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Federal Hydra-Shok Deep .380 Auto — First Look

New from Federal Premium is the Hydra-Shok Deep .380 Auto! This is the first expanding load in this caliber to consistently penetrate beyond the FBI-recommended 12-inch minimum in both bare gel and heavy clothing.

Federal Hydra-Shok Deep .380 Auto — First Look
Federal Premium’s new Hydra-Shok Deep .380 Auto combines reliable expansion with good penetration for personal protection.

Small pocket pistols chambered for the .380 ACP or Auto cartridge have become hugely popular over the last ten years. These are very easy to carry and provide a noticeable step up in terminal performance over a .25 ACP or .32 ACP without the bulk of a 9mm. The downside to the .380 Auto is finding a load for personal protection which offers the right combination of expansion and penetration. If the bullet expands too quickly, or to too large of a diameter penetration suffers.

Finding the balance between reasonable expansion and good penetration is very difficult with this cartridge due to both its velocity, bullet weight and bullet diameter. With that said, Federal Premium’s new Hydra-Shok Deep .380 Auto is said to possess both reliable expansion and more than adequate penetration. Federal Premium claims it is the first expanding .380 Auto load to exceed the FBI protocol’s minimum of 12 inches of penetration in calibrated bare 10% Ordnance gel and the heavy clothing test.

“FBI protocol for handgun ammunition testing includes a series of rigorous scenarios. Bullets are shot through materials such as 10% Ordnance gelatin, laminated automotive safety glass, plywood, wallboard and heavy clothing specified by the FBI,” said Federal Handgun Ammunition Product Manager Chris Laack. “While our larger caliber ammunition is designed to meet and exceed these requirements, the smaller .380 Auto is designed to offer the best possible blend of performance in a compact handgun platform.”

A look at the Hydra-Shok Deep .380 Auto’s performance in 10% Ordnance gel, note the short neck, quick expansion combined with deep penetration.

Testing performed by Federal ammunition engineers in their Anoka, Minnesota facilities showed typical results of 13 to 13.5 inches of penetration in bare gel and 13.5 to 14 inches through heavy clothing. Test gun barrel lengths were from common, compact handguns ranging from 2.75 to 3.5 inches. The bullet design and 1,000 fps muzzle velocity are also fine-tuned to ensure consistent performance across all handgun platforms, including longer barrels, to remain within that 13 to 14-inch range.

“It’s a completely new bullet design. We didn’t just take a .45 ACP, .40 S&W or 9mm Hydra-Shok Deep bullet and make it smaller,” said Laack. “During development, engineers looked at several design elements such as bullet weight, jacket, skiving, profile, and hollow point design elements to determine what modifications were necessary for the .380 Auto.”

Federal Hydra-Shok Deep .380 Auto Features

  • First expanding .380 Auto to consistently penetrate beyond FBI-recommended 12-inch minimum in bare gel and through heavy clothing
  • Improved penetration through common barriers
  • Iconic center post design has been improved for better, more consistent expansion through standard barriers
  • Consistent, specially formulated propellant
  • Extremely reliable Federal primer with sealant

For more information, visit

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