Are Hollow Points Illegal?

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The reason we carry handguns is to protect ourselves and our families from people who would otherwise harm us or do the unthinkable. To have a proactive mindset is knowing the right ammo to choose. One that you are comfortable with to stop a perpetrator dead on their tracks. This leads us to a question we often hear. What kind of ammunition is legal? Better yet, are hollow points legal?

To begin, federal law defines ammunition as bullets, cartridge cases, primers, or propellant powder designed for use in any firearm.

There are many types of ammunition available in the market. The most popular and commonly used are the Hollow Point and Full metal jacket ammo for both self-defense & practical use. You must understand when one is preferred over the other. 

For a new ammunition buyer, this article will let you know more about the Hollow Point and FMJ ammo. The perception is that both kinds of ammo use hollow points for home defense firearms and an FMJ ammo for practice. 

Understanding Hollow Point Ammo

Hollow-point ammo is one that expands on impact and has a hollowed tip instead of a full-metal jacket. This ammunition is the best for most hunters and people who wish to hold a defensive line in self-defense because it rarely leaves an exit wound making it lethal every time you hit your target. 

When you hit a target with a hollow point bullet, the hollow part will make the bullet deform. The bullet will remain to look blasted and the lead will push through. As for the full metal jacket ammo, the opposite is true. Because of the covering of steel or copper, there will be less lead powder coating after you fire inside of the barrel.

Hollow point ammo is adored by shooters as they have many applications and are among the best defense ammo. Hunters also feel it is great hunting ammo because of its devastating lethality especially if you opt for the quality brands. In the world of ammo, hollow points reign supreme as they are popular for every firearm application


  • They leave a mess in flesh targets.
  • Have reduced penetration in concrete and steel.

What Are the Uses of Hollow Point Bullets 

Hollow-point bullets are at the top of ammo selection because they expand as they penetrate the flesh of their targets. What this means is the bullet stays inside the soft tissues. Hollow-point bullets expand and other types do not go down to the choice of materials. It leaves one wonder what takes place when you shoot a hollow-point bullet into a tissue. 

Most bullets have what we know as a “jacket,” which is an outer metal shell over a softer metal shell. However, the more common ammo is the jacketed bullet over the hollow bullets variety.

What is the Law Concerning Hollow-Point Bullets 

There are no restrictions over the ammo you should have in your self-defense weapon. Also, there are no prohibitions on sights as an enhancement. However, you should be wary of some concerns that the jury might be swayed to have a biased perception if you ever use your gun in self-defense and have to answer to the charges. 

The law remains the law, however, such cases are less likely to happen today more than it did previously. Nowadays, there are lots of presumptions that paint deadly force as necessary but only in certain situations. And this has resulted in immunity for the people that use force in self-defense legitimately.

In many examples, some prosecutors focus on hardware the defendants used. They make the court to see a bloodthirsty armed citizen when they want to challenge the self-defense plea. In some cases, there have been unlawful convictions of people who have fired to protect themselves, especially if the firearm was branded. The tactic is sometimes successful and firing your gun can land you in trouble with the law even when you had to. 

The law-enforcement agencies prefer to use hollow-point ammunition. A prosecutor will have a hard time making a case of painting an armed citizen as the villain. But I see no harm to carry ammo that is effective as my choice of self-defense ammo in my carry and a concealed weapon.

I compare the same with using laser sights. The technology is updated, yet widely available, despite being considered lethal by tactical experts. To make a legal point, the major concern is to ensure that all use of force to stop a threat is justified and you have control of your weapon. A laser sight is a device that brings control and will help a self-defense shooter facing charges as opposed to creating perception issues.

It is why I continuously recommended hollow-point ammo and laser sights to friends and family for their home and personal defense.

Why are Hollow Points the Best for Self Defense? 

As mentioned above, a hollow point is the best for self-defense because it can both penetrate and expand. Where other ammo will punch a hole through their targets and do little else, as they create what we call a clean-through wound. It is a wound where the bullet passes through something or someone leaving a hole. 

Soft tissues are all elastic and will close up fast around a wound. Consequently, bigger bullets will not leave a big hole. In cases like the .380, 9mm rounds and .38 Special will make holes that are slightly larger than tha