Federal PUNCH Ammo

.380 - .38 Spcl - .40 S &W - these are the three calibers I’m primarily interested in - Lucky Gunner’s latest SD tests favor Winchester and Federal - any opinions/experiences regarding this relatively new Federal design?

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Probably not what you’re looking for, but I’m happy sticking with HST


No experience.

Uninformed observer opinion — cops aren’t using it; little or no test data except manufacturer boasting; I have enough HST and FTX — I can wait.


For what it’s worth, I bought 60 rounds for my 10mm, no, not one of your caliber of interest, but I have shot a couple of 8+1 magazines with no failure to feed nor failure to fire rounds. I would not want to be on the receiving end. That’s all the feedback I have to offer …


They say PUNCH has been made for civilian defense market. It looks and performs the same as HST, but because it doesn’t need to meet FBI standards the production cost is less.

My opinion… if it doesn’t show up at FBI chart, I’m not gonna use it.
For training purposes it is still too expensive comparing to FMJ.
So no experience with PUNCH… and it will stay this way. :wink:


Are you sure they are the same design? I thought the Punch was designed to NOT penetrate through barriers as well as the HST under the assumption that civilians do not need the extra penetration that LEs might.

Visually they are the same. I have no experience with PUNCH, but I’ve seen several “gel tests” and they seemed to work similar. If the lead in PUNCH projectile is softer, it may work differently on hard material and penetrate barriers differently… but this is my problem - do we have any official tests that can be verified?

I’m not thinking about extra penetration HST can have. I always focus on accuracy. I consider every miss as a failure. Good hit, no penetration problem.

PUNCH seems to be interesting ammo, but my nose tells me to stay with anything what already was tested and verified. For me, cheaper SD ammo doesn’t make any sense. How many rounds are we buying every year? 20? 40? In such low amount extra $13 or $25 per year means nothing for my wallet but is very important for my “peace of mind”.


“If we didn’t compare it to the HST, the Federal Punch would have done really well…the HST is just kind of on another level”

That sounds like what I expected.

I’ll still consider HST to be the king, but Punch seems like it should be totally viable

At 9:55 the HST expanded so much more it looks like a different caliber round than the punch.


I’ve noticed this on few other reviews. This one shows that difference the best:

A 2022-01-16 10-40-50

PUNCH 9MM 124gr vs HST 9MM 124 g
Ballistic Gel
Sig P365 used
PUNCH average speed 1070 fps
HST average speed 1030 fps


Defensive bullet design has really come so far since I started shooting. Back in the day (ca.1980s) there was a lot of skepticism that the speed of .45ACP would allow even the quality brands of JHP to expand at all. Shooting from a 3.5" barrel, I stuck with 185gr with the hope that the greater MV would improve terminal performance (much less DIY testing available, and pretty much all from full-size pistols).

Nowadays, there are as many YT ballistic testers as there used to be FFLs in your neighborhood — and we can get good terminal performance from .380 to .45 with careful selection. I can expect success with heavier bullets, and don’t even think about +P. Yay!