Since day one, Elon Musk has touted the Tesla Cybertruck’s bulletproofing. That bulletproofing, however, has always proven to be kind of bullshit. Now, both on Joe Rogan’s podcast and the site formerly known as Twitter, Musk is fessing up. The Cybertruck, he claims, is bulletproof — just against vanishingly few bullets.
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Musk showed up on Rogan’s podcast to talk about his usual topics: Fringe far-right conspiracies, Covid misinformation, and of course the Cybertruck. In that interview, Musk claimed that a bow and arrow wouldn’t be able to puncture the truck’s skin but that a more powerful crossbow likely could. While bulletproof materials can have difficulty stopping sharpened crossbow bolts, we’re talking about the solid materials of a vehicle here. “A crossbow might get it through” does not inspire confidence.
On Twitter, though, Musk laid out a more specific claim: “The door panels are bulletproof to almost all subsonic projectiles.” While this may sound impressive, anyone familiar with guns will know that vanishingly few rounds actually move at subsonic speeds — in fact, subsonic ammunition is its own specialty niche within the ammunition market. Some calibers like .45 ACP and .380 ACP are naturally subsonic, but most other armaments — including the spring-powered air rifle I had as a kid — will apparently be too much for the poor widdle Cybertruck.
Standard ballistic protection ratings for vehicles usually start with .22 LR as an example caliber against which they’re armored. That’s a typical starter caliber for a first firearm, the kind of thing that’s often looked down upon by gatekeeping gun enthusiasts as not a real firearm. Yet, .22 LR is a supersonic caliber — by Musk’s standard, the Cybertruck won’t even protect against that. You’d have better luck with phonebooks.