Since ballistic gelatin mimics the properties of muscle tissue, it is the preferred medium for comparing the terminal performance of different expanding ammunition, such as hollow point and soft point bullets. These bullets use the hydraulic pressure of the tissue or gelatin to expand in diameter, limiting penetration and increasing the tissue damage along their path. While the Hague Convention restricts the use of such ammunition in warfare, it is commonly used by police and civilians in defensive weapons, as well as police sniper and hostage-rescue teams, where rapid disabling of the target and minimal risk of overpenetration are required to reduce collateral damage.
Bullets intended for hunting are also commonly tested in ballistic gelatin. A bullet intended for use hunting small vermin, such as prairie dogs, for example, needs to expand very quickly to have an effect before it exits the target, and must perform at higher velocities due to the use of lighter bullets in the cartridges. The same fast-expanding bullet used for prairie dogs would be considered inhumane for use on medium game animals like whitetail deer, where deeper penetration is needed to reach vital organs and assure a quick kill.
In television the MythBusters team sometimes uses ballistics gel to aid in busting myths, but not necessarily involving bullets, including the exploding implants myth, the deadly card throw, and the ceiling fan decapitation. They sometimes place real bones (from humans or pigs) or synthetic bones in the gel to simulate bone breaks as well.
The US television program Deadliest Warrior is also known to use ballistics gel, often creating entire human torsos, complete with simulated bones and blood packs for organs and intestines cast inside the gel. Various weapons are then tested on the gel torso to simulate and record the destructive effects the weapons would have on a real human body.
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