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.45 ACP Hydra-Shok, .45 ACP Hydra-Shok (reduced recoil), 9mm Hydra-Shok
.22LR HP, 9mm Hydra-Shok, 9mm FMJ

Hydra-Shok is a type of cartridge with expanding bullets made by Federal Cartridge. It was originally patented by ammunition designer Tom Burczynski. Hydra-Shok was debuted in 1988 after the FBI requested a bullet with better terminal ballistics than traditional cup and core projectiles.[1]


Hydra-Shok ammunition features a unique, patented center-post design and notched jacket with a non-bonded lead core. Together they are meant to provide more reliable expansion and deeper penetration than the other projectiles used at that time. Center post designed bullets like Hydra-Shok have more predictable results and therefore offer some advantage as a projectile. The manufacturer says that the scored jacket and center post design provide a "programmed" expansion. There has been much debate regarding the bullets unreliable expansion when fired through clothing or media other than ballistic gelatin. In ballistic gelatin, the bullet typically displays very rapid expansion resulting in a larger but more shallow wound channel than would be typical from most other bullet configurations in the same caliber and of similar weight.[2]

The Hydra-Shok cartridge is a jacketed hollow point (JHP) round as opposed to full metal jacket (FMJ) bullets which have a smooth, rounded tip typically used for target practice.


The Hydra-Shok is available in various calibers; 9 mm, 10 mm, .32 ACP, .380 ACP, .38 S&W Special, 327 Federal Magnum, .357 Magnum, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, .45 GAP, and .44 Magnum. It can also be found in 12ga. shotgun slugs.[3]


  1. ^ Carter, Aaron (January 2011). "Managing Editor". American Rifleman. [full citation needed]
  2. ^ http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2015/02/shootingthebull410/350657/[full citation needed][self-published source?]
  3. ^ "Federal Premium Ammunition". Archived from the original on 2011-10-06. Retrieved 3 February 2014.