(from Oct 2013)
19th in a series of a quest to find the overall best ammunition for modern micro-compact 380 ACP pistols (such as the Taurus TCP 738, the Ruger LCP, Sig P238, Beretta Pico or S&W Bodyguard or any other popular 380 micro-pistol using a barrel length of around 2.8").
This is the fourth episode in the "Final Round", where I am re-testing ammo that performed well in the first round (through bare ClearBallistics gelatin). In the Final Round, I'm testing in genuine 10% organic ordnance gelatin (aka "ballistic gelatin"), and through four layers of IWBA-specification 16oz heavy denim.
In this installment, I am testing the Federal Premium Hydra-Shok 90-grain jacketed hollow point bullets. In this test, the ammo performed fairly well. The average penetration far exceeded the desired minimum 12" level, but one round exceeded the desired 18" maximum, which was a little disappointing. The overall average was an excellent 15.2" for all five shots, but one exhibited no expansion and the rest had extremely limited, nonstandard expansion.
These Hydra Shok rounds performed well in the bare gelatin test and I would say they performed decently through the IWBA 4-layer-denim test too, but I am conflicted by their complete lack of standard expansion. I would say that someone arming themselves with these cartridges would be getting quite good performance for a .380, but not the overall best one could get from a micro-pistol. I am still testing the remaining rounds, but so far it looks like some of the other rounds I've tested are more worthy of serious consideration.