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Skip’s Tips for New Handgun Owners: Types of Pistol Ammunition

Women’s Outdoor News and Avery Skipalis bring you a video about the common types of pistol ammunition. Being familiar with the different types of ammunition, and their designed uses, is important. This will ensure you get the maximum performance from your firearm, for whatever role you choose to use it. In the third video of our series, we talked about the importance of inspecting your firearm. Now we’re moving on to common types of pistol ammunition.

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Common Types of Pistol Ammunition

There are 2 main types of pistol ammunition, and each has its own distinct characteristics.

Avery Skipalis Skips Tips Full Metal Jacket pistol round vs Hollow Point pistol round
Left to right: Full Metal Jacket vs Hollow Point

Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)

This is the most prevalent type of ammunition, due to its low cost. This round is designed for target use, and is cheaper to mass produce. It is produced using a bullet that is made of a soft, metal core, encapsulated by a harder metal, such as copper. You want to avoid using this as defensive ammunition, due to the lack of expansion. Lack of expansion creates a risk of over penetration, which could injure or kill innocent bystanders. Sometimes, this is referred to as “ball ammo.”

Hollow Point

These rounds are often referred to as “defensive ammunition.” Hollow points are designed to expand upon impact. This expansion creates a larger wound channel, which aids in stopping a threat. Additionally, the expansion prevents over-penetration, thus keeping bystanders safer.

Avery Skipalis Skip's Tips loading ammunition
Loading magazine
Avery Skipalis Skips Tips Glock 43X hollow point ammunition
GLOCK 43X with hollow point ammunition

This ammunition costs more than FMJ, due to additional manufacturing steps. Manufacturers also invest into research and development of these rounds, which is also reflected in the price of hollow point ammunition. It’s a best practice to shoot at least 1 box of whatever defensive ammunition you choose to carry through your firearm. Some firearms do not feed all hollow point ammunition reliably, due to variations in round dimensions and designs.

Skip’s Take-Away on Common Types of Pistol Ammunition

You should become familiar with the different types of ammunition available, and be able to visually identify them outside of the box. This will help you immediately identify loose rounds or loaded magazines. Remember, quality ammunition is an investment, so don’t buy the cheapest option when it comes to defensive rounds, because 1 day, your life may depend on their performance.

  • About Avery Skipalis

    Avery Skipalis is the owner of Skip’s Tactical Solutions, an organization that focuses on empowering women, men and children to make sure that no one else becomes a victim. She gained her firearms experience from the military where she’s been a military firearms instructor for 10.5 years. She’s also a certified NRA rifle and pistol instructor and Glock Advanced Armorer since 2015. She’s attended Sig Sauer Academy, FNH, Special Operations Command Armorers courses as well as multiple Advanced Shooting Schools across the United States. She resides in Florida with her husband and 2 kids. She’s currently serving in the United States Air Force and loves sharing her passion with others. She thinks it’s important that women also feel like they’re in control of their own safety.