As their name says, the only primary purpose of plastic explosives is to explode violently, and you might be shocked to know that most explosives used by the military are more stable. Plastic explosives such as C-4 won’t explode if you set them on fire or shoot them. It won’t explode even if you shoot it while it’s on fire.
Well, the reason why C-4 explosives are used so extensively by the military forces around the world is that we can shape these explosives in a variety of ways to accomplish a specific goal. Another reason for their usage is that we can handle these explosives without any specialized equipment.
Additionally, creating a C-4 explosive is known as being a quite simple process that involves mixing conventional explosives (generally cyclotrimethylene-trinitramine, also known as RDX or Research Department Explosive or for British people Royal Demolition Explosive) with a plasticizer. While the exact ratios vary, for example in C-4 used by US military has a mixture of 91% RDX, 5.3% of the plasticizer dioctyl sebacate, 2.1 of the synthetic rubber Polyisobutylene, and 1.6% mineral oil, or for civilian use, motor oil is used instead of mineral oil.
C-4 and most other plastic explosives can be easily shaped, molded, and stored is one reason why the military used these kinds of plastic explosives so much. C-4 is so dangerous that it can turn a vehicle into scrap metal in seconds.
Can Shooting Plastic Explosives set them off?
Coming back to the question, well, the answer for this is no, shooting them won’t set them off as shown in movies and video games. The usage of Plastic explosives is worldwide because of their stability, so setting them off isn’t so easy.
The US army has also conducted many experiments for the sensitivity test of plastic explosives like C-4 and other plastic explosives. The tests were conducted to see whether shooting them with bullets of different calibers or putting them under things like hand grenades to know whether they can set off C-4 plastic explosives. The army conducts these tests to see if fire can cause C-4 explosives to explode. The results were that it didn’t explode even when being in a fire or shot using a gun or put underhand grenades. It was found that not only they remain stable while being on fire, but they also burn slowly.
So, in the end, while many unstable explosives may quickly explode if you shoot them, plastic or other explosives used by the army are quite stable. Well, all the equipment used by the military cannot be exploded so quickly. The US army isn’t keen on deploying explosives that might set off unexpectedly.