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Full Metal Jacket vs. Jacketed Hollow Point

Published : 04/06/2016 17:04:34
Categories : The Bunker - Ammunition Depot Blog

After much consideration, you’ve decided to buy a gun for self-defense, hunting, or sport. Congratulations and welcome to the club, now you need to figure out what kind of ammo to buy. Its not as simple as just getting the right caliber as there are multiple types of ammunition that can fit into a single gun. These ammo types all have different constructions, uses, and results. Two of the most common styles are full metal jacket (FMJ) and jacketed hollow point (JHP) ammunition. Understanding these two kinds of bullets and knowing your gun are helpful in choosing the best ammo for your purposes.

How Bullets Are Made

Most bullets follow a similar construction process. At the center of a bullet is a lead core that adds weight to the bullet. However, lead by itself is too soft and easy to deform, which can limit the accuracy of the shot. Copper is stronger than lead, but it’s just malleable enough to grip the rifling in a gun’s barrel during firing. A copper or copper alloy jacket protects the lead from getting deformed during firing, increasing accuracy and distance (and keeping your barrel clean too).

Full Metal Jacket

FMJ ammo gets its name from the jacket that covers the entire bullet. This covering is usually a copper or copper and steel alloy designed to reduce the amount of lead residue in the barrel after firing. The most important thing to note is that FMJ ammo remains whole and jacketed even after hitting its target. This type of bullet is usually not the right choice for hunting or self-defense as it can go straight through the target and hit whatever is behind the target, or ricochet and hit an innocent bystander or fellow hunter. While an FMJ is harmful, the bullet leaves smaller entry and exit wounds than other bullets, causing less damage to the target in comparison. Primarily, FMJ ammo is used in military operations and target shooting.

Jacketed Hollow Point

JHP ammo follows a similar construction to FMJ. The difference is, a JHP has a hole in  the tip of the bullet, giving it a hollow center. When a JHP makes contact with the target, the bullet expands like an umbrella which creates a cavity in the soft-tissue. JHPs don’t usually go through their target, but they do cause more damage. On impact, the energy transfers from the bullet to whatever stopped it, slowing it down drastically and leading to devastating damage. Since these bullets cause more damage, you might be able to use fewer bullets to stop your target. However, JHP bullets will not be able to penetrate harder targets, such as body armor, steel, and concrete. JHP bullets are best used for police duties, hunting, and self-defense.

How to Choose

There is no one right bullet for every shooter. First, check your state’s laws to ensure there aren’t restrictions on bullet types. Once you have that cleared, practice with FMJ and JHP ammo to get a feel for both.

The full metal jacket might be cheaper and more resistant to damage, but it is likely go through a target and damage whatever is behind it. The jacketed hollow point ammo causes more damage to a target, but may not penetrate as effectively as you want. The important thing to remember when choosing ammo is to find the ammo that works best for your gun and your needs.

Disclaimer: Always check with your state and local laws for restrictions before ordering ammunition, and make sure you use the correct ammunition for your specific firearm.

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Ammunition Depot


06/22/2018 16:19:46

You know what Greg, you're right. Keep an eye out for a more thorough review of the, sometimes daunting, array of options out there for the concealed carry shooter!

Ammunition Depot


06/22/2018 16:19:12

You know what Greg, you're right. Keep an eye out for a more thorough review of the, sometimes daunting, array of options out there for the concealed carry shooter!

Gregory M. Corcoran


09/19/2017 01:35:21

While I understand that where are miriad of reasons why you would not delve into the finer points of bullet selection, but are we really doing new shooters a service by skirting the bullet selection topic. What I mean, of course, is the very real need for the selcted round to to stop the threat! Using the term "self defense" in the same sentance as "hunting" to explain the choice of one round over another just seems to send the wrong signal. Now I understand the manufacturers use the term "self defense" on thier packaging, but shouldn't we, the gun community, do a better job? If you aren't getting my measage, list out all the different kinds of hollow points you can think of with out looking any up. . . Lots right? How has that helped someone, especially a new shooter, make a good choice? How has that helped them sort through the "gimmiky" and "under performing" rounds out there? I'm just sayin'. Its a tough spot but I really think we, the initiated, owe it to new initiates to help them down the path, and hopefully, help them make informed choices that will increase thier confidence in thier gear and most importantly, in my opinion, make sure they understand the diference between real life and the make beleive of "Hollywood" and television. I'm not trying to rant, I just think we who know, owe it to those who wish to learn, to give them information they need to be informed and make good choices. Thanks for listening.

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