Difference Between Gunshots and Fireworks

Gunshots vs Fireworks

For a common person, this may not be of vital importance, but if you happen to be a police officer, knowing the difference between a gunshot and firework may be necessary. You cannot take chances to be called for dereliction of duty treating gunshots as fireworks and not taking the action deemed fit for a police officer. This article attempts to take a closer look at gunshots and fireworks and come up with differences to help those who ought to know them. The reason most people cannot seem to differentiate a gunshot from firework is because to the untrained ear they both sound the same.

What are Gunshots?

Gunshots are the sounds created when someone is firing a gun. For someone who has never heard a gunshot, this might sound like a firework. However, there seem to be several ways to determine whether the sound you hear is a gunshot or not. Experienced police officers think that gunshot of different firearms sound flatter than the fireworks and have fewer echoes. They have a tinny sound and sound like a slap across the face. Also, there are only a few, sometimes only 2-3 bangs in the case of gunshots. Further, if one listens carefully, one can hear the sounds of people screaming and then running here and there after the bang of a gunshot.

However, different firearms, depending upon the size of the barrel of the gun, make different sounds, and this makes it difficult to claim a sound to have originated from a firearm. Nevertheless, gunshots have a set pattern; this certainly makes fireworks different from gunshots.

Difference Between Gunshots and Fireworks

What are Fireworks?

Fireworks are objects that contain gunpowder and other chemicals that are used to celebrate special events. With these fireworks, you get the sound similar to a gunshot as fireworks contain gunpowder. However, the sound of fireworks is a little different from the sound of a gunshot. First of all, fireworks have a whistling sound and then go bang. They tend to have a sound even after bang as they sizzle out and die making a smaller sound. Because of this, a person tends to hear many echoes of fireworks.

After fireworks are lit and sound subsides, you do not get to hear people running here and there screaming to save their lives. That is because fireworks are lighted to celebrate something and not to harm or kill people. Normally, there are many pops in case of fireworks. However, fireworks sounds do not have a set pattern and are random.

With the advancement of technology, police officers are now more confident in dealing with sounds that feel like gunshots. They use a shot spotter, which is a machine working 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 easily if the sound is that of a gunshot and not fireworks and vice versa. This means a lot of effort and time that is wasted in reaching the spot of sound can now be saved by using a shot spotter.

Gunshots vs Fireworks

What is the difference between Gunshots and Fireworks?

• Echo:

• Fireworks leave many echoes.

• Gunshots have a flatter sound and do not have several echoes like fireworks.

• Starting Sound:

• Fireworks start with a whistling sound and then produce a pop sound.

• Gunshots are a series of pop sounds that are very sharp.

• Pattern:

• Fireworks do not follow a pattern.

• In gunshots, here are fewer bangs compared to fireworks but with regular or set pattern.

• After Sounds:

• Fireworks are not followed by the sound of people screaming who are running to save their lives.

• Gunshots are followed by the sound of people screaming who are running to save their lives.

These are the differences between gunshots and fireworks. Hopefully, with this, you can now have an idea about the difference between gunshots and fireworks. Even if you cannot seem to recognize the sound and get to see people running here and there as if in a hurry, then it is better to take cover than trying to decide whether the sound you heard was a gunshot or not.

Images Courtesy:

  1. Gunshots via Pixabay (Public Domain)
  2. Fireworks by Thomas Hawk from San Francisco, USA (CC BY 2.0)