The two most common ballistic gel formulas are 10% and 20%, but what is the difference?
This number actually refers to the density of the ballistic gel. The density of a ballistic gel is simply determined by firmest of the gel. The firmer the is, the denser the block will be after it sets in a mold. 10% and 20% are the standard densities and what is referred to by the percentage that is used to make a block of gel.
You might have heard of the FBI protocol when it comes to ballistics gel. The FBI ammunition testing protocol, first introduced after the 1986 Miami shootout, sets up the use of 10% ballistic gelatin. So if you are using 10% ballistic gel, you are essentially using the same gel that the FBI does for all of their testing in!
20% ballistics gel, however, is much harder. This is because this gel is made to NATO standards. NATO ballistic gelatin must be a lot harder and denser because it is tested using only full metal jacket bullets (FMJ). With higher gelatin to water ratio, 20% is much denser and firmer.
Since both densities of ballistic gel mimic the basic properties of muscle tissue, they are both commonly used to test out different ammunition. Bullets intend for hunting are also commonly tested as well. So which one should you be using?
The 10% FBI standard is the go-to for the FBI and other law enforcement agencies in testing terminal ballistics. This density is perfect for hobbyists, hunters, or any other types of shooters. For most practical uses, the 10% ballistic gel should suffice. If you plan to test out higher-powered weapons, especially with full metal jacket bullets, then you might want to opt for 20% ballistic gel. The end result will ultimately come down to personal preference on which one you want to use, although just keep in mind that the higher the percentage, the firmer the ballistics gel!
If you have ever considered purchasing some ballistics gel in order to properly test some of your ammunition, then you should not hesitate. Shooting into a big block of ballistic gel will not only give you some valuable information, but it is extremely fun as well! In the battle of 10% vs 20% ballistic gel, both have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, but either one will be a great choice!
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