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I have seen this in a lot of movies and noticed it again now in "Taxi Driver". There is a scene where Robert De Niro cuts an 'X' into his pistol rounds with a knife.

I don't know much about weapons, is there any technical reason to do this? Does it somehow improve the ammunition? Does he do that to open up the round?

Or does it have some symbolic reason, like marking the ammunition in a personal way? What is this kind of scene usually supposed to tell the viewer? Is there any special meaning?

cutting scene from Taxi Driver

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FYI: We also have []. –  Iszi Mar 5 '12 at 4:13
Wow. When I first read the title, the first movie I thought about was Priest... –  Fikko3107 Dec 3 '13 at 9:02

1 Answer 1

up vote 26 down vote accepted

Cutting a round in this way guarantees that the round will fragment upon striking the body creating more severe wounds. There is a forum of ammunition specialists answering a similar question.

Bottom line: While it is not illegal to modify the rounds (though the MURDER is illegal), don't do it unless you know what you're doing since inaccuracy can cause you to lose some of your own body parts, because it may fragment even before it leaves the gun barrel causing blockage and/or explosion.

For those looking into the forum entry I listed above, a lot of acronyms abound. I found the translations of the first few:

  • JSP - Jacketed Soft Point
  • JHP - Jacketed Hollow Point
  • FMJ - Full Metal Jacket
  • HP  - Hollow Point
  • LRN - Lead Round Nose

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    Great, thanks! So I suppose they put this kind of scene in a movie to tell us that the character is really tough, determined and knows what he is doing, right? –  atticae Mar 4 '12 at 13:10
    At least the tough and determined part. –  wbogacz Mar 4 '12 at 14:51

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