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Ballistic Laboratory 

Using a Ballistic Laboratory led by specialists, the National Proof House for firearms and ammunition, has conducted since the beginning of 1970 an activity which makes it capable of conducting experimental tests and inspections on firearms, ammunition, and all the materials having special requirements regarding the impact resistance of bullets. It is possible to list the series of special tests divided into three broad families. Ballistics.

Internal ballistics tests

In this type of test, it is possible to measure all the parameters related to the combustion of the primer and the powder, measure the pressure developed as a function of time and space, and the residence time of the bullet in the barrel; it is also possible to highlight said phenomena in the form of a graph. Practically, these tests can measure everything that happens inside a firearm barrel when shooting. The equipment of the laboratory enables the National Proof House to run constant checks on the ammunition used for the testing of firearms, whether they are produced in its own charging division or purchased from specialized chargers, and to test the ammunition produced by manufacturers that do not have a testing facility within their company. The degree of reliability achieved is favourably testified to by the request for the purchase of high pressure test ammunition, National Proof House-guaranteed by foreign Proof Houses.

External ballistic tests

These tests determine the speed and energy of a bullet at one or more points of the trajectory, calculate the ballistic caefficient, ensure accuracy, check the distribution of the shot pattern, and photograph it during the trajectory. This service is of particual interest to anyone wishing to know more or to test the perfomance of their weapons, but also for sime basic investigations required in the legal field.

Terminal ballistics tests

These tests make it possible to check the effects of the bullet when it hits the target. The service is particularly designed to test various protection systems by performing ballistic resistance tests: - of vests and helmets; of armoured vehicles or panels intended for armoured motor vehicles; of bulletproof glass and frames for windows and doors; - on equipment used to unload weapons. Each system has its own test protocol or coded inspection protocol to which the National Proof House abides in the conduct of tests. This Body carries out tests in accordance with the standards of STANAG - MIL (NATO), NIJ (National Institute of Justice), and CE EN 1063 or EN 1522-1523. The former are reference rules for the calculation of the V50 or the inspection of protections for AEP - 55 military vehicles; the latter are internationally recognized standards, and establish the criteria for inspecting bulletproof vests; the EN standards determine, in this order, the procedures for inspecting bullet-proof glass and armoured frames for windows and doors. Tests can be executed with bullets of various calibers, from .22 to 14.5 mm, even using fragments (fragment simulators, with diameters from 5.56 mm to 20 mm), and with bullets of various types, with a tombac plated steel jacket, core of lead, steel or tungsten. We can include in this group of tests the specialized tests for inspecting the firing grounds of the UITS (Italian Shooting Union), those of the State Police, Carabinieri, Financial Police, and Prison Police.


Instrumentation and equipment

To perform the aforementioned tests, the Ballistic Laboratory uses equipment made for that precise purpose by specialized companies to measure quantities such as the time and pressure. The main instruments in use are optical barriers designed to allow an accurate and reliable determination of the bullet speed in calibers from 4 to 25 mm, from 50 to 1,000 m/s; laser target, a target consisting of multiple sensing elements spread over an area of adequate width, arranged transversely to the bullet trajectory; manometric barrels and pressure transducers to measure the gas pressure in the powder chamber and in the cartridge case mouth; climatic chambers that allow to carry out climatisation and thermostatation cycles of the components to be tested, with parameters ranging from - 40° to + 180°; electronic gantries fitted with laser aiming device, which let you hit the target with a precision of ± 5 mm; remote-controlled supports that can handle specimens on vertical and horizontal axes, and can vary the angle of impact degree by degree. Recently, the suitable instruments have been purchased to measure the acceleration sustained by a dummy head, wearing a helmet, hit by a bullet. The instrumentation consists of a "dummy head" in made of AZ91 Ingot magnesium alloy, with a “shock” type single-axis accelerometer housed in its centre of gravity, with full scale at 2000-2500 g and a sensitivity of 2 mV/g.


The Proof House has among its customer, companies and institutions of international prestige such as: IVECO DVD, the Italian and Swiss State Police, the Prison Police, the Italian Army, the Carabinieri General Command, the Financial Police, Fabbrica d'Armi Pietro Beretta, Fiocchi Munizioni, MELARA OTO S.p.A., Industrie Bitossi S.p.A., S.r.l. of the MARCEGAGLIA Group Saint Gobain; Isoclima; BMW Italia, Marconi Industrial Services, the Military Administration of the U.S. Army (military base of Aviano and Vicenza Caserma Ederle).

Future investments, Work in Progress

 The National Proof House of Firearms and Ammunition is willing to deploy and develop the quality and type of services rendered with the possible acquisition in the coming months of new instrumentation, such as an ultra-fast movie camera capable of filming bullets flying at speeds close to 1,000 m/s and a radar capable of measuring the velocity of the bullets at any point of its trajectory.


Image Gallery


FSP shooting tests using an innovative ballistic solution

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Performance of shooting tests on panels of ballistic steel and composite material

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Description of main activities carried out by the Ballistic Laboratory on other types of applications

 Special tests on behalf of the Government or private individuals


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Manometric barrel positioned on universal support
“live” view of breech + transducer

Performance of ballistic tests on ballistic steel sheet




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Diagram of test performance on bulletproof vests The type of weapon and the parameters depend on the characteristics required by the reference standards
Vest subjected to shooting test.
The weapon caliber and the bullet distance depend on the reference standards





Testing of firing ground

Testing of bulletproof glass and armoured frame

Testing of bulletproof vests

Testing of helmet with visor

Section of a block of ballistic gelatine to evaluate the path of the bullet.
The green arrow shows the entry hole; the red arrow shows the path segment in which the bullet turned over, causing maximum destruction of tissue; the white arrow shows the bullet.

Testing of ballistic resistance of a portion of wall

Inspection of armoured motor vehicle

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            <td width="50%"><img style="margin: 5px auto; display: block;" src="images/stories/site/provebalistiche/balistica-14.jpg" alt="balistica-13" width="244" height="171" /></td>
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            <td style="text-align: center;"><strong>Certificazione dei calibri verificatori utilizzati<br /> per i controlli, mediante macchina di misura<br /> 3D ottica</strong></td>
            <td style="text-align: center;"><strong>Prove meccaniche sui materiali con utilizzo<br /> di un micro durometro</strong></td>
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