It is a good practice to change out your defensive ammunition every four to six months. Most gun owners will hem and haw over that advice, citing that the “expense” is too great to do that twice a year. If you ask us, it sounds far more expensive to get a click instead of a bang in a life or death situation. Hell, even if you do survive getting your ass kicked the emergency room, copayment will likely cost more than one lonely box of carry ammo. Of course, good quality ammunition will last far longer than that–as long as it isn’t subjected to too much moisture, but why chance it? Federal is aware of the frugality of the average defender and now offers the perfect solution to the concealed carry licensee, Punch Ammunition.
The Punch line of ammunition was built with economy in mind. In essence, it is affordable man-stopping fodder for your favorite carry pistol. Now we know exactly how that reads (cheap), but it’s not as bad as it sounds, not bad at all really. You see, the buck-a-bullet price tag that comes with typical defensive ammunition is a byproduct of the research, development, manufacturing, and materials that goes into getting those rounds from the drawing board to the gun store shelf. These rounds are designed to meet stringent law enforcement tests that include defeating barriers like plywood, glass, metal, and anything else that a bad guy might be hiding behind.
A civilian’s typical firefight is far less dramatic. In reality, a confrontation usually happens directly and if the threat is seeking cover the civilian usually has the option of stopping the altercation by fleeing the situation. I mean, if I’m in my car I’m going to pound the gas pedal before I contemplate shooting through the windshield. (Besides, the Safelite guy is a total asshole about covering bullet holes under my insurance.) So overall these rounds are built to do solely the job that the intended customer desires and are inexpensive enough to swap out…even practice with should your budget allow.
So how did they do it? Federal Product Manager Chris Laack says: “We looked at specifications from our Hydra-Shok Deep, HST, and other bullet designs, and took what made sense for Punch. We selected whatever elements worked best for each individual caliber. We then played with the thickness of the jacket, skive depth, hollow point geometry, and even differences in lead cores to build the recipe.”
The expanded projectiles that they provided looked exceptional and it was more than enough for us to want to get some to the range. While it is currently available in .38 Spl, .380 ACP, 9mm Luger, 40 S&W, & .45ACP we weren’t able to get our hands on the wheel gun food or “the little nine that could” and had to settle for “The Big 3”. We gathered up the smallest guns we had on hand, which included a Rock Island BBR 3.10, a Smith & Wesson Shield, and the new Taurus G3c and hit the road.
The goal here was to check function, velocity, and accuracy through each of the compact/sub-compact pistols to see if the new ammo had any overall worthiness. We did all accuracy testing at 10 yards from a standing two-handed shooting position without a rest. This was done to get a real-world feel for recoil and recovery. We opened up all three boxes to fill our magazines and looked down at rounds that were just plain gorgeous. The projectiles had six relatively deep skives and a ginormous hollow-point, similar to the Speer “flying ashtray” design used in the Gold Dot line. This design is guaranteed to collect enough DNA and then easily mushroom. The cases were nickel-plated to help with moisture-related corrosion and surprisingly enough the primers were sealed. (Usually, only high-end hunting ammunition gets this treatment, so it was a nice touch.)
In our test pistols, we saw 10-yard accuracy that was well within acceptable defensive measurements. Our best five-shot group of the day belonged to the 9mm fired from the Taurus G3c, measuring just 1.09″. Recoil was manageable, but about what you would expect from defensive ammunition. Velocity on each round was within 5% of what was advertised except for the .45 ACP, which only got up to 713 FPS. However, this is to be expected out of the dwarfed 3.1-inch barrel of the Rock Island BBR 3.10.
At the end of the day, we had perfect function across all three guns and accuracy that was more than adequate for even a headshot at typical defensive distances. At the prices listed below, there really shouldn’t be any bellyaching about getting to the range to dump half a box of Punch onto a target in the name of preparedness and practice. For more information visit federalpremium.com
PD380P1 / 380 Auto 85-grain Punch JHP, 1,000 fps, 20-count / $15.99
PD38P1 / 38 Special +P, 120 grain Punch JHP, 1,070 fps, 20-count / $19.99
PD9P1 / 9mm Luger, 124 grain Punch JHP, 1,150 fps, 20-count / $15.99
PD40P1 / 40 S&W, 165 grain Punch JHP, 1,130 fps, 20-count / $21.99
PD45P1 / 45 Auto, 230 grain Punch JHP, 890 fps, 20-count / $20.99