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Test of the Federal Expanding Full Metal Jacket 124 grain +P 9mm

Josh Smith​

For those not familiar with the Federal Expanding Full Metal Jacket (EFMJ), it is what its name implies: a full metal jacketed round which expands. It does this via a rubber plug in the nose. Upon impact the rubber (actually silicone) presses against prestressed scored lines in the jacket, causing deformation and expansion. This renders the bullet immune to weaknesses from which a traditional hollow point bullet suffers, namely the ability to be clogged by cloth.

I am aware of two weights in 9mm caliber as of this point in time, 105 grain and 124 grain. I have heard rumors of a 115 grain version but have not seen it. The 105 grain is readily available to the public. I had been told that the 124 grain is primarily law enforcement. Gary at Federal Cartridge confirmed this. He did add however that they do not restrict sales to non - law enforcement as do some other companies and that it can be ordered through a law enforcement supply shop should one not wish to be “stuck with” the 105 grain option.

One of the cartridge’s claims to fame is the ability to penetrate barriers. Today I set out to test this.

The firearm used was my pet pistol, a 1991 vintage Taurus PT92. This is a pre-decock version and, as such, I often carry it in single action with the safety engaged, i.e., “cocked’n’locked”. I save the double action trigger for more politically correct functions: Whenever I’m in town.


The first item tested was accuracy. I need to know that my pistol will shoot a particular round before I trust my life to it. I therefore set a target at a paced seven yards.

I feel seven yards is more than adequate. I debated on using an actual tape measure; I decided, however, to pace it off as real world encounters are rarely measured. I stuck to my semi-controlled stance for the duration of this test.


This is what the rounds did in my hands, from my pistol. They are not as accurate as some other rounds I’ve fired. However, I believe they are plenty accurate for serious work and I am therefore carrying them at the moment.

Five shots were fired for accuracy from a Weaver stance. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.


Here is a closer view. All shots fired stayed on the playing card with no real flyer.

Next came the penetration tests. I had two barriers with me today: a piece of inch thick hardwood and two sheets of drywall. The sheets of drywall together equaled ½".

Here is the entrance hole on the oak.

I liked that entrance hole. I had never shot wood before that showed a circle as concentric as this.


This is the exit hole. Notice how much larger it is than the entrance. This seems to indicate that the bullet was already beginning to deform.

Deformation was suspected in wood, a trait which I’ve not seen shared by the traditional hollow point as it needs external hydrodynamic pressure to influence expansion/deformation. I decided to forego the test with the drywall as it would have been worse than redundant to the wood.


These are the wetpack entrance holes. The barely visible hole on the left was shot while the wetpack was naked. The one on the right shows the beginnings of expansion after the bullet passed through the wood.

Before I show the exit holes I would like to apologize as I could not manage to show the insides. Suffice to say both are perfectly conical showing uniform expansion. I particularly admire the fact that this ammunition can do this well after passing through a not informidable barrier.


The exit hole on the left was what the barrier penetrator made. The one on the right was bare wetpack.

In a day or two I will head out to the range again with a thicker wetpack. This one proved too thin though it did show how readily these rounds will expand. The new wetpack is soaking as I type this. I would also like to take a frontal shot on a racoon but I do not know if I will be given the chance.

Thus far I am favorably impressed with this ammunition. The recoil, while a bit sharp, is very quick. This to me is more important to bringing my pistol to bear again after recoil than a light, long “shove” type recoil.

I do not feel handicapped in the least by carrying Federal’s Expanding Full Metal Jacket over traditional hollow point ammunition.

http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com
http://www.federalcartridge.com

Josh <><
 

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Thanks for the report.

Steelheart
 

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What is the cost and availibility of this ammo right now?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
As of right now Ammoman is sold out. However, they list the price at $19/50 and have for a while.

I found mine in a local gun store. You should be able to order it through your favorite gunshop as Federal, to the best of my knowledge, does not ship to the individual.

Their 105gr "Personal Defense" standard pressure load seems readily available on the 'net.

Josh <><
 

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Have to admit that Federal came up with a winner this time with both the 124 and 105 grained 9mm. This is an old idea and has been used in foreign ammo or was used because to get around the JHP ban just about everywhere outside the USA. They have a new spin and way of making expandable FMJ. Federal took the old technology and idea and changed a few minor things, but the ammo does work. In none of the tactical journals or books has there been evidence to show any failures at all. This is the only FMJ that should be used in any caliber for defense. Do not start the penetration garbage with me or I get out the old :soapbox: and will remind everyone that flesh is elastic and will snap back together under most conditions sealing the wound completely or to a degree.Penetration is one of many variables is the wounding process. If a non elastic organ is hit then catastrophic damage is done regardless the shape or type of bullet. Otherwise ice pick or pencil sized wounds develop with FMJ. Sem-wadcutters do not "cut" either. Have you ever received and wound running your finger along the edge of a semi- wad cutter? Didn't think so? The edges are not sharp enough to do so despite the hype. Even at highvelocity very little cutting takes place with handgun bullets. Now if the cartridge is the famous Winchester Talon, then the wings that formed during bullet expansion were designed to do some cutting causing serious wounds and quicker blood loss. Don't you know the press labeled Talon as inhuman and Winchester caved to liberal pressure and brought out the "new and improved , kinder, gentler ammo" that is presnetly out here. I want the crimainal to bleed out quicker and suffer harsher wounds to stop him,pronto from his depredations. Yes, I got the soapbox out anyway. ::) :eek: :D Will kick it back under the bed know. NEXT!! :thumb: :wave:
 

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I think Detroit PD is issued EFMJ in 40 as their standard load. But they were using ball before this so thats a serious improvement.

Steelheart
 

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I wanted to dredge up this older topic - when I bought my Keltec, the Federal 105 gr EFMJ was the load recommended to me - it expands, it is supposed to have decent penetration, and it won't kick quite as bad as some defense loads. Does anybody have any hard data on stopping percentage, penetration, or anything like that for the 105 grain load? I'd be interested to know. Thanks !!
 

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All I know is (1. It penetrates to far for me to get shot with it and(2 It has more stopping power than I want to get shot with.
 

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I don't recall any hard data but the estimates I heard was that it might not be as good as the top end hollow point loads but it should be reliable. And with the extra feed reliablity of the FMJ profile I wouldn't argue about it.

It sounds like a good load to have around until you get the chance to test other loads for reliability (it you want to).

Steelheart
 

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Oh, I want to - I want to carry the best load I can for defense - if the EFMJ offers good, reliable stopping power with great control, that sounds good to me......

haven't fired the Keltec yet, I'll put out a range report when I do.
 

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Federal EFMJ's are an excellent choice for a SD load. I've used them in .40 and 9mm.
They were intended for LE agencies who were not authorized to use hollow points such as Detroit PD. I like them a lot----feed reliability is excellent and there is no hollow cavity to get plugged up with clothing as SOME HP's do. Expansion is also excellent.

Unfortunately, I have no real-world stop percentage info at this time.
 

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There are areas of the country and in many jurisdictions where even the civilians are not allowed to have JHP or LSWCHP ammo of any kind. So it behooves civilians to use the Federal stuff where FMJ or lack of JHPs are mandated.
 

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Thanks guys, if I see any stopping statistics from a valid source, I'll post them here.

Believe me, I'm very aware how lucky I am to live in a state that doesn't have such nonsensical laws.... ;D
 
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