How to choose the right Ammunition for your gun thumbnail image

How to choose the right Ammunition for your gun

80 Percent Arms   |   Jun 24th 2020

Why your Ammunition Choice Matters

The phrase “using the right tool for the job” is well known when referring to doing a job right. You want to be sure that you have the right “tool” to ensure your job is completed well and correctly, guaranteeing that you won’t have to do it more than once. You don’t use a hammer when you have a screw, you don’t use a bike when you need to get somewhere far and fast, and you don’t use a skillet when you need a pot. The tools you use matter when you have a specific task that needs to be completed, so you make sure that you’re using exactly what’s needed.

Along with using the right tools, though, you need to ensure you have the right supporting pieces as well. If you choose to use an electric drill for your job, you need to be sure you have the right drill bit, or you’ll never finish the job at hand. Similarly, when you have a job that requires a firearm, choosing the right ammunition can be the difference between a job done well and a job that fails.

When it comes to ammunition, there are many different kinds, all of which serve different functions, depending on what the shooter is trying to accomplish. When purchasing ammo for your firearm, it’s best to research what kind of round would best complete your task, that way you are sure to get the right ammunition the first time around.

How Many Types of Ammunition are There?

There are many different types of ammunition, so it’s important to know exactly what you’re looking for to ensure that you get the right kind. When shopping for bullets, be sure to look for:


Be sure that you know what caliber ammunition your firearm takes so that you get the right type. You cannot shoot ammunition that is not suited for a specific firearm, so make sure to do your research before you buy. Your firearm should list the type of ammunition it takes in its owner’s manual, and make sure to purchase exactly what's recommended. For example: 9x19 Parabellum and 9x18 Makarov are only 1mm in length difference, but are not at all interchangeable.

Rimfire vs Centerfire

These are two different classification of cartridge that bullets come in. Today, rimfire ammunition is typically reserved for handguns while centerfire ammunition is used with rifles, though there are some older rifle models that can use rimfire ammunition. Rimfire ammunition is classified as being smaller and inexpensive, with the entire inside edge of the cartridge being the primer to fire the bullet inside. Centerfire ammunition, on the other hand, is usually larger and can handle rougher usage due to its composition. Centerfire ammunition is classified this way because the primer for the bullet is a small section on the center of the base of the cartridge instead of the entire edge. It’s also important to note that rimfire ammunition is less powerful than centerfire ammunition, which helps to distinguish them.

Bullet Type

This is really where choice comes into play. If you have a .22 handgun, then you will be buying .22 sized ammunition that is a rimfire style, which is really the only choice you have in those areas. The bullet type you buy, though, has more options associated with it, allowing you to choose the bullet type that’s right for you and what you’re doing. Some types of bullets include full metal jacket (FMJ), semi-jacketed (SJ), lead round nose (LRN), armor piercing (AP), soft point (SP), hollow point (HP), etc. Each of these bullets does something different, which makes them better suited for different jobs. Be sure to research all you can about bullet type before you buy, since this is where differences in performance arise.

What Bullet Type Does What?

As stated above, bullet type is where a lot of differences arise. While size and cartridge type do play a part in a bullet’s performance, the way the bullet itself is designed will change how it performs. Some of the most popular types of bullet styles today include:

Full Metal Jacket

Full metal jacket bullets are bullets that have a “soft” core and are completely surrounded by a stronger metal shell, hence the name “full metal jacket”, or "FMJ" for short. These types of bullets have less ability to expand due to their makeup, which gives them a greater chance of moving through their target, which leads to a less severe wound. These types of rounds are a popular choice for the military as they are more likely to defeat body armor, and intermediate barriers like doors, glass, and thin walls.

Hollow Point

These are a favorite amongst those looking for self-defense and for hunting. Hollow point bullets expand once they’ve been shot, which creates a larger hole in the target. A full metal jacket bullet would certainly hurt, but the wound left behind would be smaller and more manageable. When a hollow point hits a target, the wound the target receives is large, painful, and internally catastrophic, which helps to stop them in their tracks.

Soft Point

A soft point bullet is a marriage between a hollow point and a full metal jacket bullet. These are bullets that are jacketed with a soft point at the tip which expands once it hits its target. This kind of bullet gives a shooter the best of both worlds, so to speak, which helps their popularity. These bullets are best used with rifles, since they do not typically expand when fired at low velocity.

Buying the Firearm You Want

When you decide it’s time to own your own gun, or decide it’s time for a new firearm, be sure to buy from the people who are here for you. At 80 Percent Arms, we are ready and committed to helping you not only find the right firearm for you, but the right ammunition as well. Call us today, or visit our online store to see what we can provide for you today!