There is a lot of speculation about handgun ammunition performance in the gun community. Flame wars break out instantly on the internet by zealots on all sides of the debate any time the words “stopping power” enter the conversation.
Everybody has an opinion but few people have facts. And while examination of bullet wounds post-mortem is a very important consideration, reproducible experimentation would seem to be one of the key elements in developing better theories on which future ammunition development can be built.
One of the problems with testing is the difficulty and expense associated with shooting bullets into ballistic gelatin. Many people don’t have a place where they can regularly set up blocks of gel to shoot. Of those, few have the time and money to invest in regular testing.
Fortunately, the gentleman who runs the Pocket Guns & Gear website is contributing a lot of his time and money into testing handgun ammunition. Bruce, the site’s owner, has run more than 80 different ammo tests to date. He also has plans for a lot more.
The tests are all video recorded and published on his site and YouTube. He shoots the ammo through actual firearms (not test barrels) for velocity measurements to compare the actual speeds with the manufacturer’s published specs. Bruce then shoots the load into gelatin to measure penetration and bullet expansion.
While the tests may not be perfectly controlled for all possible variables as lab testing would be, the testing is a pretty significant addition to the body of knowledge the firearms community shares.