One-dimensional discrete element model for the ballistic impact is used to determine the depth of penetration of a bullet on a thick target. Discrete Element Method (DEM) is a numerical tool where a continuum is modelled as a network of masses connected by normal springs. A one-dimensional discrete element model is developed to obtain the displacements and forces associated with the ballistic impact on a thick target. The depth of penetration of the penetrator into the target is calculated from these DEM results. The simulated results of depth of penetration are found to be in reasonable agreement with the simulation results of other numerical approaches that are available in the literature. © 2012 Indian Academy of Sciences.