What is Blue Tip Ammo? What does the blue tip on a bullet signify in Blue Tip Ammo?

When it comes to firearms and ammunition, many gun owners have their preferred brand and bullet type that they rely on for their shooting requirements. However, it can be beneficial to explore alternative options, including those with colored tips, such as blue-tip ammo. But what role does colored-tip ammunition play in the selection process?

What is Blue Tip Ammo?

We will discuss and answer at least one of those questions in the interest of everyone's sanity. What is blue tip ammo?

So, let’s find out more…

Blue-tipped ammo encompasses various definitions depending on the bullet and context. One common example of blue-tipped ammo is the 5.7x28mm caliber, a high-performance training round.


Specifically, the Hornady V-Max blue-tipped ammo is a .40-grain sporting round designed for training and target shooting. It features a jacketed lead core projectile with a polymer tip. While primarily used for training, FN, the manufacturer, also recommends this blue-tipped ammo for hunting. As stated by FN, the polymer tip in the V-Max bullet enhances accuracy, promotes rapid expansion, reduces recoil, and minimizes the risk of ricochet.

Blue tip bullets, also known as "silver tip bullets" or "blue dot bullets," are ammunition types with a blue-colored tip on the projectile. The blue tip serves as a visual indicator to differentiate these bullets from other types of ammunition.

The primary purpose of blue-tip bullets is to indicate that they are armor-piercing rounds. Armor-piercing bullets are designed to penetrate hard targets, such as body armor, armored vehicles, or steel plating. The blue tip helps to identify these specialized rounds and distinguish them from standard ammunition.

It's important to note that using and possessing armor-piercing ammunition may be subject to legal restrictions in some jurisdictions. These regulations are in place to regulate the use of such bullets and prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.

True to its name, blue tip ammo features a notable characteristic—a vivid blue polymer tip that sets it apart. This blue polymer tip is a visual detail and brings forth a range of potential advantages. Using polymer in the bullet design enhances various aspects, such as extended bullet flight, improved ballistics, and smoother feeding. Let's delve into these benefits in greater detail.

Blue Tip Bullets Pros And Cons


  • Image Improved ballistic and terminal performance
  • Image Enhanced expansion and stopping power
  • Image Reduced risk of primer ignition in tube magazine rifles
  • Image Reliable feeding in various firearms
  • Image Potential for increased accuracy and precision


  • Image Expensive
  • Image Limited caliber selection
  • Image Variability in performance across different manufacturers

Types of Blue Tip Ammo

Blue tip ammo refers to ammunition that features a distinct blue-colored tip. However, it's important to note that the specific types or characteristics of blue tip ammo can vary depending on the manufacturer and intended use. Here are some common types or variations of blue tip ammo:

Types of Blue Tip Ammo
  • Armor-Piercing Incendiary (API): Blue tip ammo can indicate armor-piercing incendiary rounds. These rounds are designed to penetrate armored targets and ignite upon impact, providing enhanced effectiveness against hardened materials.
  • Hollow Point: Blue tip ammo may include hollow point bullets with a blue polymer tip. These bullets are designed to expand upon impact, creating a larger wound channel and transferring more energy to the target. They are commonly used for self-defense and hunting applications.
  • Training Rounds: Blue tip ammo can also indicate training rounds designed for practice and skill development. These rounds often have reduced recoil, improved accuracy, and reliable feeding to simulate real-world shooting scenarios. Tracer Rounds: Blue tip ammo is often associated with tracer rounds, which are bullets with a pyrotechnic compound in the base that creates a visible trace of light during flight. Tracer rounds are used for observation, signaling, and target designation.
  • Polymer-Tipped Hunting Rounds: Some blue-tip ammo is specifically designed for hunting purposes. These rounds typically feature a polymer-tipped bullet for improved aerodynamics, controlled expansion, and enhanced accuracy. They are often used for medium to large game hunting.

It's important to remember that the exact types or variations of blue tip ammo can differ between manufacturers. Therefore, referring to the specific documentation or labeling provided by the manufacturer is recommended to understand the intended purpose and characteristics associated with a particular type of blue tip ammo.

Polymer VS Traditional Hollow Points

Blue tips in ammunition are used in a military color-coding system to distinguish different rounds types. However, there needs to be a standardized color-coding system in the commercial ammunition realm. Manufacturers could incorporate blue polymer tips into various bullet styles and types.

That said, when you come across the distinctive "blue tip" while browsing the web or perusing the ammo section of your preferred sporting goods store, it is most commonly associated with hollow point pistol ammunition. The specific design, dimensions, and grain weight may vary among manufacturers. Typically, blue-tip handgun rounds consist of hollow points filled with a specially engineered piece of polymer.

Polymer VS Traditional Hollow Points

Hollow-point ammunition is widely acclaimed as a preferred choice for defensive purposes. Many shooters rely on high-quality hollow-point cartridges for their everyday carry (EDC) pistols. So why did manufacturers modify these already effective rounds by incorporating a blue polymer tip?

There are several reasons for this. Firstly, engineers designed blue tip ammo to exhibit a more consistent and stable flight trajectory. It tends to maintain a more level path during a flight than traditional hollow points. Notably, most hollow point cartridges are primarily used in close-quarters scenarios where ballistic improvements provided by polymer tips have minimal impact.

The polymer tip could also enhance the projectile's expansion upon impact with soft targets. The plastic tip facilitates rapid mushrooming, leading to more effective energy transfer. Lastly, blue tip ammo can help address feeding issues that occasionally arise when using jacketed hollow point cartridges, ensuring reliable performance.

In summary, while blue-tip ammunition does not adhere to a standardized commercial color-coding system, it is commonly associated with hollow point pistol rounds. Adding a blue polymer tip aims to improve flight trajectory, enhance expansion upon impact, and mitigate feeding problems with traditional hollow point designs.

Blue Tip ammo usage?

Blue tip ammo can serve different purposes depending on the manufacturer and specific design. Common uses include training, home defense, and hunting applications. Blue tip training rounds offer reliable function, reduced recoil, and improved practice and skill development accuracy.

Blue tip ammo designed for home defense provides reliable expansion and stopping power while minimizing over-penetration risk. In hunting, blue tip ammo may indicate bullets with enhanced aerodynamics, improved ballistic performance, and controlled expansion for increased accuracy and effective terminal ballistics.

Blue Tip Bullets Calibers

The calibers of blue tip bullets can vary depending on the manufacturer and the specific purpose of the ammunition. Since blue-tip bullets do not have a standardized meaning across the industry, their calibers can encompass a wide range. Here are some examples of calibers where you may find blue tip bullets:

  • 9mm Luger / 9x19mm Parabellum: Blue tip bullets may be available in this popular handgun caliber, indicating specific bullet types or characteristics, such as frangible or hollow point rounds.
  • .223 Remington / 5.56x45mm NATO: Blue tip bullets can be found in this widely used rifle caliber, representing different variants such as armor-piercing or tracer rounds.
  • .308 Winchester / 7.62x51mm NATO: Blue tip bullets may be used in this versatile rifle caliber, signifying specialized ammunition like armor-piercing or incendiary rounds.
  • .30-06 Springfield: Blue tip bullets can be manufactured for this classic rifle cartridge, indicating various purposes such as match-grade ammunition or specific bullet constructions.
  • .50 BMG: Blue tip bullets are also available in this powerful caliber, often associated with armor-piercing incendiary (API) or armor-piercing explosive (APE) rounds.

It's important to note that the availability of blue tip bullets in specific calibers can vary depending on the manufacturer and local regulations. Always consult reputable ammunition manufacturers or retailers to determine the specific calibers and bullet types available in blue tip variants.

Final Thoughts

While there is a standardized code of colors for color-tipped ammunition in the U.S. Military, there is no universal color code specifically for blue-tipped ammunition or any other color. The use of blue tips on ammunition can vary between manufacturers and even within different product lines of the same manufacturer. What does a blue tip on a bullet mean?

Blue-tipped ammunition can indicate various purposes, depending on the manufacturer's design and intended use. It may represent a training or home defense round or signify specific characteristics such as aerodynamics in expanding hunting bullets. In some cases, blue tips can be found on military rounds with steel cores, tracers, or those classified as incendiary by the military.

It's important to note that the meaning of a blue tip on ammunition differs from manufacturer to manufacturer. Therefore, it's always recommended to refer to the specific documentation or labeling provided by the manufacturer to understand the intended purpose or characteristics of blue-tipped ammunition in a particular case.

Lisa Earnest

Lisa Earnest

Jun, 26, 2023

Lisa Earnest has been a part of the Bulk Cheap Ammo team since 2018 and serves as the editor of Bulk Cheap Ammo content.

With a flair for language and an unwavering dedication to shooting sports, Lisa's diverse expertise combines to create an unforgettable experience for our audience.

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