Most magic tricks (even the fancy “illusionist” stuff) I can figure out. However, I have no idea where to even begin with this one.
Here’s the setup.
There is a line drawn down the center of the audience and the stage. Penn and Teller start out on opposite sides of the line and never cross the line during the entire trick.
They go into the audience, each with one .357 Magnum “magic wand” revolver. They each have one bullet with them. Going into the audience, they each pick a random person, who then pick markers of a random color. Each person writes their initials on the shell casing, and draws a small picture on the actual bullet part. The audience members then load the revolvers such that their bullet is the next one in the chamber. (This is all in plain view of the TV camera.)
Penn and Teller then put on bulletproof vests and safety goggles. They place a pane of glass between them, then face each other. They fire their weapons almost simultaneously at each other’s mouths, “catching” eac other’s bullets in the mouth. The glass breaks in two places, indicating a bullet has gone through.
They then go back into the audience, and confirm that the pictures are identical on the bullets, and on the shell casings (still in the chamber.)
Now, here are some theories of mine:
Though Penn and Teller never cross the line, they are very close to each other during the audience part, and could easily exchange things. I don’t know if it’s possible to remove the bullet from the casing and exchange them while no one is looking, however.
The bullets could have been fired at the glass, but aimed away from P&T’s heads. (The revolvers were equipped with laser sites; I assume it is possible to intentionally mis-align them cause this.)
The glass could have small explosive charges built in.
The bullets could be blanks (in conjunction with point 3). I don’t know if it is possible to tell this by looking at them.
The audience members could be plants, who are instructed to draw specific things in specific colors, which are replaced with replicas later.
Right now, I’m thinking 5 is most likely at least part of the trick, but P&T have a reputation for not using plants.