Ammunition is a topic that could easily be expanded through an in-depth, lengthy guide. To explain the difference between target ammo, defense ammo and regular ammo, here is a quick, simplified guide.
When target shooting, it’s essential to understand which type of ammunition is used for what type of gun.
Read below about the different types of ammo and what they’re used for.
Defense vs Target Ammunition
What is Defense Ammunition?
The need for defense ammunition in a situation such as active defense is by far a rarer occurrence. A majority of defense ammunition is jacketed hollow point, also referred to as JHP. The jacketed hollow point is created to expand and create more damage to the target. This JHP design is also focused on slowing the motion of the bullet once it contacts the target.
Because the JHP is so technically designed with special functions and specific behavior, this type of ammo is usually more expensive than target ammunition.
Because Defense ammunition is designed to behave differently when fired, it is crucial to practice shooting defense ammo occasionally in order to:
- Familiarize yourself with shooting defense ammo (jacketed hollow point ammunition)
- Verify the defense ammo functions through your firearm properly
What is Target Ammunition?
Target ammunition is specifically designed to be utilized on a shooting range for target shooting. Target ammunition is for the purpose of regular practice and hobby shooting. Regular shooting practice is critical for anyone that plans to use their firearm for defense or hobby target shooting. You will want to be able to gain muscle memory in an active safety situation for the best defense or for the sole purpose of familiarizing yourself with your firearm. With this being said, you’re potentially going to use a bunch of target ammo.
Target ammo is more affordable than defense ammo. Target ammunition is manufactured and designed differently. Target ammo is mostly full metal jacket, or FMJ for short. This type of ammo is designed to infiltrate considerably further into the target than defense ammo would. Most target shooting ranges are designed for the result of Target Ammunition.
Why are FMJ and JHP Different?
Full Metal Jacket Ammunition is More Straightforward
Full metal jacket ammunition is more straightforward to manufacture and the cost is ideal when you plan on target shooting. Because JHP (jacketed hollow point) ammunition is more pricey, it can be tempting for some shooters to shoot cheaper ammo options all the time. This is a dangerous option to choose and one that can be illegal in certain circumstances.
Jacketed Hollow Point Defense Ammunition is Safe for Defensive Situations
Because FMJ ammunition does not expand and reduce speed upon target impact, they tend to proceed through the target and beyond anything that may be behind it. In a defensive position, you only want to cause damage to the target alone, excluding anything or anyone around it.