Fully Encapsulated Base Bullets Explained
A fully encapsulated base bullet has just what the name implies and that’s a base (usually lead) that is completely surrounded by another harder metal such as copper. This type of bullet typically has good accuracy and is primarily for indoor shooting ranges. This term can confuse new shooters so think of it as a total metal jacket with just the base covered though technically a TMJ is a type of fully encapsulated base, just entirely covered instead. Some manufacturers call this "clean range" ammo as they use the FEB bullet and a mercury free primer to create an environmentally friendly bullet.
This type of ammo has pretty much a single use and that’s indoor shooting because the covered lead base prevents airborne lead particles from spreading around causing safety concerns. Most newer ranges have great ventilation so it’s really not an issue but it’s better to be safe than sorry with lead.
Fully Encapsulated Base Advantages
Obviously, the main advantage is the lead safety but another advantage to this bullet is the variety of calibers offered with 9mm, .40 S&W and .38 Special among the most popular.. There are FMJ and TMJ designs available and every manufacturer will have various lines and styles that have that coated base. Most of these remain common as target shooting ammo but you really have a lot of options and this can let you try out all kinds of ammunition before you decide on going with a more traditional type. Some shooters simply prefer encapsulated base ammo for multipurpose use.
Fully Encapsulated Base Disadvantages
The only real disadvantage to this type of ammo is that it has a specialized bullet. While perfect for indoor ranges and shooting on your property, it’s not a good choice for hunting or defense use as it is not designed to expand when it hits a target like specialty self defense ammo.
Overall, if you’re looking for good indoor range ammo, you can’t go wrong with encapsulated base ammo as long as you double check with the range. Some prefer absolutely no lead, FMJ or TMJ only or maybe even their own reloaded ammo instead. While this can seem limiting, at indoor ranges safety is priority number one.