Stock management of the Swiss water buffalo livestock results in the slaughtering of about 350 animals per year. As the stunning of water buffaloes still is an unresolved issue, we investigated the terminal ballistics of currently used perforating stunning devices. Cartridge fired captive bolt devices, handguns and a bullet casing gun were tested in a shooting steep by firing on bisected heads, forehead plates and soap blocks. Energy loss of captive bolts confirmed their inadequacy when used for heavy water buffaloes, notably adult males. As for the free projectiles, ballistics revealed that beyond the impact energy, bullet deformation has a strong impact on the outcome. Light 9mm Luger or .38 Spl bullets as well as large deformable .44 Rem. Magnum bullets should be avoided in favor of heavier .357 Magnum deformation ammunition. These data have been translated into the development of a new stunning device for water buffaloes meeting both animal welfare and occupational safety requirements.