U.S. Military Moves From Full Metal Jacket To Hollowpoint Rounds

For decades the U.S. military has used full metal jacket (FMJ) rounds for their pistols, but are finally switching to jacketed hollowpoints (JHP).

The announcement for the monumental shift was made at the U.S. Army’s Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, where military lawyers said the United States never signed the Hague Convention more than a century ago, and therefore are not technically prohibited from using hollowpoint ammunition.

The major push for switching ammo types came out growing concern for innocent bystanders. In the urban combat today’s troops increasingly find themselves in, over-penetration is not an option.

FMJ’s, which largely maintain their shape at the point of impact and excel at energy transfer, can potentially pass through their intended target and strike another, unintended target.

JHP’s, on the other hand, quickly expand at the point of impact, causing a more significant wound channel while decreasing the chance of over-penetration.

The military still plans to use FMJ’s for training purposes, but when it comes to combat, all troops will soon be equipped with JHP’s.

That being said, the caliber of choice has yet to be determined, though many experts believe that based on FBI data, the 9MM is a solid contender.

(H/T Bearing Arms, This article was a submission from freelance writer Brent Rogers)

{ 35 comments… add one }
  • Roger Mansfield January 26, 2018, 8:33 am

    This is very interesting. The U.S. Army’s Picatinny Arsenal is in New Jersey, where hollow points are illegal. I think it’s a $1,000. per round fine? Does this mean Army Personal at the Arsenal will be in violation of New Jersey state law if they’re armed with the Army’s Standard Round? Like I said very interesting! Don’t you think??

    • Bob January 26, 2018, 3:36 pm

      Hollow points are not illegal in New Jersey. You can purchase them anywhere. It is illegal to have them in your possession IF you are not on the most direct route from point of purchase to your home or a firing range. They must also be in their original factory box and in your trunk

  • Miguel Raton October 14, 2016, 3:19 pm

    It may just be legalistic mumbo-jumbo, but a case can be made that the Hague accords limits upon unnecessarily malicious ammunition don’t apply to a sidearm which has the primary purpose of personal self-defense, vs. a rifle [which is the primary method of an individual’s means of assaulting the enemy.] As for the 9mm vs. 10mm conflict raised in the replies above, that’s all irrelevant: the U.S. armed forces standardized on 9mm handguns over 30 years ago as a token gesture to the rest of NATO after forcing the 7.62x51mm on them in the 50s & then less than 15 years later unilaterally moving to 5.56x45mm, and we’re not likely to force NATO into moving up to the .40S&W deemed best by the FBI back in the ’90s at this late date. Better just to make the most of the 9mmP that we can & move on…

  • American July 1, 2016, 11:59 pm

    Why not keep the COLT 45 auto

    • Roger Johnson July 21, 2017, 11:55 am

      It’s expensive to manufacture relative to more modern sidearms. It has limited magazine capacity. It’s a design over a hundred years old but still a piece of Browning’s wonderful craftsmanship. There is more knock down power in a .357 Magnum than in a 230 grain round of hardball . 45 ACP. Lastly .45 ACP is not what our NATO freeloaders want their pistols chambered in.

      • Thomas B Fowler July 21, 2017, 7:07 pm

        The cost for the 1911 style pistol can be lowered dramatically, as was shown in WWII…pistols were being made by Ithaca, Remington Rand and many other contractors, for around 14 dollars…it is an ingenious design. There could be a modification to magazine well and magazines for increased round capacity. Not a big deal. The new lost-wax casting method might reduce the costs even more, by the way…not available in the 1940’s. Something else…cost must be measured against proven performance…how many wars must we fight to prove that the 1911 style pistol in .45 ACP works quite well? And, as to NATO…they will continue to limp along with the 9 mil, but without my sympathy, frankly. Americans proved what their .45’s will do–in Europe.

      • Nick M January 26, 2018, 3:19 pm

        ” There is more knock down power in a .357 Magnum than in a 230 grain round of hardball .”

        Made up. There is more energy of movement, that is kinetic energy in the .357 than 9mm and nobody makes that argument. Momentum is what hits you, and that is mass x velocity. And the .45 Auto in 230 gr hardball has more.

  • Jack July 1, 2016, 3:52 am

    9mm–147 gr, gold dot version #2 is the new round.

  • Grumpus June 24, 2016, 4:03 am

    Will this effect the cost of civilian ammo?

  • Olaf berg July 18, 2015, 1:51 am

    Even though the US did not sign the 1899 Hague convention, it is bound by it’s restrictions. This is because during the Nuremberg War trials,the Allied Judges proclaimed that since the rules were recognized by all civilized nations and that they were then regarded as declaratory of the laws and customs of war. Under that post war decision a country did not have to have ratified the conventions in order to be bound by them. The practical decision behind FMJ was that a JHP was more likely to kill it’s target. The theory was that since it took two soldiers to take care of a wounded comrade, it would remove more combatants from the field. What is most disturbing is that the only use for handgun ammo is in an in country environment, in effect using Military personal as a Police force within the borders of the US.

    • george naschke January 26, 2018, 8:45 pm

      The original objection to hollow point bullets was, to my understanding, that poisons, infected tissue, profane animal products, (haram,) fecal matter, or incendiary chemicals could be inserted into the hollow cavity of the bullet. The Geneva Convention outlawed hollow point bullets used in war. Since most militaries use full metal jacket bullets, the official sidearms are not tested with bullets other than FMJ. How do we know if a surplus or knock off military sidearm will even function with JHP, lead semi wadcutter, or JSP bullets? This is a question.

  • pete July 15, 2015, 5:53 pm

    It’s about freakin time!

  • Larry Koehn July 14, 2015, 7:08 pm

    Just remember that Jade Helm 15 is a military exercise in progress of the US military taking over civilian law enforcement duties in the US. If are not into that little play, you will be the enemy and the recipient of some of those hollow points if you resist. Isn’t it funny how Obozo has stirred up the bad race relations that could erupt in race riots and all of a sudden decides hollow points are now the way to go? Don’t buy gold and silver, buy guns and ammo, lots of ammo.

  • Bob July 14, 2015, 1:15 pm

    This is very bad. HPs are not allowed by the Geneva convention so who do you think will be the targets of those US Army HPs? How about US citizens?

    • Roger Johnson July 21, 2017, 11:59 am

      Take your brain meds, Bob. You’re sounding a little paranoid today…….

  • Donnie Lowe July 14, 2015, 1:06 pm

    Well I guess they wont be able to shoot two at once any more !

  • shootbrownelk July 13, 2015, 3:56 pm

    Nick, the FBI just went back to the 9mm. And good deal on the move to hollowpoint ammo. Now they can arm our military with said hollowpoints and field test them along our southern border.

  • NICK July 13, 2015, 1:57 pm

    according to FBI data, the 9mm is a useless round, hence the move to the 10mm by the FBI and 45 ACP by most special forces.

    • Billy July 13, 2015, 4:55 pm

      @ Nick – I guess that explains why the FBI and DEA are about to revert back to 9mm pistols……

      • bob July 13, 2015, 7:28 pm

        you only need to say , “revert”……..saying “revert back” makes no sense at all. revert means going back.

      • bob July 13, 2015, 7:29 pm

        you only need to say , “revert”……..saying “revert back” makes no sense at all. revert means going back.

    • Dave Hicks July 13, 2015, 8:12 pm

      9 M/M works Hit you target.Hollow points work better Hit your target. 7.62 X 51 doesn’t need a hollow point.Great news for our combat troops.

  • Raleigh Thomas July 13, 2015, 12:31 pm

    Dittos on explaining the .40 JHP buys, except that the Military issues the 9mm M-9, so there goes the 9mm JHP production for the civilian supply for a while….the Fed ‘alphabet agencies’ ate the .40 supply. Should we expect the Military to switch to JHP or Softpoints in 5.56mm next?? SF troops already use the 77gr. Sierra JHP Mark 262 Mod.1 Match loads.

    • Ooga Booga July 13, 2015, 6:30 pm

      I have a feeling that a lot of .40 sidearms are going to make their way into the hands of the military.
      Only those in the military that will follow illegal orders without question and are loyal to the demoncraps.

  • JS July 13, 2015, 12:21 pm

    Does this include rifle rounds as well as handgun rounds? There is a very substantial potential accuracy benefit with match-type rounds in long guns. Not so much with handguns.

  • qwe July 13, 2015, 11:38 am

    The intended “enemy personnel” are U.S. Citizens. Make no mistake about it. This is the opposite of militarization of the police force (where cops get military equipment), this is where the military receive police equipment so they can better control civil unrest and serve not as soldiers, but as cops.

    • LAMan July 13, 2015, 1:35 pm

      Honestly, I have the same concern. The Hague Convention re. expanding bullets is over a century old, and we’ve voluntarily complied with it all these years. Why the sudden change NOW? With this leftist DOJ? AFTER a decade of fighting in Iraq with ball ammo, where the change to JHP would have done some immediate good? They’re worried about hauling butt out of Afghanistan, not about improving handgun ammo there. And why isn’t the MSM all over this, bemoaning the use of “inhumane” bullets? If they’re being quiet about this, that means the fix is in. The big military issue in the news has been the continued gutting of the military–40K more Army troops to be cut in the next two years. So…we’re upgrading pistol ammo for the next conflict? Something smells.

  • James July 13, 2015, 10:53 am

    I thought that this is why the US gov. purchased + – 1.5 billion rounds of 40 s&w jhp.

  • Mikelasnicov July 13, 2015, 10:17 am

    Either this needed to be done or switch to a larger flat nosed bullet like maybe a .40. I think this was the better choice, and if the international community doesn’t like it they need to be told to go pound sand.

  • Infidel7.62 July 13, 2015, 8:05 am

    It would be nice if the article was accurate. FMJ bullets do not “Excel at energy transfer”, just the opposite is true, they retain enough energy to pass right on through doing little damage unless they strike a vital organ or blood vessel. The expanding bullets are the ones that excel at energy transfer.

  • Joe July 13, 2015, 7:42 am

    This looks like a good way to save tax dollars by keeping the 9 mm handgun in use and making it a better product for the troops to protect themselves with when their battle rifle can’t be brought to play.

  • Joe July 13, 2015, 6:15 am

    Well that’s one way of making the most out of what is at hand .
    All in all it’s more bang for the taxpayer buck.

  • Joe July 13, 2015, 6:13 am

    Well that’s one way of making the most out of what is at hand .
    All in all it’s more bang for the taxpayer buck.

  • Martin B July 9, 2015, 7:51 pm

    According to DOD requests, the round chosen will be the Mk243 JHP, which if Federal is the successful supplier, will be 147grains, 1000fps, and have energy of 325 ft-lbs. Sounds like a good choice to defeat intermediate cover, and to prevent deflection from point of aim once inserted into the intended target. A heavier, slower bullet works better against enemy personnel than faster. lighter bullets.

  • Gifters July 9, 2015, 4:11 pm

    How about 450 SMC? That will pack a punch.

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