It started with a question. PDN Contributor Edgar Antillon of Guns for Everyone wondered—what would happen if we shoot a round into a gel block, but shoot through an intermediate barrier at an angle first?
This came about after Rob Pincus made the video Winchester Defender Intermediate Barrier Gel Demo, where he shot the intermediate barrier, a 2 x 6 piece of wood, straight on. The “angled shot” issue is a reasonable question because in a self-defense situation, we may not have a straight shot at the barrier between us and the bad guy—we may have to shoot the barrier at an angle. What happens to the bullet? Can we still make the shot we need to make?
Theoretically, the results should be relatively the same, because we’re shooting the Defender round from Winchester Ammunition and it is a bonded hollow-point that is designed to deal with such situations (shooting a target at an angle vs. straight on).
On the range, Rob and Edgar compare the straight on and angled shots. Checking the piece of wood first, the straight shot creates a small round hole in the wood. The angled shots create ovals—the round has to pass through more wood at an angle and more importantly, the pressure on the front of the hollow-point as it hits is on one side, not evenly distributed across the circumference of the round.
As the round enters the wood, one side becomes deformed—it might get popped open or it might get pushed in, depending on the angle and the bullet design. How does this affect penetration? In this 16-inch gel block, the round from the angled shot penetrates 14 inches. Ideally we want 15 inches of penetration, but Rob is ok with anything over 12 inches for a self-defense shot.
Rob says one thing we expect when shooting through intermediate barriers is inconsistent results in terms of the bullet’s expansion as well as its path. Rob and Edgar analyze both of these as seen in the block and dig the Winchester Ammunition Defender round out of the block to examine it.
Be sure to watch the video for all of Rob and Edgar’s analysis, but here’s a spoiler of their conclusions:
1. If you can hit a target directly without going through an intermediate barrier, you’re much better off.
2. Is a 2 x 6 block of wood cover? NO. (Of course, we already knew that.)
3. But does firing through that block of wood affect bullet performance? Absolutely.