How Far Can A Bullet Travel?

Guns pack a lot of energy into a tiny area, meaning the bullets they shoot move fast and go far until they hit something. If that something is Teddy Roosevelt, business will carry on as usual, but generally, being on the receiving end of a bullet is bad news. 

Just how far can a bullet travel once the trigger is pulled? It will depend on what you're shooting with. 

Here's how far different bullets can travel

Each different firearm and bullet will have a different range, with tons of other variables including weather, windspeed, the trajectory, and so on. For the sake of consistency, we're going to assume that you are aiming for max distance with whatever gun and bullet you choose, and that you've chosen a fairly standard shooting apparatus. According to the National Rifle Association, if you're going for distance, the optimal angle of elevation is around 30 degrees from horizontal. 

The NRA says that for a 9 mm handgun, the most popular handgun according to, a bullet will travel up to 2,130 yards, or about 1.2 miles. For a Colt .45, the next most popular handgun, you're looking at about 1,850 yards, which is just about 1 mile. 

Of course, handguns aren't long-distance firearms. Rifles are built to be more accurate from greater distances. The notorious AR-15 rifle is the most popular, according to the NRA, and its maximum range is around 3,840 yards, or 2.2 miles. Bear in mind, those of you with dreams of long-distance hunting, that maximum range is far from effective range, so the odds of hitting a target at that distance are slim. 

If you're wondering what the maximum distance is that a gun has ever been used effectively, BBC says it's 3,870 yards, just over 2.2 miles. A Canadian special forces sniper made the shot in Iraq in 2017, killing an Islamic State militant.

So there you have it. Since the NRA has done the math, you don't have to. Please remember that guns should be handled with extreme care and proper training, and that gun ownership and use should be taken very seriously.