View Full Version : Federal HST

June 23, 2004, 09:41 AM
The article re Federal’s new HST bullet (page 38 of the August issue) was truly excellent. We continuously seek innovation and improvement in the design of handgun rounds -- the unattainable “magic bullet” -- with traditional top-performers (such as HydraShok and Silvertip) perhaps being gradually supplanted by newer inventions (such as Cor-Bon’s Pow’Rball and now Federal’s HST).

The penetration -- and especially the expansion -- the HST provides (according to the August SWAT) may be the next “step-function breakthrough” in handgun bullet performance. However, I would like to have some additional information:
> First, how does the HSTs’ ballistic performance and penetration/expansion compare to Speer Gold Dots and Cor-Bon Pow’Rballs? These rounds are generally acknowledged to be among the most effective handgun loads, and additional comparative data would be most helpful.
> Second, were the 9x19, .40 S&W (three masses), and .45 ACP +P HSTs used in these tests randomly selected from full-rate production lots? My concern is the comparison of “standard production” defensive ammunition (Remington Golden Sabers and Winchester SXTs were used) with “specially produced and/or selected” developmental HSTs, which might not be fully representative of rate-production performance.

Denny Hansen
June 23, 2004, 11:48 AM
I honestly don't know the answer to your first question, sorry.

As to the second, the answer is yes, this was "standard production" ammo. Fact is, we held off on publishing the HST article for almost a full year as initial info from Federal was on a highly promising prototype. We prefer to let our readers know what is actually available to them, because what "was" and what "is" often turn out to be horses of a different color once full production takes place.


June 23, 2004, 02:23 PM
I have to admit that I was a little dissapointed.

While the article mentioned the standard of 12" of penetration.

It didn't actually state ANY penetration results.

Which in kind of important

June 23, 2004, 07:40 PM
My magazine is at home, I am answering this at work, and my memory could be faulty; however, I believe the article stated/implied that all (or almost all) the test-fired HST rounds met/exceeded the FBI’s 12 inch penetration goal. Maybe Denny could authenticate my recollection?

Denny Hansen
June 23, 2004, 08:37 PM
OBIWAN is correct, the article did not give penetration depths, only the amount of expansion. I'll find out and report back later.


June 24, 2004, 05:58 AM
The article stressed expansion and indicated penetration was not the problem. While exact penetration depth was not stated, the article seems to indicate penetration met or exceeded the FBI requirement of twelve inches. Here’s an excerpt from the article, beginning with the last paragraph on page 38.

[quote, bold & underline added]

The FBI has established that a handgun bullet must consistently penetrate a minimum of twelve inches of tissue for reliable penetration of vital organs in the human body. The FBI Wound Ballistic Testing Protocol, also known as the FBI Ammo Test Protocol, is a series of tests designed to assess a bullet’s ability to inflict effective wounds after encountering various barrier materials (automotive windshield glass, automotive grade sheet metal, drywall and plywood) commonly encountered in law enforcement shooting scenarios.

Unfortunately, many of the bullets that perform well in the FBI tests fail to adequately expand when heavy clothing is encountered. According to the IWBA, this is a performance deficiency that’s common across the ammo spectrum. The IWBA Handgun Ammo Specification was developed to address this problem.

The IWBA Handgun Ammo Specification is simple in nature. It consists of two tests: 1) bare gelatin, and 2) gelatin covered by four layers of sixteen ounce denim cloth. The denim cloth isn’t intended to represent any particular item of clothing that may be worn by a criminal adversary. Rather, it’s intended to provide a reasonable test of a bullet’s ability to expand after passing through cloth. Federal HST was designed to perform well in both the FBI and IWBA tests.

The expansion and penetration performance of HST bullets exceed that of most other bullets. According to Federal, previous and current generations of hollow point rounds were and are designed to expand to 1.5 times the original bullet diameter in bare gelatin. In contrast, Federal’s HST rounds are designed to expand well in excess of twice the original diameter in bare gelatin. HST bullets typically have a larger expanded diameter than other designs for the same penetration depth. HST has a unique upset profile and creates a large wound channel.

[end quote]

Although penetration depths are not defined, it seems to me the HST meets or exceeds the FBI requirement of at least 12 inches.

While that's fine for a side shot (e.g. arm/lung/heart/lung), 12 inches (or more) penetration from the front of most large men would create both an entry and an exit wound--a good thing to stop a bad guy, a frightening thing to anyone on the other side. "Backstop" remains an important concept.

June 24, 2004, 10:21 AM
I definitely got the "impression" that the penetration results were good.

I simply would have like to see some actual data...even a simple sentence that results were "between 12 and 14"...something like that.

The detail on expansion was fine...and overall I liked the article...it just could have been a little bit better IMHO.

Otherwise we slip dangerously close to one of those....this is a great round....because I shot it and it went fast and was accurate in my pistol on this day....and...and...look at those great photos of my target.....

If I want that I will buy AH

(Sorry if I offended anyone at AH)

Denny Hansen
June 24, 2004, 12:09 PM
My contact at Federal is out of pocket for a few days. When he returns I'll ask him for penetration data for the 9, .40 and .45 HST rounds.


June 25, 2004, 10:39 AM

I wasn't really trying to line you p as my research B*&*^%h...honest.

But I appreciate the effort

June 29, 2004, 01:02 PM

Great article and this last issue was fantastic. One quick suggestion. List source where HST rounds could be purchased by non-LEO's, if they exist.

June 29, 2004, 01:14 PM

Ammoman has .40 S&W HSTs for sale now.

June 29, 2004, 03:53 PM

Thanks for the headsup though I'm looking for .45

Denny Hansen
June 29, 2004, 04:17 PM
I guess I could, but it may be easier to let your fingers do the walking.

For example, one local dealer carries Golden Sabers "sometimes." Same thing with the rest of the quality SD loads. If I said, "so and so" has HSTs, and then turned out they had sold out or gave me faulty info, ya'll be mad at me--and I already have enough people mad at me from this thread:


June 30, 2004, 01:35 PM
I guess I could, but it may be easier to let your fingers do the walking.

For example, one local dealer carries Golden Sabers "sometimes." Same thing with the rest of the quality SD loads. If I said, "so and so" has HSTs, and then turned out they had sold out or gave me faulty info, ya'll be mad at me--and I already have enough people mad at me from this thread:


Yeah, but then, I'd have nothing to bitch about. :D However, I see your point.

Denny Hansen
July 1, 2004, 04:15 PM
Federal was unable to give me info on the 9mm right now, but here's some basic penetration data for the .40 and .45:

.40 bare gelatin=12"
.40 4 layers heavy denim=14.5

.45 bare gelatin=13.7
.45 4 layers heavy denim=14.4

Hope this helps.