It All Begins With Bullet Choice

By Jace Bauserman

Share on Social Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

jacketed sp packaging with cartridges on a table

Loading your own handgun ammunition is rewarding, relaxing, and ensures you're feeding your firearm a load you know it likes. The most challenging part of the process, especially for new reloaders, is often bullet choice. There are several bullet types out there, but the choice comes down to one question: What purpose is the ammo you're loading meant to serve? These suggestions will help you make the right call.

Total Metal Jacket

Don't mistake Speer's Total Metal Jacket for a full metal jacket. Uni-Cor technology completely encases the lead core in a seamless jacket, meaning the lead base is not exposed. The design promises a cleaner, more accurate, and more consistent bullet. TMJs are an excellent choice if you're looking to load for plinking or target shooting. These bullets sport consistent diameters and a uniform heel, and some top TMJs include .357 Sig, .451, .400, and .355.

speer bullets laying on a table

As good as Total Metal Jacket bullets are, keep in mind that they are not meant for self-defense or hunting. There is no expansion on impact, so they don’t deliver the terminal performance needed when lives are on the line.

Hollow Point

This bullet style is my all-around go-to. You can load it for self-defense and hunting because many hollow-point bullets boast solid ballistics for target shooting and promise significant expansion and wound channels. 

One of my favorites is Gold Dot. Trusted by piles of law enforcement and self-defense experts, Gold Dot technology thwarts the chances of core-jacket separation. The bullet's performance is tried and true, and because the bullet has a core/jacket build and a sunken-in hollow point, expansion is exceptional. With penetration to key depths, this bullet will eliminate any threat. I'm also fond of Speer's Gold Dot Short Barrel Personal Protection Bullet .451, which provides all the same benefits and performs in barrels as short as 1.9 inches.

Copper Plated

If you’re looking to send a lot of rounds downrange for plinking and targets, Speer’s Copper Plated Round Nose and Flat Nose bullets are a perfect choice. You can choose from .355 Round Nose, .451 Round Nose and .400 Flat Nose. All are sold in 500-packs and sport a thin copper jacket that covers the lead core. 

Jacketed Hollow Point

A heavy (300 grains) hollow-point, Speer's .451 Jacketed Handgun Bullet is a solid target shooter. Uni-Cor technology produces a perfectly uniform jacket, which makes the bullet super accurate and consistent. It has a ballistic coefficient of .199.

Speer bullets in a hand


Soft-point bullets have lead to the demise of more animals than you can shake a stick at, and while hollow-point style bullets will work for some hunting situations, most handgun goers prefer a soft-point when chasing critters. 

You can't go wrong with DeepCurl. Speer creates these bullets with an electrochemical bond that marries the jacket to a lead core, which ensures the tough, accurate bullet will penetrate deep and cause massive internal damage. Pre-formed petals ensure controlled, reliable expansion, and the high weight retention boosts penetration on impact.

DeepCurl bullets are offered in .357, .410, .429, .452, .475, .451, .500, and 50 Action Express.

Get Started

Don't let handgun loading be stressful. Loading any ammo is meant to be enjoyable, and now that we've eliminated the worry of what bullet to choose, you can relax and create.