Hollow Point vs Regular Bullets: What's the difference?

Hollow Point vs Regular Bullets: What's the difference?

By Berry's, Posted in
September 07, 2023


When it comes to choosing bullets for your shooting needs — be it self-defense, target shooting, or hunting large animals — one of the most pressing questions that often comes up is: should you opt for hollow point or regular bullets? But before making that choice, it's essential to know what these bullets are and how they differ in design and functionality. Here at Berry's Bullets, we specialize in superior plated bullets and reloading accessories, so you can count on our expertise to guide you through the basics.

What Are Hollow Point Bullets?

Hollow point bullets are specially designed with a hollow cavity at the tip. This feature makes the bullet expand upon impact, particularly when it comes into contact with a soft target. The idea behind this design is to increase the bullet's stopping power, making it more effective for self-defense situations.

Key Features:

Hollow Cavity: The concave tip allows for rapid expansion upon hitting a target.
Soft Lead Core: Generally, these bullets feature a soft lead core surrounded by a harder metal shell, often referred to as a copper jacket.
High Velocity: Hollow point ammo often have a higher velocity compared to their regular counterparts, adding to their efficacy.

What Are Regular (Round Nose) Bullets?

On the other hand, regular bullets—often referred to as "round nose" bullets—have a more traditional design. They are usually made of a harder metal and are often fully enclosed in a copper jacket. Unlike hollow points, these bullets are not designed to expand upon impact.

Key Features:

Harder Metal: These bullets are often constructed with a mix of lead and other metals, making them harder and more robust.
Ball Ammo: In military contexts, these are often referred to as "ball ammunition" and have been widely used in various conflicts, respecting the limitations imposed by the Hague Convention.

Hollow Point vs Regular: A Brief History

Both hollow point and round nose bullets have long histories. The Hague Convention of 1899 restricted the use of expanding bullets like hollow points in international warfare. However, they are legal and commonly used for self-defense, home defense, and law enforcement within the United States. Regular, or round-nose bullets, have fewer restrictions and are often used in military, civilian, and plinking contexts.

Pros and Cons of Hollow Point Bullets

Having understood the basic characteristics and historical backgrounds of both hollow point and regular bullets, it's time to dig a little deeper. In this section, we'll focus on the various advantages and disadvantages of using hollow point bullets.

Key Mechanics:

Rapid Expansion: The hollow cavity is designed to unfold upon impact, making it more effective for neutralizing threats.
Higher Velocity: Typically, hollow point bullets travel at a higher velocity than regular bullets, ensuring quicker impact.

Berry’s Hollow Point Offerings

Advantages of Hollow Point Bullets

Self-Defense Effectiveness & Collateral Damage

In self-defense scenarios, hollow point ammunition is often considered the gold standard. The bullet's ability to expand upon hitting soft tissue maximizes its stopping power, thus reducing the risk to innocent bystanders by minimizing collateral damage.

Accurate Shot Placement

Due to their expanding nature and higher velocity, hollow point bullets often offer more accurate shot placement, making them highly efficient in stressful situations.

Disadvantages of Hollow Point Bullets

Clothing and Obstacle Issues

Hollow point bullets can sometimes be less effective when the intended target is wearing heavy clothing, as the fabric can clog the hollow tip and prevent the bullet from expanding as designed.

Cost and Legality

Hollow point bullets are often more expensive than regular bullets. Additionally, they are illegal in New Jersey and certain jurisdictions, so it's essential to check local laws before purchasing.

Not Ideal for All Firearms

While hollow point bullets feed smoothly in most modern firearms, older semi-auto pistols may experience feeding issues due to the bullet's design.

Pros and Cons of Regular Bullets

After delving into the intricacies of hollow point bullets, it's only fair to give regular bullets their moment in the spotlight. Also known as round nose bullets, these projectiles are more traditional in design but offer their own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Key Mechanics:

No Expansion: The solid, rounded tip ensures that the bullet maintains its shape upon impact.
Higher Muzzle Velocity: Many regular bullets are designed for a higher muzzle velocity, making them ideal for certain types of shooting.

Berry’s Round Nose Offerings


Advantages of Regular Bullets


One of the most significant advantages of using regular bullets is cost. They are generally cheaper to produce and purchase, making them a go-to choice for plinking, target practice, and target shooting.


Regular bullets, often referred to as ball ammo, have versatile applications. They can be used for target practice, hunting, and in some cases, self-defense.

Feeding Reliability

Due to their rounded tip, regular bullets often feed more reliably in semi-automatic pistols, especially older models.

Disadvantages of Regular Bullets

Limited Stopping Power & Risk of Over-Penetration

One of the main concerns with using regular bullets, particularly in a self-defense context, is the risk of over-penetration. Because regular bullets don't expand like hollow point bullets, they generally have less stopping power. In self-defense situations, the bullet could pass through the intended target and potentially harm an unintended target or innocent bystander.

Exit Wound Concerns

The non-expanding nature of regular bullets often results in smaller entry but larger exit wounds, which could be more damaging in certain scenarios.

How to Choose Between Hollow Point and Regular Bullets

Having examined the advantages and disadvantages of both hollow point and regular bullets, the natural question to ask is: Which type of bullet is best for you? The answer isn't as straightforward as one might think; it depends on various factors including the intended use, your firearm, and even legal considerations. Here at Berry's Bullets, we offer a wide range of superior plated bullets, and our experts are on hand to help guide you in making the right decision.

Factors to Consider: Overview

Intended Use

Self-Defense: For situations requiring rapid threat neutralization, hollow point ammunition is often recommended. Its ability to expand upon impact increases stopping power and minimizes the risk of over-penetration.
Target Practice: If you're looking for a cost-effective option for target practice, then regular bullets could be your best bet.
Hunting: The type of bullet best for hunting will depend on the game you're targeting. Hollow points are generally better for smaller game, while regular bullets may be more suitable for larger animals.

Firearm Compatibility

Modern Firearms: Most modern firearms are built to handle both types of ammunition. However, hollow points may have feeding issues in older semi-automatic pistols.
Older Firearms: Round nose bullets are often more reliable when it comes to feeding in older firearms.

Legal Considerations

Always check the laws in your jurisdiction before purchasing ammunition. While hollow points are legal in most parts of the United States for civilian use, some areas may have restrictions.


Hollow point bullets are generally more expensive than their regular counterparts. If cost is a significant factor for you, regular bullets may be the more economical choice.


Hollow Point vs Regular: Making the Final Decision

Ultimately, the bullet you choose will depend on your individual needs, preferences, and circumstances. It might even be beneficial to have both types of bullets on hand for different scenarios.

Cutting-Edge Solutions from Berry's Bullets

We've delved deep into the world of bullets, discussing the pros, cons, and best use-cases for both hollow point and regular bullets. At this point, you're probably wondering how you can apply this newfound knowledge to make the best ammunition choice for your needs. Here at Berry's Bullets, we're not just experts in the field; we're also committed to providing you with the best shooting solutions available.

The Berry's Bullets Edge

Superior Plated Bullets

Our superior plated bullets, be they hollow point or regular, are produced with the utmost care and attention to detail. We focus on consistency and reliability, so when you choose Berry's, you're choosing the gold standard in ammunition.

Comprehensive Reloading Supplies

Apart from bullets, we offer a wide range of reloading products such as ammo boxes, brass cleaning solutions, and other reloading accessories. You can find everything you need to optimize your shooting experience right here.

Expert Guidance

Navigating the intricacies of bullet types, ballistic coefficients, and even Hague Convention stipulations can be daunting. Our team of experts is always on hand to guide you through your purchasing decision, making sure you find the product that aligns with your needs.

The Perfect Bullet for Every Scenario

Berry’s Hollow Point Bullets: For those looking for maximum stopping power with minimal risk of collateral damage, our hollow point rounds are designed to expand reliably, providing effective results every time.
Berry’s Round Nosed Bullets: When it comes to target practice or competitive shooting, our line of regular bullets offers both performance and value. They are designed for higher muzzle velocity and superior feeding reliability, especially in older firearms.

Berry's Commitment to Innovation

We're continually researching and developing new products to meet the evolving needs of shooters. Whether it's increasing the ballistic coefficient for better long-range accuracy or working on a new type of hollow point that performs well even through heavy clothing, we're committed to innovation.

The bullet you choose plays a pivotal role in your shooting experience, and at Berry's Bullets, we're here to ensure that experience is as effective and enjoyable as possible.

Would you like to browse our extensive range of reloading products now?

Shop our wide array of bullet options here!