Date of Award

Spring 6-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Forensic Science



First Advisor or Mentor

Peter Diaczuk

Second Reader

Antonio Del Valle

Third Advisor

Andrew Winter


Bullets can be broadly differentiated into jacketed and unjacketed groups. Jacketed ammunition can be further broken down based on the bullet’s design, one of which is hollow points. This research examines a representative brand of jacketed hollow point bullets used in a common caliber cartridge, the 9mm Luger. A jacketed hollow point bullet is designed to expand when it encounters a viscous medium such as tissue. This experiment simulated tissue using ballistic gelatin and simulated skin using a chamois overlay. As a positive and negative control, a series of bullets were fired into a full-size block of gelatin to achieve complete expansion and into just cotton waste to resist expansion. There are six segments that compose the tip and ogive of the hollow point bullet used in these tests. The length of the bullet was measured, as well as the distance between the opposing petals of each bullet, resulting in three width measurements per bullet. There were five bullets fired for gelatin thicknesses of 7.6 cm, 5.1 cm, 3.8 cm, 2.5 cm, and 1.3 cm, as well as for the negative and positive controls. The average distances of the expanded petals decreased as the thickness of the gelatin decreased. Velocity data was collected from the muzzle of the firearm to check for consistent impact velocity as that is a parameter that affects the expansion of hollow points. This research is intended to provide an understanding of hollow point behavior, which is beneficial in crime scene reconstructions involving shootings.



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