Many thanks to blog reader Fred for supplying the ammunition for this test. He's sent in several different loads for testing this year and I really appreciate it.
The Federal Premium Law Enforcement Ammunition Tactical Bonded 9mm Luger 124 Grain Tactical HP may hold the record for the longest name assigned to anything I've previously tested. While the HST may be the current darling of the Federal line, the Tactical Bonded covers the requirement for a bonded bullet that will hold together when fired through intermediate barriers. I was very interested in seeing how this standard pressure bonded load would compare with other Hydra-Shok and HST standard pressure 124 grain loads. As it turns out, it did really well.
Step 1) Measure and record temperature and relative humidity.
Step 2) Run a 5 shot velocity average over a ProChrono Digital Chronograph at a distance of 10 feet.
Step 3) Run first bare gel test shot into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that is calibrated to 10% Ordnance Gel density. Shot distance is 10 feet.
Step 4) Run second test shot through 4 layers of 14 oz/yard heavy-weight denim. Shot distance is 10 feet.
Step 5) Run third test shot through 4 layers of 14 oz/yard heavy-weight denim. Shot distance is 10 feet.
Step 6) Run a 600 fps calibration test bb shot into the Clear Ballistics gel block and record penetration depth.
Video Documentation of the Entire Test from Range to Bullet Recovery:
My Thoughts on This Load:
This was my first experience testing any of the Federal Tactical Bonded ammunition line. For a mid-weight standard pressure loading, it did exceptionally well with expansion, weight retention, and penetration. Published velocity for this load is 1160 fps from a 4" barrel. Our 3.4" barrel generated 1100 fps, which is right on target for the reduced barrel length.
In hind-sight, I really wish I had tested this in an 18" gel block instead of the 16" block I had on hand for testing. Fortunately, we were able to recover the bullets and use them to model the penetration depth of the denim shots.
If this load has a downside, it's limited availability. The Tactical Bonded ammunition line is marketed primarily to Law Enforcement. You won't find it at the typical retailers that carry ammunition. I've seen small quantities pop up on the websites of internet ammunition retailers from time to time so that's probably going to be your best chance of locating the ammunition.
Now I'm dying to test the Tactical Bonded 357 Sig load, if I can ever track down a box.
Pick or Pan:
All test shots performed exactly as expected with no surprises. This load is definitely a pick, and performed exceptionally well for a standard pressure loading fired from a short barrel test pistol.
Disclaimer....This test should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation for the product(s) tested. All tests represent actual performance in ballistics testing media. Terminal performance in all other media will show different results. It is up to each individual to make their own personal decision on which specific ammunition to use for their needs. It's also critically important to test any ammo in YOUR SPECIFIC FIREARM before relying on it for any purpose.
Ammunition labeled as +P or +P+ should only be used in firearms that have been certified by the manufacturer as safe for the additional pressures generated by these ammunition types.