If someone fires a gun at you, can you dodge the bullet by jumping aside? If the target is a loved one or you are someone’s bodyguard whose job it is to protect some major figure like the US president, can you jump in front of the other person to take the bullet instead of them?
Such actions are the staple of films and folklore but is it really possible? According to the Mythbusters, the answer is ‘no’. Bullets travel at speeds close to or faster than the speed of sound so that by the time you hear the sound of gunfire, it is too late. As for a visual sighting of the flash of gunfire, you cannot see a muzzle flash from more than a hundred meters or so, and at distances less than that your reaction time is not quick enough to respond in time.
But to dodge (or jump in front of) a bullet in the first place, you have to see it coming. The Mythbusters estimated that you’d have to witness a bullet fired from over three football fields away in order to have enough time to dodge it. Any would-be hero with a reaction time longer than Jamie’s would need to see the bullet from further away—something that subsequent testing deemed impossible.
The only way to be a hero is to hear an earlier gunshot and then dive away from or in front of someone else before the next shot is fired.