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"How To Make" Perfect Ballistics Gel

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How to Make Your Own Ballistic Gel


Ballistics labs within the FBI and law enforcement often use ballistics gel to test wound penetration. They use a special ordnance gelatin powder to make the gel to specific standards under carefully controlled conditions, and it is then calibrated for accuracy. We also wanted to use some ballistics gel for our Cheney Gunshot Experiment. We lacked the time or the facilities to prepare the gel to FBI standards, but we managed to whip up a reasonable homemade version in our kitchen.

We got our basic recipe and instructions by consulting a few different websites dealing with ballistics and firearms. Tactical Works has basic how to with clear photographs, and Firearms Tactical has more detailed step-by-step instructions. We used a simplified procedure from the SteyrScout.org site. Ideally we would have used gelatin powder made specifically for ballistics use, which is manufactured by Kind & Knox. However, the powder has to be special ordered in bulk and is expensive. We opted for two 8 oz. boxes of plain Knox gelatin off the supermarket shelf, which set us back about $8 each.

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