You should use “real gel”.

If I had a dollar for each time someone posted that commit or similar, I would have a few bucks. This really started as a hobby and I never thought it would have gone on as long as it has. I’m at 104 posts as of this writing and have more I want to do.

Real ballistics gel is not the same as Clear Ballistics gel. Clear Ballistics gel is a synthetic gel substitute. As near as I can tell it’s made up of a substance similar to “candle gel”. Candle gel is used to make decorative candles and can be bought at hobby stores. Wile candle gel is similar to synthetic gel it is not the same formulation and buying normal candle gel will not give the same result as Clear Gel being that it’s much softer.

Here is a link to the Perma-Gel patent with more info about it.

So why use Clear Gel? The first answer is cost. At the current cost of Clear Gel the price on each test it about $25. Normally when I buy new blocks I get then on sale and the cost is probably closer to $15 to $20. This is based on using two blocks for each test and getting ten remelts from the blocks.

Time and equipment are another reason. When I remelt the blocks, it involves cutting up the used block and adding it over time to the molds in the oven over a few hours. Let it sit overnight and the next day it’s ready to use. Or it can sit and wait until I have the time to use it.

Real gel, on the other hand, requires much more attention in the preparation and must be used in a particular time frame. It also cost two to three time more depending on how much I buy at a time. The cost of testing would go up from $30 to $40 per test to $70 or $80. That’s just ammo and gel cost.

This on top of the fact that I’m not sure how possible it would be for me to use real gel. Some things are just not under my control.

Having said that, the people that point out my transgressions make valid arguments. It’s not the same and I know it’s not. However, I do disagree with some and feel it has some merit.

So, I have decided to explore the idea and will be ordering about 5 pounds of some ballistic gel to try out. I make no promises of wither I will continue using it afterword but hopefully, I’m able to make come together and start using it. If possible I will have my first test in the next month or so.


  1. In a past life I mixed and prepared Kind & Knox gelatin for terminal ballistic testing. You need a commercial kitchen, walk-in cooler, wrap the blocks in plastic film, stabilize them at a specific temperature and shoot them within a few hours. The process for doing it correctly is both labor and equipment intensive and expensive. It would improve your procedure if you fired and measured a calibration BB shot in the corner of each block to gain a body of experience to permit calculating a correction factor. Still less trouble than raising feeder pigs to 90-100 kg live weight, conditioning them on the treadmill, having surgical residents to treat the injuries or do the PM, and chefs from the Army Cooks and Baker’s School to prepare the picnic. Back in the day Marty Fackler had some great BBQs at Letterman.


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