On average, the .32 H&R Magnum loads clocked in at about 200 fps faster than the .32 Longs. Here’s an example from one of the 9mm Speer Gold Dot ammo tests. Penetration, however, was more than adequate with both test guns. For this reason, it is designated as the 9mm Luger by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition … That’s something we would like to test in the future, but we decided to stick with handgun barrels for this batch of testing. All Rights Reserved. cotton t-shirt material (approximately 5.25 ounces per yard, 48 threads per inch), cotton shirt material (approximately 3.5 ounces per yard, 80 threads per inch), cotton denim (approximately 14.4 ounces per yard, 50 threads per inch), 9mm: Smith & Wesson M&P9c, 3.5-inch barrel. The current FBI standard for defensive ammunition is that an effective defensive round should penetrate four layers of heavy clothing, then go through 18 to 24 inches of ballistics … These blocks are also completely transparent, so the test results can be observed without cutting into the block. Bullets fired from handguns do only one thing: poke little holes in stuff. The FBI announced it was planning to swap out the .40 S and W pistols and ammunition now used by its agents and replace them with 9mm pistols and ammo. The weight retention capabilities of a self defense round can help a … The size of the pistol also plays an important role. In addition, the convenience of working with the synthetic gelatin allows testing on a scale that is not practical with a substance as delicate and labor-intensive as traditional organic ordnance gelatin. You can find the results from 20 different .380 ACP ammunition back in our very first gel testing article. If you’re looking for more .380 ACP goodness, you might want to check out this article that discusses the history of the caliber and its merits as a self-defense cartridge. Ammunition selection for my task, tagging a … There is some overlap, but in general the 9mm Luger has heavier projectiles than the .380 ACP. The temporary wound cavity can be seen in the high speed video footage when the gel balloons and stretches as the bullet enters. 1. A ballistic gelatin block for usage in FBI testing is composed of porcine gelatin (mixed at 10% concentration), dissolved into water at 140 degrees Fahrenheit and refrigerated for 2 days before use. 223 Ar15 Vs 9mm Handgun Ballistics Gel Test And 3 Handgun Rack Reviews : Get best 223 Ar15 Vs 9mm Handgun Ballistics Gel Test And 3 Handgun Rack With Quality. Choice of caliber and bullet are not the most important aspects of successful self-defense. The 18 inch maximum penetration depth standard makes sense to most people — too much penetration and the bullet can go clean through the target (possibly changing direction slightly before exiting) and onward to harm an unintended target. The short version is that we fired five rounds of each load into blocks of Clear Ballistics synthetic gelatin from a distance of 10 feet. This increased velocity translated into better performance in gelatin as well. The Speer and Hornady ammo are specifically designed for self-defense use with short barrels. After some velocity pre-testing, we decided to use these guns anyway because we were seeing a velocity increase of at least 100 fps with the Cheetah (with our gel test loads, the average increase ended up being 129 fps). Awareness, proper mindset, marksmanship, and discernment of when to use your firearm are generally far more critical to your survival than choice of gear. 9mm Makarov (9x18mm) Ballistic Test Results. Medium recoil with no appreciable drop out to 25 yds with max 7” spread. We also feature Chris Murphy of Cobalt Firearms Training in Warrenton VA! In our tests, even with the small jump in barrel length between the S&W snubby and the Ruger Mark IV, there was significant improvement in bullet performance in the gel. No amount of bullet technology can make up for a miss. It is up to you to determine the compatibility of any ammo … Gel Testing To test the defensive capabilities of 5.7 vs. 9mm, we shot five examples of each round into Clear Ballistics gel. .25 ACP ammunition is known for its modest penetrating capability and our tests seemed to confirm that. That was not quite enough to get the Black Hills JHP to expand consistently, but penetration was good. But keep in mind, even though the gelatin tests can tell us a lot, there’s plenty of things they don’t tell us. Most loads showed either good penetration but no expansion, or decent expansion with sub-par penetration. Again, we could have included other calibers like .38 Special and .357 Magnum, but we’ve tested those previously. Today, we are happy to finally be able to share the results from eight more calibers that we recently tested. We’ve highlighted this range in the penetration graph on our chart so you can easily see which loads came close to this standard, but that shouldn’t be read as a pass/fail test. The centerfire semi-auto cartridges were .25 ACP, .32 ACP, and 9mm Makarov. We fired five rounds of each self-defense load using short-barreled pistols positioned 10 feet from a Clear Ballistics synthetic gelatin block with a four-layer heavy clothing barrier placed in front of it. There were several 9mm loads showing adequate penetration with a decent amount of expansion as well. If you’re looking for a JHP 9×18 Mak load that actually has any serious chance of expanding and penetrating, the only real contender on the market right now is Hornady Critical Defense. Any rounds that completely penetrated both blocks and continued into our backstop were simply marked as 32” in our data. Yet, when it comes to sports shooting or personal defense, both 10mm and 9mm have their advantages. Both guns are chambered for .327 Federal Magnum, which means they are also compatible with .32 S&W Long and .32 H&R Magnum. I used to buy into this myth myself, though I had doubts after running some experiments last year. AGC Teaches 2 young ladies and their father firearms proficiency at Clark Brothers Guns & Ammo in Warrenton, VA!! That brings our total number of loads tested across all pistol calibers to 204 with more to come in the future! The Hornady Critical Defense had decent penetration and modest expansion. It’s true that .22 Magnum does lose quite a bit of velocity in a short barrel compared to what it’s capable of in a rifle. Penetration has to be just right after passing through a barrier to meet the FBI’s strict standards. The two test guns we used for .22 LR were a Smith & Wesson 43C snub nose revolver with a 1.9-inch barrel and a Ruger Mark IV with a 4.4-inch barrel (rounded to 2″ and 4″ respectively on the chart below). After each test, we measured the penetration depth of every bullet, then extracted the bullets from the gel to measure their weight and expanded width. After we recovered them from the gel blocks, the expanded bullets were measured with digital calipers. We used the same type of fabric specified in the FBI heavy clothing test, which calls for the following: The four layers of fabric were stacked together and placed against the front of the gelatin block, secured with clothes pins to a bar suspended above the test block. It has a 1 7/8 inch barrel, typical snubby revolver length. On the other hand, some of the bullets had trouble with the heavy clothing barrier, leading to expansion failure and penetration that exceeded the 32″ maximum depth of our dual gel-block setup. This is not as much an issue with modern handgun ammunition as it was with older bullet designs, but a few of our test loads did show a tendency to fall apart in the gelatin. Most of us train to fire at the vital zone or “center mass” high in the chest area of the target, which is an area typically covered by clothing. On the other hand, the 12 inch minimum penetration standard can be more confusing. There are also quite a few of the old .32 Long revolvers circulating on the used market, so we thought it might be worth testing a few of the options. Update 8/8/2018: The 130 gr Federal HST +P load has now been added to our .38 Special results. Under-penetration was very uncommon for the .40 S&W loads. Since the very beginning of the series on pocket pistols that we started running on the Lounge (as well as YouTube) in late 2018, I have promising to add some of the smaller handgun calibers to our ballistic gelatin test project. Today on Kentucky Ballistics we perform a ballistic gel test with 9mm, 357 Sig, 10mm and 5.7x28mm. We were on the fence about including this load in our testing. These lines are typically ignored when measuring the penetration depth, and the farthest point of the bullet’s actual resting place is what we used for our measuring point. We suspect the inclusion of a rifle-length barrel would also have yielded some interesting results. We also took velocity readings of each load with a chronograph. We will add it to this chart after it’s officially released. If you click on the penetration section of the chart, you can see photographs of the actual bullets in the gelatin. Each block of gelatin has the same physical properties, so bullet A fired into block A can be compared to bullet B fired into block B. We also haven’t addressed accuracy or muzzle flash (which can be an issue in low light). At least, relative to the other kinds of ordnance mandkind has invented. The first shot of every test was filmed with a high speed camera, and we took high resolution photos of the gelatin blocks after the first and fifth shots of each load. All of the JHP loads tested had trouble penetrating at least some of the time. For most of these calibers, we used two test guns with different barrel lengths: one pocket pistol or snub nose revolver and one mid-size or compact test gun. Having said that, knowing your carry ammo works not only provides peace of mind, there’s a chance that choosing a solid defensive load could be the one factor that tips the scales in your favor in a fight for your life. These variables can cause bullets to deflect, fragment, or otherwise behave in unpredictable ways. We also want to know how well the bullets expand when they encounter a barrier of heavy clothing before entering the gel. © 2009-2020 LuckyGunner, LLC. On average, the 4.4-inch barrel yielded a velocity increase of 126 fps over the 1.9-inch snubby barrel. Our test gun for .25 ACP was a Beretta 950 BS Jetfire with a 2.4-inch barrel. * - indicates bullets that failed to retain an average of at least 85% of their initial weight. Back in the late 1980s, the FBI began to use blocks of gelatin made from a solution of water and a powdered form of miscellaneous animal parts — called “ordnance gelatin” or “ballistics gel” — as a substitute for living tissue for testing the effects of duty ammunition. Ordnance gelatin isn’t an exact simulation of living flesh. Bullets that expand or tumble will leave a bigger wound cavity than bullets that fail to expand. The current practice of the FBI is to use the 10 foot test for handgun ammo, and that’s what we’ve followed here. Compared to the rimfire and semi-auto pocket pistol calibers, all of the .32 Long loads demonstrated respectable penetration. This usually means the heart or the brain/spine. Hornady has announced a Critical Defense load for .327 Magnum, but as of this writing it is not yet available. We also have some additional thoughts about this particular load in this post.Update 7/11/2018: Test results for 11 different 10mm Auto loads are now live in a … However, if you’re going to put up with the excessive recoil and deafening report of this caliber in a snub nose revolver, I don’t think you should settle for “not bad” performance. Only a couple of loads managed to show decent numbers for both. In our tests, this load exhibited decent performance, but was not an improvement over the .380 ACP version. Consistent slight over-penetration (greater than 18″) is generally considered acceptable if the alternative is under-penetration, or inconsistent performance. The Fiocchi FMJ, on the other hand, demonstrated ideal penetration with the KelTec and even greater penetration with the Beretta (which may or may not be considered over penetration depending on who you ask). Here’s a little more on how and why we set up our test this way. Update 7/11/2018: Test results for 11 different 10mm Auto loads are now live in a new post here! The 9×19mm Parabellum or 9mm Parabellum or 9mm Luger, is a firearms cartridge that was designed by Georg Luger and introduced in 1902 by the German weapons manufacturer Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken (DWM) (German Weapons and Munitions Factory) for its Luger semi-automatic pistol. A four-layer heavy clothing barrier was placed in front of the gel for each test. But it should come as no surprise that this is not how gunfights usually go down. If, on the other hand, you just want to find a decent load for your carry gun, you probably don’t need to go through all of that trouble. But as for the second condition — how do we know if the ammo we have in our self-defense gun is up to the task? However, for owners of .32 H&R Magnum and .327 Federal Magnum revolvers, .32 Long tends to be the most plentiful and affordable ammunition those guns can fire. Update 8/16/2018: Test results for nine .357 Sig loads are now live. If you’re having a hard time picturing why this would affect the penetration depth necessary to reliably stop an attack, imagine you’ve just been ambushed by a 275 pound dude wielding a baseball bat. Using a .22 LR handgun for self-defense purposes is a controversial subject, and not one we’re going to cover here (check out this installment of the Pocket Pistol Series for more on that debate). 117 to be precise, and that’s just round one. Their standard requires duty ammo to penetrate between 12 inches and 18 inches in ballistic gelatin. Also consider that the heavy fabric barrier we used is just one type of test, and results could vary for rounds fired into bare gelatin or hard barriers. Bullet expansion is unlikely and if it does occur, penetration will almost certainly suffer. For every load tested, we fired five shots through the heavy clothing barrier into a fresh block of gelatin. These are examples of what’s been called “psychological stops” and they are common, but they can’t be relied upon. Purpose-made self-defense expanding JHP ammo for .22 Magnum is a new phenomenon, but it doesn’t seem that the ammo makers have achieved ideal performance yet. The heavy clothing test simulates a scenario in which the target is wearing four layers of clothing: two cotton shirts, fleece, and denim. Clicking on the thumbnails of the expanded bullets will give you a magnified view. Preparing the Mold Obtain a large plastic storage container. There are a few other basic JHP loads out there for this caliber that are similar to the Silver Bear load, and I would expect them to have the same kind of performance. You can find those results in this post. Only a few loads completely failed to expand on all five shots, and the fragmenting bullets were among the few to fall shy of the FBI’s 12-inch penetration depth minimum. The 85 gr American Eagle soft point and the Hydra Shok are somewhat lower recoil loads for this caliber that might be tempting options for anyone looking to make their snub nose slightly easier to handle. The difference in barrel length between these two guns is only about half the difference between the barrels used for the other calibers with multiple test guns. Update 1/17/2020: Added a post with test results for eight pocket pistol calibers covering 39 new loads: .22LR, .22 Mag, .25 ACP, .32 ACP, 9×18 Mak, .32 Long, .32 H&R Magnum, and .327 Federal Magnum. The core-jacket separation issue tends to be more common when bullets encounter hard barriers such as windshield glass or car doors, and a bullet’s weight retention in our heavy clothing tests can’t be taken as an indicator of how the bullet would perform against other barriers. We would have expected the FMJ load in this caliber to have the best potential for decent penetration, but it was still unimpressive overall, even compared to the JHP loads. Expansion through heavy clothing proved a bit inconsistent in some calibers. We went to great lengths to set up consistent testing conditions and follow the same procedure for every trial so we would achieve results that could be reliably compared to one another. Generally, for handgun ammunition, only the permanent wound cavity should be considered to have any reliable effect on the target. The charts below show the average penetration depth of each five shot trial, and the graph displays a representation of each individual shot. It must meet strict calibration criteria before being considered valid as a test medium in the FBI Protocol. Or you could look over the .380 ACP Pocket Pistol Roundup. Ballistics testing doesn’t tell us anything about the felt recoil of a load. Clear Ballistics is a synthetic gel and does not correlate with Organic gelatin like Vyse Ballistics gelatin. The gun is typical for its class with a short 2 3/4 inch barrel and a 6+1 capacity. Clothing can present a challenge for some hollow point loads because the opening in the bullet can become clogged with clothing material and fail to expand once it reaches living tissue. If the little hole doesn’t go through something that’s important for a human being’s body to remain upright and functioning, that person can still go about their business, which may include trying to hurt other people. You can click on the name of the load in the chart to see this footage, as well as additional photos and more detailed data. However, most armed citizens carry smaller guns with shorter barrels, which means the bullets they fire will fly at a lower velocity than what is advertised by the ammo manufacturer. It is a six-shot revolver, offering one more round than the 38 Special version. The goal of our project is to test as many loads as possible in order to determine how they compare to the FBI standard recommended penetration depth of 12-18″. We typically imagine a potential attacker will be directly in front of us, facing our direction with squared shoulders, much like the paper and cardboard targets we usually use. Expanding bullets lose velocity quickly and are more likely to stay inside the target, but a hollow point that fails to expand can maintain enough energy to exit the target and potentially harm bystanders. A bullet that can penetrate only 9 inches might lodge in the guy’s rib; unpleasant for him, but not the definitive fight-stopping shot we want. Anyone that’s shot both a 10mm and a 9mm round certainly understands that these two cartridges are different. I was able to lay my hands on a small number of the controversial Winchester 9mm Black Talons. I hope you enjoy the video and thanks for watching! When the mere sight of a gun in the hands of a would-be victim doesn’t do the trick, an assailant will frequently give up once fired upon, even if they haven’t sustained any wounds that would immediately force their bodies to shut down involuntarily. Fragmenting bullet designs are common in high velocity rifle loads, but not nearly as popular in handgun ammo, though more companies have recently begun to produce them. AmmoLand Giveaway – 5,000 Rounds of CCI Blazer 9mm Ammo FREE! Commercial hollow point technology is decades old, and there are dozens of different bullet designs on the market for all of the popular handgun calibers. Because non-law enforcement self-defense shootings are highly unlikely to involve firing through walls or cars, the bare gelatin and heavy clothing tests are most relevant for the average civilian gun owner. Regardless of whether it’s a good idea, if one were to go this route, ammo selection should be based on achieving as much penetration as possible. However, our velocity measurements alone suggest that the conventional wisdom is questionable. If you go to the store and pick up two random boxes; one a 9mm Luger and one a .380 Auto, you’re all but guaranteed to see that the 9mm packs a heavier bullet. As of now, .22 Magnum is still like most other pocket calibers: one must choose between good penetration with no expansion or mediocre penetration with good expansion. Since we knew many of the loads would penetrate deeper than 16”, we used two blocks placed end to end, giving us the ability to measure the depth of rounds that penetrated up to 32”. Results appear in the charts below for .380 ACP, 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. In case you missed it in the introduction, we didn’t include .38 Special and .357 Magnum in this batch of testing because we tested both of those calibers previously. To the contrary, we did all of this work on these tests so you don’t have to obsess over the ballistic performance aspect of your carry ammo. Because of the velocity decrease from the pistols, none of these three rounds expanded in any of our tests. Legal Disclaimer, Tip:click on product names above to see full test results, this installment of the Pocket Pistol Series, Our test of the .380 ACP Hornady Critical Defense, review of the Smith & Wesson Shield 380 EZ. Synthetic gelatin from the company Clear Ballistics is temperature stable up to 240° F, so the blocks can be shipped directly to the end user without melting or deforming. This failure to expand gives the bullet a lower probability of striking a vital area, and also leads to the potential for over-penetration. Full Throttle - BFT. Unlike penetration, there is no widely accepted minimum standard for expansion. But since he’s in mid-swing, the bullet doesn’t go straight into his chest — it enters his arm just above the elbow and now has to pass through half an arm, a shoulder, a rib cage, and a lung in order to reach the heart or spine. These new calibers fall into three categories below. The perfect 9mm self-defense load for sidearms, according to the FBI, must provide penetration depths of 12 inches minimum and 18 inches maximum when fired in 10% ballistic gel. Demonized by politicians and gun control groups when it came out in the early 90’s. Clear Ballistics Gel FBI Block. If the bullet needs to reach the middle of the chest cavity where the organs are, wouldn’t we need a penetration depth less than half of that in most cases? Conversely, ordnance gelatin is homogeneous, and free of internal obstructions. Of course, oftentimes violent attackers give up or flee before shots are actually fired. 9mm Ballistics Chart There is such a variety of pistols in public use that we will not determine what guns are compatible with which loads. Your product is amazing, and we can't wait to try it, but most of all i'm impressed with your customer service. So the study of handgun wound ballistics is not always clear cut, and any speculation we can make about how a given self-defense load will perform in the real world will be, at best, an educated guess. There may be some disagreement on the specifics of what to look for in these kind of tests, but you will find few advocates of ammo that penetrates significantly less than 12 inches, or expanding ammo that consistently fails to expand as designed. The test guns used were as follows: Penetration depth was measured from the face of the gelatin block to the farthest point of the bullet’s resting place. Test results using Clear Ballistics blocks tend to be relatively close to results using organic gelatin, at least for comparing the penetration and expansion properties of handgun bullets. Both loads exhibited decent expansion with both test guns, but penetration suffered. This is a 9mm Luger ballistics chart (external) generated using our ballistic trajectory calculator. The ballistic gelatin testing is an ongoing project and we’ve tested more than the calibers listed above, but they won’t all fit on one page without slowing down your browser. The Clear Ballistics blocks we used measure 6”x6”x16”. So aside from the marketing materials put out by the ammo manufacturers, how are we supposed to know which bullets are the most effective? 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