rangehot.com looks at the “bullet proof balloon” video

If you have not seen the video, “bullet proof balloons” from National Geographic by Tim Shaw, you can see it by following this link.

Basically, they suspend ten water balloons from a steel frame, round up a few folks to guess how many balloons the round will go through, and shoot them with a S&W 629 .44 Magnum and a 250gr jacketed hollow point. The jhp bursts four balloons and almost everyone is surprised. What I took from that, people began to think maybe the handgun cartridge is not that powerful.

I see a problem with that so I recreated the test with the Desert Eagle and .44 Magnum conversion kit, using a 225gr Winchester JHP and a Federal 300gr CastCore hardcast lead bullet. I went a step further, using a CZ P09 and Winchester 124gr NATO full metal jacket. Now I realize the Desert Eagle is not the same as the S&W 629 but they are similar enough in caliber and barrel length I believe they are comparable. As the test showed, I got similar results as NatGeo did.

Check the video here please

The issue it this test is not scientific enough to really harvest any data, such as balloon inconsistency, water fill inconsistency, and distance between the balloons. This is why the FBI and manufactures use ballistic gel and not water balloons to test cartridge performance. I have tested a lot of cartridges in ballistic gel and though the 9mm only penetrated only 3 balloons, skipped a balloon, and just grazed the fifth balloon, it will penetrated three layers of denim and thirty two inches of ballistic gel. You can see that test here

Take the video as entertainment, and just that so don’t let it diminish your respect for firearms and don’t attempt to form any conclusions based solely on NatGeo’s video. Firearms deserve respect and to be handled with care.

Thank you to

Magnum Research


Winchester Ammunition

Gander Mountain

Allison Cartwright

By Hunter Elliott

I spent much of my youth involved with firearms and felt the call early on to the United States Marine Corps, following in my father's and his brother's footsteps. Just after high school I enlisted and felt most at home on the rifle range, where I qualified expert with several firearms and spent some time as a rifle coach to my fellow Marines. After being honorably discharged I continued teaching firearm safety, rifle and pistol marksmanship, and began teaching metallic cartridge reloading. In the late 1990s I became a life member to the National Rifle Association and worked with the Friends of the NRA. Around that time my father and I became involved with IDPA and competed together up until he passed away. I began reviewing firearms for publications in the mid 2000s and have been fortunate to make many friends in the industry. Continuing to improve my firearms skills and knowledge is a never ending journey in which we should all be committed. I am also credited as weapons master on a few independent films.

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