Ammunition Glossary

Confused by bullet abbreviations an acronyms used by manufacturers? We'll tell you what they mean and how they're used so you can pick the right one. This document was apropriated from an old glossary posted by back when started, so they deserve most of the credit for this. For some reason it is no longer available on their site, and an AmmoSeeker noticed this and suggested we take over the content ourselves... so we did.

AP: armor-piercing

Military bullets with steel or tungsten core that penetrates steel armor. Bullet's tip is usually painted black for easier identification.

API: armor-piercing incendiary

Designed to penetrate armor and set target on fire. Tips are usually painted light blue.

BBWC: bevel-base wadcutter

Pistol bullet that's float on both ends; has beveled base to increase accuracy similar to a boat-tail bullet

BEB: brass-enclosed base

Pistol bullet with brass plug over exposed lead base to reduce lead exposure. Many indoor ranges now specify use of this bullet to decrease lead contamination.

BJHP: brass-jacketed hollow point

Defensive pistol bullet that controls mushrooming and energy release over longer distances.

BST: Ballistic Silvertip

Used with hunting rifles, this Winchester bullet has a soft metal tip that causes rapid expansion and penetration of bullet. Typically used for varminting and hunting light- and medium-size game.

BT: boat-tail

Rifle bullet with truncated conical shape at base of bullet. Streamlining stabilizes bullet and increases accuracy.

BTHP: boat-tail hollow point

Same as plain boat-tail but with a hollow point, which generates rapid expansion and penetration.

BTSP: boat-tail soft point

Like the plain boat-tail but with a soft point to increase penetration and expansion from exposed lead tip.

BRPT: bronze point

Bronze insert in tip improves trajectory, velocity and energy transfer at extreme ranges. Tip expands rapidly when driven back through bullet. Excellent design for hunting long-range medium-size game.

CC: copper-coated

Same as full-metal-jacket. Copper coating prevents bullet deformation in feed mechanism and barrel, reduces misfires and lowers risk of barrel damage.

CP: copper-plated

Lead bullet dipped in copper; reduces lead fouling and is cheaper than copper coating.

CL: Core-Lokt

Remington's premier bonded bullet. Retains up to 95% of original weight with maximum penetration and energy transfer. Progressively tapered jacket initiates and controls expansion nearly 2x. Unique design and bonded lead core delivers performance from 50 to 500 yards.

ENCAP: encapsulated

Totally plated on all sides to decrease environmental lead contamination. Many indoor ranges use this ammunition exclusively to reduce lead clean-up costs.

EFMJ: expanding full metal jacket

Federal's answer to areas with restrictions on hollow points. A regular full-metal-jacket bullet with front rubber core covered by a copper jacket. When fired into target media, copper jacket collapses along serrations, produces petal-like expansion and delivers energy without over-penetration.

EP: Expanding Point

Winchester-developed bullet for .25ACP for better stopping power for small calibers. Hollow point with round lead ball inserted into cavity ensures positive feed, increases expansion and transfers energy rapidly.

ERBT: Extended-Range Boat-tail

Remington bullet that produces long-range accuracy along with superior stopping power required for hunting.

FMC: full-metal case

Lead core fully enclosed with copper, nickel, brass or steel.

FMJ: full-metal jacket

A bullet consisting of a soft core, usually made of lead, encased in a shell of harder metal such as copper, cupronickel or steel alloy. Usually the jacket extends on just the front and sides with the rear left as exposed lead, but the outer shell can extend around the entire bullet.

FMJBT: full-metal-jacket boat-tail

Like FMJ but has a boat-tail to reduce turbulence and increase accuracy.

FMJE: full-metal-jacket encapsulated

Like FMJ but also has covered base and doesn't expose any lead.

FPJ: flat-point jacketed

FMJ with a flat point. Most .40 S&W and .30-30 Winchester rounds have this design. The .30-30 Winchester has a tubular magazine and uses a flat-point bullet to prevent accidental detonation during recoil, as front round's primer may come in contact with point of round following it.

FPPN: Flat Point Penetrator

The Flat Point Penetrator was specifically designed to take down big game in Africa. The bullet features a hard lead core that is surrounded by a copper jacket. The bullet is very accurate and produces bone breaking capabilities in one package.

FNSP: flat-nose soft-point

Similar to the FPJ but has lead-exposed point that expands on impact. Used for hunting.

FRAN: frangible

Prevents ricochet by breaking apart on contact. Can be made from empty cartridge cases filled with epoxy and compressed birdshot, metal dust or filings. Developed for air marshals to avoid over-penetration and ricochet aboard airplanes. All energy is transferred to the target, making it a devastating defensive bullet.

GCK: gas check

Metallic cup or disc is attached to bottom of lead-alloy bullet. Decreases gas blow-by, increases velocity and reduces lead fouling.

GDHP: Gold Dot hollow point

Speer's hollow point bullet with jacket bonded to lead core to prevent separation and control expansion and penetration.

GS: Grand Slam

Speer's design for hunting big game. Jacket is 45% bigger at base to prevent rollback and retain bullet's weight. Internal jacket flutes ensure proper expansion. Bullet's core is a ternary (three-part) alloy, which is poured into jacket at 900 degrees F to prevent jacket slippage.

HBWC: hollow-base wadcutter

Preferred by some target shooters, this flat lead bullet with hollow base punches neat, round holes in paper targets and makes scoring easier. Creates better gas seal to prevent gas blow-by and increase velocity.

HSHK: Hydra-Shok

Federal's handgun defense bullet. Unique center-post design delivers controlled expansion. Notched jacket transfers energy efficiently and penetrates barriers while retaining stopping power.

HP: hollow point

Hollow cavity in bullet's nose allows expansion on impact.

HPBT: hollow point boat-tail

Rifle bullet with a truncated conical shape at base of bullet. Hollow cavity in nose allows expansion on impact.

HSP: hollow soft point

Exposed lead point and hollow cavity in nose permits expansion on impact.

HV: high velocity

Ammunition with velocity over 1,200 feet per second.

JFP: jacketed flat point

Flat lead point and full metal jacket. All .30-30 Winchesters have this bullet design. The .30-30 Winchester has a tubular magazine and uses a flat-point bullet to prevent accidental detonation during recoil, as front round's primer may come in contact with point of round following it.

JHC: jacketed hollow cavity

Jacketed bullet with hole in tip to promote expansion on impact.

JHP: jacketed hollow point

Jacketed bullet with hole in tip to promote expansion on impact.

JSP: jacketed soft point

Jacketed bullet with hole in tip to promote expansion on impact.

L: lead

An all-lead bullet.


Some jurisdictions have banned the use of ammunition containing lead as it has been shown to be toxic. There are several lead-free ammunition products on the market to help meet this requirement. You can find such products by entering 'lead-free' in the include/match keywords search parameter on AmmoSeek's more advanced search forms (and when modifying a current search).

LRN: lead round nose

Solid lead bullet with round nose.

LSWC: lead semi-wadcutter

Lubricated solid lead bullet with semi-pointed nose. Swaged to form sharp shoulder to produce clean holes in paper targets. Good choice for target practice or general shooting.

LSWCHP: lead semi-wadcutter hollow point

Lubricated solid lead bullet with hollow point. Swaged to form sharp shoulder to produce clean holes in paper targets. Good choice for target practice or general shooting.

MB: multi-ball

More than one ball or bullet in cartridge to increase hit ratio.

MC: metal case

Same as metal-jacketed bullet.

MCH: match

Bullets with most accurate design, weight, materials and consistencies. Used by snipers and target shooters.

MK: MatchKing

Made to exact tolerances by Sierra. Delivers record-breaking accuracy at long ranges.

MOLY: moly-coated

Bullet is coated with molybdenum disulfide to reduce friction and increase velocity.

NBT: Nosler Ballistic Tip

Nosler developed this bullet with a polycarbonate tip that protects the bullet from damage in the magazine resulting from recoil. The tip also stabilizes the bullet for long-range shooting and insures reliable expansion when the bullet hits its target.

NP: Nosler Partition

Has two lead cores separated by bullet jacket. Top part of jacket is thin and promotes expansion of bullet. Bottom part of bullet has thicker jacket that retains bullet's weight, stops fragmentation and increases penetration.

PEP: Positive Expanding Point

Specially designed by Winchester for extreme accuracy and maximum impact on varmints and medium-size game.

PG: Partition Gold

Winchester's proprietary design delivers expansion and penetration on medium- and large-size game at wide range of impact velocities. Rear core is hard lead alloy, locked in place with a heel crimp to prevent core slippage and maximize penetration. Patented steel cup reinforces prevents core distortion at high-impact velocities.

PL: Power-Lokt

Remington's revolutionary varmint and small-game bullet produces bench rest-level accuracy. Copper jacket is electrolyticly bonded to lead core, producing near-perfect concentricity and gyroscopic balance, once available only in custom-made match bullets. Exceptional sub-minute-of-angle accuracy for small game at extreme ranges.

PP: Power-Point

Jacketed soft nose from Winchester delivers maximum energy on impact. Notches around jacket's mouth improve upset and ensure uniform, rapid expansion.

PSP & PTDSP: pointed soft point

Pointed bullet retains velocity over long ranges. Soft nose initiates rapid bullet expansion. Jacket and core toughness vary according to caliber and weight of bullet.

PTHP: Platinum-Tipped Hollow Point

A Winchester design for handgun hunters. Immediately transfers bullet's energy into target. Delivers penetration, expansion and accuracy.

PWC: pointed wadcutter

Lubricated solid lead with pointed nose. Formed by swaging process with sharp shoulder for clean hole-punching in paper targets. Good choice for target practice or general shooting.

RN: round nose

Round nose promotes positive, reliable feeding.

SBK: Sierra BlitzKing

Used for varmint hunting; has plastic tip inserted into bullet cavity, which expands on impact and delivers high ballistic coefficient.

SFS: Supreme Fail Safe

Hollow point bullet with lead core and steel insert. Delivers controlled expansion, deeper penetration and bullet weight retention.

SJHP: semi-jacketed hollow point

Exposed lead tip expands more rapidly than jacketed hollow point design. Controlled penetration provides maximum energy transfer, making it suitable for hunting.

SJSP: semi-jacketed soft point

Exposed lead soft point with reliable expansion and deeper penetration than hollow point bullets. Copper jacket and swaged lead core improve concentricity, balance and accuracy.

SLD: solid

Usually made from copper, bronze or brass alloy - but no lead. Designed for deep penetration in thick-skinned animals.

SMP: semi-pointed

Same penetration as a round nose with better trajectory, higher velocity and energy transfer, better expansion control and deeper penetration than a hollow point. At close range, usually offers better penetration and more controlled expansion. Excellent accuracy potential and often used for short- to medium-range hunting.

SP: soft point

Exposed lead tip and broader point diameter provides rapid, controlled expansion at somewhat lower velocities.

SPCE: soft point cutting edge

Semi-jacketed with cut-through jacket edge to partially lock in lead core. Deforms less in light game than heavy game. Used for clawed game hunting.

SPCL: soft point Core-Lokt

Locks progressively heavier jacketed mid-section to lead core, preventing separation but allowing maximum energy transfer. Stays together on impact, expands in a controlled manner and mushrooms uniformly to nearly twice the original diameter.

SPT: spitzer

Pointed bullet normally used in modern military rifles.

SST: Super Shock Tipped

Hornady's design incorporates a pointed polymer tip that improves ballistic coefficient and increases velocity, accuracy and downrange power. Specially designed jacket grips and controls expanding core, allowing maximum expansion while retaining mass and momentum.

ST: Silvertip

Winchester's design has a special aluminum-alloy nose cap to protect lead core; delivers deep penetration and has controlled expansion in small- and medium-size game.

STHP: Silvertip Hollow Point

Winchester's handgun bullet designed for rapid, controlled expansion to penetrate thin skin, light muscle and bone of small- to medium-size game.

SWC/SW: semi-wadcutter

Lubricated solid lead bullet with semi-pointed nose. Formed by swaging process, resulting in a sharp shoulder for clean hole-punching in paper targets. Good choice for target practice or general shooting.

SXT: Supreme Expansion Technology

Winchester's personal protection bullet. Designed with reverse tapered jacket, has uniform expansion, greater accuracy and reliable firearm functioning.

TAP: Tactical Application Police

Designed by Hornady specifically for law enforcement. Heavier bullet weight and polymer tip provide rapid expansion and excellent barrier penetration (without over-penetration).

TC: truncated cone

Similar to an inverted cone, but with the top chopped off. Used in defense applications where penetration through materials might be necessary. Ensures extremely reliable feeding.

TCHP: truncated cone hollow point

Same as truncated cone but with a hole in top to promote expansion in target.

TCSB: truncated cone solid bullet

Designed for penetration. Inverted cone aids in feeding, while pointed solid bullet drives deep into target.

TMJ: total metal jacket

Same as full metal jacket, except base is also jacketed.

TMWC: target-master wadcutter

Wadcutter bullets made to highest tolerances to achieve best accuracy possible.

V-Max: Varmint Express ballistic tip

Hornady's ballistic-tip varmint bullet has a polymer insert that aids in rapid expansion once bullet hits target.

XTP: Extreme Terminal Performance

Hornady bullet designed for controlled expansion at wide range of handgun velocities. Bullet's jacket and core expansion rates are the same, reducing separation and increasing trauma in target.