Ballistic gelatin test results : 9x18mm Makarov


Brass Fetcher
February 28, 2007, 08:49 PM
Here are the results of a gelatin test that I have just finished with an East German Makarov. This was done to thank THR for supporting my website in the past year. For whatever reason, about a month ago, my traffic about tripled - overnight and continues to this day. Sorry Mods, as this may be a duplicate post - but I think it might be looked at by Mak owners who were not looking at the original poll. Sorry if I am in error.

So... thank you, THR! Here is your test:

Cartridge : Various 9x18mm Makarov factory loads

Firearm : East German Makarov (3.83" barrel length)

Calibration : 11.6cm at 598 ft/sec (two BB average)

Shot 1 : Hornady 95gr XTP. Impacted at 952 ft/sec, penetrated to 7.3" (corrected). Average diameter was 0.579".

Shot 2 : Hornady 95gr XTP. Impacted at 927 ft/sec, penetrated to 7.7" (corrected). Average diameter was 0.563".

Shot 3 : Silver Bear 115gr JHP. Impacted at 993 ft/sec, penetrated to 12.6" (corrected). Average diameter was 0.513". Track outlined in purple in picture.

Shot 4 : Hornady 95gr XTP, with one drop of Loctite Superglue dried in the JHP cavity (to retard expansion, increase penetration). Impacted at 925 ft/sec, penetrated to 8.3" (corrected). Average diameter was 0.534".

Shot 5 : Sellier & Bellot 95gr FMJ. Impacted at 965 ft/sec, penetrated 16.0" in ballistic gelatin, 14" of polyester fiber. Bullet was recovered undeformed, 15 yards beyond the polyester fiber box - embedded in a ball of fiber, on top of the berm. No yawing was observed.

If you enjoyed reading about "Ballistic gelatin test results : 9x18mm Makarov" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
M2 Carbine
March 1, 2007, 12:51 AM
Very interesting.
Thanks for posting that information.

The S&B penetration is a surprise.

March 1, 2007, 12:54 AM
Great work! Nice results, too... I hold that if the round expands to a half-inch, it's a gem.
Now that FMJ - there's a round that could penetrate those fabled North Korean .30-Carbine-Proof coats.

March 1, 2007, 01:24 AM
now i know what my MAK can do!! Thanks!!

Buck Nekkid
March 1, 2007, 03:10 AM
I've loved the 9 x 18 Mak cartridge for years, but never really knew how good (or bad) it was. Here's my thanks for the info. The S&B seems like one very potent cartridge...guess what's in the mag of my CZ 83 9 X 18 ;)

March 1, 2007, 03:37 PM
Huh, the Silver Bear did much better than I was expecting. My new and improved calculator v10.46 says for those numbers, penetration should be around 12.2". So that probably wasn't a fluke, either. Too bad you couldn't test more of them.

March 1, 2007, 05:37 PM
I know there are a lot of arguments about how and whether gel testing results translates into real-world efficacy. Those arguments aside, I have heard the number 12 inches mentioned as minimum/desirable gel penetration in a self defense round. 7 seems a bit wimpy, especially since the bullet didn't have to go through any bone or gristle.

Honestly, these results make me want to carry the Silver Bear or the S&B if/when I carry a Makarov.

Brass Fetcher
March 1, 2007, 05:49 PM
@ antsi : mmmmm.... yeah. Not gonna touch that one! (Because it is a Flame war starter)

You may be surprised to know that the FMJ round was not the deepest-penetrating round of all the other calibers FMJ that I have tested. Example - the 7.62x25mm S&B FMJ went through 16.0" of gelatin, sideways from about the middle of the block until something like 12" depth, traveled through the bullet box >sideways< and then in a wad of polyester fiber, went ~ 2" in a sandbag. In anything more than a .380ACP (in my experience), FMJ is a penetration monster, whether it tumbles or not.

March 1, 2007, 07:15 PM
Check out the postings on the Makarov forum.:)

North Bender
March 1, 2007, 07:41 PM
I think the posts on Gunboards have been as appreciative as the ones here. We all like to see this caliber tested.

Thanks again brassfetcher.

March 1, 2007, 08:27 PM
Antsi, my girlfriend read the same thing in Cosmo. :neener:

JE, thanks again, a ton! :)

March 1, 2007, 08:34 PM
Thanks for doing the test! I'm going to go load my carry Mak with 115 gr. Silver Bears right now.

March 1, 2007, 08:35 PM
What do you mean by "7.3 (corrected)"? What does the "corrected" stand for?

Brass Fetcher
March 1, 2007, 08:54 PM
'Corrected' refers to the 'corrected penetration depth' - IE, a gelatin block is considered 'pretty good' if the calibration BB goes to 8.5cm at 590 ft/sec impact velocity, plus or minus 10% on the depth and 15 ft/sec on the velocity.

Unfortunately, the block used in this test was not 'pretty good', in that the calibration BB penetrated too deeply (indicating that the viscosity of the gelatin was lower than ideal block)... there are charts in the book Bullet Penetration that give the depths to subtract or add to a bullet fired into non-ideal gelatin and those are what I used to correct these figures.

If you look at the picture, the depths pictured do not reflect the depths in the write up, this is why. Always ask for calibration information on a gelatin test!


March 1, 2007, 09:42 PM
Regarding previous comments on the S&B FMJ: In a self-defense situation, I don't want my bullets flying through someone (or missing them) and into the unknown. With that much penetration, a round would go through several walls and possibly outside, which is not ideal in most indoor defense situations.

March 1, 2007, 10:42 PM
JE223: Thank you. Very informative.

March 3, 2007, 01:09 PM
I just received a few boxes of Fiocchi 9x18, 1100fps FMJ's, that I ordered from Cheaper than Dirt. I haven't shot any yet but I expect good things.

Great service from them too!

M2 Carbine
March 3, 2007, 01:31 PM
Marshall, unless Fiocchi recently increased the 9x18 preformance I seriously doubt it will do 1,100 fps.

I chronographed the Fiocchi 95 gr HP last year and it does 990 fps.
Good ammo though, except the hollowpoints won't expand.

March 3, 2007, 01:38 PM
let me know when your going to gel test 30 carbine. i have a fairly large collection of different ammo. i will donate some of each type you want to test.

Brass Fetcher
March 3, 2007, 02:17 PM
I'm not sure that this is being planned. In any case, I would need the gun and the ammunition.

March 3, 2007, 03:53 PM

Thanks for the info. 1100fps is what Fiocchi advertises, JE told me was averaging 1000fps with the FMJ, that's what I bought. It's about the same as the Winchester I have, just a different brand to try out and see how it performs.

North Bender
March 3, 2007, 06:42 PM
I ran 20 round of Fiocchi FMJ through a chronograph and they averaged 1040 fps. The ammo feels "hot" - stiff recoil, and comes with a pretty big bang.

March 3, 2007, 07:18 PM
North Bender,

Good to know someone's getting more FPS. Thanks.

March 3, 2007, 07:44 PM
In a self-defense situation, I don't want my bullets flying through someone (or missing them) and into the unknown.

If it won't go through some drywall, it won't do much a person. Even birdshot will go through several layers of the stuff. If you don't want to send bullets into the unknown, don't miss.

March 3, 2007, 08:47 PM
Marshall: that Winchester is actually Sellier & Bellot without the primer lacquer and the Winchester name stamped on the case. I happened to buy several boxes of each, and was amazed at how identical they looked, aside from the primer lacquer. Then I realized the plastic carriers were they same, as well as the shape and cut of the box. I looked on the back of the Winchester box, and sure enough - made in The Czech Republic.

March 3, 2007, 08:56 PM
Feanaro: Judging from the way the ammo behaved in this test, It's got enough power to go through a BG, several walls in your house and into your sleeping child or apartment neighbor. Most BG's aren't gonna be 16 inches thick, and there seemed to be plenty of power to it even after that much penetration. It simply seems like a foolish round for defense, due to the high risk of collateral damage.

March 3, 2007, 09:05 PM
Great thread - thanks to all y'all.... :D

March 3, 2007, 09:08 PM

Thanks, that's good to know too. :)

Brass Fetcher
March 3, 2007, 10:18 PM
Using FMJ ammunition for self-defense, except possibly for .22lr and similar rounds (from a pistol) is almost inconceivable to me. The Silver Bear 115gr would be my choice 365 days a year, out of the rounds that I tested in gelatin.

Brass Fetcher
March 9, 2007, 08:18 PM
I just found out about the .32NAA conversion barrel for the Makarov - has anyone ever tried one of these?

This cartridge is outstanding with a 85gr Hornady XTP out of a 2.75" barrel length. With the greater barrel length of the Makarov, the expansion should be greater and the penetration should be less than the 16" depth of the shorter barrel.

March 10, 2007, 01:43 AM
Using FMJ ammunition for self-defense, except possibly for .22lr and similar rounds (from a pistol) is almost inconceivable to me. The Silver Bear 115gr would be my choice 365 days a year, out of the rounds that I tested in gelatin.

JE223, thanks for sharing your test results.

Before I begin, please be assured that I am not in any way trying to be disrespectful or ingateful. I greatly appreciate what you are doing for the shooting community. In fact, if I could figure out how to send you some loot I will do so (hint hint) :D
Edit : Loot sent :)

OK, here goes .. I would only carry hollow-points if I could be sure that they would penetrate light cover, clothing, bone and then 12" of gelatin.

Until I or you or someone that can be considered trustworthy shows performance in a more realistic fashion, I will continue to use solids for defense.
I simply do not trust the claims of the ammo manufacturers.
And gel alone can't tell the whole story.

The trick is how to determine whether or not I (we) are getting sold-out by the big defensive ammunition makers?

One way, IMO, is to utilize a bone simulant along with clothed flesh simulant.
Here is the stuff that I have decided on for my own testing:

Synbone (Bone Simulant)
Found in online catalogue under Ballistics Testing Products
PRO114 Generic Bone Plate 6mm
250x250x6mm weight-300g
$24.91 each with a minimum order of $200.00
I'm going to go with 10pcs and shipping will be around $150.00


Corbins Sim-Test (Flesh Simulant) Ballistic Media
This stuff is probably more like 20% gelatin but it's right up my alley (read-easy to use and store) I'm not setup for regular gelatin.
ST-6 60lb carton is $129.00 with around $60 shipping.

(The skull is ~6mm and the chestplate about ~5.5mm thick)
slap some goopy stuff behind it (gel or simtest), slap a t-shirt or piece of leather over it and blast it :D

Not cheap and complicates the experiment, but mayhap, with care, it would improve upon our understanding.

What do you think?

Brass Fetcher
March 10, 2007, 11:13 AM
Well - first of all thank you for the donation! Please let me know if you would like your name listed under "donors" on my website front page.

The bone simulant. Wow! That is basically what I have been looking for for 2 years now! Thank you for the link... What I try to do with the testing is to test a wide range of bullets (from common barrel lengths, using commonly available ammo) - so that the results are as applicable as possible to as many shooters as possible. That is why the bare gelatin test predominates the results - not that I think that most attackers will strip down to their bare chest, whatever climate they are in, before attacking ... it's mainly a matter of time/money/cool storage on hand.

But when there is a barrier test that would be in the interest of lots of shooters (as bone most definately would), then I try to setup that as a barrier material on a gelatin test. Like the car door vs. shotgun and Glaser Safety Slug v. Interior wall, etc. I will contact them later today regarding some questions I have on their bone 'flat plate'.

The trick is how to determine whether or not I (we) are getting sold-out by the big defensive ammunition makers?

I wouldn't say there is any deception, at least in the mainstream ammo companies. I also tell people to stay away from the 'Mega Death Shock' ammo, as much as possible - because many of those claims are questionable. I've talked to many people, informally, from some of the big ammo makers - I gathered that all of them were as passionate about providing good ammunition for civilian self-defense, as you and I probably are.

If you enjoyed reading about "Ballistic gelatin test results : 9x18mm Makarov" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!