Understanding Ammunition Types

Many new gun owners often feel overwhelmed when choosing the right type of ammunition for shooting practice or everyday defense. The following highlights several types of ammunition, which are listed in penetration order from best to worst, or rather from most damaging to least damaging.

  • Armor Piercing (AP) – The Hollywood blockbuster “Lethal Weapon 3” introduced Americans to this type of bullet. This hard bullet is generally made from either tungsten or steel alloys and features a distinct pointed shape. The bullet features a thin layer of copper and/or brass or a lead jacket, which prevent the gun’s barrel from becoming worn. Originally used to pierce warships, this deadly ammunition has unfortunately earned the street reputation as a “cop killer.”
  • Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) – Not referring to the award-winning movie, these types of bullets feature a lead core that is fully surrounded by brass, mild steel or copper. These are an excellent all-around choice for a variety of armor types.
  • Jacketed Soft Point (JSP) – Developed in the late 19th century, these bullets feature a jacket that doesn’t fully cover the bullet’s nose. This helps to prevent lead from corroding the gun’s barrel.
  • Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP) – This design is similar to the aforementioned JSP, but features a small cavity in the bullet’s nose. This causes a larger diameter entrance wound, while also having minimal penetration.
  • Glaser Safety Slug – These mass-produced bullets feature copper jackets that are filled with birdshot and then crimped with a polymer endcap. Once these bullets hit targets, they disperse fragments, effectively spreading birdshot. This type of bullet penetrates thin sheet metal, plywood and even drywall. There are two types of Glaser bullets.
    • Blue Glaser – Using a fine birdshot, this ammunition offers five to six inches of penetration.
    • Silver Glaser – With a slightly larger birdshot, this bullet penetrates one to inches further than the Blue Glaser.
  • Training Ammunition – This non-lethal ammunition is a cross between Simunitions and FX paint cartridges. People should be warned that training ammunition could still cause wounds.

The Hague Accords ban countries from using expanding projectiles against any law enforcement or military forces. While some countries have agreed to this broad ban, the U.S. does use JSP and JHP ammunition against known criminals and terrorists. While the U.S. did not sign the complete Hague treaty, they still follow the guidelines as set forth about military conflict restrictions.

Jumping Targets specializes in offering innovative steel shooting targets. These targets are not designed for use with AP or steel core bullets or BB’s. When shooting weapons with velocities above 3000 fps, it is important to place the target at a sufficient distance that gives bullets adequate time to slow down before initial impacts. With proper care, these AR500 steel targets will last many years.

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