(from Feb 20, 2015)
Thirtieth in a series of a quest to find the overall best defensive ammunition for modern 9mm pocket pistols (such as the Sig Sauer P938, Taurus PT709, the Ruger LC9, Kahr CM9, Beretta Nano, Kel-Tec PF9 or S&W Shield or any other popular 9mm micro-pistol using a barrel length of approximately 3").
In this installment, I am testing the 124-grain Federal Premium Hydra Shok jacketed hollowpoint (part #P9HS1).
The Hydra Shok is rated at 1120 fps; my testing from the shorter 3" barrel showed an average of just 1010 fps. That's not unexpected, but it may be a factor in how the ammo performs from the short barrel -- remember, the Hydra Shok came out in the '90's, long before 3"-barreled 9mm pistols were common or popular.
In this test, I fired three bullets into a denim-covered gel block, and witnessed one partial success and two complete fails to expand (which resulted in those two bullets over-penetrating all 32 inches of gel I'd set up.) I then used the remaining room in the block to fire two bullets into bare gel. Those two bullets did expand, but one under-penetrated by reaching only 11"; the other performed great, expanded well and penetrated to the required minimum 12" distance.
The summary here is quite simple -- whatever benefits the Hydra Shok may have exhibited in its day, it can't compare against modern defensive ammo. Federal's own HST vastly outperforms the Hydra Shok when used in a 3" barrel.
The purpose of this testing is to find which rounds of ammo perform well enough from a short 3" barrel that they can reliably deliver the penetration (with expansion) that has been documented and proven necessary in order for the bullet to be able to reach the vital organs of an attacker and deliver an incapacitating hit.
Subscribe to the channel here to see the rest of the episodes in this series, as well as other ammo tests and equipment reviews. And check out the blog at www.shootingthebull.net.