Preliminary Estimate for Injury Criterion to Immediate Incapacitation by Projectile Penetration


  1. Bourget, D.
  2. Dumas, S.
  3. Bouamoul, A.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Valcartier, Valcartier QUE (CAN)
Immediate incapacitation is part of the requirements for many small arms acquisition programs around the world. The characterisation of the lethality of bullets and fragments against the protected human body can be performed using ballistic gelatine. A lethality criterion, based on the wound profile, is then applied to the wound track left by the penetrating projectile. The criterion includes the size of the cavity as well as the depth at which different features of the cavity occur. Ballistic gelatine (e.g. 10% at 4ºC and 20% at 10ºC) is a homogenous material that is calibrated to simulate human skeletal muscle but the actual target, that is, a protected human being, is composed of a variety of tissues with different mechanical properties. The questions then arise: How representative of the real target is ballistic gelatine and how does the observed depth of penetration in ballistic gelatine correspond to the actual depth of penetration in a real target? Assuming that immediate incapacitation occurs if a projectile hits the spine with sufficient energy to affect the spinal cord, how deep should a projectile penetrates a block of gelatine to be representative of a spinal impact on a real target? To answer those questions, we compared ballistic gelatine (10% and 20%) and the actual target, i.e. a human torso, using the ComputerMan software. Based on anthropometric data, the human torso model size was changed and the depth of penetration of a typical fragment at varying veloc
Report Number
DRDC-VALCARTIER-SL-2012-268 — Scientific Literature
Date of publication
01 Sep 2012
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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