Distributions of shear strains and strain states (triaxiality) were analysed for two in-plane shear test fixtures (Iosipescu and V-notched rail), using digital image correlation and numerical simulations. Three different polypropylene-based materials (two talc-filled compounds and one unfilled homopolymer) were tested. The three materials behaved differently in the shear tests. Most notably, cracks developed in tension near the notches for the particle-filled materials, while the unfilled homopolymer did not fracture. There were also differences between the materials regarding strain localisation between the notches, strain rates vs. strain level (for a given cross-head speed), thickness change in the sheared section, and triaxiality. The yield stresses in shear, uniaxial tension and uniaxial compression showed pressure sensitivity. At least for equivalent strain rates below 1 s−1, the strain rate sensitivity of the yield stress was approximately the same in these three stress states. The stress–strain curves obtained with the two methods were quite similar for these materials. There were some differences between the methods regarding the ease of mounting and aligning specimens, the complexity of specimen deformation patterns, and the uniformity of the shear strain distribution between the notches.