Sometimes “don’t try this at home” hardly seems to cover it.

Most of us are familiar with the story of William Tell, the legendary folk hero in Switzerland that was forced to shoot an apple off of his son’s head after failing to bow to the newly appointed Austrian Vogt, Albrecht Gessler.  Tell, according to legend, got the apple with the very first bolt fired from his crossbow, though he had drawn a second bolt already, which he intended to use to kill Gessler, had he failed.

The idea of demonstrating your superior marksmanship by shooting an apple, or some other small target, from the head of someone the shooter cares about permeated through a number of Germanic legends, and eventually into pop culture where it can be seen in everything from Looney Tunes to feature films, but no one in their right mind is dumb enough to actually try this feat, right?  Surely, the risk far outweighs the reward.

Well, this is the internet, so of course that question was going to be followed by a video of someone doing exactly that.  According the Facebook page “Military Power,” who sources the content from China’s “Guangming Daily,” this video is legitimate, and shows Chinese special forces soldiers shooting apples off of one another’s heads with their service pistols from a range of what appears to be a solid 25 meters.

Now, any seasoned shooter will tell you that, at a distance, it’s best to use bone support, rather than muscle control, to ensure accurate shot placement – something it seems only one or two of these elite soldiers was made aware of prior to the event.  A dramatic close up of one soldier’s pistol as he prepares to fire shows exactly why, as the pistol bobs around ever so slightly between his apple-shaped target, and his fellow soldier’s face.

The delivery of this video alone is cause for a bit of cynicism regarding its authenticity, but assuming these “trust shots” as they claim to be called are real, each of the soldiers manages to successfully shoot the apples from the other soldier’s heads, despite using what some might consider to be questionable form for such a high-stakes situation.

You may call this an incredible feat of precision shooting, while others will likely see it more as a completely unnecessary risk to human life, aside from the risk of hundreds of thousands of dollars’ (or more) worth of training that invariably goes into fielding a special operations soldier.  Impressive as this footage may be (if true), it seems unlikely that you’ll see American special operations forces following suit anytime soon, seeing as our service members, by and large, try not to risk one another’s lives in training for nothing more than some publicity.

The relief and surprise demonstrated by the apple-wearing soldiers after the shooting stops seems to be indication enough that they weren’t as confident about the results as one might hope, seeing as their lives were on the line.

Watch the video below and judge for yourself: is this an incredible demonstration of China’s special operations troops’ ability to handle their weapons, or is it a foolish way to demonstrate the Chinese military’s lack of concern for human life?

We’ll let you decide.



Image courtesy of Facebook