Full metal jacket or hollow point? This frequent topic of debate is one of the few gun-related topics that have fact-based evidence to support both sides of the argument.
What many people don’t understand is that there are significant differences between these types of bullets. Let’s take a look at what those differences are, and when each type is preferable over the other.
Full Metal Jacket
A full metal jacket round is a soft lead bullet that’s been encased in a harder metal. When passing through soft tissue and other stuff, the bullet retains the majority of its shape. The upside of this is that, in theory, it has an easier time retaining its lethality after passing through a barrier among other things. It also has an easier time working in almost any gun you put it in.
The main thing, however, is that it’s just far cheaper to manufacture FMJ ammo.
FMJ bullets are incredibly strong – it is difficult for metal piercing substances to damage the bore of the bullet. Because the bullet is just passing through, for lack of a better term, it retains a great deal of its energy. This ultimately results in 2 small holes (entrance and exit wound) and also allows the bullet to possibly continue for a long time and hit something you don’t want it to.
Full metal jacket ammo is cleaner than unjacketed bullets. Everything within the bullet is fully concealed. All that has to do with the shooting process is smooth and straightforward, perfect for semi-autos. For a 9mm, full metal jacket ammo is cleaner and stronger than the hollow point.
The general takeaway here is that hollow point bullets expand on contact and thus are more preferable for day-to-day situations because they reduce the risk of hitting targets downfield.
Full metal jacket bullets are stronger and cleaner, and generally better for situations when downfield unintentional targets are not an issue.