Hollow Point vs. Fluted 9mm rounds

As far as penetration and expansion, what is the difference between hollow point and fluted rounds?


not really sure… hollow points are supposed to expand on impact and increase the damage area.

reports are some of em become solids due to thick clothing plugging the hole?

and do less damage…

fluted? spinning damage and penetration???

just some thoughts on both…


I’d have to wait to see testing, but if the fluting did the work of a hollow point, and you were otherwise shooting a good penetrating bullet that won’t ever get clogged, it almost seems like the perfect solution. But clear gell tests are not the same as true calibrated animal cell gell tests. To my knowledge they are relatively new and untried for the most part. I suspect that like so many other things, they will have a role and application, but will fail to be the “end all be all” answer for every situation.

Right now there are some very well made, tried and tested choices out there that have been tested extensively AND are what LE uses, which is always seen as a more reasonable choice for civilian self defense, reliable and effective, but not some “radical / super lethal” -" looking " choice you can be hung out to dry with by an aggressive DA.

They are interesting, but I’ll stick with the known good options for now.


What fluted rounds?

I don’t know of any “fluted rounds” that exhibit desired terminal performance, in handguns, in handgun calibers, when compared to gold standards like Federal HST and similar.

As above, I’d start by looking for calibrated gel tests through layers of denim and the 12-18" penetration window with consistent expansion even through clothing, before then looking for ideally some law enforcement agencies using it successfully, before I’d give it serious consideration vs the long proven good hollow points


There are two kinds I know of. One is made of copper and the other is a plastic or polymer made, I think, by or for Ruger. They work by the flutes creating a trailing affect like a motor boat propeller does in the water. The wound channel is a spiraling “trail” much larger in diameter than the bullet. The “flutes” are rather simple, like the tip of a Phillips screw driver.


Hollow points may or may not expand when hitting the target.
Fluted bullets will penetrate and cavitate either wise when hitting the target with a better penetration.

The fluted bullets are usually considerably lighter and faster giving a significant recoil reduction. The short barrels of the micro 9’s can adversely affect the ability of a hollow point to expand. I have switched to Norma NXD in my carry micro 9. Gel tests I have seen have been mostly positive.


Good hollow points are virtually guaranteed to expand. See Federal HST.

I haven’t seen anything with fluted bullets to compare to, though, full disclosure. Do you have any favorite links to share which demonstrate their consistency and effectiveness?

This isn’t a problem for good bullets.

I just read a couple of articles on the fluted rounds. I haven’t seen ballistic tests yet . They do sound interesting to an old guy like me. They say they are lighter with less recoil, which to me would be a benefit, since I’ve been thinking of going to a 380 for that reason. I’d rather keep my 9mm. I’m not sold yet. I think I’ll look to youtube for any ballistic tests. Or does USCCA have any links to tests? It looks like fluted rounds have been around since 2015, I might buy a box to try them out for myself before putting them in my carry sidearm. Sounds interesting but research is needed first.

I am 83 and they definitely make my Hellcat more manageable and faster on follow up.


No tests let alone real world feedback makes me not even consider them to be honest.

Also I worry about lighter and lighter recoil when it comes to semi autos and reliability, would want to test quote a few including weak hand only and sub optimal grip situations.

Really, my opinion is we know what works and what is proven I can’t fathom trying the new kid snake oil based on a theory with no objection repeatable measurements and data

I suspect that if it doesn’t expand it is incapable of creating a would channel as wide as a jhp that does expand. Pistols are pistols the permanent crush cavity is what it is and that’s all that can be counted


Let’s ask an expert. :thinking:

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We may have different opinions on what constitutes an expert.

Repeatable, quantifiable data where you can compare A to A to A and where those results are correlated to street results is what we’re looking for. See the lucky gunner video I posted for a professional’s explanation

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If you don’t like them, don’t buy or use them. Thanks’ for playing. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Oh I definitely am not don’t worry lol

If you want to use them, just be sure to recognize it may be snake oil and we don’t seem to have any way of telling if they actually work, despite there being knownand proven (for decades) options that do work

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I look forward to more opinions on this subject in the coming days, yay or nay. Nathan57 has a real good point “known and proven” holds a lot of weight. However, getting up in age, lighter weight, more velocity, less recoil, enters into the equation also. I do hope we get more discussion on this, after all that’s why I’m here. I enjoy reading opinions on firearms, ammo, training, holsters, etc. I would like to trust the gunshop owner or employee, but I’ve learned that the best thing for me is what makes the most money for the salesman.

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I use these in a Beretta Tomcat in .32acp and no kidding they will shoot a 4in. group at 25yds.
I also carry the 9mm 90grn. in my Taurus. All have been 100 percent reliable and very accurate.

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I haven’t tried the super light and fast ammo options. I mostly agree with @Nathan57 that the jury is still out on them and there are well proven alternatives.

There are also some rules of physics that make me suspect that the very light for caliber options will have a hard time competing with heavier expanding bullets. Light weight objects loose momentum faster than heavier objects when they encounter resistance. Light bullets are also more likely to deflect off bones than heavier ones, especially if they hit at an angle.

At pistol velocities bullets don’t generate the hydrostatic shock that you get at rifle velocities. Pistol bullets have to physically connect with important organs to do serious damage so more surface area means more chance of damage.

I do think the fluted bullets are less likely to slide through tissue and are more likely to cut into organs than a typical FMJ bullet. If I was in a State that nonsensically banned HP bullets I would use a fluted option.

In the recoil department I actually prefer the slower and heavier bullets. I use the subsonic 147gr HP options in 9mm. Usually HST or Gold Dots (original not the G2). I find the recoil to be more of a push and less snappy than the lighter and faster 115 and 124gr options. This lets me get follow up shots a little bit faster. Though the difference is very slight. But I haven’t tried the super light fast options to see how they compare.

But the most important thing is to hit the target in effective spots. So if you find an option that significantly improves your speed and accuracy it may be worth considering even if it is potentially less effective. As long as it falls between the minimum and maximum penetration window in standardized testing.


As far as physics, see also: Sectional Density

Most do prefer slower and heavier, it’s just plain faster and easier to control, this is why competitors going for a certain “power factor” or whatever use heavy (heavy!) got caliber bullets, and why the .45 is popular to shoot vs the “Snappy” .40