Ballistics Testing – Round One


    After obtaining my Concealed Carry Permit, I was on the lookout for a good performing hollow point to use as my self defense ammo in my Glock 19 and Keltec P11. After a bit of research on the net and some help from an online buddy, I had a few rounds in mind that I wanted to test. All these tests were 9mm. Our test rig was nothing fancy. We used various books soaked over night in water. While this may not simulate human flesh exactly, it does give a soft media in which we can see how the different rounds perform, how deep each would penetrate, and how they differ in deformation as they impact the media.

Our test procedure consisted of setting up the wet books, firing a shot into them, then inspecting them layer by layer. Repositioning them, and firing the next type of round into them. We could get a good 4 shots per stack of books.

The tests told us alot. Some things we suspected, some we were very surprised by.Here are the test results:Winchester – White Box – 124gr. FMJ = 9.5″Winchester – White Box – 147gr. HP = 10+”Federal – HST – 147gr. HP = 7.5″Speer Gold Dot 124gr. HP = 7.25″

Click here for Larger Image The round I was most interested in was the Federal HST, since I had been hearing so many good reports on it. It definitely lived up to its reputation. It still had good penetration for a HP, but still less than the FMJ, making it suitable for self defense. The Federal also had the largest spread pattern, yet seemed to stay intact, and stay straight and true. We noticed that all the HP rounds seemed to stop with a near straight forward orientation. The FMJ rounds tended to rotate off axis and stop at about a 80 degree angle.

If you have ever seen a round being fired into ballistics gel, you would have noticed that the round makes a small hole a few inches into the gel, then there is a sort of shockwave expansion in the middle, then it tapers back off to a smaller hole toward the back. We observed this exact same effect with the wet books. The FMJ round made a smaller, more even hole throughout the media. The HP rounds, especially the Federal HST, created the shockwave effect in the center of the media. This, as you can imagine, caused much more damage, and made pulp out of the wet books.

The next test we did was comparing different pistols to one another. We were worried that the shorter barreled pistols would not have the penetration the other long pistols had. The pistols tested were the Berretta 92FS, Glock 19, Glock 26, and KelTec P-11. We were pleasantly surprised to see that all the pistols had almost the exact same penetration. The next test was to determine if there was any difference when shooting from a distance of about 6 feet, to a distance of over 21 feet. Again, we were pleasantly surprised to see very little difference.
In conclusion, I will be carrying the Federal HST 147gr. HP rounds as my self defense choice.We learned that the length of the pistol shouldnt matter when it comes to stopping power. It can effect accuracy, but if you hit your mark, you will be doing about the same amount of damage.