Skip to main content

Paper – Shooting Holes in Small Arms: A Terminal Effects Case Study


This paper by Mathew Brooks titled ‘Shooting Holes in Small Arms – A Terminal Effects Case Study’ outlines that small arms ammunition is fundamental to the generation of land combat power, and is also the primary enabler for the dismounted combatant.

The author informs us that as a result of some common misconceptions, terminal ballistics needs to be thoroughly reinvigorated to ensure we understand how small arms systems operate and therefore perform. He suggests that to defeat a target, “there are a range of considerations including penetration, cavitation, accuracy and projectile design. Each of these elements attempt to explain how small arms munitions defeat a target. Each of these elements attempt to defeat, in the case of a human, one of three critical systems; the cerebral, the vascular or the skeletal.”

The paper provides us with a critical analysis of some of the more technical aspects of small arms testing, that are often glossed over by those not intimately involved in the study of ballistics. It concludes by suggesting that organisations such as Proof and Experimental Establishment – Graytown can facilitate small arms characterisation and assessment through the use of new technologies and test methods into the future. Considering the range of Land projects that are being delivered in the near future, a suite of new small arms tests are essential in delivering an enhanced capability.



Mathew Brooks is the Officer Commanding, Proof & Experimental Establishment – Graytown. His role involves thinking of novel ways to test and evaluate weapon systems, munitions, explosive ordnance and Defence Platforms. He holds multiple graduate and post-graduate qualifications.



One thought on “Paper – Shooting Holes in Small Arms: A Terminal Effects Case Study

  1. Really useful article for the non-technical audience. Explains the issue very well. Size doesn’t always matter. Good for the 8/9 RAR Shooting Team

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *

The Cove is a professional development site for the Australian Profession of Arms. The views expressed within individual blog posts and videos are those of the author, and do not reflect any official position or that of the author's employers' - see more here. Any concerns regarding this blog post, video or resource should be directed in the first instance to