Chapter 10 of my father's book, "Living with Glocks" takes a look at ammunition performance in various calibers shot from a number of Glocks.  In order to gather the data needed for the chapter, we blew up about fifty watermelons.  We compare what we observed with the infamous Strasbourg Tests.  Detailed charts are at the bottom of this page. 

     I also produced a thirty-minute video of interviews and exploding watermelons.  Below is a reprint of the chapter and clips from the show.  You can get the entire program and the book "Living with Glocks" at our online bookstore, BoatmanBooks.com.  Feel free to use the material on this page.  I only ask that you refer back to this website, or to BoatmanBooks.com. 

Thanks,
     What you feed your Glock may have a greater impact on your health than what you feed yourself. There was a time when we all fed our pistols a bland diet of plain old hardball because that’s what was required to ensure proper digestion. That time is past.

     Gun designers and custom gunsmiths have given their new and modified creations a much broader appetite. Bullet designers and ammunition manufacturers have figured out how to make hollowpoints expand more reliably in human flesh even at relatively modest handgun velocities. And some, influenced by the fast company of Lee Jurras and Super Vel some 30 years earlier, have cranked up velocities and operating pressures to take full advantage of the greater strength of newer guns.

     Others have devised exotic frangible, or pre-fragmented, handgun loadings that are almost as devastating at close range as a shotgun blast. The best of these frangible rounds are made by hand, one bullet at a time, so they’re expensive. Some say they’re too expensive to practice with and therefore shouldn’t be counted on in an emergency, but others ask how much the shooter figures his life is worth.*

     A few friends and I recently took a wide assortment of these current factory loads to the range, including some of my favorite performance loads from Black Hills, Cor Bon, MagSafe, Triton, Hornady, Federal, Eldorado, Georgia Arms and Winchester, chronographing muzzle velocities and measuring close-range accuracy through a variety of Glocks, the results of which you’ll find in the tables below. Then, bored as we could be from the tedium of carefully shooting paper for days on end, we loaded up a long-bed pickup truck at a country watermelon stand and headed out for the high desert, the results of which you’ll also find in the tables below.

     All chronographing was done outdoors on warm, clear days using an Alpha Shooting Chrony. Accuracy tests were three-shot averages at 25 feet over a makeshift rest to approach combat relevance, and measured with a pocketful of change to avoid any misleading appearance of scientific rigor.

     Irv Stone of Bar-Sto Precision Barrels in California and Bill Jarvis of Jarvis Barrels in Montana were kind enough to contribute custom drop-in match-grade barrels to give us something to shoot for. Master pistolsmith Robert Krone of Boise, Idaho, carefully fitted these barrels to my guns and polished their feed ramps to accept the gaping hollowpoints and exotic loads we were testing.

     The watermelon shoot was strictly for fun. And fun it was, especially when we painted faces on the fat-headed fruits and imagined all that pink mist emanating from the liquefied schemes of certain politicians and ex-politicians.

     Cautionary Note: The watermelon tests were performed on government-owned property, so the results bear no resemblance to any real-life situation.


The WATERMELON RATING SYSTEM is as follows:

One star (
) = a nice clean hole that kills not only the watermelon but whomever may be standing behind it.

Two stars (
¶¶) = breaks the watermelon into multiple parts and redirects the bullet or fragments thereof to parts unknown.

Three stars (
¶¶¶) = results in a sticky shower of mist-for-brains that scares the hell out of anybody standing in the general vicinity of the eruption.

     It goes without saying that a watermelon is not a man, though the water content percentages are on the same scale. Neither is a watermelon a goat, which is the most recent and reliable source of knowledge we have on how to perform the exploding watermelon trick on human beings who really deserve it.
Chapter 10 from Living with Glocks
by Robert H. Boatman
THE STRASBOURG TESTS

     This terminal ballistics research project was conducted in secret on live animals in Europe during 1991-1992. The tests were performed, witnessed and documented by a privately funded group of researchers, technicians, surgeons, veterinarians and classified military personnel.

     During the tests, 611 adult male French Alpine goats, each weighing between 156 and 164 pounds, were terminated with handguns. Goats were used because of critical similarities to man in terms of size, bone shattering characteristics, lung capacity and thoracic cavity dimensions. Goats, like men, are notoriously hard to kill.

      Each animal, perfectly healthy, fully alert and wired with an electroencephalograph to show brain wave activity and a transducer to monitor blood pressure, was shot through the center of both lungs from a distance of ten feet with one bullet. The lungs were chosen as the target because, while not the most lethal shot one could make, it is the shot placement most common in military-police-defense type shootings. A variety of modern handgun ammunition fired through service and concealed carry pistols and revolvers was tested.

     The primary standard of measurement was Average Incapacitation Time - the seconds and fractions thereof required for a goat to fall down and not get back up. It should be noted that goats, unlike humans, don’t know they’re supposed to fall down when they’re shot and will not do so until their bodies cease to function.
    
The Strasbourg Tests confirmed the lethality of large permanent wound channels, or “crush cavities,” caused by hollowpoint bullets. Most importantly, the tests demonstrated in convincing terms that the huge temporary wound channels or “stretch cavities” and the enormous system-wide blood pressure spikes created by very-high-velocity, rapidly expanding and/or fragmenting bullets may be the most reliable instruments of swift death short of a bullet (any bullet) planted in the central nervous system.

     There is a compelling degree of correlation between the results of these pioneering tests and the results of actual police shootings as compiled and presented by Evan Marshall and Ed Sanow over the years. Strasbourg Test ratings of cartridges, where applicable, are noted in the tables below.

     No bullet designer since the confidential publication of the Strasbourg report in 1992 has sat at his drafting board without thinking about those 611 French goats. And knowledgeable handgunners who have read the full report tend to develop the habit of chambering exotic frangibles like the Joe Zambone-designed MagSafes that killed quicker in all pistol calibers than any other round.** They may also top off their magazines with a couple of the little poison pills before the more conventional hollowpoints kick in - if they’re confident their pistols will work reliably with mixed magazines, as Glocks are known to do.

     And the chosen hollowpoints are not simply bullets with holes in the end. Outstanding Strasbourg performers included the tri-partition Triton Quik-Shok, the post-equipped Federal Hydra-Shok and the El Dorado Starfire whose flower-like petals unfold as gracefully as in a nature film - all from the unconventional mind of Tom Burczynski. The Quik-Shoks tested were pre-production examples, but this devastating load has been on shelves for some time now. Quik-Shoks expand very rapidly during penetration and split into three substantial bullet segments that continue to penetrate in three directions over an ever-widening area, creating large multiple wound channels of both the permanent and temporary varieties.

     There was hardly a top-ten grouping that didn’t include modern but more conventional JHP bullets in high-pressure +P loadings from Cor Bon, Remington and Winchester. Glocks, of course, devour the hottest +P loads as though they were Wheaties. Much of the ammunition we shot up whacking watermelons was not available at the time the Strasbourg Tests were conducted, but was nevertheless influenced by those test results.

     It should be noted that the very best performances by the most lethal rounds in all defensive calibers, and that includes 10mm, .45, .40, 9mm, .357 Magnum and even the .38 Special when fired through a 4-inch barrel, yielded an average incapacitation time of between four and five seconds. Lucky the goats weren’t prepared to shoot back, because even a French goat should be able to get a couple of rounds off in four seconds. I know some people who can empty a high-capacity magazine with deadly accuracy in considerably less time, though they’re not the kind of people you’ll likely be shooting.

     The point is, unless your enemy is totally vaporized on impact or his central nervous system is shut down, you’re not out of the woods. Lung shots may be easier, but brain shots tend to be final statements no matter what kind of ammo you’re using. Training and practice can make them equally fast. And double-taps are appropriate for any social occasion.

     It’s time for Strasbourg II. What a waste that the Brits slaughtered millions of head of livestock during the mad-cow and hoof-and-mouth scares of 2000 and 2001 without advancing the science of terminal ballistics a single step. Maybe somebody on the Continent was smart enough to take advantage of the situation and it hasn’t leaked out yet.

     One way or another, new live-animal tests need to be done. Watermelons are fun, but that’s as far as it goes - and don’t think you can eat your targets afterward because when you shoot a watermelon, even if it is left standing, the insides are churned into inedible mush. Ordnance gelatin is fine, but it’s hard to tell a live piece from a dead piece. Actual police shootings are a great source of knowledge, but the statistical numbers are low, the variables are exceedingly high, and cops are not allowed to carry exotic or experimental ammunition.

     We need more goats. I’m working on it.
AMMO

UMC 230-gr. hardball


Cor Bon 230-gr. JHP +P (factory rated 950fps)

Black Hills 185-gr. JHP (factory rated 1000fps)
ACCURACY AT 25 FEET

G36 = Half-dollar
Combat Elite = Half-dollar
National Match = Half-dollar

G36 = Quarter
Combat Elite = Quarter
National Match = Dime

G36 = Half-dollar
Combat Elite = Quarter
National Match = Nickel
M. V.

810 fps
850 fps
870 fps

900 fps
953 fps
956 fps

931 fps
975 fps
983 fps
W. M. RATING





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G36 vs. M1911***



***Box-stock Glock 36 with 3.78” barrel versus extensively modified, competition-tuned and accurized Colt MKIV Series 80 Combat Elite and a similarly enhanced vintage Colt National Match, both with 5” barrels.
W. M.

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M. V.

920 fps


1125 fps


930 fps


872 fps



864 fps


868 fps


833 fps


730 fps




805 fps

1834 fps
AT 25 FT

Quarter


Half-dollar


Half-Dollar


Quarter



Nickel


Dime


Quarter


Half-dollar




Dime

Silver Dollar
AMMO

Triton Quik-Shok 230-gr. QSHP +P (factory rated 950fps)

Triton Quik-Shok 165-gr. QSHP +P (factory rated 1250fps)

Black Hills 230-gr. JHP +P (factory rated 950fps)

Winchester 230-gr. SXT  vintage Black Talon (The #9 .45ACP load in the Strasbourg Tests)

Winchester 230-gr. SXT Ranger - Law Enforcement

Winchester 230-gr. SXT +P Ranger - Law Enforcement

Winchester 230-gr. SXT  Personal Protection

Winchester/USA 185-gr. BEB (Brass Enclosed Base - less lead in the air for all of you who have a pistol range in your basement.)

Eldorado 230-gr. Starfire

MagSafe 96-gr. Defender +P (factory rated 1760fps) (The #1 .45ACP load in the Strasbourg Tests)

G36 - .45ACP



G27 - .40-caliber
AMMO

Triton Quik-Shok 155-gr. QSHP (factory rated 1200fps)

Triton Quik-Shok 135-gr. QSHP (factory rated 1325fps)

Winchester 180-gr. SXT  vintage Black Talon (The #9 .40 load in the Strasbourg Tests)

Winchester 180-gr. SXT Ranger - Law Enforcement

Winchester 165-gr. SXT Personal Protection

Winchester 165-gr. Partition Gold Ranger - Law Enforcement

Winchester 155-gr. Silvertip

Black Hills 180-gr. JHP (factory rated 1000fps)

Black Hills 165-gr. JHP EXP (factory rated 1150fps)

Eldorado 155-gr. Starfire

Cor Bon 150-gr. JHP  (factory rated 1200fps) (The #7 .40 load in the Strasbourg Tests)

Cor Bon 135-gr. JHP +P (factory rated 1300fps)

MagSafe 46-gr. SWAT (factory rated 2100fps)

MagSafe72-gr. Mini-Glock load (factory rated 1940fps)

MagSafe 84-gr. Defender (factory rated 1800fps) (The #1 .40 load in the Strasbourg Tests)
AT 25 FT

G27 w/ factory barrel = Quarter
G27 w/ Jarvis match barrel = Quarter



G27 w/ factory barrel = Quarter
G27 w/ Jarvis match barrel = Silver Dollar



G27 w/ factory barrel = Quarter
G27 w/ Jarvis match barrel = Quarter




G27 w/ factory barrel = Quarter
G27 w/ Jarvis match barrel = Quarter


G27 w/ factory barrel = Half-dollar
G27 w/ Jarvis match barrel = Quarter


G27 w/ factory barrel = Half-dollar
G27 w/ Jarvis match barrel = Quarter


G27 w/ factory barrel = Nickel
G27 w/ Jarvis match barrel = Nickel

G27 w/ factory barrel = Half-dollar
G27 w/ Jarvis match barrel = Half-dollar


G27 w/ factory barrel = Half-dollar
G27 w/ Jarvis match barrel = Quarter


G27 w/ factory barrel = Quarter
G27 w/ Jarvis match barrel = Nickel

G27 w/ factory barrel = Half-dollar
G27 w/ Jarvis match barrel = Quarter




G27 w/ factory barrel = Half-dollar
G27 w/ Jarvis match barrel = Quarter


G27 w/ factory barrel = Silver Dollar
G27 w/ Jarvis match barrel = Silver Dollar


G27 w/ factory barrel = Half-dollar
G27 w/ Jarvis match barrel = Silver Dollar


G27 w/ factory barrel = Silver Dollar
G27 w/ Jarvis match barrel = Silver Dollar
M. V.

1149 fps
1171 fps



1266 fps
1295 fps



912 fps
938 fps




940 fps
943 fps


1024 fps
1055 fps


1036 fps
1060 fps


1095 fps
1090 fps

910 fps
920 fps


1044 fps
1088 fps


1094 fps
1134 fps

1110 fps
1135 fps




1236 fps
1268 fps


2201 fps
2225 fps


2018 fps
2061 fps


1680 fps
1750 fps
W. M.

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W. M.

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G20/29 - 10mm
AMMO

Winchester 175-gr. Silvertip HP (the standard by which other 10mm loads are judged according to many professionals) (The #5 10mm load in the Strasbourg Tests)

Winchester 200-gr. SXT  vintage Black Talon (The #11 10mm load in the Strasbourg Tests)

Black Hills 180-gr. JHP




Federal 180-gr. Hydra Shok (The #7 10mm load in the Strasbourg Tests)

Hornady Custom 170-gr. JHP



Georgia Arms 155-gr. Gold Dot JHP (factory rated 1375fps)


Cor Bon 180-gr. Bonded Core (factory rated 1320fps) (The #6 10mm load in the Strasbourg Tests)

Eldorado 180-gr. Starfire



Triton Quik-Shok 155-gr. QSHP (factory rated 1400fps)


MagSafe 46-gr. SWAT (factory rated 2400fps)



MagSafe 96-gr. Defender (factory rated 1800fps) (The #1 10mm load in the Strasbourg Tests)
AT 25 FT

G20 w/ standard barrel = Quarter
G20 w/ 6” factory barrel = Quarter
G29 w/ standard barrel = Half-dollar
G29 w/ Bar-Sto barrel = Silver Dollar





G20 w/ standard barrel = Quarter
G20 w/ 6” factory barrel = Quarter
G29 w/ standard barrel = Half-dollar
G29 w/ Bar-Sto barrel = Half-dollar


G20 w/ standard barrel = Half-dollar
G20 w/ 6” factory barrel = Quarter
G29 w/ standard barrel = Half-dollar
G29 w/ Bar-Sto barrel = Quarter

G20 w/ standard barrel = Quarter
G20 w/ 6” factory barrel = Quarter
G29 w/ standard barrel = Quarter
G29 w/ Bar-Sto barrel = Quarter

G20 w/ standard barrel = Quarter
G20 w/ 6” factory barrel = Quarter
G29 w/ standard barrel = Half-dollar
G29 w/ Bar-Sto barrel = Quarter

G20 w/ standard barrel = Quarter
G20 w/ 6” factory barrel = Quarter
G29 w/ standard barrel = Nickel
G29 w/ Bar-Sto barrel = Nickel

G20 w/ standard barrel = Quarter
G20 w/ 6” factory barrel = Dime
G29 w/ standard barrel = Quarter
G29 w/ Bar-Sto barrel = Dime


G20 w/ standard barrel = Quarter
G20 w/ 6” factory barrel = Quarter
G29 w/ standard barrel = Half-dollar
G29 w/ Bar-Sto barrel = Quarter

G20 w/ standard barrel = Half-dollar
G20 w/ 6” factory barrel = Quarter
G29 w/ standard barrel = Half-dollar
G29 w/ Bar-Sto barrel = Quarter

G20 w/ standard barrel = Half-dollar
G20 w/ 6” factory barrel = Half-dollar
G29 w/ standard barrel = Silver Dollar
G29 w/ Bar-Sto barrel = Silver Dollar

G20 w/ standard barrel = Half-dollar
G20 w/ 6” factory barrel = Nickel
G29 w/ standard barrel = Half-dollar
G29 w/ Bar-Sto barrel = Quarter
M. V.

1212 fps
1280 fps
1152 fps
1165 fps





941 fps
986 fps
907 fps
900 fps


987 fps
1090 fps
933 fps
920 fps

1048 fps
1094 fps
1005 fps
1020 fps

1291 fps
1299 fps
1165 fps
1190 fps

1345 fps
1455 fps
1284 fps
1315 fps

1350 fps
1444 fps
1275 fps
1300 fps


965 fps
1005 fps
929 fps
924 fps

1315 fps
1392 fps
1290 fps
1277 fps

2490 fps
2645 fps 
2413 fps 
2402 fps

1783 fps
1901 fps
1731 fps
1782 fps
W. M.

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Copyright 2002-2011  Winter Communication, LLC
*José Vega of MagSafe Ammo, Inc. was kind enough to send me several hundred rounds in various loadings for .40, .45 and 10mm which I fired through a variety of Glock pistols with not a single malfunction of any kind.

**MagSafe ammo was the fastest killer in .380, 9mm, .40, .45 and 10mm. The Glaser 80-gr. Blue Safety Slug was 0.04 seconds faster than the MagSafe in .38 Special, and the Triton Quik-Shok 125-gr. JHP was 0.22 seconds faster than the MagSafe in .357 Magnum. It should also be noted that Triton Quik-Shok was a scant 0.08 seconds behind the MagSafe for fastest killer in 9mm, and that .357 Magnum and 9mm were the only two categories in which the new pre-production Triton Quik-Shok cartridge was tested.

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