Why do .40 caliber bullets have flat noses?

Seems like it would be aerodynamically inferior, and not feed as well as a rounded nose.

.40 caliber bullets can come in a variety of shapes, depending on their intended purpose.

A variety of calibers can be found with a flat nose, not just .40.

For what you’re seeing, the flat nose is probably intended to be used at relatively short range and meant to produce quite a bit of shock force on impact.

Here’s a reasonable guide on the relation between shape and purpose.

I fired a friends .45 SA over the weekend. He was using personal protection loads that had a flat/hollowed point. He explained that after initial penetration, they are designed to do more tissue damage than a rounded bullet would cause. They certainly destroyed the plywood we had the targets attached to.

Can you link to a .40 FMJ round that is not flat nosed? I’ve been shooting a 40 for ten years and I’ve never come across one. And I just thought of another question. Why are .40 rounds always fully jacketed?

Word of the day: “Meplat”

I believe www.grafs.com has them. I see them listed but it’s not worksafe for me, I get blocked.

Midway USA lists some; www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=583506.

Plenty of hollow points out there… http://ammosphere.com/winchester-ranger-ra40t-40-caliber-ammunition-p-180.html?zenid=gp8pjqamud0a3g07ts0b02med0#

Shoot, I’m afraid the second link may be for .40 rifle. Worksafe is preventing me from being able to see any of their items.


Basically, designed to feed cleanly in a semi-auto pistol, and are a compromise between rapid energy transfer and penetration. They also make good target rounds, as they’re relatively inexpensive and make nice clean holes in the paper. Basically, it’s a utility bullet, acceptable for a variety of uses.

‘Full’ wadcutter bullets make cleaner holes, but generally don’t feed well in a semi-auto pistol.

The truncated bullet is shorter. They were designed to work in a 9mm sized frame and magazine and a round-nose is too long. A side benefit is that the bullet has the same shape with or without a hollow point, so there’s no difference in feeding characteristics.

“Can you link to a .40 FMJ round that is not flat nosed? I’ve been shooting a 40 for ten years and I’ve never come across one.”

I can’t do exactly what you ask, But look here:


.44 Magnum ammunition is primarily associated with handguns (thank you, Dirty Harry). However, it’s also popular with lever action “cowboy” rifles. I just purchased one, a Marlin 1894 model. Anyway, a rifle chambered for the same caliber as a cowboy’s handgun means only one type of ammo needs to be carried. Have to assume cowboys would like that.

You’ll note this traditional handgun round (as is a .40 Cal) has a tapered/pointed tip more often associated with rifle ammumition. This ammo is relatively new and has some ballistics-related advantages as detailed on the above-referenced site. Not mentioned, however, is an advantage associated pertaining to lever action rifles in which the magazine is a tube underneath the barrel. The rounds in the magazine are “asshole to bellybutton” and are under tension. While rare, a round in the magazine can ignite by the tip of one round hitting the primer of the round in front of it when the rifle recoils. Again, pretty rare, but it has occurred. The tip of this Hornady round is a soft/plastic material which acts as a cushion between the rounds in the magazine.

Whether Hornady or anyone else will make a similar .40 Cal round, I do not know. Suspect not as I don’t think there are any rifles chambered for the .40.

The 5.7 handgun is an odd one… the bullets look like mini rifle bullets:


Here’s another that just about covers all types.