How many inches of ballistic rubber does it take to stop rounds?

How many inches of ballistic rubber does it take to stop rounds?

Thickness for Ballistic Rubber: Stopping and Encapsulating Range Rounds

A common inquiry from range owners and operators pertains to the effectiveness of ballistic rubber in stopping bullets: “How many inches of ballistic rubber does it take to stop a round?” The answer largely depends on the type of ammunition used, but most training rounds typically used in ranges will be stopped by approximately 6 inches of ballistic rubber. Consequently, thinner ballistic panels and sheets are primarily utilized for their anti-ricochet properties rather than for bullet stopping. For the purpose of stopping and encapsulating rounds, ballistic blocks that are at least 6 inches thick are recommended. Specifically, a block measuring 9x12x24 inches is considered optimal for encapsulating the majority of rounds fired in training scenarios at shooting ranges. This size ensures that the blocks not only capture rounds effectively, minimizing the risk of ricochets and lead exposure, but also enhance the overall safety and functionality of the shooting environment.

Understanding Ballistic Products: Their Functions and Material Differences

Ballistic rubber are a critical component in the safety infrastructure of shooting ranges, but they are often misunderstood. Ballistic Rubber Products are not designed to be bulletproof; rather, they serve specific functions such as anti-ricochet and bullet encapsulation, depending on their thickness and material composition. This distinction is vital for range owners and safety officers who need to make informed decisions about the products they choose to ensure safety and durability.

The Functionality of Ballistic Blocks

  1. Anti-Ricochet: One of the primary functions of ballistic blocks is to prevent ricochets. This is critical in a shooting range environment where the safety of users and bystanders is paramount. The material and structure of the blocks are designed to absorb the energy of a bullet, significantly reducing the likelihood of it bouncing off a hard surface and causing unintended injury or damage.
  2. Bullet Encapsulation: Ballistic blocks can also encapsulate bullets, depending on their thickness. Typically, a block needs to be at least 6 inches thick to begin effectively capturing bullets within its structure. This feature is crucial for containment and cleanup, as it prevents bullets from exiting the block and facilitates easier recovery of spent rounds. Encapsulation also aids in reducing environmental lead contamination, a significant concern in outdoor ranges.

Material Matters: Composite vs. High Density Ballistic Rubber

The longevity and effectiveness of ballistic blocks largely depend on the type of rubber used. There are generally two types of materials used in the production of these blocks:

  • Composite or Grind and Glue Rubber: This type of rubber is made from recycled materials bonded together with a polyurethane or other types of adhesive. While cost-effective, composite rubber tends to break down faster under the continuous impact of bullets. This breakdown can lead to more frequent replacements and potentially higher long-term costs and safety risks.
  • High Density Ballistic Rubber: As used by Cumberland Rubber, high density ballistic rubber offers significantly improved durability. This material is designed to withstand repeated impacts, lasting three to five times longer than composite rubber blocks. The resilience of high density rubber means fewer replacements, less material fatigue, and a consistently safer shooting environment over time.

Choosing the Right Ballistic Block

When selecting ballistic rubber products, it’s essential to understand that no single product will suit all needs. The choice of parts should be based on specific requirements such as:

  • Range Design and Usage: The layout and expected use of the range should guide the thickness and type of ballistic rubber product used. More active ranges with higher calibers and volumes of fire may require thicker parts to save life on hard surfaces.
  • Safety Requirements: Compliance with safety standards and regulations should always be a priority. Ensuring that parts meet the required safety measures can prevent legal issues and protect users.
  • Budget and Longevity Considerations: While initial cost considerations are important, range owners should also consider the long-term durability and maintenance costs associated with different types of ballistic blocks.


Ballistic blocks play a vital role in enhancing safety at shooting ranges, but they are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Their effectiveness in preventing ricochets and encapsulating bullets is influenced by their thickness and the quality of the materials used. By understanding these aspects, range owners and safety officers can make better-informed decisions that ensure the safety, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of their operations. Moreover, opting for high-quality materials like high density ballistic rubber can provide long-term benefits, reducing the need for frequent replacements and maintaining consistent safety standards.