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FMJ Bullet

Full Metal Jacket Ammo


FMJ (Full Metal Jacket) has been a prominent key term in the ammo industry since the late 1800’s. Any bullet that you find in your house is most likely full metal jacket. The FMJ bullet is the most common bullet type in the world that is mostly used for range shooting and military use. But what is the full metal jacket meaning?

For those who are a novice in the shooting world, the term full metal jacket may be intimidating or confusing at first. Simply, the term full metal jacket or FMJ for short, means the lead bullet is encased in a separate outer shell (jacket) of harder metal – this is typically copper, but can sometimes be other materials and even hybrid composites in rare occasions. With the wide variety of FMJ manufacturers to choose from today, they have a huge amount of ammo lines using their proprietary creation methods making it easy to pick and choose from different materials and styles. Full metal jacket ammo can have other names throughout the shooting community, like full metal case or have additional suffixes like “boat tail” to let you know the intended use of the bullet. Some other common types are full metal jacket flat nose, and full metal jacket truncated cone.  Each of these different jacketed bullets are designed for a specific use and performance, but they retain the original lead properties of the FMJ bullets.


History of FMJ

The bullet was founded and created in 1882 by Swiss Colonel Eduard Rubin while he was working for the Swiss Federal Ammunition Factory and research center. The first main use of full metal jacket bullet came about in the military. The military needed improvement properties and characteristics in small arms that used internal mechanical manipulation of the cartridge in order to chamber rounds as opposed to externally hand-reloading single-shot firearms.  Many thought that the military used FMJ ammunition in result of The Hague Convention in 1899, declaration III.  This was to prohibit the use in international warfare of bullets that easily expand in the body. However, FMJ bullets were widely adopted and used by most European militaries during the late 1880’s and early 1890’s, about a decade prior to the Hage Convention. This bullet type become very popular in the early 1900’s for military use. Through the past century, the full metal jacket bullet has grown to the most widely used bullet type for civilian, law enforcement and military use.


FMJ Advantages

The number one perk for using a FMJ bullet is that the lead bullet is surrounded by a copper jacket or of another metal material. This helps prevent the lead from depositing itself in the barrel as it fires. As lead builds up after several rounds in the barrel, it creates inaccuracy when shooting. With a metal jacket over the core, the depositing of metal is greatly reduced. This ultimately allows more shots to be fired before you start to notice inaccurate shooting. This main component of the FMJ bullet is a huge advantage for the high-volume shooter. The FMJ’s metal jacket gives the bullet more rigidity and resists deformation during loading and firing. This creates the bullet to be fired at a higher velocity (FPS) as well. Full metal jacket bullets are excellent for target practice and plinking as it is plentiful and relatively inexpensive. FMJ bullets are currently available in both handgun and rifle calibers.


Difference between FMJ & JHP

First off, the term JHP stands for Jacketed Hollow Point. JHP ammo is engineered to expand upon contact with a target, making it a great self-defense round instead of practice or plinking rounds. It is an optimal round to neutralize a threat and do more damage to the target. When it comes to FMJ ammo, it is not designed to expand when it hits a target, it is meant to create a “through and through” wound instead of causing more grievous wound impact. JHP also has a nose cavity on the bullet instead of a flat, round or pointed tip like the FMJ bullets have. All in all, FMJ ammo is used for recreational shooting, training, and other situations where you are not concerned with how much damage you can inflict. If you need something for self-defense, go for a JHP bullet. The FMJ is regularly less expensive than the JHP as well.

JHP (left) FMJ (right)


Difference between FMJ & TMJ

Now we know what FMJ bullets are, you’re probably asking, what is TMJ? What are the differences? TMJ stands for total metal jacket and was designed for use in indoor ranges or for high-volume shooters where leas exposure is a concern. TMJ bullets are completely covered by a thin layer of copper that is applied by a process called electroplating. The copper jacket covering creates an enclosed base, so no lead is exposed to the powder charge. TMJ bullets are usually bought and used for handgun calibers. Like FMJ bullets, TMJ ammo is great for target practice and plinking instead of self-defense. At the end of the day, TMJ & FMJ have similar performances at the range.


Is FMJ Good for Hunting?

Using FMJ bullets for hunting has been a great debate for some time among hunters. Many people in the hunting community argue that the extra penetration provided by FMJ bullets is necessary to ensure a clean kill, while others contend that the increased penetration simply leads to more wounded game. While there is no definitive answer as to whether or not FMJ bullets are the best choice for hunting, there are certainly a large number of hunters out there who have had success using them.  FMJ bullets offer increased penetration, which can lead to more excessive damage to the meat. FMJ is also more likely to pass through the game and strike another object beyond, so you need to be extra careful to ensure that you have a safe backstop in place. Another key point you need to know if what region you are hunting in. Depending on where you live, it may be illegal. Do your due diligence before making that decision on using FMJ for hunting. Ultimately, the decision is up to you if you want to use FMJ bullets for hunting.  If you are purchasing ammunition to use when the stakes are high, then FMJ is not a good choice. FMJ has shown it is not that affective towards big game but does a great job in the deer category.  The FMJ has proven over time it is a safe, reliable and effective bullet type to use for hunting either way, but make sure you do your research on what game you’re hunting and location.

Mule Deer Hunting Tucson, AZ
Coues Deer Hunting Tucson, AZ

Should I use FMJ Bullets?

Absolutely! Throughout time, FMJ style bullets have proven it’s effectiveness and reliability through the civilian and military market. The FMJ bullet offers the simplicity of planking on the weekend or training purposes. May not be great or the best choice for self-defense but offers great versatility for shooting.  Full metal jackets are extremely common and very well priced making it even more accessible. At the end of the day, FMJ bullets will be your best bet for any type of shooting needs and won’t disappoint on accuracy and performance.


Need bulk ammo? At True Shot Ammo, we have a wide variety of handgun ammo and rifle ammo available to purchase. Please visit our website trueshotgunclub.com, call us at (888) 736-6587 or, you can email us at [email protected] for more rifle ammo options.

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