Distinguishing Gunshots from Fireworks

Gunshots vs Fireworks

Distinguishing between the sound of a gunshot and a firework may not be significant for most people, but for police officers, knowing the difference can be crucial. To the untrained ear, gunshots and fireworks can sound quite similar. This article examines the differences between the two to help those who need to know.

Key Takeaways

  • Gunshots have a flatter sound with fewer echoes, while fireworks produce many echoes.
  • Fireworks start with a whistling sound before the pop, whereas gunshots are a series of sharp pop sounds.
  • Gunshots have a set pattern with fewer bangs, while fireworks have a random pattern with more pops.

What are Gunshots?

Gunshots are the sounds created when someone fires a gun. They can sound like fireworks to those who have never heard a gunshot before. Experienced police officers believe that gunshots from different firearms sound flatter and have fewer echoes than fireworks. They have a tinny sound and can resemble a slap across the face. Typically, there are only a few bangs, sometimes only 2-3, in the case of gunshots. If one listens carefully, one can hear the sounds of people screaming and running after the bang of a gunshot. However, different firearms make different sounds depending on the size of the gun barrel, making it difficult to identify a sound as originating from a firearm. Nevertheless, gunshots have a set pattern, which distinguishes them from fireworks.

What are Fireworks?

Fireworks are objects containing gunpowder and other chemicals used to celebrate special events. They produce a sound similar to a gunshot because they contain gunpowder. However, the sound of fireworks is slightly different from that of a gunshot. Firstly, fireworks have a whistling sound before going bang. They also have a sound after the bang as they sizzle out and die, creating a smaller noise. This results in many echoes of fireworks. After fireworks are lit and the sound subsides, you do not hear people running and screaming to save their lives, as fireworks are used for celebration, not harm or killing. Fireworks typically have many pops and do not follow a set pattern, making them random.

With technological advancements, police officers can now deal with sounds that seem like gunshots more confidently. They use a shot spotter, a machine that works on the principles of acoustics and separates all sounds to let the listener know the exact source of a sound. This allows a police officer to know if the sound is a gunshot or firework, saving time and effort in reaching the location of the sound.

What is the difference between Gunshots and Fireworks?

  • Echo: Fireworks produce many echoes, while gunshots have a flatter sound with fewer echoes.
  • Starting Sound: Fireworks start with a whistling sound before the pop, while gunshots are a series of sharp pop sounds.
  • Pattern: Fireworks do not follow a pattern, whereas gunshots have a set pattern with fewer bangs.
  • After Sounds: Fireworks are not followed by people screaming and running to save their lives, unlike gunshots.

With these differences in mind, you should now have a better understanding of the distinction between gunshots and fireworks. However, if you still cannot recognize the sound and see people running as if in a hurry, it is better to take cover than trying to decide whether the sound you heard was a gunshot or not.

Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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