June 11, 2024
Types Of Ammunition

Bullets and handcuffs. Close-up of 9mm pistol. Gun and weapon with bullets amunition on black backround.

If you’re a first-time gun owner or new to recreational shooting, the world of firearms can be quite daunting. First, there’s the legal factor. Always make sure you’re up to date on licensing and safety training before purchasing a firearm, and keep your firearm in a safe place where it can’t be accessed by others. Second, there’s the learning curve involved in purchasing. Not only do you have to choose the right gun, but you also have to figure out which kind of ammunition to use. Manufacturers make ammunition with different weights, shapes, and velocities, even for the same type of firearms.

Another factor is the price. Firearms can cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars, and the price of ammunition is a significant factor as well. One of the best ways to save money on ammunition is to familiarize yourself with the different types and choose the one that best fits your needs. Read on to learn about the different types of ammunition and how to best use them.


Self-defense is one of the most common reasons why people become gun owners. When looking for ammunition for self-defense purposes, you’ll likely want to prioritize quality above all else. When you or your loved ones are in danger, ammo with the most energy and impact will be most effective at stopping whatever threat you face.

For rifles and handguns, hollow point projectiles are a popular choice, as they reduce the risk of hitting innocent bystanders and cause significant damage to the target. Many people looking for a great concealed carry opt for the best 9mm pistol. This is because 9mm pistols have a higher capacity than similar, larger caliber firearms, but can still be effectively used for defense. For shotguns, buckshot loads are better options than birdshot, as the latter may damage others in the area and maybe less effective at stopping the threat.

Shooting Sports And Target Practice

Shooting sports have a long and illustrious history, with shooting clubs first arising in the German-speaking world in the 13th and 14th centuries. The recreational shooting was quite popular in the United States, starting from the 1700s, with performances by Buffalo Bill doing much to further popularize sport shooting.

Today, sport shooters are likely to value quantity, cost, and availability over impact. Cheap cartridges for rifles and handguns are often full metal jacket (FMJ) options, which contain a soft core surrounded by a harder metal. These are cheaper for manufacturers and consumers than more complex hunting or self-defense ammo. For a shotgun, any load under number 7 ½ is a good option, You’ll also want to choose ammo that minimizes recoil so that you can spare your wallet and your body in one go!


When buying ammo for hunting, while cost may be a factor, terminal performance is likely to be much more important. The goal in hunting is to quickly and humanely bring down a target, so you want a bullet that will allow you to do just that. As with self-defense options, hollow point or soft point slugs are the best bet, as they better retain inertia and expand within the target. Full metal jacket ammo, on the other hand, is unlikely to be a humane option for hunting as it doesn’t have enough energy when fired.

Opting for heavier bullets will allow your shot to penetrate the skin, bone, and tissue of the animal you’re hunting, providing for a more efficient kill. It’s best to err on the side of a more powerful shot in order to ethically take down the animal you’re hunting, without causing unnecessary pain.

Differences Between Rifles, Handguns, And Shotguns

While caliber will play a role in the performance of your firearm, the shape and composition of the bullet are immensely important to how it’s propelled. Shotguns typically fire ammo in one or multiple pieces, whereas handguns and rifles generally fire only a single bullet, typically FMJ or hollow point style bullets. As mentioned above, the first of these is best for target practice, while the other will perform better for hunting or self-defense. Shotguns, on the other hand, will require ammo ranked according to number, with the size of the slug decreasing as the number increases.

Find The Right Ammo For You

While gun ownership requires a lot of safety consideration and a large learning curve, it should not be inaccessible. Depending upon your reasons for becoming a firearm owner, there are many different types of ammo out there. Learning more about each kind will help you effectively choose which one is right for you.