How to Shotgun a Beer Faster

by Dane Wilson | Last Updated: March 22, 2022

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There are some days where you don’t feel like sipping beer in the garden with your friends. Maybe you want to chug as much beer as possible. You may have seen others shotgunning cans of beer within seconds and wondered, “How can I do that?” Shotgunning is a skill, one that takes a little practice to master. But once you get the basics down, you will need to know how to shotgun a beer faster—that means consuming a can in less than 10 seconds.

Yes, you are capable of such a feat. Let’s learn how.

Table of Contents

What Does Shotgunning a Beer Mean?

Let’s begin from the top. What is shotgunning a beer? The shotgun is when you puncture the beer can and use the pressure from the can to shoot the beer into your mouth. You then chug it and move on.

Shotgunning beers is a drinking game and a method of quick beer consumption to get drunk faster. Because, you know, the faster you consume beer, the faster alcohol gets through your system.

Here is a fun fact: While there are many stories about who was the first to shotgun a beer, it was first seen on the big screen in 1985 in “The Sure Thing.” John Cusack showed everyone how shotgunning a beer is supposed to be done.

Here is the scene:

How to Shotgun a Beer Faster

Whatever your reason is for wanting to learn how to shotgun a beer or several, you have come to the right place. Here are all the steps to shotgunning a beer, including some extra tips to help you do it faster. Remember, the people who shotgun beer within seconds have had practice. It may take you a few times to learn how to chug beer this way, but once you get down the following steps, shotgunning beers fast will be easier than ever.

1. Select The Right Kind of Beer

Some people will pick any can of beer and stab it. Don’t be like one of those people. Choose the right kind of beer for shotgunning.

First, you should come to terms with the fact that when you shotgun a beer, you are not concerned with how good it tastes. Shotgunning forces you to chug the beer, so you are not going to taste much of it. For that reason, select a lighter beer, one that you have no trouble chugging.

In other words, you should not choose that super strong DIPA you fell in love with or that rich stout you discovered. No, go with a pale lager, like Budweiser. They simply go down easier and aren’t wasted if you happen to spill it everywhere by accident.

Here is a quick list of good chugging beers:

  • Bud Light
  • Coors Light
  • Busch
  • Rolling Rock
  • Miller Lite
  • Pabst Blue Ribbon

2. Choose Your Location

Although you can shotgun a beer fast and without much mess, there is still the chance that it ends up spraying all over the place. Choose a location with this in mind. You do not want to try shotgunning a beer in front of a priceless work of art, for example.

The best spot for shotgunning a beer is outside. But if you absolutely must do it indoors, stand in the bathtub or shower. Optionally, try to shotgun over the kitchen sink.

3. The Position For The Puncture

Now that you have your beer and your position, let’s talk about where you puncture the beer can. Proper preparation and placement is a must. So, to begin, place the beer can on its side on a flat surface, such as the kitchen counter. More experienced people may puncture the can while holding it in one hand.

The best place to puncture the beer can is at the curve of the can near the base (around 1 in/2.5 cm from the bottom, if you like numbers). To do this: lay the can horizontally. You are positioning the can on its side so that the air bubble moves to where you puncture it. When you stab the can, less beer will be wasted.

4. Put a Dent in It

Before stabbing the can with a sharp object, dent it. Position your thumb (or something heavy to dent the can) about 1 inch from the base of the can. At the base, the metal is thicker, so you would have a tough time making a mark.

Feel the can with your thumb, searching for the air bubble that is inside. You should be able to tell the difference between liquid and air. Once you find the air, press down on the metal to make the dent. Now, you will have no trouble aiming to make the puncture.

5. Make Your Mark

The dent is where you are going to open a hole, which you will be drinking from. Which weapon—read: tool—will you select? Any object with a pointy end is going to do the job. Knives, scissors, keys, corkscrews, or even nifty shotgunning tools all work well.

Position the pointy end against the dent. Push down through the metal as quickly as possible. Do not stab too enthusiastically, as you could puncture both sides of the beer can and make a mess. Go shallow then back out.

Before removing your pointy object from the can, use it to open the hole a little wider. Optionally, you can use your thumb. Make a hole that is large enough to drink from. Just be careful with the edges of the aluminum can—it can cut you back.

For the same reason, you should never bite into the beer can. Not unless you want to explain that to an ER surgeon.

6. Drink Up!

Time to chug, chug, chug. Lift the can to your mouth carefully. Keep it horizontal until you are ready to start drinking. Otherwise, the beer is going to slosh out of the hole and down your shirt. Before chugging, take a deep breath then seal your lips over the hole. Don’t leave a gap for the sake of your clothing.

Tip your head back slowly, so the can goes vertical. At this point, reach up for the tab. If you are struggling with the position of your mouth or with reaching the tab, you can angle your head slightly. Just keep that seal!

Once you are comfortable, open the tab. Do not drink any beer until you have opened the tab. This introduces air and will help the beer flow more smoothly down your throat.

Avoid sucking the beer, unless you are trying to speed through the beverage. Swallow and breathe as you chug.

Check out this fun tutorial that shows you how to shotgun a beer with a key (you see the wrong way to do a shotgun, too):

And this video offers 5 different shotgunning techniques for you to try:

Shotgun and Drink Responsibly

Keep in mind that shotgunning is not a competition. You are supposed to enjoy yourself and not go overboard. Since you are drinking beer faster than usual, it is going to catch up to you quickly as well. The alcohol is hitting your bloodstream faster than if you sipped it, so if you tend to get drunk with a few beers, keep this in mind and set a limit for yourself.

Once you begin to feel tipsy, stop. Do not let anyone peer pressure you into more. Get your buzz and enjoy your time.

Pull The Trigger and Chug!

Now that you know how to shotgun a beer fast, why not show off to your friends? Or you can keep this wisdom to yourself and upset the in-laws during the holidays. Knowing how to properly position the beer and how to handle the can once it has been punctured are going to level up your shotgunning game. Soon, you will be shotgunning like a pro and chugging beers faster than ever.

Don’t forget to recycle those aluminum cans!

FAQs About Shotgunning Beer

What is the proper way to shotgun a beer?

The proper way to shotgun a beer is to pierce the can about 1-inch from the base. Lift the beer to your mouth then pull the tab. That will allow for airflow, making the beer flow. Chug the beer from the can by swallowing normally.

How fast can the average person shotgun a beer?

Shotgunning a beer should take less than 10 seconds in total, once you have mastered the technique. College students have been clocked in at 3-5 seconds.

How fast should you shotgun a beer?

Once you have punctured the beer can and lifted it to your mouth, the speed that the beer moves is determined by airflow through the tab’s hole. If you decide to create some suction, the beer will flow a little faster. Overall, shotgunning a beer should take between 4-10 seconds, depending on how proficient you are at the technique.

How do you make chugging beer easier?

Chugging beer is a technique that requires practice. Opening the back of the throat, tipping the head back, and relaxing through the chug are all ways to make chugging beer easier. Shotgunning beer is an easy method of chugging beer, as is strawpedoing or tornadoing beer.