Hollow Point (HP) Bullets Explained

A hollow point bullet is easily recognizable by the nose. It will have an indentation, dip, cup, “x” or some other easily identifiable mark or alteration that lets you know exactly what it is. The main reasons people flock to hollow points are for personal defense and hunting, however there is also a strong following among competition shooters who like the increased accuracy the hollow point bullet can offer.

The main characteristic that’s trying to be achieved when a hollow point is made is expansion. When these bullets hit a target, they should “bloom” outwards like a flower, create a flat large burst at the end, fragment or mushroom. This is primarily to prevent over-penetration for safety reasons but also to create the biggest wound cavity as possible to take something down immediately.

Hollow Point AccuracyHollow Point Bullets

One would think that a hollow point couldn’t possibly be very accurate due to the shape most of them have right? That’s a huge misconception most people have no matter who tells them otherwise until they fire a few rounds themselves. Most bullets go so incredibly fast, it has very little bearing on accuracy until you hit a certain distance. This distance can be as small as 25 yards for an old school hollow point but could be 200 yards with a plastic or polymer tipped HP rifle round. It’s always going to be based on the shooter skill, exact type of ammo and the gun being used. You will have to put lots of rounds through your weapon to find your “sweet spot” if you’re using these rounds for something other than home defense.

Hollow Point Expansion

This is the point of hollow point ammunition. When it hits a target, the nose will open up, something like peeling a banana, this creates a larger surface area. When hitting a soft target it expands on impact and sends that expanded bullet deep into the target hopefully killing or incapacitating it instantly. This expansion can occur in various ways depending on the manufacturer of the bullet and each popular ammo company has a huge variety of them for all sorts of intended uses.  Some are copper jacketed lead bullets, while others are made of one material, like copper.

Hollow Point Safety

There are two main ways to look at hollow point bullets and what makes them better than other bullet designs for their intended use. The first one is, if you have to use a firearm in self definse with a lot of people around a Lead Round Nose or FMJ can (and often will) go right through someone hitting others or causing some type of damage.  A hollow point is designed so that when it hits the intended target it will quickly expand and release its energy into the target and eliminate, or at least greatly decrease, the chance of going through the target and hitting a bystander. The second reason that they are safer is that if you use them in hunting or self defense it  is more likely that the trauma and relating shock will cause the target to drop almost immediately.  This decreases the need for follow up shots that could endanger others.  For hunters, it decreases the chances of having to track a wounded animal.

Hollow points are well loved by shooters all over the world for most applications. They are a superb home defense ammo choice, great for hunting if you get the right brands and are an overall popular ammo for everything.