Back in 1989, Federal released a new round in response to the FBI’s request for a bullet with better terminal ballistics than traditional cup-and-bore bullets. They delivered the Hydra-Shok with a notched jacket, non-bonded lead core, and a unique center-post hollow-point design that produced better penetration and more consistent threat-stopping expansion than other bullets on the market at the time.

Now, the ammo maker has built on the tried and tested performance of the Hydra-Shok to create a new self-defense round, the Hydra-Shok Deep, which will be formally launched at SHOT Show 2018, beginning on Jan. 23 in Las Vegas.

“Hydra-Shok Deep offers consumers a round that results in consistent, reliable performance through typical defensive barriers and penetrates to the depth deemed optimum by the leading law-enforcement agency in the United States,” said Larry Head, director and chief engineer of handgun ammunition at Federal Premium.

The Hydra-Shok core has be redesigned for better penetration.
The Hydra-Shok core has be redesigned for better penetration.mfg photo

“Original Hydra-Shok was designed toward the end of the ’80s around the then-current FBI philosophy of how a bullet should perform and protocol testing to evaluate that performance,” Head said in a release. “Over time, the FBI performance requirements has been evolving, and their protocol testing has similarly been evolving to match. One of the most notable changes has been the desire for deeper-penetrating rounds and more consistency in penetration depths though all the intermediate barriers.”

The new bullet features a core design that provides up to 50 percent deeper penetration than original Hydra-Shok and similar bullets made by other ammo companies. The center post has been improved so that it’s more robust, providing better integrity and performance through barriers.

Federal says testing shows Hydra-Shok Deep penetrates 15 inches in bare ballistics gelatin, which is the optimum depth, according to FBI standards.

Federal says testing shows Hydra-Shok Deep penetrates 15 inches in bare ballistics gelatin
Federal says testing shows Hydra-Shok Deep penetrates 15 inches in bare ballistics gelatin.mfg photo

The cartridge is completed with a Federal primer and premium propellants, which contain flash suppressants to reduce muzzle flash and minimize temporary blindness in low-light shooting situations, like a dark hallway or bedroom.

“In a self-defense situation, your ammunition has to be completely reliable in igniting the propellant and providing the correct and consistent energetics. This not only pushes the bullet to its optimum working velocity but also reliably functions the gun,” Head said. “A failure in this area could lead to catastrophic results. The propellants also contain flash suppressants to reduce muzzle flash and minimize temporary blindness in low-light shooting situations.”

“Hydra-Shok Deep reliably stops threats by controlling bullet expansion to cause significant tissue damage and penetrating deep enough to reach vital organs,” Head added.

The first Hydra-Shok to hit the market will be a 135-grain 9mm Luger round, with more calibers to follow, the company says.

The first Hydra-Shok Deep rounds to hit the market will be 135-grain 9mm loads, with more to follow.
The first Hydra-Shok Deep rounds to hit the market will be 135-grain 9mm loads, with more to follow.mfg photo