ShootingTheBull410 9mm Ammo Quest: Federal Premium HST

ShootingTheBull410 is back with another episode in the 9mm Ammo Quest. This time, it’s the most-demanded, most-requested video of the series — a test of the Federal Premium HST in the 147-grain +P version. Finding 147-grain ammo that performs well from a 3″ barrel has been a real challenge, and several of the heavy bullets tested have been disappointing. HSTs, on the other hand, have been anything but disappointing, so — the question here is, will the heavier weight, combined with the added velocity of the “+P”, make for an ideal combination?  And are the results worth the extra wear-and-tear on the gun from the “+P” pressure? Spoiler alert . . .

They performed excellently. The velocity increase was minimal over the standard-pressure 147gr HSTs, and the expansion and penetration were comparable to what we’ve seen from other versions of the HST launched from this same 3″ barrel.  While the results weren’t significantly different from other versions tested, the 147+P may represent the best particular combination of penetration and expansion we’ve seen yet from all of the HSTs.  Whether this load ends up being the ultimate winner of the 9mm Ammo Quest or not, it is still a winner of a load.


  1. avatar Accur81 says:

    You had me at Federal HST. That is arguably the finest self defense ammo available.

    1. avatar James Miller says:

      Kinda partial to the Winchester Ranger ammo myself although finding them in stock can be challenging.

      1. avatar Accur81 says:

        I got mine from the LAPD LAPRAAC store before it was recently closed for the re-model. You should still be able to get ahold of it on or HST is definitely still there. I usually load Winchester PDX 180 grain JHP in my .40’s because I can hit a quarter with it at 7 yards. When a handgun round shoots to mechanical zero, I stick with it unless there is compelling reason to change.

      2. avatar TheOtherDavid says:

        I always liked Ranger as well but, interestingly, while it seems to do well from longer barrel duty guns, it seems to underperform from shorter barrel pistols (Glock 26 for instance). I was always a Gold Dot guy, along with Ranger, until I found the HSTs did well from pretty much anything you can stick ’em in.

        Still have plenty of Ranger for the SHTF Zombie apocalypse. Or is that TEOTWAWKI? or WROL?

        Remember when you used to say “it’s for a rainy day” ? 🙂

  2. avatar Lance says:

    As a PSO Ive carried standard volocity 9mm 147gr HST for year no issues and its also used by Portland Police and has done a very good job good enough for PPB to retire the last of .45 Glocks for a all 9mm Glock fleet 4 years ago. Best ammo for both duty and personal protection anywear.

    1. avatar Paladin says:

      You might want to check out ShootingTheBull410’s video on the effects of barrel length:
      Even the best ammo is subject to the laws of physics. SD hollow points are designed to open up to a specified degree at a specified velocity to achieve appropriate levels of penetration. As such they are balanced to work best out of a specific barrel length. Ammo tailored to a duty pistol with a 4.5″ bbl will not necessarily function well out of a pocket nine with a 3″ bbl, hence the entire purpose behind these ammo quest videos, finding ammo that works well out of 3″ pistols.

  3. avatar Mark N. says:

    The last time I even saw a box of HST they wanted $1.50 a round, which was a bit too steep for me.

    1. avatar PGT says:

      cheap insurance for duty ammo

    2. avatar kalel666 says:

      After watching the last video on the HST, I found some at US Reloads (through I ended up buying a 50 round box of the 124 grain 9mm for $39.64 shipped. I’m new to handguns and 9mm in particular, so I wasn’t sure i it was a good deal or not. Trying to find it again, I see it was a great deal, as no one has it, and what is available goes for around $1.25 a round. Wish I’d bought more now.

      1. avatar Jesse Johnson says:

        I just looked seems most is out of stock but SGA Ammo has it in and out all the time $28 a box. AGS Armament has had it for that price too and those are the 50 round boxes.

    3. avatar Jesse Johnson says:

      Check out SGA Ammo they have a bunch of different self defense rounds in stock all the time and they had various Gold Dot and HST last I looked. You can generally find the 50 round boxes for about the same price stores want for the 20 round boxes lol. I think it was AGS Armament that had HST and some others in all the popular calibers fairly cheap some were ordered for LE that turned the order down I think they said was why they had so much and so cheap. There was 124 and 147 grain HST can’t remember if any was +P though but it was like $28 per box and they were 50 not 20. Underwood is really impressive too can get pretty much any of their Gold Dot loadings for $30 a box and those are 50 rounds too. The 115 and 147 +P+ are nuts.

  4. avatar TheOtherDavid says:

    Standard pressure 147 HST is what I like to run in my different Glocks, ShootingTheBull’s great research demonstrated how well it works across a variety of barrel lengths. SGAmmo will get the 50 round boxes, they just got 95 boxes in yesterday, over 800 people were signed up for an email notification on arrival. I immediately logged in, half of them were already gone, I ordered two boxes, by the time I got my order confirmation, they were entirely sold out. Around $30 per 50 round box, just an FYI I have always had good customer service with them, prompt shipping, very competitive prices.

    1. avatar James Miller says:


      I also have used SGAmmo. Got a 50ct box of 147gr Winchester Ranger for $25 but yeah their stock does go fast.

    2. avatar James Miller says:

      SGAmmo does have plenty of 124gr HST in stock for $25/50.

      1. avatar TheOtherDavid says:

        +! on 124s. I’ve grown partial to heavy-for-caliber so I usually go with the 147 but the 124 will definitely encourage a bad person to reconsider his or her course of action.

        Out of curiosity, many people running 115s in 9mm? I almost never here about 115 HSTs – do they make that?

        1. They don’t make HST in 115gr.

          If you want a 115gr, the Gold Dot is pretty good, and the CorBon DPX is excellent as well.

          In general I also go for heavier-for-caliber bullets, if all other things are equal. In the 3″-barrel 9mm, things haven’t been equal! It’s been tough to find good-performing 147-grainers that get up to speed and expand well from that short barrel.

          Of the HSTs, I think the 124gr standard-pressure HST is probably the best combination overall considering availability, price, penetration depth, and wear on the gun. The 147+P is just about as good, but they’re harder to get ahold of and the +P pressure will put more wear on the gun. The 124’s expand to a little smaller size, but other than that both of these loads represent a near ideal combination of penetration and expansion and reliable consistency.

        2. avatar Lance says:

          No 147gr standard pressure is the best I agree +P is too much wear and tear on your weapon but you want a full heavy bullet to use 124 is too light. Tell that to GIs who like the M-9 but the M-882 ball ammo that has no stopping power and over penetrates its also 124gr ammo.

  5. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    Im almost getting convinced to buy my 1st 9mm something??
    In 35 years of gun ownership.
    Never had a use for a 9mm, but.
    It seems bullet technology is finally catching up to the bigger guys.

    1. avatar TheOtherDavid says:

      I started with 9mm, I also have 10mm as I’m out in the boonies a fair amount, and I have a 40 SW drop-in barrel for the 10mm. All that said, the 9mm has come a long way, and Federal HST in particular has really shown what can be done with the 9mm caliber across all barrel lengths.

      In general, in an urban setting, I’m carrying 9mm HST.

  6. avatar joelT1 says:

    I’m curious now, I REALLY want to see how it performs from 4″ and longer barrels. I also want to know if .40 HST holds up to this level from a 3″, and how .40 loadings stack up to 9mm in general.

  7. avatar Accur81 says:


    There are several YouTube testers who use a similar technique as Shooting The Bull. They aren’t quite as polished, but the results should be representative. I just saw one where Winchester PDX .40 Smith 180
    JHP averaged about 975 FPS from a 3″ barrel, causing about 13″ of penetration through 10% gel with good expansion (.68″).

    You can also send STB ammo to test.

  8. avatar Larry Edmonson says:

    I’d been carrying 125gr. CorBon JHP as my carry load in my Glock17, but after seeing these tests of the 9MM HST’s, and hearing that quality control of CorBon was going down hill quickly I switched to the HST ammo as my new carry load.

  9. avatar Rick says:

    Great videos – consider me a fan.
    Good case made here, but overall defense package must be considered. +P out of a polymer sub compact? Ouch! I’m sticking with Critical Defense for reduced recoil, flash and better shot placement.

  10. avatar TheBear says:

    Is there a major difference between the Personal Defense Rounds and the Tactical Rounds, everything else being equal? I’ve found the 9mm Federal Premium HST 147gr in Personal Defense Rounds but not in Tactical as seen in the Ammo Quest Video.

  11. avatar Frank says:

    You have greatly influnced my ammo selections for defensive carry!! Thanks for your great work because I have short barreled Conceled Carry guns. I have a request though, can you please test the Precision One 380acp 95 grain JHP? Thanks and Have a Great Day!!!!

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