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A bullet is a projectile expelled from the barrel of a firearm. The term is from Middle French and originated as the diminutive of the word boulle (boullet) which means "small ball." Bullets are made of a variety of materials. They are available singly as they would be used in muzzle loading and cap and ball firearms, as part of a paper cartridge,[3] and much more commonly as a component of metallic cartridges. Bullets are made in a large numbers of styles and constructions depending on how they will be used. Many bullets have specialized functions, such as hunting, target shooting, training, defense, and warfare.

A bullet is not a cartridge. In paper and metallic cartridges a bullet is one component of the cartridge. Bullet sizes are expressed by their weight and diameter in both English and Metric measurement systems. For example: .22 caliber 55 grain bullets or 5.56mm 55 grain bullets are the same caliber and weight bullet. The word "bullet" is often used colloquially to refer to a cartridge, which is a combination of the bullet, paper or metallic case/shell, powder, and primer. This use of 'bullet', when 'cartridge' is intended, leads to confusion when the components of a cartridge are discussed or intended.

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