AmmoToGo Plays with Jello… For Science

The team over at ran a ballistic test on their lineup of hollow point ammunition, which included almost 100 different loads, covering four of the most popular calibers – 9mm, .45 ACP, .40 S&W, and .380 Auto. They then analyzed and compared the data against the set of performance standards used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This helped them measure variables such as penetration depth, retained weight, and the expansion capabilities for each hollow point projectile.

By analyzing the data from the test you can get a better idea of what ammo you may want to carry.

If you want to see the full write up on the project visit:

Testing Standards

Ballistic gel test

Their ballistic test was structured around the FBI test protocol used by law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S. According to the FBI, the results are an assessment of a bullet’s ability to inflict effective wounds after defeating various intervening obstacles commonly present in law enforcement shootings.

They fired each round from a distance of 10 feet through a clothing barrier before impacting ballistic gelatin, simulating human tissue. The muzzle velocity and muzzle energy was also measured for each round with the use of a ballistic chronograph.  

While these guidelines are in no way an absolute set of rules for testing self defense ammo, they provide a great backbone to build off of.

Best Fit for FBI Standards


.380 Auto

.380 ACP ballistic test

Federal HST 99 Grain JHP Ammo

These rounds by Federal met the FBI’s standards for performance with excellent expansion for the .380 caliber, very consistent penetration and 100% weight retention.



9mm ballistic test

Hornady Critical Defense 115 Grain HP Ammo

Hornady’s 115gr. Critical Defense line met all of the FBI requirements for testing. Each round had great expansion, achieving an average expanded diameter of 1.5x the original diameter. You also see the consistent penetration coupled with excellent weight retention.



45ACP ballistic test

Remington Gold Saber 185 Grain JHP Ammo

These lead mushrooms from Remington not only look beautiful, but penetrate within the ideal FBI standard of 12-18 inches and had great weight retention.



40S&W ballistic test

Federal Premium HST 180 Grain JHP Ammo

Federal HST hollow point made the list again with these 180 grain .40 caliber rounds. Meeting the FBI’s standard for ideal expansion and consistent penetration, these rounds pass their test.



Whether you’re just getting into shooting or if you’ve been around firearms your entire life, everyone will be able take away some new and useful information from the extensive test. These guys definitely went through some steps to bring you this great, free source of information.

Keith Finch
Keith is the former Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. He got told there was a mountain of other things that needed doing, so he does those now and writes here when he can. A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. Teaching since 2009, he covers local concealed carry courses, intermediate and advanced rifle courses, handgun, red dot handgun, bullpups, AKs, and home defense courses for civilians, military client requests, and law enforcement client requests.