Hollow points rounds are bullets that have a small, scooped out pit in the head of the bullet. The effect of this pit is to make the bullet expand like a mushroom when it impacts the target. The basic effect that this has is that the bullet expands inside the target and does more damage than a full metal jacket round (one without the hollow pit) would do. Additionally the expansion of the bullet will help stop the round from over-penetrating and exiting from the target and harming any innocent bystanders.
In a nutshell that’s a hollow point bullet. Also called dum-dum rounds, expanding rounds or controlled expansion rounds, this type of ammunition has been in existence for more than one hundred years. According to Wise Geek, the use of hollow point rounds by military personnel has been banned since the year 1899 by the Hague Convention, which is why military personnel use full metal jacket rounds. There are no standing laws that state these rounds are prohibited on a federal level, but there are some states and local jurisdictions that ban the use and ownership of hollow point bullets. It’s important therefore to check your local laws before you start a fruitless search for dum-dum rounds when you might not be allowed to have them anyway.
While the general function of hollow point bullets is that they do more damage to the target with less over-penetration, there are two separate view points on their use. One is that hollow points are used to increase the effectiveness of shots fired for self-protection. This is especially important for people who regularly carry firearms for self defense because the last thing that you want is to shoot someone that’s a threat and then to have the round to pass through the muscle and sinew and to go out into an innocent bystander. The other use is for hunters who want to kill animals more efficiently and with less pain to the animal than is necessary.
Hollow point bullets, and their use, might be a contested topic in some circles of law and legal process. However, it’s important for shooters to remember that these bullets won’t make you a better shot nor do they add anything special to your abilities. Hollow points are simply another useful tool that you should keep in your arsenal for the day when you need them.