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From Federal:

New Punch draws from Federal Ammunition’s decades of experience designing the world’s finest defensive handgun loads. The bullet’s skived jacket and soft lead core produce the best expansion and penetration in its class, while its nickel-plated brass and sealed primer deliver the reliable feeding and ignition needed for powerful personal protection. Now available in the top five, most popular, self-defense chamberings on the market. Shipments of this product have begun to arrive at dealers.

“Simply put, we know more about making duty and defensive bullets than anyone,” said Federal Handgun Ammunition Product Manager Chris Laack. “We used that knowledge and experience to create a product to specifically meet the needs of self-defense with a handgun. The result of that hard work is Punch.”

Rather than developing a single bullet design for all five loads, the team at Federal evaluated each caliber individually and determined which bullet design and weight would work most effectively for each load. Since the bullets weren’t specifically designed to perform in FBI protocol testing, Laack and his team spent time tuning each Punch load to meet the needs of the self-defense shooter—namely reliable expansion and enough penetration.

“We looked at specifications from our Hydra-Shok Deep, HST and other bullet designs, and took what made sense for Punch,” said Laack. “We selected whatever elements worked best for each individual caliber. We then played with thickness of the jacket, skive depth, hollow point geometry and even differences in lead cores to build the recipe for Punch.”

The result is a blend of good overall performance from a Federal Premium bullet that was designed specifically for the most common self-defense applications such as an extra-heavy clothing test using ballistic gel.

“The fact that that we’re launching Punch in the top five, most popular, self-defense chamberings on the market—all at once—makes a statement,” said Laack. “Typically, a new self-defense ammunition is launched in only one or two calibers then others are added later. But not Punch, we believe in it and know shooters looking for effective defensive ammunition with its specific features will love it.”

Also, in the build, Federal utilized nickel-plated cases, high quality powders, reliable primers with primer seal. Proven bullet profiles and geometry for reliable feeding.

Features & Benefits

  • Jacketed hollow-point bullet design provides a balanced mix of effective penetration and expansion
  • Out-performs comparably priced competitor rounds
  • Nickel-plated brass case with primer seal
  • Available in the most popular defensive handgun cartridges

Federal ammunition can be found at dealers nationwide or purchased online direct from Federal. For more information on all products from Federal or to shop online, visit

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  1. “Since the bullets weren’t specifically designed to perform in FBI protocol testing.”
    Means their just putting another load together……Like always I’ll stick with my Gold Dots!

    • So, they omitted the barrier penetration tests that are basically useless for civilian self defense to select a bullet and load that would provide reliable expansion and penetration.

      I guess they are a poor choice if you expect to do your self-defense shooting through windshields.

  2. Not legal ammo in several Socialist/Liberal states. Unlike Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty.

  3. “Since the bullets weren’t specifically designed to perform in FBI protocol testing.”

    Isn’t this a rather low bar to achieve? Aren’t there already a plethora of ammunition for handguns that do not meet “FBI standards”?

    Maybe Federal did not properly focus group the marketing literature.

    • They’re skipping the sheet metal and auto glass tests, so they don’t need a bonded jacket bullet (which is more expensive). It’s like the difference between Honady Critical Duty (bonded, FBI test) and Critcal Defense (not bonded, civilian audience). Federal already has FBI quality ammo if that’s what you eany.

      • ” Federal already has FBI quality ammo if that’s what you eany.”

        Just noting the marketing copy is awkwardly phrased. Sometimes “shorthand” doesn’t get the job done.

      • Neither Critical Duty nor Critical Defense are bonded. HST doesn’t use a bonded bullet either.

  4. Punch…a new offering from Federal, now available in puny little consumer packs of 20 priced at over a dollar a round. Remember just a short while ago when HST was available for $.36 a round in 50 packs? Before Federal cracked down on their vendors? What a bunch of assholes.

    • This.

      I still have (and prefer) a bunch of 124gr HST, but Federal really dicked up on that one.

    • Original comment was eaten…

      A few are somewhat ignoring that, Target Sports for instance. Picked up a case of Fed High Density 00 right before the covid rush got well & truly started. Paid $5 per box, where at the time Federal was charging $15 for the same, & now $17 per.

      Target was out of stock by the first day of the rush btw, & took an additional 14 days to ship my order. Although they did hold true & my place in line was reserved. Gotta give them credit where credit is due.

    • 357 125 Federal Jacketed Hollow points were ounce the best 1 shot take out ammo for a handgun in the 90’s, how do these compare?

  5. So, it’s HST. Looks exactly the same. Did the just change some .001 thicknesses of the jacket and such? I like federal, but Gold Dots seem to be the best.

  6. I have total confidence in Federal ammunition- I have their ammo in all of the firearms I depend on to defend life.

    I’m always interested in new ammo products, and look forward to seeing how this one stacks up.

    The only thing that raised an eyebrow for me was something that I hope is more choice of wording than an actual statement of fact… that Federal was aiming for “…good overall performance…” in what I sincerely hope in more than being “…designed specifically for the most common self-defense applications such as an extra-heavy clothing test using ballistic gel.”

    I have no doubt one can design ammo to perform perfectly in an extra-heaving clothing gel test- if that is what your goal is. I do not believe that the goal should be perfect gel test results- it should be superior ability to stop aggression. Sure, one can argue it’s semantics, but for some reason Federal’s wording just popped out at me. Kinda like Dr Who threatening to shoot unmasked people… “They were headed right for us!”

  7. I did not see anything in this press release that made me think “Golly gee!!! That new Federal Punch seems way better than my Hornady Critical Defense!”

    I will stick with what I have unless some fabulously low prices tempt me.

  8. Seems to be a direct challenger to the Sig v-crown, though the v-crown is offered in more calibers and weights. I have pretty much run the sig vcrown as my primary defensive round. It runs reliably on every caliber/platform I have used it with. It also is on sale quite regularly so cost is cheaper in my experience.

    A comparison (vc = v-crown and bullet grains if different in parenthesis)-

    • .380 Auto 85 Grain Punch JHP | 1,000 FPS
    vc – 980 fps (90 grain)

    • .38 Special +P 120 Grain Punch JHP | 1,070 FPS
    vc – 900 fps (125 grain, +P)

    • 9mm Luger 124 Grain Punch JHP | 1,150 FPS
    vc – 1,165 fps

    • .40 S&W 165 Grain Punch JHP | 1,130 FPS
    vc – 1,090 fps

    • .45 Auto 230 Grain Punch JHP | 890 FPS
    vc – 830 fps

  9. I guess TTAG is now the marketing arm of Federal, hey? Since this is an ADVERTISMENT, it should have been labeled as such.

  10. It does say “From Federal,” which means it’s a press release. TFB ran the same press release. If Federal paid for placement, then it is an advertisement.

  11. There did not seem to be much “meat” in this article which means I’m left wondering why I would want to buy this round. That said, I have enough Hydra Shocks to last me a very long time and see no reason to switch out my carry ammo.

  12. Looks ok…so does the Sig VCrown O use. And I have a boatload of it. I do love Federal in 223 & 556.

  13. Cool. Ammo for civilian counsel carriers. What’s Federal’s next move? Hopefully Pistol Caliber Carbine optimized ammo.

  14. You know how to tell if it’s a real game changer? When they drop all the other lines of defense ammo.

  15. A million and one lines of self-defense ammo. Will this expand significantly more reliably or effectively than the others? Or is it about marketing?

    Hell, Winchester White Box defensive ammo works well in most calibers.

  16. Federal (AKA Speer) makes great ammo, but so does Hornady and others. When it comes to defensive carry ammunition, my main drivers are practice and proficiency. Hornady XTP is fine defensive ammo. The XTP bullets also come in all weights and calibers. With a little chrony work, devising a matching handload to their factory-loaded ammo is easy to do.

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