The evolution of strain energy density of outburst-prone coal is of great significance for analyzing the characteristics of energy accumulation and release in coal and rock masses. The dynamic mechanical properties of coal samples were tested by using the split Hopkinson pressure bar (SHPB) technique. Dynamic tensile mechanical properties, layered effect and density evolution characteristics of strain energy for coal were studied. The dynamic failure and crack propagation process of the specimen were recorded with a high-speed camera. In addition, a digital image correlation (DIC) method was used to analyze the evolution characteristics of the strain field during the deformation process of the specimen. The distribution characteristics of the particle fragments were statistically analyzed. The results show that the bedding orientation of the coal has a significant effect on its deformation and damage features. The presence of weak planes, microcracks and laminae causes its shear damage zone to behave more complex. If the crack plane coincides with the high shear stress plane, the developed shear cracks extend along the weak laminae and the shear damage zones in BD specimens are not symmetrically distributed. When the laminated surface of the coal sample is at a certain angle with the impact loading direction, the damage mode is coupled with tensile and shear damage. The percentage mass distribution of particles and fines increases with increasing bedding orientation. The effect of water on the dynamic damage of coal samples is significant. Based on the principle of pressure expansion of wing-shaped cracks, the formula for calculating the dynamic strength of water-saturated coal samples under dynamic loading was derived.