Federal Punch Ammo Designed For Optimal Performance In Carry Guns
The new Federal Punch ammo is designed to meet the challenges the average citizen will face in a self-defense situation and will do it at a price the average citizen can afford.
Long Legacy Of Top-Notch Ammunition
Federal Premium has been making ammo to meet the demands of law enforcement for more than 30 years.
Just take a look at Federal’s HST and Hydra-Shok Deep as examples of the advances in self-defense ammo technology.
They’re miles ahead of the round-nose lead .38’s my dad carried as his duty load during his law enforcement career.
But the company developed its new Punch ammo line with the private citizen in mind. Federal is offering it initially in five chamberings: .380 Auto, 9mm Luger, .38 Special +P, .40 S&W and .45ACP.
What’s Needed In A Defense Load?
Law enforcement sales are a big part of an ammunition company’s game plan. And what police agencies buy, private citizens will buy. It makes sense that citizens want the best performance possible in their ammunition.
But much of ammo development is geared toward meeting the FBI protocols. Those protocols judge bullet performance on their ability to penetrate 12 to 18 inches of ballistic gel while passing through such barriers as clothing, plywood, wall board, auto glass and thin steel (such as a car door). If a bullet expands consistently well and penetrates to the optimal depth, it is deemed to be a good handgun load. But is it?
While I want to carry the most effective ammo I can, I’m no longer a police officer. The chances are low that I’ll need to shoot through such barriers – through plywood or wall board at a barricaded subject or through a car door or windshield at a fleeing murderer.
As a private citizen now, I’ll be looking to break away from a conflict when I can do so safely.
I’m not going to be pursuing anyone unless they’re absconding with a relative and then it would depend on which relative. So my requirements for a defense load for my handgun might be different.
What Do We Need A Bullet To Do?
My priorities for a defense load are basic: 1. It must be completely reliable in my gun of choice. 2. It must penetrate sufficiently to reach the vitals of a bad guy. 3. If it’s a hollowpoint designed to expand, I would like it to expand reliably because more expansion usually means a bigger hole. (There are some pretty good performing bullets that aren’t hollowpoints, but we’ll save that for another time.)
Unless the bad guy I’m facing is whacked out on bath salts, he’ll probably be wearing clothes. So, the barrier I’m most concerned with penetrating is clothing. It gets cold where I live. I want my bullet to penetrate heavy clothing and still perform.
Punch Ammo Was Made For People Like Me
Unlike earlier Federal Premium ammo introductions, the company developed Punch ammo for people like me.
“Many personal defenders think, ‘If it works for law enforcement then it’s good for me.’ That is a great guideline and still our ultimate recommendation,” said Chris Laack, Federal’s handgun ammunition product manager. “But that may add features not necessarily required for everyone’s daily carry.
“Concealed-carry permit holders, especially new shooters, need an uncomplicated answer to the question ‘What ammo do I need for self-defense’,” Laack said.
“Things to consider such as function, reliable ignition, barrier performance, terminal performance, ballistics and other considerations are a lot to digest for most people. What consumers really need to know is it will function in their gun, every time, and that it will be effective stopping a threat as quickly as possible. Punch is our easy answer for them.”
So How Is Punch Ammo Made?
During the development of Punch ammunition, Federal’s engineering team set out to create a brand-new Federal Premium bullet that excelled in evaluations that were most relevant to typical self-defense scenarios, primarily bare gel and heavy clothing.
Rather than developing a single bullet design for all five loads, the team at Federal evaluated each of the five cartridges individually and determined which bullet design and weight would work most effectively for each load.
“We selected whatever elements worked best for each individual cartridge,” said Laack. “We then played with thickness of the jacket, skive depth, hollow point geometry and even differences in lead cores to build the recipe for Punch.
“We just used a softer lead, so the jacket skiving gives you the nice opening,” Laack said.
“The softer lead produces a more traditional kind of mushroom around the jacket.”
Also, in the build, Federal utilized nickel-plated cases, high quality powders, reliable primers with primer seal, proven bullet profiles and geometry for reliable feeding.
Good Comparative Performance
While developing the Punch loads, Federal’s engineering team conducted a side-by-side evaluation of Punch 9mm ammo with other 9mm self-defense bullets at its price point. According to Laack, the Federal Punch ammo out-performed the competition. I hope to do my own evaluations of this ammo soon.
Here Are The First Five Punch Loads
Initially, the Punch lineup will include these loads:
.380 Auto, 85-grain at 1,000 feet per second,
.38 Special +P, 120-grain at 1,070 fps,
9mm, 147-grain at 1,150 fps,
.40 S&W, 165-grain at 1,130 fps,
.45ACP, 230-grain at 890 fps.
The MSRP on this ammo for a 20-round box will be: $15.99 for the .380 and 9mm; $19.99 for the .38 Special +P; $21.99 for the .40 S&W; and $20.99 for the .45ACP.
If you still want performance through all of those barriers, Federal isn’t going to stop making its other top law enforcement loads. But if your primary concern is performance through clothing, Punch ammo might be a good choice. Keep in mind, however, that ballistic gel is not human flesh, muscle, cartilage and bone. How much you rely on FBI or other protocols is up to you.
For more information on Federal’s new Punch ammo, go to www.FederalPremium.com.
Steven Paul Barlow is a retired sergeant/station commander and former firearms instructor with the New York State Police. He is an avid hunter, fisherman, and enthusiast with all things related to firearms, knives, and survival. He has been writing on outdoor topics for more than 35 years. His collections of outdoor humor stories are available at www.BriarHillBooks.com.