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Homemade Ballistics Gel – How to Do It

How to Make Ballistic Gel

Determining how your ammo penetrates surfaces will help you simulate the effects of your bullets on muscle tissue. One way to accurately test this is by using a ballistic gel. On a side note, make sure that the site constitutes acceptance of shooting practice before you start firing your rounds. 

Get ready to learn how to make your own ballistics gel for your shooting practice!

1. Prepare the Ingredients 

Myth busters made their ballistic gel on their show, and you can recreate the same using ingredients available at home. The main ingredients you will need for this process are gelatin, water, plastic container, non-stick cooking spray, cooking pot, and mold (ideally 6” x 6” x 16”).

You will need a gallon of water for every 13 oz. of gel powder. Use a permanent marker to create a consistent medium when you prepare your homemade ballistic gel. This will also save time instead of measuring your water’s volume every time you fill the vessel.

2. Mix Them Up and Chill

Heat some tap water on your pot. Try to get it warm enough to dissolve your powder. Avoid boiling your water or using cold water when you stir the powder in. Slowly pour the gelatin powder into the warm water. 

Do this while stirring constantly until melted. Once the mixture is complete, use your hands to break the smaller chunks that may have formed. The light foam and bubbles pop on their own as you knead the mixture with your hands. Chill the mix in the fridge until it solidifies.

Mix Them Up and Chill

3. Melt Down the Gelatin

Retrieve the stock pot from the refrigerator and place it in a hot water bath. Continuously stir the mix to melt the mold quicker. Doing this releases any trapped air bubbles. This can also aid in ensuring the correct density for your block.

4. Mold and Chill

Select a container where the target form of your ballistics gel is patterned—preferably ones with a flat surface to help in keeping ballistic gelatin still. Add cinnamon oil or spray any non-stick coating you prefer on the sides of the container. Doing this step prevents gelatin blocks from tearing once extracted. 

Then, cover it with plastic wrap. This will help prevent evaporation in your mixture. Return the gel to the fridge and chill. If your mold exceeds the ideal size, you can always cut it with a large kitchen knife. This will yield two blocks of gelatin to shoot your loads on

Mold and Chill

5. Test Your Product 

Once it begins to cool from its liquid form, your gel blocks are finally fully formed. Extract your homemade ballistic gel from the container to test it out. A finished gel will have the same consistency as soft tissue. This makes it a great alternative to a standardized medium. 

Your block will liquefy in the heat, so try to keep it chilled. You can test your loads by shooting through the ballistics gel. The penetration of the bullet mimics that of actual tissue damage. 

If you are using powerful firearms, place a cement block behind your ballistic gel. This will prevent bullet penetration, so the bullet fragments remain suspended in the gel. You may use steel BB instead if you are planning to use the gel for target practice.

FAQS

No, you cannot make a ballistic gel using cornstarch. Some have tried to recreate ballistic gels using cornstarch, but to no avail. When you add water with cornstarch and follow the same process, cornstarch fails to exhibit the same tissue-like consistency and flexibility of gelatin. Bullets do not penetrate; instead, they explode on impact.

No, the homemade ballistic gel does not improve bullet penetration and performance. It is only used to measure the performance of your ammunition when fired from your gun. The gelatin imitates the lethality of the bullet to the flesh once it penetrates [1]. It also helps shooters identify which gun-ammo combination to use during survival situations.

Final Thoughts on Making Ballistic Gels

Shooting ballistic gels is a great method to determine the viability of your ammunition. It can also give a clear insight into how your bullets pierce through the flesh when used in real life. This can aid in identifying which gun-ammo tandem would be ideal for protection and survival.

Making homemade ballistic gels is a cheaper alternative than standard medium because the ingredients you need are readily available at home. There are also not many differences in ammunition penetrability between them. Aside from that, homemade ballistic gels can also be recycled by extracting the suspended bullet, reheating all remaining pieces, and then remolding the block.

References:

  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00414-018-1831-7
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