Federal Premium Hydra-Shok Deep

“Ideal bullet performance is [delivered by] a round that stops a threat by expanding to a large diameter to cause the maximum amount of tissue damage and penetrates deep enough to reach vital organs.” That’s the word from Larry Head, Federa Premium’s director and chief engineer of handgun ammunition, singing the praises of their new Hydra-Shok Deep Heat. (Click here for the full press release.) I rely on IMI’s 115 gr Di-Cut 9mm ammo to stop goblins. What’s in your EDC?

109 COMMENTS

    • There ya go.
      Those are my usual go-to recommendations to customers – whatever the size they need.
      Lately though, I’ve been mentioning the Ruger ARX loads… I’ve neither heard nor read of any reliability issues with them cycling well in pistols, although the uber-light bullet of theirs does make me strongly recommend to customers that they put at least one magazine of it through their piece to make sure it won’t choke on it.
      🤠

      • Although those may be fine rounds in all calibers, I think we should be careful to test each bullet individually. If you look at LuckyGunner’s ballistics test (https://www.luckygunner.com/labs/self-defense-ammo-ballistic-tests/#9mm), you’ll see that performance varies widely between the same bullet type in different weights, let alone calibers.

        For instance, (in the above test) Magtech’s 115gr Guardian Gold +Ps penetrated from 14-16″ and all mushroomed. The same bullet in 124gr penetrated from 16-23″ and all failed to mushroom.

        Judging other bullets from the same type of bullet, but in a different caliber or weight, is like thinking a standard poodle and a mini poodle will act the same.

        Sorry for the rant, and YMMV.

  1. Federal 124gr HSTs. I love that round.

    I’ve looked at the ballistics tests by LuckyGunner, shootingthebull410, and others, and am more than satisfied. An ultra consistent 18″ penetration, super consistent .60″ expanded diameter, and almost no weight loss. 365 ft-lbs isn’t extraordinary, but for the recoil it’s good.

    For the cost and recoil, I doubt there’s anything that can hold a candle to it.

        • Carried 124 gr +p HSTs for years in my Px4 Compact. Switched to +p+ Underwood xtreme defender after much deliberation. I still have a cabinet full of HSTs, best defensive ammo for the $$ IMO.

  2. Federal’s 124gr HSTs. Very consistent, very proven. 18″ of penetration, .60-.62″ expansion, 365 ft-lbs at the muzzle, etc. (according to LuckyGunner’s tests).

    I love that round to the point of being a fan boy.

  3. Hornady XTP from Freedom Munitions. New ammo only. The reman factored stuff is great, but new for walk around ammo.

  4. I use Sig Sauer 124gr. Vcrown. IMI does NOT chamber in my lowly Taurus 709. I guess I’ll eventually shoot it out of my other 9mm at the range…

  5. I’m partial to the Federal PDX1 for mine. I’ve got them in .357, 9mm, and .45.

    I usually carry a 9, either my VP9 or Glock 17, and both with two spare mags. One mag is more of the PDX and the second is that Fort Scott copper. My thought is if I somehow end up in a situation where 30-35 rounds of hollow points won’t do it over penetration can probably be worried about later.

    • I carry Winchester’s Ranger Bonded series which are the same exact bullets in brass cases instead of nickel plated cases — and half the cost!

      Specifically I carry Winchester Ranger Bonded .40 S&W 180 grain hollowpoints.

  6. Black Hills 230-grain JHP .45ACP+P. Nothing fancy or extra-special. Frankly, .45 military ball works fine too, but doesn’t get much respect. So … BHA +P. Sigh…

  7. 124+P Gold dots. Since Corbon can’t get their stuff straightened out, and nobody makes a bonded 115+P, I run those. Since people like to run over people with cars, I grabbed some bonded to just keep some mass through windows.

    All of those above singing praises of HST:
    I love the bullet, but federal needs to crimp or set better, because those cartridges have a massive problem with set back.

    • Gold Dots here too, but 135 gr. in .38 sp. +P. It is one of the few rounds that expands reliably, and penetrates 12+ inches, coming out of a snubnosed revolver.

      Critical Duty 9mm+P 135gr. when using the Glock19.

  8. 357 Sig Underwood 65gr Xtreme defender. Bc the below stats are awesome, and I love the 357 sig.
    Muzzle Velocity: 2100 fps
    Muzzle Energy: 636 ft. lbs.
    Penetration: 17.5 inches

    • agree 357 SIG is my favorite cartridge. Everyone likes to poopoo it because it isn’t so mass produced to the point where it is super cheap. does it all….long range flat shooting, crazy ballistics and energy dump, penetrates better than most others due to relatively small caliber and high velocity, and inherently reliable due to it’s bottleneck design. Pain in the ass to reload I have found, as I ruin more than the usual amount of brass…but for carry ammo I buy new anyway. downsides I suppose are noise, muzzleflash, and fudds who think if a cartridge was not designed using a slide rule or in the US it is not to be trusted. Seems the perfect police or military carry round to me…since vehicle penetration is a major consideration.

    • I too. In a 3.5″ barrel, it has been measured close to 2000fps.
      FYI: 4-4.5″ @ advertised ~2100; 6″ @ 2269; 9″ @ 2494; 16″ @ 2699;
      For recoil in a carry weapon, this is PF of ~130-140 plus gas inertia.
      Avoiding an argument (or lack thereof) about the fluid dynamic interaction between the bullet and the target at “handgun velocities”, I think we can safely consider 2000fps to be above handgun velocities. Peak drag is at 0″ depth. Wounding (whatever the extent) seems to be multi-directional, not omni-directional. IIIA provides little resistance, and I’m not sure why anyone who carries seriously would not have that on the list. Environments vary.

    • Same here in +P out of a full size. Good enough for Chicago PD, NYPD, and Secret Service (in 357 sig). Local sheriff uses HST in 40 S&W. I also have some CorBon and Critical Duty in my stash. No close neighbours.

  9. FNH SB193 subsonic in home (PS90). Hollow point (almost anything) for 1st round, Lehigh Defense Xtreme Defense for subsequent rounds for around town, in .380 and .40.

  10. Work is Bonded Golden Saber 180 Gr .40. No choice in the matter.

    Personal 9×19 is Gold Dot 124gr, .380 is Hornady Critical Defense.

    AR is Federal Premium 62gr Bonded, shotgun Federal Tactical 00 buck with flite control

  11. – Federal HST, or HydraShocks
    – Hornady Critical Defense
    – Speer Gold Dots
    – Remington GoldenSabers
    – (38 spl +p only) Lead Semi Wad Cutter Hollow Point, 158 grain

    Did I miss anyone? That’s my carry 40/38/357s.

  12. Whatever I happen to have in my gun when trouble arises. That’s not happened yet. Given a preference, I like Hornady Critical Defense in .380, 9mm (or is it .9mm?), .45 ACP, .38 SPL, or .44 SPL. I like the Ruger ARX ammo, but haven’t tried it.

  13. Hornady Critical Duty 9mm
    Hornady XTP 9mm
    Hornady XTP 40
    Hornady XTP 45
    And I have some old Remington Golden Saber 9mm
    and even a box of Winchester Black Talon 9mm in a drawer somewhere.

  14. Remington Golden Saber 124gr +P 9mm for my carry gun.
    Fiocchi Extrema (XTP) 124gr 9mm for my wife’s carry gun.
    Magtech First Defense 230gr .45 for the “house gun” but thinking of switching to Sig Sauer 200gr for that one.

  15. Double Tap 158gr SJHP. 1300+fps from the 3″, 1500+fps from the 6″.

    Federal 125gr. HP in the .30-30.

  16. Hornady Critical Defense.

    Because after a self-defense shooting, even the most pro-gangster Massachusetts Democrat bloodsucking prosecutor would be hard pressed to argue with ammo named “Defense.” Which is yet another reason why I won’t use something like “RIP.” Or “Tear a Hole in Their Guts,” which is a name so dumb (even dumber than RIP) that I’m surprised nobody has used it yet.

    If Hornady ever produces a line of Good-&-Plenty-colored self-defense ammo named “Fluffy Bunny,” I’m all in.

  17. Hornady critical Duty .45 acp +P 220 grain flex lock
    It”s a barrier blind Hollow point, High penetration w/ moderate expansion.

  18. Duty – Gold Dot 45 230 JHP (required)
    Backup – Winchester Ranger 9 147 T-Series
    CC – Winchester Ranger 40 165 T-Series

  19. 9mm – Golden Sabre 125+P, Federal 9BPLE
    380 – Hydrashok
    357 – Golden Sabre 125, Federal 125 HP.
    38 – Golden Sabre 125+P, BB 125 HP+P

  20. Whatever works best in that particular gun. My Model 10 likes Golden Sabre 125 grain +P, my LCP II likes the ARX. My SR1911 9mm and my SCCY CPX2 both like Sig VCROWN 124 grain standard pressure the best. Still working on finding the right ammo for my Bond Bullpup.

  21. KTW Teflon in .357
    GECO Blitz Action Trauma (BAT) in .45 ACP

    Actually, I tend to Hornady Critical Defense or Underwood Extreme Defender, in either .45 or 9mm., and in my new 10mm TRP when it arrives.

  22. HST 124 for 9mm, HST 180 for 40, Gold Dot 185 for the carry .45, CriticalDefense for the bedside .45. All damned good rounds, each chosen for hitting point of aim at 5 yards. Gold Dots, for instance, shoot low out of the G23, HST are right on.

  23. I chose the sub-compact .45ACP Springfield XD MOD.2 (XDG) because it has more features, is the same size as the 9mm Springfield XDS and S&W M&P Shield, but holds 13+1 rounds of .45 ACP +P.

    I feed it Winchester Ranger T-Series (RA45TP) 230 grain JHP .45 ACP +P (the successor to the Black Talon) ammunition because it consistently expands to 1-inch and penetrates 14.5″ in the FBI heavy clothing, sheet metal, drywall, plywood, and auto glass ballistic gelatin tests.

    My second magazine is loaded with 13 rounds of old-school (green & yellow box) Remington (R45AP6) 185 grain JHP .45 ACP +P (1140 fps) which is no longer available (replaced with less powerful Golden Saber) and my third magazine is loaded with 13 rounds of Speer Lawman (53067) 230 grain round nose TMJ (Total Metal Jacket – much better than FMJ) which has superior barrier penetration and tends to tumble after impacting several inches of ballistic gelatin).

    For my second draw option (aka deep concealment or backup gun), I chose the micro-compact Ruger LCP II .380 ACP (9mm short), because it is the highest quality, safest, and smallest .380 ACP pocket pistol on the market.

    I feed it Hornady Critical Defense (90080) 90 gr FTX 380 Auto ammunition because it consistently expands to .52″ and penetrates 13.2″ in the FBI heavy clothing, sheet metal, drywall, plywood, and auto glass ballistic gelatin tests.

    My second magazine is loaded with 10 rounds of old-school (white box) Winchester Super-X Silvertip (X380ASHP) 85 grain JHP .380 ACP (1000 fps) which is no longer available (the current Silvertip, that comes in a silver box is not as good) and my third magazine is loaded with 10 rounds of Speer Lawman (53608) 95 grain round nose TMJ (Total Metal Jacket – much better than FMJ) which has superior barrier penetration and tends to tumble after impacting several inches of ballistic gelatin).

    For the wife, I went with the Remington RM380 Micro Concealed Carry .380 ACP (9mm short) pistol mainly due to the rebate which lowered the price to $99 including two magazines. This deep concealment micro pistol is Remington’s improved remake of the $1,200.00 Rohrbaugh Firearms model R380 which is all metal, hammer fire, and with an easier slide to rack. A super value on an extremely high quality firearm.

    I feed it the same as my Ruger LCP II.

  24. Depending on gun:
    Speer Gold Dot
    Remington Golden Saber
    Remington HTP
    and for the little Kel-Tec P32:
    Sellier & Bellot .32 Auto FMJ, because those little things don’t have enough energy to expand reliably (and designs that expand don’t penetrate very well).

  25. Variable, depending what I find on the shelves and what I can afford. Right now I have two mags of Gold Dots 124 gr, and a mag of 115 gr. Xtreme Penetrators for round three for carry. I assume if I’ve gone through 15 rounds already, I will be shooting through barriers/walls for everything thereafter. I have a box or two of Critical Duty but don’t carry it. I recently bought 200 rounds of Freedom’s 124 gr HPs before the curtain fell in California, but haven’t shot any at this point. I do not know the source of their bullets; they’ve always offered XTPs, but this seems to be a nonbonded homegrown product. If nothing else, it will make a good practice round.

    For the home .45, I have some Golden Saber 185 gr., but I am partial to the Winchester PDX in 230 gr HP. The XTP is a reliable bullet, but Hornady seems to load a bit light. The HSTs have always been prohibitively expensive when I’ve looked at them–over $2.50 a round during the drought.

  26. Not to ignite the caliber debate, just to tell what I carry. I carry a .380 ACP loaded with Polycase Inceptor ARX ammunition. I have tested it and I am satisfied with its feeding. My research and informal tests have left me satisfied with its performance.

    I would like to see the ARX ammunition a bit cheaper. I would also like to see the bullets available for reloading again, this would encourage practice with loads closer simulating carry loads.

    I am extremely concerned with the risk associated with over-penetration and shots that pass the target for any reason. With that in mind, I am very interested in the .22 tcm. However, I haven’t purchased anything in it yet.

  27. HST/Underwood EP/Hornady Custom/COR-BON Hunter/ depends on the mood or environment I will be in.
    Summer usually lighter caliber than winter cuz layers.

  28. Hornady Critical Duty – 9mm, +P, 135 gr. XTap. Lucky Gunner’s tests confirm penetration, expansion, and consistency.

  29. It really doesn’t matter. I carry several brands. Like to test different things in different guns. What really matters is what works the best for you. What gets the job done. Most people pick their ammo because of name, what they’ve seen on the internet or heard from someone else. I’ve found that what you shoot is far less important than how you shoot. Regardless of what you shoot. Shoot as often as you can. That ‘s what will make the difference if the SHTF. Keep Your Powder Dry…

  30. I’ve got a few boxes of Winchester Black Talon in .40 and 10mm 180 gr. So I run those. Not only because they perform, but also because the libtards loose their collective shit over ANYTHING firearms and black.

  31. My full line-up:

    .380 ACP: BuffaloBore 100 grain hardcast
    9mm Parabellum: Hornady Critical Duty 135 grain hollowpoints
    .40 S&W: Winchester Ranger Bonded 180 grain hollowpoints
    .45 ACP: Remington Golden Saber and bulk Federal whitebox hollowpoints
    .44 Magnum: … PMC 180 grain hollowpoints (1600 fps at the muzzle!)
    20 gauge shotgun: Remington Slugger 5/8 ounce rifle slugs
    12 gauge shotgun: anything and everything, it doesn’t matter!

    Wait, what was the question?

  32. Scorpion Evo, PPQ M2, P99cAS and Grock 19: Federal HST 147 grain +P
    Glock 42: Fiocchi 90 grain XTP
    Rhino 50 DS: .357 Mag recommendations requested

  33. For my Springfield XD40, I use DoubleTap 40 S&W 180 GR XTP Hollow Points.
    For my Beretta Nano and Sig SP2022, I use Hornady American Gunner 9mm 124 GR +P XTP Hollow Points.

  34. For home defense I have Federal 9mm Hi-Shok (9BP) 115 gr. rounds. Old and cheap. Assuming it expands, it penetrates to about 11 to 13″ max. Like the other commenter, I don’t want over penetration. And when I installed a softer recoil spring in my XD, I was able to blow off a box of 50 affordably, as a reliability test.

  35. CCI minimags for Ruger SR 22lr dispatching Coral Snakes here in Texas Hill Country.
    For human predators carry Federal Premium HST for PAVONA 9mm Luger P+
    My 1st Rule of Self Defense, carry what you shoot most accurately.

  36. I Have Multiple Boxes Of Brands/Grains, But They All Are 9mm JHP…
    Black Hills Ammunition 124gr +P
    Sig Sauer V-Crown 147gr
    Hornaday Custom XTP 147gr
    Barnes TAC-XPD 115gr
    Federal Premium HST 124gr

    My Firearm is a Springfield Armory XD(m) 3.8in Bi-Tone…

  37. For me:
    9mm & .45ACP is Winchester Ranger-T: I simply haven’t seen anything with terminal ballistics in penetration and expansion *yet*. It’s also the successor to the legendary Black Talon ammo from many years ago…

    .40S&W is Federal HST: great expansion, acceptable penetration, and relatively easy to find.

    .380 ACP is Hornady FTX Critical Defense: it barely meets the FBI ratings for acceptable penetration but the expansion is spectacular and it’s relatively easy to find. It’s the best I could find for the relatively anemic.380 pocket guns I have.

    No permanent decisions yet for .357 Mag / .38 Special / .357 Sig….

    • I see that Pike has done his homework and come to the same conclusions as I did after immense due diligence on this subject.

      If I were going to power down to .40 S&W, I would go with the new Winchester 165 gr Ranger Bonded (which penetrates 14.7″ and expands .77″) or maybe the Remington 180 gr Ultimate Defense (which penetrates 13.8″ and expands .82″).

  38. In my .380 EDC (Sig Sauer P238), I load either Hornady Critical Defense or Sig V-Crown. Ballistics tests I’ve read put them at almost a toss-up for expansion and penetration. Both meet the FBI standard for penetration, and both expand well with a short-barrel .380 (they are made for that specific purpose). And both are easily obtainable hereabouts.

    Each time I shoot at the range (using FMJ “ball” ammo), I also run one clip of whichever defensive round I’m carrying, just to make sure they are cycling well. (Although I have yet to find ANY .380 round that my P238 doesn’t like.) Looking at the Hornady and Sig rounds, you’d think that they’d be less accurate than FMJ ammo for aerodynamic reasons. Surprisingly, both are noticeably MORE accurate than the FMJs.

  39. In my .380 EDC (Sig Sauer P238), I load either Hornady Critical Defense or Sig V-Crown. Ballistics tests I’ve read put them at almost a toss-up for expansion and penetration. Both meet the FBI standard for penetration, and both expand well with a short-barrel .380 (they are made for that specific purpose). And both are easily obtainable hereabouts.

    Each time I shoot at the range (using FMJ “ball” ammo), I also run one clip of whichever defensive round I’m carrying, just to make sure they are cycling well. (Although I have yet to find ANY .380 round that my P238 doesn’t like.)

    Looking at the Hornady and Sig rounds, you’d think that they’d be less accurate than FMJ ammo for aerodynamic reasons. Surprisingly, both are noticeably MORE accurate than the FMJs.

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