Getting To Know Different Ammo Types

Getting To Know Different Ammo Types

For those who aren’t familiar with firearms and anything related to the use of one will at first feel intimidated when introduced to the world of ammunition.

After learning and understanding terminology specific to ammunition, you’ll be able to comfortably distinguish between different ammo types and what they can do.

Thankfully, in regards to ammunition, there are only facts you can refer to, and opinions don't matter, so finding the ammo to suit your firearm needs is as simple as understanding the characteristics particular to different ammo types and what circumstances they will leave the most impact.

Let’s Take A Look Inside Ammo

  • Case: typically made of nickel, brass, or even steel
  • Primer: serves as the ignition for the gunpowder
  • Powder or Propellant: gunpowder
  • Projectile: Refers to the bullet

Different Ammo Types:

  • JHP
  • SWC
  • FMJ
  • +P

Above is a list of four types of bullets to choose from, with some models leaving more devastating results than others. If you're mainly choosing ammunition for self-defense, you should go for the ammo that does the most damage.

Don’t forget that not all people need guns for self-defense reasons since some use guns recreationally. In fact, there are some people are in the market looking for ammo specifically for hunting purposes, so it’s no surprise that all types of ammo exist to appease various types of firearm needs.

JHP: Jacketed Hollow Point

A unique feature associated with hollow point rounds is that the center is hollowed out, which affects a target differently than other ammunition.

Hollow point bullet.

Most ammo isn't hollowed out in the center, so as a result they are made with different casing materials. JHP ammo instead have a thin cover of a copper coating to enhance the strength of the bullet and to keep the lead powder within the bullet rather than have the barrel of the gun be entirely coated in it.

In regards to performance, JHP bullets maximize in size once they hit a target, which as a result increases the damage as well as blood loss coming from one single bullet.


  • Significant impact & Can damage internal organs
  • Favorite amongst recreational shooters


  • Difficult to penetrate concrete as well as steel

SWC: Semi-Wadcutter

For those looking for an all-purpose bullet, the Semi-Wadcutter is your ideal option since it combines design characteristics of traditional round nosed bullets with wadcutter target bullets. This combination of features makes Semi-Wadcutters perfect for target shooting, hunting, and self-defense.

Semi-Wadcutter bullets have a blunted tip that is commonly loaded into .38 snub-nose revolver since it is most effective being projected from that gun.

Semi-Wadcutter bullet.

Different from Jacketed Hollow Point bullets, Semi-Wadcutter bullets have a flat tip that penetrates that target to make a big hole rather than to grow in size once it enters the target.

Standard rounded tip bullets function differently from both of the ones mentioned above since they just slide through your target.


  • Creates a large hole in your target
  • Versatile use


  • Bullet velocity is slow when compared to other ammo types

FMJ: Full Metal Jacket

While JHP bullets are perfect for everyday carry use, full metal jacket bullets should be your go-to ammo for practicing purposes. FMJ ammo has a similar build to hollow pointed bullets but contains one defining feature setting it apart from hollow point ammo, which is not having a hollowed tip.

Similar to JHP ammo, FMJ bullets do have a copper or steel coating surrounding the bullet, which effectively reduces the lead present in the barrel as a result of firing the gun.

This is where the ammo similarities end, and the differences begin.

Once FMJ bullets enter a target, it will still retain its original shape, making it a less lethal bullet than any other type mentioned above.

Even though it's less lethal, you'll have an easier time loading a gun with FMJ bullets and efficiently shoot than more lethal ammo.

Full metal jacket.


  • Less Lethal so Less Mess
  • Cheaper to manufacture
  • Ideal for Practice


  • More penetration and less growth upon impact

+P: Overpressurized Ammunition

Overpressurized Ammunition stays true to its name since it's produced with a higher pressure than the pressure used to make standard bullets of the same caliber. The higher pressure plays a direct role in the enhanced effectiveness of the bullet itself when it's hitting a target.

As you can tell, hollow pointed bullets use a small portion of their energy to expand in diameter, so you can imagine what Overpressurized Ammunition can achieve since it gives off more energy and can penetrate deeper than any hollow-pointed bullet.

Overpressurized ammunition.

It’s no surprise that there’s ammo that combines JHP with +P to create the ultimate bullet that will damage the organs of any target. This means the strongest bullet mentioned would have to consist of Overpressurized Ammunition.


  • High Velocity
  • Combined with other Ammo types


  • Barrel endures increased stress
  • Gun may malfunction


Understanding the fundamental differences behind different ammo types will ensure you don't waste your money buying bullets that you won't even find useful for what you're trying to achieve.

Hopefully, you are now comfortable about ammo and can confidently make your first ammo purchase today.

Leave a Comment: