RIP Ammo: All The Critical Stuff You Need To Know 

RIP ammo is an extremely powerful and lethal kind of ammunition available in a variety of calibers. They are also extremely controversial and, since their introduction in 2014, have been the subject of much debate. 

Let’s take a closer look at RIP ammunition, what the controversy surrounding it is, how much you can expect to set it back, and any other pertinent information regarding this infamous bullet. 

What Is RIP Ammo?

RIP ammo is a kind of hollow-point ammunition available in a number of different calibers. The ‘RIP’ technically stands for “radically invasive projectile” but is often taken to be a reference to the other, more common ‘RIP’ – rest in peace. (This reference is almost certainly quite deliberate.) 

Hollow-point ammunition is generally used by civilians and LEOs in the US for a number of reasons. Firstly, it boasts greater stopping power and lethality than other kinds of ammunition – which means it will put your target down faster.

Secondly, because they expand and fracture upon impact, they are less likely to over-penetrate and, thus, less likely to cause collateral damage (whether to bystanders or to structures).

This is particularly important in such situations as plane hijackings, where damage to the windows or hull can be lethal for everyone on board or in hostage situations. 

Is It Legal To Buy RIP Ammo in the United States? 

Short story: yes. Hollow-point rounds are legal for civilians and law enforcement to use in the United States. RIP ammo, being a kind of hollow-point ammo, is therefore perfectly legal to purchase. 

Active Self Protection Extra holds a box of RIP rounds in a Youtube video.

Hollow-point ammo is, however, not legal in international conflicts due to the Hague Convention of 1899 (not, as is commonly thought, the Geneva Convention).

This was due to the higher lethality of hollow-point rounds and their ability to cause increased trauma in surviving victims.

Thus, we have the curious case of a type of ammunition that’s not cleared for military use ending up in the hands of law enforcement and civilians. 

What Are The Pros of RIP Ammo? 

As a kind of hollow-point ammunition, there are a lot of reasons to use RIP rounds rather than FMJ (or regular hollow-point) ones. Let’s take a look at them. 

Multiple Points Of Entry 

A regular 9mm round will do a single entry wound to the target (as well as, potentially, a single exit wound).

In contrast, a RIP round, with its distinctive eightfold tip, will fragment upon impact and produce nine separate entry wounds – one for each tip and one for the body of the round itself.

What does this mean? In practical terms, it means that a lot more damage is done to the target. Immediate incapacitation is very likely with a RIP round, and the trauma and blood loss caused means that this sort of round is much more likely to do major damage. It also means that if you should only wing your target, you’ve still got a good chance of putting him or her down. 

No Overpenetration 

Of particular concern to LEOs or civilian bystanders in hostage, spree- or mass-shooting situations is the potential for collateral damage. An FMJ or AP round has the capacity to pass clean through the target and hit something – or someone – behind it.

This is obviously not desirable, as it could lead to an innocent bystander getting injured. If you’re on a plane, this is also a huge cause for concern, as the bullet hole caused by a stray shot (or an over-penetrating one) could cause rapid depressurization. 

What Are The Cons Of RIP Ammo? 

There is no perfect ammo, and the same is true of RIP ammo. Let’s examine, then, the drawbacks of using this particular type of ammunition. 

Danger Of Under-Penetration 

In attempting to create a bullet that has no chance of overpenetration, it’s possible that the creators of the RIP round have gone too far the other way.

The fragments generated when a RIP round hits home may perform well enough against ballistic gel, but against bone; it has precious little penetrative capacity.

This means that if you hit the target in, say, the chest, there’s a good chance that the ribs and sternum would prevent you from hitting anything vital, and the bullet might not be as effective as other rounds. 


There’s no way around this: RIP rounds are significantly more expensive than other kinds of hollow-point ammunition. You can expect to pay around $45 for a mere 20 RIP rounds. In comparison, a box of regular hollow points costs around $20. 

RIP Ammo: Here's Everything You Need To Know 
Credit: Edwin Sarkissian on Youtube.

With RIP rounds costing more than double, then, you’d be forgiven for expecting a brutally effective round that all but explodes the target and leaves nothing left for the coroner. Unfortunately… 

They’re No More Effective Than Regular Hollow-Points 

The fact is that RIP rounds are simply no more effective than regular hollow points. They’re not less effective, sure, but they don’t really offer anything above what you’d get from standard hollow points. 

The eight machined tips make for a great photo op, and they look mean, but aesthetics don’t always translate to efficacy, and nowhere is this better epitomized than in the RIP.

A great many gun experts who have reviewed the round, in fact, have pointed out that its lack of penetrability means that it is often no more effective than small-caliber handguns such as a .22. 

What does this mean for you? If you’re looking for some true stopping power, you’d be best considering regular hollow points over RIP. They’re a fun novelty round, but they simply don’t offer the power of other bullets. 

Conclusion: RIP Ammo is a Cool Gimmick But Nothing More

RIP bullets make for a cool gimmick with a cool name, but ultimately that’s all they are – a gimmick.

They look flashy and will certainly impress your buddies down at the shooting range, but when it comes to a genuine firefight or a home invasion, chances are that you’ll want to plump for traditional hollow-point bullets – or something with a little more penetrative capability altogether. 

However, if you’ve got a little extra cash lying around and really want to see how much damage you can do to a watermelon, then there’s no reason not to splurge on a box of RIP. 

RavenCrest Tactical


From Eastern Ukraine to the mountains of Chechnya, Jay has spent the better part of a decade working on the ground as a security consultant in some of the world's most high-risk areas. His work can range from unrivalled insights into breakaway states to covering the latest tech on the defense market and everything in between!


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