Saturday, October 15, 2011

Invisible - but effective?

I recently had to board an airplane, and while I went through security people talked about the new body scanners.

Which got me thinking. The terrorists from 9-11 had box cutters that they smuggled through security. Now that would probably (hopefully) no longer work today. The metal detectors are very sensitive and beep at the tiniest steel part.

But most people walk through the metal detector and never get frisked. Only about every 4th person gets randomly selected.

So I thought about weapons that can be smuggled through the metal scanners. Slingshots with stones or marbles as ammo come to mind, but also knifes made from non metal components.

So I decided to make a ballistic gelatin based test: Slingshot and rocks, a wonderful flint knife I traded with Ad'lan from the Zombie hunters, a Cold Steel "Grivory" knife, a Kyocera ceramics knife and a home made dogwood knife.

Should be an interesting test! If the outcome is what I expect (all of these weapons are fairly effective against an unarmed human), then full body scanners and/or mandatory frisking should be employed. Otherwise, terrorists still have options.

BTW, the bands on my CF slingshot are still the originals... made them in March 2010, 17 months ago. They have lost a bit of their color, but they are still fully intact. The Hygenic corp makes some great rubber, that's for sure.

The stones weigh between 15 and 25 gramms, not bad...


  1. Hmmm, you did say you have never entertained the idea of being a terrorist, now didn't you? Your ingenuity along this line might be construded as a bonus for wannabe budding terrorists. :)
    But I would love to see in closer detail the flint knife as I have knapped flint knives before although they were small like this one you show.

  2. Tosh Togo, my point is that the gate security is still not sufficient. Terrorists are probably smart enough to buy a ceramics or Grivory knife even without my video...

    I think we need those much debated full body scanners, and also mandatory frisking. Maybe I can bring some attention to this by making a video.

  3. LOL, I meant no offense Joerg. You are right of course, and I regret that terrorists will continue to find different ways to inflict terror upon us. Decades ago I flew to Israel and it was mandatory frisking of everyone and all carry-on even then. I meant my comment to be humorous as I recently read of Mexican drug smugglers using a catapult of sorts to fire football (American) sized packages of drugs across the border. In jest, I thought then they must have been viewing your 'The Cannon' so I made my comment along those lines.

  4. I know you're brilliant but it's a little scary to see how dangerous these undetectable weapons can be. Keep up the good work through ;)

  5. Joerg be carefull. Bundestrojaner is watching you.

  6. I appreciate the way you approach this subject. What is the slingshot made of? It almost looks like its cut from a front coner panel made of carbon fiber from one of the super cars on Top Gear :) Do you think any wood slingshot would work for this test? Keep up the good work. I've been telling all my friends about what you are doing as well as forwarding your youtube videos.

  7. Yes, the CF is from a 5mm board I bought on ebay.

    It is nasty stuff. The dust is toxic and can cause cancer. You have to use full face masks with active filters. It also makes your skin itch for days. But it is very light and tough.

    You can make a frame from Multiplex wood, but it HAS to be way thicker.

  8. Wow I'm impressed that you really did use carbon fiber. Thanks for the heads up on the risks involved.

  9. I have heard that the kyocera knives have a small amount of metal placed in the handle to make them detectable by metal detectors. Has anyone ever taken one apart?

  10. annomination, that is well possible. The Cold Steel had a steel keyring attached, took me five seconds to remove the stupid thing - but maybe that is their "excuse".

    I may remove the handle later on to see if that is true.

  11. I guess a wooden slingshot would have no trouble getting through a scanner but depending on the size and design it might be visible in your pocket, but none the less wouldnt be caught by the scanner.
    p.s. did you find the first ten people to post 150 comments? im waiting for the slingshot draws to start again lol

  12. Wouldn't it be interesting if you were caught??? It would be hard to explain what you were trying to do and I'm not sure in Germany but here you would either be jailed or face and hefty fine. Good Luck with your ordeals, I'd love to here about the results.

  13. Ryan,lots of knifes are collected at the safety checks. People even get a chance to mail them back home. So I don't think you have to do hard time if they catch you.

    But terrorists that are on suicide missions won't care about that in any case.

  14. hi
    i think it is a good idea to test. but it is also kind of risky because of the people who check you may not believe you about just doing a test.anyway, good luck. i'd like to hear from the results like anyone else who posts a comment here.

  15. I think it's just a problem when you want to take it with you in your hand luggage. For normal people there is off coarse no need for knifes during flight.
    People who really need to take there knife with them, can always put it in their big luggage. When I flew to China there was no problem with my survival knife in my big bag.

    Btw. I have this knife.

  16. Guys, he said a gelatin test only. Nothing was said of him testing the scanner people at the airport.

  17. Ah that's a pity, I expected him to ride his cannon up to the gate.

  18. The Kyocera knives do have metal in their handle - easily tested using a magnet.

  19. LOL Andreas! Would that not be a sight to see? I would want warning to be there with my camera to film that! :)

  20. Now that's a scary thought but yet so true and simple!

  21. Your dogwood knife is pretty cool! It would be cool stained blue or red!

  22. Yeah, well air-port security sucks anyway.

    In Germany in particular.

    The private "security" dudes were put there for two reasons:
    a) to provide the "duty-free shops" with a new business model: selling water with a markup of 500%-1000%
    b) to get people (who failed the police admission test) into 1eurp-jobs

    [remember, when the federal police was doing the security screeing? hen there was real security and not faked security by private contractors?]

    Anyhow ... Jörg ... good job on slingshots. I love your youtube-channel.

    Greets from the Pott and the Borsig-Platz.

  23. Yellow :)
    Damn, I had no idea how tough that gelatin is. Yes I saw Joerg’s previous vids with penetrations, but to be honest I have more experience with knife stabbing and slicing than with slingshots :)
    I have that cold steel and to be honest, I think it is crappy even as a letter opener: I broke the tip on the 5mm cardboard and melted the serrated cutting edge while try to cut this same cardboard :)
    Thank you Joerg. The presentation gives me a lot of thinking.

    By the way, I wouldn’t even try to make any tests with the airport security checks :) They have no sense of humor, and get very edgy very quickly :)

  24. Nice.I just wanted to ask you what you think a good pull weight is.Please email me at

  25. Have you ever tried to knap flint? Not that hard to get a blade or nice point but dose take time to learn