Preview: Federal Premium Hydra-Shok Deep .380 ACP

posted on February 4, 2021

Just because you’re recoil-sensitive or need a smaller concealed-carry gun doesn’t mean you should compromise on ballistics. That’s Federal Premium’s take on its incredibly effective Hydra-Shok load, and now the company is making this dedicated defensive load available in the popular .380 ACP chambering.

For years, .380 ACP has been considered a sub-standard round for personal protection, and it’s often classified as the bare-minimum level of defensive capability that a concealed carrier should consider when choosing a self-defense chambering. This contention was backed up by testing that showed many .380 ACP loads as being incapable of meeting FBI protocol standards for ballistic penetration. Thanks to the Federal Premium Hydra-Shok load in .380 ACP, that shortcoming is a thing of the past.

Each Federal Premium Hydra-Shok .380 ACP load is topped with the company’s 99-gr. Hydra-Shok bullet complete with a deep center post and a compact core design. The advanced bullet design, combined with a muzzle velocity of 1,000 f.p.s. through short-barreled self-defense guns, means that this load will not only expand aggressively, it will also expand deeply. Federal claims that this load is designed to penetrate consistently beyond the FBI-recommended 12” minimum penetration depth through bare ballistic gelatin and heavy clothing.

The secret to the performance of these Federal Premium Hydra-Shok loads in .380 ACP is the center-post design of the projectile, which has been revamped for 2021 to provide more consistent expansion, particularly through the barriers that today’s armed citizen might encounter in a defensive scenario. Additionally, the rounds are loaded with a specially developed propellant that is designed to provide consistent, reliable performance through a range of barrel lengths. Each cartridge is also loaded with a high-grade primer that’s sealed into the case to protect against moisture and other elements.

Federal Premium’s Hydra-Shok .380 ACP load sells in 20-count boxes at a suggested retail price of $25.99. In addition, the company now offers a Hydra-Shok load in .38 Spl. +P loaded with a 130-gr. bullet. These rounds also come loaded in 20-count boxes and retail for $31.99. For more information, visit


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