Exploring the Different Types of Bullets: From FMJ to Hollow Points

Exploring the Different Types of Bullets

Exploring the Different Types of Bullets: From FMJ to Hollow Points


When it comes to ammunition, there are several types of bullets designed for different purposes. The choice of bullet can greatly impact the effectiveness and performance of a firearm. In this article, we will explore some of the different types of bullets commonly available, ranging from Full Metal Jackets (FMJs) to Hollow Points.

Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)

Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) bullets are typically used for target shooting and military applications. They feature a soft lead core encased in a harder metal shell, usually copper. The advantage of FMJs lies in their ability to penetrate targets without expanding, making them less likely to cause severe wounds or tissue damage. This characteristic also helps maintain accuracy and reliability, as FMJs are less prone to deformation.

Hollow Point (HP)

Hollow Point (HP) bullets, on the other hand, are designed for self-defense and law enforcement purposes. The tip of an HP bullet has a hollow cavity, which allows it to expand upon impact, creating a wider wound channel and transferring more energy to the target. This expansion leads to greater stopping power and increases the likelihood of incapacitating an attacker. The downside to HP bullets is that they can be less reliable in terms of feeding and may produce unpredictable results when encountering intermediate barriers.

Soft Point (SP)

Soft Point (SP) bullets are a middle ground between FMJs and HPs, often used for hunting and self-defense. They feature a lead-tipped projectile with the exposed lead being softer than the FMJs’ metal shell. Upon impact, the exposed lead compresses and expands while the jacketed portion maintains stability, resulting in controlled expansion. This controlled expansion balances the benefits of wider wound channels and transfer of energy with a reduced risk of over-penetration.


Understanding the different types of bullets is crucial for choosing the right ammunition for your specific needs. While FMJs are excellent for target shooting and military applications due to their penetration and reliability, HPs provide superior stopping power and are ideal for self-defense situations. SP bullets offer a balanced solution for hunting and self-defense, providing controlled expansion and reducing the risk of over-penetration. Ultimately, the choice of bullet depends on the intended purpose and environment in which it will be used.


Q: Are certain types of bullets illegal?

A: The legality of certain types of bullets varies by jurisdiction. Hollow Points, for instance, may be restricted or prohibited in some regions. It is important to be familiar with local laws and regulations.

Q: Which bullet type is best for home defense?

A: Hollow Point bullets are often recommended for home defense due to their ability to quickly incapacitate an intruder and reduce the risk of over-penetration.

Q: Can FMJ bullets be used for hunting?

A: While FMJ bullets can be used for hunting in some cases, they are generally not recommended as they lack the controlled expansion necessary to ensure ethical kills and prevent unnecessary suffering of the animal.

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