Armor-piercing bullets for rifle and handgun cartridges are designed to penetrate ballistic armor and protective shields intended to stop or deflect conventional bullets. Although bullet design is an important factor with regard to armor penetration, the ability of any given projectile to penetrate ballistic armor increases with increasing velocity. Rifle cartridges typically discharge bullets at higher muzzle velocity than handgun cartridges due to larger propellant charge. However, even the same cartridge (one that is interchangeable between specific rifles and handguns) fired from a rifle will, in almost all common cases, have a higher velocity than when fired from a handgun. This is due to the longer period of acceleration available within the longer gun barrel of rifles, which allow adequate time for the propellant to fully ignite before the projectile exits the barrel. For this reason, bullets fired from rifles may be more capable of piercing armor than similar or identical bullets fired from handguns. In addition, a small-caliber bullet has higher sectional density than a larger-caliber bullet of the same weight, and thus more capable of defeating body armor.