Experimental Studies of Terminal Performance of Lead-free Pistol Bullets in Ballistic Gelatin using High Speed Video

  • Elijah Courtney
  • Amy Courtney, PhD
  • Lubov Andrusiv, PhD
  • Michael Courtney, PhD
Keywords: lead-free, pistol bullets, incapacitation probability, wound channel, crushing force, ballistic gelatin


Quantifying terminal performance may provide clues when reconstructing some shooting events, and it also informs potential ammunition selection for duty use. Due to lead hazards, lead-free ammunition is coming into wider use. This paper uses the established technique of studying bullet impacts in ballistic gelatin to characterize the terminal performance of eight commercial lead-free handgun bullets for comparison with earlier analysis of jacketed lead bullets. Peak crushing force of the bullet and energy loss in calibrated ballistic gelatin are quantified using high speed video. The temporary stretch cavities and permanent wound cavities are also characterized.
Investigative Articles