Shells are projectiles that are fired out of a firearm or larger weapon (such as a mortar) in a manner similar to a bullet; unlike a bullet, shells usually carry an explosive charge in them. They are generally found in artillery.
A shell is also (incorrectly) referred to as the discarded portion of a cartridge after being fired; in this case, the "shell" is the casing.
Main article: Slug
Shells can also refer to shotgun shells, which are smaller round pellets compressed into a casing and designed (as the name implies) to be fired out of a shotgun. They are usually red, but differentiation in the type of shot and shot manufacture are what determines the color designation.
There are several different projectiles that can be loaded into shotgun cartridges:
- Shot: This is the most common shotgun ammunition. It consists of a primer, small lead pellets and gunpowder. It spreads out over distance, covering a larger area of an animal or human target. There are two types of shot: buckshot and birdshot.
- Rubber: Used for riot control, this ammo utilizes one or several rubber projectiles to deliver less-lethal impact. Usually, the projectile is either multiple porous balls or rubber torus, to maximize the impact area (and thus minimize the penetration).
- Slug: This ammunition contains a single slug. "Paradox" slugs have a stabilizing grooved surface for use in smooth-bore barrels. Slug shapes can be different - from round-nosed Jakans used in hunting to point-nosed slugs used by law enforcement officers to immobilize vehicles.
- Dragonbreath: These shells contain a pyrotechnic mixture which ignites when fired, producing a flame that burns for a few seconds, with a range of about 50 feet.
- Door Breacher: This ammo is designed especially for forced entry by law enforcement and military. It contains a load of metal dust, which is capable of blowing the lock/hinges clean off at point-blank range, but dissipates almost completely on distances over two to four meters.
- Tear Gas: Used by law enforcement for riot control, and sometimes by civilians for self-defense, this ammunition contains an irritant agent in the form of dust or liquid.
- Flechette: These are a load of thin stabilized darts.
- Grenade: Used to take out small buildings, or to remove doors.