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Bullet Energy Transfer (Stopping Power)

  1. May 17, 2012 #1
    I'm working on setting up an experiment to test, calculate and compare the "stopping power" of various defensive handgun loads. This experiment assumes that "stopping power" is some sort of calculation like "power"/penetration distance, meaning that the higher the "power" and shorter the penetration distance the better.

    The experiment I'm looking at would be a column of ballistic gel on a scale or some such device that will chart the downward force throughout the experiment, and then fire the round straight down into the gel.

    So what I'm wondering is: first, does my concept of "stopping power" seem reasonable; second, what would you guys recommend as the best way to measure/calculate the "power" of the round; third, am I going about this all wrong or does the experiment setup seem reasonable?

  2. jcsd
  3. May 17, 2012 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    your stopping power looks like force.

    work = mass * acceleration * distance travelled

    so the bullet comes in with X amount of kinetic energy and loses it all travelling some distance Y so that the stopping force on it was mass* deceleration that occurred.
  4. May 17, 2012 #3
    Outstanding, thank you. This makes total sense.
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