Almost three decades ago, S. Futamura devised the deformation index concept for determining the control parameter for the viscoelastic response of deformed elastomers. We have extended this concept to impact mitigation, wherein material hardness and energy dissipation typically both affect the behavior. Laboratory impact tests were carried out on a series of compounds to deduce the deformation index pertinent to the rubber component. We then analyzed ballistic experiments, wherein material failure is associated with more complex conditions. The utility and limitations of this approach are discussed.