It's time to look at the real-world performance of 9mm and .40 S and W rounds in terms of wound ballistics. However, I would instead suggest the .32 H&R Magnum LSWC, which offers adequate penetration and significantly less recoil than any .327 Magnum load. Today on Kentucky Ballistics we perform a ballistic gel test with 9mm, 357 Sig, 10mm and 5.7x28mm. Obviously, the FBI gel block is made to the FBI ballistics gel standards, but it uses synthetic gelatin, so there’s no need to keep it chilled–and also it doesn’t smell, which is pretty cool. Most law enforcement agencies that have a minimum standard for duty ammo tend to prioritize penetration over expansion, and consistent expansion is often considered more important than a specific target minimum diameter. 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. Bullets that expand or tumble will leave a bigger wound cavity than bullets that fail to expand. Hornady has announced a Critical Defense load for .327 Magnum, but as of this writing it is not yet available. Then the 9mm announcement was made. With the 4.3-inch barrel of the KelTec PMR30, the .22 Magnum loads gained an additional 135 fps on average. Steve and Alvin Clark were great hosts at Clarks brothers in Warrenton VA. Sportsmans Guide Tour Stop Warrenton VA Part 2 Go to My PATREON PAGE. Adequate penetration: The bullet must have the ability to penetrate whatever is between the muzzle and those vital organs in order to disrupt their function — for non-uniformed civilians, this typically includes clothing, tissue, and bone. 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. The deformed and expanded bullets are not perfectly round, so we measured them at their widest point. Penetration has to be just right after passing through a barrier to meet the FBI’s strict standards. 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. If that kind of data analysis gets you excited, then go for it. 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. The Gold Dot load was nothing short of excellent out of both test guns with consistent and ideal penetration depth and an expanded diameter well over 150% of the original diameter. If the self-defense load you use is listed here, and you’re not confident in the results you’re seeing, just pick another one that performed at a level you’re more comfortable with. 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. 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 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. * - indicates bullets that failed to retain an average of at least 85% of their initial weight. Looking at the accompanying photos will clearly show whether the weight retention failure was due to fragmentation or core-jacket separation. Like the other .32 cartridges, there aren’t many factory self-defense loads being produced for .327 Magnum. 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. 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). The charts below show the average penetration depth of each five shot trial, and the graph displays a representation of each individual shot. I’m not saying that makes the Hornady load a bad choice necessarily, but it’s a reminder that while gel testing is valuable, any single test only tells part of the story. Compared to the rimfire and semi-auto pocket pistol calibers, all of the .32 Long loads demonstrated respectable penetration. Comparisons. 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. The first condition depends on the person operating the gun. That brings our total number of loads tested across all pistol calibers to 204 with more to come in the future!Update 8/8/2018: The 130 gr Federal HST +P load has now been added to our .38 Special results. Find those gel test on the pages below: Looking at all of this data, it’s tempting to try to sift through the numbers and determine once and for all which load is The One Bullet To Rule Them All. 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″. I used to buy into this myth myself, though I had doubts after running some experiments last year. Our test gun for .25 ACP was a Beretta 950 BS Jetfire with a 2.4-inch barrel. The three revolver calibers we tested all belong to the .32 caliber family of cartridges. Admittedly, none of us here on the Lucky Gunner team are experts in the science of wound ballistics — there is more that goes into professional ballistic gel analysis than measuring penetration and expansion. The expansion deforms the bullet and increases its diameter which creates a larger and more effective wound channel. AmmoLand Giveaway – 5,000 Rounds of CCI Blazer 9mm Ammo FREE! If you’re looking to test handgun ammo, this is where you wanna go. You can find the results from 20 different .380 ACP ammunition back in our very first gel testing article. In this video we are comparing Barnes TAC-XPD 9mm against Corbon Pow’RBall .45acp. But part of the rationale is based on the simple reality of three-dimensional anatomy. 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? 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. I was able to lay my hands on a small number of the controversial Winchester 9mm Black Talons. 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. Both guns are chambered for .327 Federal Magnum, which means they are also compatible with .32 S&W Long and .32 H&R Magnum. Find a container that is 12 (h) x 12 (w) … Ammunition used in today’s video. Most loads showed either good penetration but no expansion, or decent expansion with sub-par penetration. Once you find a load that works, whatever you decide, try to keep all of this in perspective. There are a lot of varying opinions on what to look for and what we can learn from ballistic gelatin testing, even among qualified experts. 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 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. 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. Clicking on the thumbnails of the expanded bullets will give you a magnified view. We shot the front with a .44 Mag and the back with a 9mm pistol. Ammunition selection for my task, tagging a … 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 Speer and Hornady ammo are specifically designed for self-defense use with short barrels. For this batch of testing, we followed the same basic protocol we’ve used in all of our tests (outlined in painstaking detail back in our first gel test article). As cool as that looks, it can be misleading. Because the vast majority of the tested loads exhibited 98% or better weight retention, we haven’t shown that data in our chart (although you can find that info on the individual product pages by clicking on the name of each load in the chart). The S&B FMJ load penetrated almost to the end of the second block of gel. Generally, for handgun ammunition, only the permanent wound cavity should be considered to have any reliable effect on the target. Both loads exhibited decent expansion with both test guns, but penetration suffered. 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. The Hydra-Shok was not bad (especially considering that bullet design tends to under-perform in other calibers). Instead, we’ve used an asterisk on the chart to indicate the few loads that retained less than 85% of their original weight on average. 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. 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. However, even that test showed inconsistent penetration from shot to shot. Gel Testing To test the defensive capabilities of 5.7 vs. 9mm, we shot five examples of each round into Clear Ballistics gel. 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