Hollow Point vs Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) Ammo

Hollow Point Ammunition

If you were to buy your first pistol at a gun shop, you'd likely be asked to consider two types of ammunition: hollow points and full metal jacket (FMJ).

In this short guide, I'll explain the difference between hollow point vs FMJ. I'll also explain why it's a good idea to keep both types of ammunition on hand.

Hollow Point vs FMJ Ammo

9mm hollow points vs full metal jacket (FMJ)

9mm hollow points vs full metal jacket (FMJ)

The names of these two different types of bullets are incredibly descriptive and give a good idea to their differences.

Hollow Point bullets have a hollow tip (Duh!), which causes them to expand upon impact. This creates a larger surface area on impact, which has two major advantages over FMJ bullets, those being:

  1. The larger surface area of expanded hollow points means a larger surface area tearing through your target.
  2. The larger surface area of expanded hollow points makes them less likely to over-penetrate through your target, meaning you are less likely to accidentally injure a person who is behind your intended target.

Hollow Point Bullet Expanded

For these reasons, hollow point bullets are the most common type of bullets used by police and civilians.

Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) bullets are your "standard" type of ammunition. In other words, it's what you'd typically shoot at the range.

The name means that the lead core of the bullet is encased in a shell of harder metal.

Why Use Both?

Though hollow point bullets are optimal for self-defense, FMJ ammo is significantly cheaper than hollow point ammo. Even if buying in bulk at the cheapest available prices, 9mm hollow point ammo will cost at least $0.28 per round, while FMJ costs as little as $0.17 per round. Both examples are for brass-cased ammunition.

The picture above compares 9mm SIG 365 V-Crown to Brass Blazer. For what it costs to buy 20 rounds of this hollow point ammo, you could buy 50 rounds of the FMJ.

For this reason, it's a great idea to use full metal jacket ammo at the range and hollow point for self-defense situations. That said, it is a good idea to periodically shoot hollow point at the range to make sure there are no issues with you using it or how it works in your firearm.

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