Monday, December 15, 2014

Federal Premium 9mm +P 147 Grain HST Tactical Ammunition Test

Two years ago, I tested this load from both short and long barrels into bare gel.  The results of both tests were very good, and I had good intentions of getting back to run additional tests with this load through clothing barriers.  My initial tests can be found here.  While I had good intentions, I never did get back to retest this load until two weeks ago.  I was working on another project at the time and discovered I had ammo, gel, and a Glock 17 so it was time to do the long overdue comprehensive retest.

Test Pistol:

Test Protocol:
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 various terminal test shots, with and without simulated clothing barriers, into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that has a similar density to 10% ordnance gelatin.  Shot distance is 10 feet.
Step 4)  Run a 600 fps calibration test bb shot into the Clear Ballistics gel block and record penetration depth to verify density.

Test Results:

Video Documentation of the Entire Test from Range to Bullet Recovery:

My Thoughts on This Load:
This was one of those tests where everything seemed to go perfectly.  The light wasn't the best with overcast skies, but the high speed camera still captured the action pretty well.  As I mentioned above, I was working on another project when I conducted this test.  There was a two hour gap between the initial velocity test and when I actually shot the gel block.  The temperature was rising during that time and must be the reason why all 4 test shots exceeded the velocities recorded earlier in the day.

Test shot velocities were right on par with the 1050 fps specified by Federal.  With our longer 4.5 inch test barrel, we expect to exceed the velocity estimates published by Federal from their 4 inch barrel.

Expansion, penetration, and weight retention were all excellent with this load.  As I mentioned in the video, the denim test shots both exited the gel block and bounced off the phone book behind the block.  Neither of the bullets damaged or dented the cover of the phone book.      

Pick or Pan:
This load is a pick.  It displayed all the desirable performance characteristics we look for in our tests.  The only negative seems to be the limited availability of this load.  Let's hope availability improves as the ammunition supply catches up with demand.

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.


  1. Is this a bonded round?

    1. It isn't bonded. Federal does make a Tactical Bonded bullet, but it's not part of the HST line.

  2. This load looks quite interesting.