Ballistic tip bullet

Ballistic tip ammunition is a form of plastic tipped bullet, meant to confer the advantages of both full metal jacket & hollow point variant ammunition. They consist of a fairly normal hollow-point bullet, with the frontal cavity filled in by hard plastic, which is molded into a streamlined shape mimicking the shape of a full metal jacket bullet. Upon impact, the plastic fragments into small pieces and the bullet performs like a regular hollow-point, expanding ("mushrooming") to a larger diameter or fragmenting. Some claim that the plastic actually improves or accelerates the mushrooming, but this is not easily demonstrable. The end result is a bullet with the streamlined characteristics of FMJ bullets and the increased terminal efficacy of JHPs. These bullets possess the aerodynamics for long, accurate flights, and the in-target performance to ensure high lethality.

Traditionally, these bullets are intended for use in rifles, as pistols are not used at the great distances where the streamlined ballistic tip is advantageous. However, a few companies produce handgun ammunition with plastic-tipped hollowpoints where the plastic is molded into a more rounded tip. These designs are not designed to increase the streamlining of the bullet, but rather to improve ammunition feeding in semi-automatic pistols that are prone to jams with regular hollowpoint ammunition. Examples of such handgun ammunition include Cor-Bon's "Powrball" line, and Extreme Shock's "NyTrilium Air Freedom" ammunition ("NyTrilium Air Freedom" cartridge also mimics the performance of Glaser Safety Slug cartridges, it uses hollow bullets full of powdered metal designed to fragment rapidly on hitting a target).

Ballistic Tip is a registered trademark of Nosler, but numerous other companies produce similar projectiles, including Hornady and Sierra. Nosler uses primarily green plastic for the bullet tips, to make them easily distinguishable from Hornady's almost universally red plastic tips (Hornady has produced .224" projectiles with blue plastic tips for use in civilian loads of FNH's proprietary 5.7x28mm cartridge). Swift uses black tips for their "Sirocco" ballistic tip bullets.

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