Substitutes for Ballistic Gel

Updated July 20, 2017

Ballistic gel is used to test firearms for their impact on human or animal tissue. The depth of a wound is measured on a ballistic gel torso, giving an indication of the depth of wound if fired on a real torso. Ballistic gel imitates the viscosity and density of animal tissue. It is commonly used to compare different firearms and types of bullets. Ballistic gel can be expensive, so those who enjoy shooting as a hobby, sometimes look for a cheaper alternative with similar properties.

Edible Gelatin

Gelatin used for cooking and baking, can be purchased from most grocery stores. If created to a high concentration, edible gelatin has similar properties to ballistic gel. Using edible gelatin may become expensive, depending on how much you need. Go to the jello, pudding or baking section of your grocery store and buy about 454grs. of unflavored gelatin.

Moulding Edible Gelatin

Add 227grs. of gelatin powder and 2 qts. of water to a glass or metal bowl. Mix until smooth. Leave the gelatin in the refrigerator for two hours to set. Put the bowl of gelatin onto a pan of boiling water. Position the bowl safely, so that it does not rock or tip over. Heat the gelatin until it melts. Stir throughout to remove air bubbles. Choose a gelatin mould. Coat your mould with cooking or vegetable oil to prevent the get from sticking. Pour the gelatin into your mould. Leave the gelatin in the refrigerator for 36 hours to set.

Soaked Telephone Books

Collect together as many used telephone books from friends and family as possible. Soak them in a trough for about an hour. Remove the books from the water and drain. Use the telephone books before they dry. Do not use dry telephone books, as they have physical properties less similar to ballistic gel and will split into pieces like confetti.

Soaked Newspaper

Collect as much newspaper as possible. Dip it into water. It will disintegrate if left in the water too long, so remove it quickly. Squeeze the excess water out of the newspaper and put it into a cardboard box. Keep wetting newspaper in this way until the box is full. Transport the box to the shooting range as quickly as possible as the water can start to soak through causing the box to droop and sag.

Side of Beef

Buy a side or beef or other meat from the local butcher. Hang it up by a hook onto a post. Since this is real animal tissue it is an accurate representation of gun performance. Ensure that bullets are removed if you plan to cook and eat the beef afterwards.

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