Ask Foghorn: What Are the Different Types of Bullets, and What Do They Do?

Bullets, c Nick Leghorn

Randall writes:

While I’m not exactly a newbie when it comes to *using* firearms, I am a newbie gun *owner*.  And now that I’m in the position of purchasing ammo, I’m finding things to be rather confusing when sorting out all there is to be had. I think I’ve kind of figured out what I want to buy for my Springfield XD 9mm, but choosing ammo for my AR-15 is proving to be more daunting. How ’bout an article for us newbie-types explaining the differences between, say, “full metal jacket” versus “total metal jacket” versus “jacketed hollow point” versus “jacketed hollow point subsonic” versus “frangible” versus “full metal jacket boat tail” versus “soft point” versus “boat tail hollow point” versus “lead round nose” versus “safety slug” versus…you get my drift.

That’s a pretty wide-ranging question, so I’ll answer it in three parts. This first part is all about the different types of projectiles, and there are quite a few. But first, in order to explain the different designations, a little about how bullets are made . . .

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Ask Foghorn: Are Suppressors a Good Idea for Home Defense Guns?


Mike asks:

Now that I am turning 40 and I have a toddler in the house I
am rethinking my Home Defense strategies and tactics. One of my biggest thoughts (in terms of money and time investment) is filing the requisite paperwork and getting suppressors for my HD guns. What are your thoughts? Also, what happens to my suppressor in the case of a DGU? What else should I consider?

In my opinion, if you live in a silencer-friendly state and you don’t have a can on your home defense gun, that should be your next purchase. Like, your very next purchase, even over ammunition . . .

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Ask Foghorn: Is 300 Blackout a Good Caliber for a First AR-15?


Matt writes:

I am looking to buy my first AR. The biggest dilemma that is facing me is the choice of caliber. Obviously, the main stream choice is the 5.56/.223 but I am really interested in the .300 Blackout because of the larger size of the round and the perceived greater stopping power. The AR I am drawn to the most is the Smith & Wesson M&P 15 Sport because of the price and I am a S&W fan. That rifle compared to an AR in .300 is a difference of around $1,000 from what I have been able to find. My question is, do you think that it is worth the extra money for the larger round or should I go with the cheaper option? I plan on using the rifle for home defense and of course range time. Do you think that I should buy a rifle in 5.56 and then possibly at a later time purchase a .300 upper? I am not sure if this will impact your suggestion but I also plan on putting a suppressor on my rifle at some point. Thank you for your help.

Short answer: No. Let me explain . . .

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Ask Foghorn: Where Have All The SCARs Gone?


Reader Nick writes:

Assuming that your FNH 3 Gun Team is a marketing tool for FNH to highlight their products, you might tell them they ought to disband the team – many of those products are unobtanium. No use spending sponsorship money when there’s nothing to sell. I’ve had a SCAR 16 on order at three separate distributors for 6 months now and none of them have any idea when they’ll be blessed with one from FNH. I’ll give it another couple of months and then I’ll just give up and move on to another platform.

The implied question — what’s with the SCAR shortage? And the answer is one that lets us blame our favorite scapegoat: the U.S. Government . . .

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Ask Foghorn: Medical Kits for the Firing Range


Yesterday I talked about a med kit that’s being offered for sale that isn’t up to my standards. What followed in the comments was a pretty good conversation about the benefits of clotting agents, the appropriateness of duct tape and some really good suggestions as to what makes an “ideal” med kit for every day carry or to take to the range. Wanting to capitalize on that discussion, Dan asked me to write a quick article about what I’d include in a small, medium and large first aid kit. Here we go . . .

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Ask Foghorn: Are Lasers Really Useful?

Reader Joshua asks (nearly a year ago now):

Can you tell me how useful a Crimson Trace laser system would be for a beginner?

A red laser sounds pretty cool. Green laser sounds cool too, but given physics, is going to have more powerplant issues, and buying batteries is annoying, and replacing them often is annoying. The whole option itself gets this new shooter wondering: how important is a laser sight at all? Is it a supplement for dark environs? Is it to make things easier in a chaotic combat situation, day or night? How hard are red lasers to see, how easy are green ones? . . .

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Ask Foghorn: Eliminating AR-15 Wobble


Reader DrewR55 writes:

I have what seems to be a common AR issue. I’ve assembled a Palmetto State Armory AR-15 and the rifle functions perfectly well. But I have what is to me an unacceptable amount of play between the two halves and this bothers me every time I handle the weapon. I am ‘slightly’ OCD and the play annoys me to no end. I understand that this play does not affect the rifle in the least but it bothers so I aim to fix it. Especially because if I spend X hundreds of dollars I want it close to perfect as I can get . . .

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Ask Foghorn: Staking your Gas Key?


Reader Donald writes:

The one concern I have building [a bolt carrier group] myself is staking the gas key. I have seen a guy on Youtube do it with a $80 dollar tool but was hoping not to have to buy anymore tools for this build. What’s your thought? Can I stake it with common tools like a center punch or should I try and find a gunsmith to do it for a fee?

So, for the uninitiated, two questions here. First, what does it mean to “stake” the gas key, and what does it do? And second, is it a DIY kind of thing? . . .

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Ask Foghorn: Meters v. Yards for Zero Distance?


Jeremy writes:

I don’t know if you guys have gotten this question before, or if it would warrant writing an article, but do you have any feedback on zeroing a rifle on a range measured in yards, and then how accuracy would be affected when shooting that rifle estimating distance based on meters? The difference @ 100m vs. 100 yards is going to be about 9′ so my assumption is that even to the max effective range of a 5.56 round, there isn’t going to be enough of a difference to see a noticeable POI shift. Do you have an opinion?

Good news for the lazy among us: for the typical zero on a 5.56 gun, it doesn’t matter . . .

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Ask Foghorn: Do Indoor Ranges Pose Health Risks?


Matt writes:

I’ve gone to different indoor ranges because I like to rent and shoot different handguns. I can see the fans going, they all say they’re safe. But no matter where, after shooting 200 rounds or so I feel like I smoked three packs of cigarettes. My throat will be hoarse, eyes bloodshot, and I will feel a bit sick. A tissue rubbed in my nose will show powder residue. That’s f’ed up. I also noticed that after spending time at an indoor range, I get headaches like those I got after playing football in high school . . .

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Ask Foghorn: What’s Up With the Ammo Shortage?


John writes:

How about some Information on why there is NO ammunition available? Is it a Govt. conspiracy? Just a “Normal” shortage? How come Wall mart, Cabalas, On line dealers, etc has NONE? It sure would be nice if TRUTH, gave us some believable answers, you could ask Manufacturers, WHY , WHEN, & HOW MUCH WILL HIT THE SHELVES

No, this isn’t a normal shortage. We’ve seen something close to this before, but it’s never been this bad. Here’s what’s going on . . .

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Ask Foghorn: What’s the Difference Between 5.56 and .223?

Ryan asks:

Hello, After reading the reviews on the Smith & Wesson MP-15 from your site, I went and got one. I was torn on which make and model to buy. But your reviews and other info I got sealed the deal. I have one question concerning ammo. I was always under the impression, that what ever was stamped on the barrel was the only caliber to be fired through the gun. Mine is clearly stamped Nato 5.56 there is no stamping that it can fire 223. I was told when I bought it, that it can fire both 5.56 & 223. I hear different tales on what is right and or wrong. Please help clear the air for me.

Believe it or not, I get this question a lot. So let me lay it out for you . . .

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