The Best Types of Bullets for Your Personal Handgun


When purchasing a handgun for protection, important decisions have to be made. One of them involves deciding on the model and caliber of the gun. It should be comfy to carry and shoot, should have manageable recoil and produce enough energy to stop an attacker.

Many spend ample time on deciding what type of gun to use, but neglect to spend time on what ammo to use. How a bullet is constructed and what it’s made of can mean the difference between life and death.

Lead bullets spread rapidly on impact because it’s a soft metal, but it’s not useful for penetrating. Full metal jacket bullets, or FMJ, have a lead core wrapped in metal to help with penetration, but now energy doesn’t transfer because the metal keeps the core from expanding. In a life and death situation, neither will stop an attacker.

The goal has always been to create a bullet that can penetrate, transfer energy by spreading, and to eliminate over-penetration in case you miss and hit an unintended target. The answer to this was jacketed hollow point bullets, or JHP. The lead core at the hollow tip expands and transfers energy but it’s partially covered with a copper jacket to control expansion and results in better penetration, according to AZ Bulk Brass. It works well, but only if the jacket and the core remain attached.

To fix this, a process called bonding is used to keep both jacket and core attached to one another. The bonding is done either electrochemically or mechanically.

All bullets are not made equal though, so which ones are the best? Here are some of the best bullets out there that can save your life.

Speer Gold Dot Personal Protection

Speer Gold’s uni-core bonding process secures the jacket and core and prevents separation. The hollow point design consist of two stages:

1. The first stage controls how far the lead expands
2. The second determines the rate of expansion

It’s a smooth bullet with a nickel-plated casing that makes for reliable feeding into firearms as well.

Federal Premium Personal Defense HST

These HST bullets with a copper jacket and lead core used to be handled by law enforcement only, but now the bullets are free to use by the public. Being an example of a mechanically-bonded bullet, it has notches that peel backward on impact with the nose cavity being able to penetrate various barriers.

American Eagle Jacketed Soft Point

American Eagle offers great expansion and deep penetration, but at a lower price than their competitors. It’s definitely a great alternative to using lead or FMJ bullets. The jacketed soft point design is similar to JHP bullets, with the copper jacket and lead core to balance penetration and expansion.

Federal Premium Guard Dog Ammunition

Unlike the other bullets that have a partial metal jacket with a lead core, these have a FULL metal jacket with amazing expansion capabilities.

To accomplish this, the front half of the bullet is a polymer core wrapped in a metal jacket. When the bullet hits its target, the polymer core is squished and expands on stress lines in the metal. This allows the bullet to continue penetrating and expanding, causing even more damage.

Guard Dog bullets also smoothly feed into cartridges and they can still expand when shot through walls made of materials like plywood and drywall. These types of walls generally clog hollow bullet points and cause them to not expand, causing over-penetration, but this isn’t the case with this bullet. It expands so that over-penetration won’t happen in case it hits the wrong target.

Speer Personal Protection Short Barrel

Speer bullets carry the same qualities as other Personal Protection bullet brands, with nickel casing and two-stage construction. The only difference is that these are made for short-barreled guns, which have lower muzzle velocities.

The make and model of a gun is important, but the type of bullet you load into it is just as important. Choose wisely, aim well, and be safe!