Selecting Ammunition For A Firearm: Important Considerations


What are some critical things to think about when selecting ammunition for a firearm?

Choosing the right ammunition for your firearm can seem like a tough task, especially if you are a new gun owner. Many people, including experienced gun owners, are unfamiliar with ammunition and firearms.

With all of the choices on the market, it can be hard to know where to begin. This guide should help you select the right ammunition for your firearm, based on the caliber and intended use.

Selecting Ammunition For Your Firearms

Ammo: Three things to think about

Choosing the right ammunition for your firearm is an important decision. The wrong ammunition can lead to poor performance and even damage to your gun.

There are three main criteria to consider when choosing ammunition: caliber, bullet type, and intended use. 

1. Caliber

Caliber is the diameter of the bullet. It is typically expressed in millimeters or inches.

The most important consideration when choosing a caliber is to make sure that it is compatible with your gun. You should always consult your gun’s owner’s manual to determine the appropriate caliber for your gun.

Another important thing to remember: There are different options within the caliber category. For example, the 9mm Luger cartridge is available as a 9mm Parabellum, 9mm NATO, or a 9mm Luger. They’re all 9mm, but the cartridge differs.

Those aren’t the only types of 9mm cartridges, either. There’s also the Glisenti, the Browning Long, Largo, and Winchester Magnum, just to name a few.

Sporting System’s staff of firearms experts can help you decide which caliber and cartridge is right for you.

2. Bullet Type

Once you have determined the appropriate caliber for your gun, you need to decide what type of bullet you want.

The three most common types of bullets are full metal jacket (FMJ), hollow point (HP), and soft point (SP). Another type is a wadcutter for shooting at paper targets.

  • FMJ bullets are designed for target shooting and have a uniform shape that helps them maintain stability in flight.
  • HP bullets are designed for self-defense and expand upon impact, which creates a larger wound channel.
  • SP bullets are a compromise between FMJ and HP bullets and are often used for both target shooting and self-defense. 

3. Use

The last consideration when choosing ammunition is intended use. Are you using your gun for target practice, self-defense, or hunting?

Target ammo is typically less expensive than self-defense or hunting ammo because it doesn’t need to meet the same standards of accuracy and reliability.

Self-defense ammo needs to be reliable and accurate in order to stop an attacker — while hunting ammo needs to be accurate in order to take down game animals humanely.

How does one go about selecting ammunition depending on what you’ll be using it for? How do different bullet types perform depending on the use type?


A full metal jacket is usually the least expensive option, making these a good option for training and target practice. For other uses, such as self-defense, however, a full metal jacket may pose an unacceptable risk to bystanders. This is because they are prone to overpenetration (passing completely through the target). For this same reason, FMJs are poor choices for hunting since they may penetrate the animal without killing it.


Hollow point bullets are designed to expand on impact, making them less likely to fully penetrate a target. For this reason, they are good choices for self-defense and hunting due to the fact that they expand on impact, producing far greater damage.

Selecting The Right Ammunition 

For most people, the three main considerations when selecting ammunition for a firearm are price, performance, and recoil. Other considerations include grain and velocity. 

Price is often the primary concern for buyers, but it is important to remember that less expensive ammo may not always be the best value.

In terms of performance, you will want to select an ammo that meets your needs in terms of trajectory, accuracy, and penetration.

Recoil refers to how much kickback one feels when firing rounds. Some people are more sensitive to recoil than others, so it is important to take this into account when making your selection.

There are many factors to consider when purchasing ammunition for your firearm. Hopefully, this guide has made the process a little easier for you.

In summary, you should first decide what type of firearm you want. Next, select an ammo that meets your needs in terms of use (home defense, target practice, hunting).

Keep in mind the three main considerations when choosing ammo which are price, performance, and recoil.

If you have any questions or need help finding the right product for you, get in touch with Sporting Systems today.

Selecting A Firearm

Of course, in order to select the best ammunition, you must first understand the types of firearms and how they operate. Only then can you determine the ideal ammunition for your needs. Choosing a firearm means selecting the correct one for your needs.

Types of Firearms 

There are three different types of firearms: handguns, rifles, and shotguns.

Handguns are the most popular type of firearm in America. They are small enough to be concealed beneath clothing and easy to carry.

Rifles are long-barreled guns that are designed for accuracy and long-range shooting.

Shotguns have a shorter barrel than rifles and shoot a spray of pellets instead of a single bullet. 

The type of firearm you choose will determine the best type of ammunition. 


The most common type of handgun is the semi-automatic pistol. Semi-automatic pistols use magazines to store cartridges. Magazines can range in capacity from six rounds to more than 20 rounds.

The size of the gun will dictate the size of the magazine. For example, a subcompact pistol will use a smaller magazine than a full-size pistol.

The caliber is another important consideration when purchasing semi-automatic pistol ammunition. Common calibers for pistols include 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP.  


Rifles come in both bolt-action and semi-automatic varieties. Bolt-action rifles must be manually operated after each shot, whereas semi-automatic rifles will reload automatically after each shot.

Both types of rifles use magazines to store cartridges, but bolt-action rifles typically have a lower capacity than their semi-automatic counterparts.

The most popular calibers for rifles include .223 Remington, .308 Winchester, and 7mm Mauser.


Unlike handguns and rifles, shotguns do not use cartridges. Instead, they fire shells that contain multiple pellets known as shot.

Shotguns are available in pump-action, break-open, lever-action, and semi-automatic varieties. The most popular gauge for shotguns is 12 gauge, followed by 20 gauge and 10 gauge.

When selecting ammunition for your firearm, it’s important to consider both the type of firearm you have as well as your intended purpose for using the gun. With these factors in mind, you can choose the right ammunition for your needs and get the most out of your firearm.

Now that you know more about ammunition, you can make an informed decision when purchasing it for your firearm. If you have any questions, Sporting Systems is here to help.


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