel.

‘To create the images we detect an ignition of powder and we then calculate when the bullet is in right place and set up a delay to trigger that takes the photo, there is a lot of sweat and tries before the small details are fine-tuned.

44 magnum

The detail of what Mr. Kuulapaa captures is stunning. In the photo above where a short-barreled .44 Magnum revolver is fired, you see the burning gas that propels the bullet, the bullet in flight, smoke, and unburned power in the air that has blown past the bullet along with a tongue of still-burning gas.

The images in the story are stunning, but they aren’t the half of it; if you check out Herra Kuulapaa’s high speed ballistics  photography site, you get stunning images like this .50 AE Desert Eagle being fired.


Even if the bullet misses the target at short range, it might choke to death in a massive cloud of unburned powder.

These scaled-down images really don’t do Kuulapaa’s work justice. Carve a few minutes out of your day to visit both the Daily Mail article and Kuulapaa’s web site.

You won’t be disappointed.