How to Shotgun a Beer

Shotgunning a beer is usually something you learn at a college party. In case you missed out on learning this party trick, we’ll break down the best way to shotgun a beer in nine easy steps. 

We’ll also suggest different tools you can use to make the process easier and safer. 

What Does Shotgunning a Beer Mean?

Shotgunning is another word for chugging, though it’s a specific kind of chugging. The point of it is to get as much alcohol down your throat in as little time as possible. 

Shotgunning is done by puncturing a hole in the side of the can and putting your mouth over the hole. 

While it doesn’t sound complicated, there is a science to the process.

How Does Shotgunning Work?

Basically, having a hole in the bottom of the can allows air to go into the can before it’s opened. When you open the can, the air pushes the beer down, letting it flow smoother and faster into your mouth. 

Gravity pushes the beer down faster than in the usual way of drinking. 

How to Shotgun a Beer in Nine Steps

Let’s break down this process into some easy-to-follow steps.

1. Pick Your Beer

Number one mistake would be to think that you can shotgun any beer. It has to be a light beer without too much flavor. Take a minute to imagine trying to gulp down a beer with intense flavors or alcohol content. 

Are your eyes watering just thinking about it? Yeah, us too. 

2. Pick Your Location

There’s a proper time and place to attempt shotgunning a beer. Hanging outdoors with friends? Perfect. A fancy restaurant with family? Maybe not. 

It’s going to be messy, so you want plenty of open space where there are few valuables.  

3. Hold the Beer Properly

Hold the beer horizontally. Having it horizontal will move the air bubble within the can. The goal is to puncture the bubble to waste less beer. 

4. Make a Hole

Make the hole using a sharp tool around an inch from the bottom. Do it on the side wherethe metal is at its thinnest. Make sure you can feel the air bubble at the spot you want to puncture. 

If you’re right-handed, punch a hole on the left side, and vice versa if you’re left-handed.

It’s normal to have beer and foam shoot out from the hole. 

5. Open the Hole

Be careful when making the hole. You need the hole to be small enough for your mouth to completely cover it, but big enough to get a good amount of beer out at a decent speed. 

Try to bend the metal back into the can so that you can minimize any potential lip cutting. 

6. Set-Up

While still being horizontal, pick up the can and bring it to your mouth. Make sure to cover the hole, so there are no spills. 

Tilt your head back so the can is vertical, and hold your hand on the can tab. 

7. Crack Open the Beer

You might be thinking, “Why do I need to open the can from the top if I have a hole in the side?”

Fair question. Opening the top lets the air out and prevents a vacuum from happening, meaning beer flows fast.

8. Down the Beer

Exhale out your nose and open your throat. Tilt your head back to help ease the flow of liquid down your throat. This is better than trying to suck at the can and physically chugging. 

Make sure not to let your mouth get too full of beer before swallowing. 

9. Burp

For the first few seconds, you are going to feel like a hero, like you truly accomplished something great. Then, your body is going to realize what you’ve done, and you’re going to feel awful.

You will have incredible pressure in your chest that can only be relieved by burping

Different Tools to Puncture a Beer Can

There are different ways you can poke a hole in a can, and some are safer than others. 


We don’t recommend this method since it can lead to a lot of injuries and ruined beer.

Technically it can be done by locating the air bubble in the can and using a fingernail to pierce the can. You need a strong fingernail and a lot of force. 

Honestly, it’s not worth it, especially considering how likely it is that you’ll hurt yourself.


This is another method that you can technically do, but we don’t recommend it. Dentistry is expensive, and ruining your teeth for the sake of shotgunning just isn’t worth it. 


This is pretty self-explanatory; a knife is the perfect hole puncturing tool. Of course, choose a reasonable size knife and make sure you have a good grip on it. You don’t want to be the one getting punctured. 


These will do in a pinch, though it could potentially ruin your keys. Use them like you would a knife, with more force. 

Ballpoint Pen

This is yet another simple tool that’s great for stabbing things. Make sure the point isn’t out, or your beer may taste inky. 

Bear Claw

The bear claw tool was designed with shotgunning in mind. It’s perfect for punching holes in cans (but not your pockets as you carry it around). It’s also a bottle opener, so you’re getting two items for the price of one. 

Can You Shotgun a Beer Bottle?

This is up to debate. Some will say you can only shotgun a can and that everything else doesn’t count. 

In theory, you can shotgun a beer bottle. It’s called strawpedoing. You fold a flexible straw over the lip of the bottle. This lets air into the bottle and beer out. Then you chug!

Is This Party Trick Dangerous?

Too much of anything can be dangerous. 

Shotgunning every once in a while isn’t bad, but it’s important to remember that it will make you drunk quicker because the alcohol is getting into your body faster. 

So shotgun responsibly, and you’ll be good.

There is also the chance of cutting yourself on the can or any sharp object you use to puncture the can with. We already covered all the ways to prevent that, which is to be very careful around any and all sharp objects. 

Let’s Get Shotgunning!

All right, you’re ready. You have your step-by-step guide, tool options, and have been reasonably warned of the consequences. It’s time to shotgun a beer!

If you don’t get it on your first try, don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s a skill that needs to be developed; just keep trying. 

Remember, the most important thing is to have fun doing it! 



How to Shotgun a Beer, as Explained by College Bros | Thrillist

How to make yourself burp: 7 ways to force a belch | Medical News Today

The Art And Craft And Idiocy Of Shotgunning A Beer | VinePair

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