Related: Why would a slug thrower be more effective against a lightsaber/Jedi than a blaster?

Assuming that a lightsaber is a magnetically-contained tube of plasma (although theories are abound as to how this is achieved) and the typical bullet is made of either lead or copper-jacketed lead, how would said bullet interact with a lightsaber?

I've heard two possible theories on the outcome:

  • The bullet is heated to such temperatures that it turns to gas (i.e. vaporization). Would the temperature of the plasma be high enough that the short period of time that the bullet spends within the lightsaber blade be enough to melt then vaporize the metal? Considering the amount of time that Qui-Gon Jinn spends trying to pierce the bridge door in The Phantom Menace (and the fact that it appears that molten metal drips from the door), I am assuming this is unlikely.
  • The plasma in the lightsaber blade is at a high enough temperature that the bullet melts and turns to liquid lead, but not so hot that the lead vaporizes. The Jedi (or Sith) proceeds to get liquid metal thrown in their face, accompanied by third-degree burns.

Evidence from the Phantom Menace can be discredited by the fact that the bridge doors were most likely composed of durasteel rather than lead or copper. Durasteel "is capable of withstanding blistering heat, frigid cold, and monumental physical stress."

Note: I have read little to none of the Expanded Universe, so I apologize if the question is successfully answered in one of the EU media.

  • 2
    Of course, there's going to be a canonical answer. However, I'd be really interested if anyone can address this with real physics. i.e.: Is the lightsaber actually hot enough to melt/sublimate/vaporize bullets within the short time it would otherwise take for the bullet to pass through?
    – Iszi
    Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 16:10
  • 1
    I don't think they're "magnetically contained plasma". Whatever state of matter/energy comprises the blade of a lightsaber, it's quite obviously exotic and unknown to our own current physics (or quite possible incompatible, no one's completely sure the laws of physics are universal). Given what we've seen in the movies, they'd quickly melt lead or steel bullets, and deflect whatever remains. Obviously this could still hurt someone, so the Jedi would require skill to deflect them where they would cause no injury to themselves or bystanders.
    – John O
    Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 16:21
  • 4
    Know who I think just might be able and willing to answer this from a real-life physics standpoint? Randall.
    – Iszi
    Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 16:24
  • 1
    FWIW, breathing in lead vapour cannot be healthy for a Jedi, so even if they manage to hit all bullets they remain a hazard (molten or vaporised).
    – bitmask
    Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 16:42
  • 2
    @Iszi: Forwarded to what-if.xkcd.com :-) Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 17:57

4 Answers 4


According to video game canon, the bullet disintegrates.

In Jedi Power Battles for PS1 there is a level on Tatooine where you fight Tusken Raiders. Their guns shoot bullets and when you block them they just disintegrate. (src)

However, I saw mentions that in "Shatterpoint" book, Mace Windu sliced the slugthrower slugs in half with a Lightsaber but didn't vaporize them. I will need to find the quote later to support that.

Also, from Wookieepedia (unsourced, so not necessarily canon):

during the days of the Galactic Republic, mercenaries fearing an intervention by Jedi Knights used rapid-fire slugthrowers that were impossible to completely deflect, unlike blaster bolts.

  • 1
    Hmm, there is a post-Ep6 EU book (don't remember which) that addresses slugthrowers from the point of view of a Jedi in a bar. I seem to remember that the difficulty was that the slugs were less predictable than blaster bolts (?). I'll try to remember the book.
    – Reid
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 18:28

Lightsabers melt bullets

In the canon comic “Anakin and Obi-Wan,” Obi-Wan attempts to deflect bullets from a slugthrower with his lightsaber. We very clearly see some of the bullets melt, and the molten fragments burn holes in his clothing.

enter image description here

This is consistent with the general behavior of lightsabers when coming into contact with metal objects, which is to melt them.

Ren was slashing at the console nearby, at the walls, at the deck, rending and ripping, slashing long lines of bleeding metal into the very fabric of the ship. His rage was terrible to behold.

The Force Awakens (novelization)

One after another, the blast doors began to shut and seal with hissing sounds. The crew stood transfixed as on the viewscreen the Jedi continued their attack, lightsabers cutting at the massive doors, melting away the steelcrete like soft butter.

The Phantom Menace (novelization)

  • 5
    Those slugs look an awful lot like bullets still in their casings...
    – Mwr247
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 2:30
  • 3
    Yes, but the part that concerns me is that they're still in their casings...
    – Mwr247
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 2:39
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    @Mwr247 - Eh, Star Wars bullets. They can look different from our primitive Earth bullets. ;)
    – Adamant
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 2:39
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    sigh I knew that would be the rationale too, which is why I didn't call them wrong outright in my first comment =P
    – Mwr247
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 2:40
  • 3
    It's a pretty common trope in many forms of media, as indicated in the TV Tropes article, tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CartridgesInFlight
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 2:54

3:35 talks about how there isn't enough time for the heat of the lightsaber to transfer to a speeding bullet. So the bullets would get hot and then hit whoever is holding the light saber.

  • 2
    What source from Star Wars do you have? Some guy on YouTube unfortunately isn't as reliable as a Star Wars movie or comic. Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 23:39
  • 1
    @NoOneIsHere, Randall Munroe (not this guy in the video) is actually pretty smart, working for NASA as programmer and roboticist. But @ jake , he stated a lightning strike which is also plasma, would not be enough heat to disintegrate fired a bullet, not a lightsaber.
    – KyloRen
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 23:50
  • @KyloRen: Here's a link.
    – Vikki
    Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 19:54

It all depends on exactly how hot the lightsaber is. I've been doing some research for a possible bullet-melting energy shield, and have come to the conclusion that it takes about 5500 degrees Fahrenheit to completely vaporize a bullet (about the heat of a regular cutting torch.) This means that, as we've seen with Qui-Gon, the thing can vaporize straight through dura-steel, which is strong enough to resist lasers that MELT THROUGH PEOPLE. This doesn't give us enough information, though. What DOES, is the fact that it can't cut through Beskar, Mandalorian iron. Quoting Exar Kun, "The only thing that can resist a lightsaber is…Mandalorian iron!" So, it must not have enough heat, right? Wrong. If it's truly the only thing that a lightsaber cannot cut through, this means that it can cut through materials such as the superdense materials making up a neutron star. To put this in perspective, A cubic meter of neutron star would be completely fine in the face of a nuclear bomb, even at ground zero, due to the incredible gravitational binding energy holding it together. So, if a lightsaber can cut through that, they can sure as hell melt a bullet, even in the 0.00006 seconds it would be inside the lightsaber. I also now wanna know what the hell mandalorian iron is made out of.

  • There's a large amount of uncited assertions here, as well as "original research" that you haven't backed up.
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 19:45
  • I think there's a misunderstanding of terms here. "Mandalorian iron" is not "a form of iron made by Mandalorians". If "chromium steel" is steel with chrome in it as an alloying agent, then logically "Mandalorian iron" is iron with a Mandalorian in it - i.e. the product of human sacrifice. This could explain a lot... Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 16:43

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