Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Marc

    There is no such thing as “too fast to open”. The higher the vecolity, the higher the stagnation pressure, the more readily a hollow point bullet expands – all other things being equal. That last part is crucial, because projectiles for different expected velocities are designed differently, so the failure to expand is due to the design, not due to the velocity.
    Whoever thinks that hollow points can’t expand past certain velocities should take a look at this:

  • SpudGun

    Those are some sharp looking edges on the mushroomed round – very reminiscent to the old Black Talons. I believe they were ‘banned’ because EMT workers were getting their fingers ripped to shreds by trying to remove these bullets from gun shot victims.

    Not sure how true that is, as I thought bullets were taken out from bodies using some sort of foreceps or the like and not gloved fingers. I could be wrong, any Medicos want to clue me in?

  • Brian

    This HST round has been around for a long time now, no?

  • Al T.

    Ditto to what Marc said. With high velocity, you get over expansion if the bullet is not properly designed.

    Spud, Black Talon was not banned, just pulled from the market to thwart a Senate Bill that would have put a 1000% tax on handgun ammo. For medical personnel, bone splinters and scalpels are much more dangerous than copper or lead fragments and projectiles. And yes, no grubbing around the wound with your hands, use the instruments provided.

  • Sian

    Coming from that side of the industry,

    No EMTs or surgeons were ever reported injured by BTs. There was worry that they COULD snag and rip gloves, but really, it was no big deal and nothing ever came of it, either with the original Talons or modern Ranger-T’s.

    It was the bad press (And ludicrously faked news reports that Winchester for some reason decided not to sue over) that killed the Talon. At least they didn’t go with the original name idea!

    Federal HST looks like good stuff. It’s basically next-generation Hydrashock.

  • Mac C

    @ Spud

    Black Talons were more a PR nightmare back in the day than anything truly dangerous. I think the “coating” is what got law makers all hot and bothered and the BT Bullet became the popular pariah of the moment.

    Pretty sure cutting yourself on bullet shards is WAY down the list of concerns healthcare workers have. That and REMOVING the bullet is a VERY LOW priority in treating GSWs.

    See #1

  • kcoz

    Would like to see them fired through a pair of jeans in front of the gel. I’ve seen quite a few test results were the hollow point cavity was filled with denim, preventing the round from expanding as advertised. Haven’t tried it myself however.

  • Lance

    its not all that new Ive been useing 9mm 147gr HST for the last 2 years in contract service with the USCG.

  • Erik


    BTs were banned because they “looked” evil. Buy a box of Winchester Ranger SXT (aka Same Exact Thing) and you have Black Talons minus the black coating.

    They’re not even all that effective…

    Also, yes, you do NOT remove stuff like that without forceps.

  • mp

    When you don’t know stuff, use the googles:

  • SpudGun

    Thanks for the replys re: Black Talons – I knew they were pulled which is why I put the word ‘banned’ in quotation marks – it pretty much amounted to the same thing.

    I try not to rely too much on Wikipedia for my info, it’s often wrong, which is why I ask questions on this Blog to get first hand info from those in da know. 😉

  • DD

    I’m not sure what is new about the HST rounds. I admit not to be an expert on HST rounds, however my agency finally went to the 40 S&W 165 grain HST load about 3 years ago. Prior to that we were using the standard 40 Hyrda-shock for those few that had 40s.

    kcoz, my agency did their own testing on a number of 40 cal rounds. One of those tests was shoot through denim and another shoot through a winter jacket. The HST performed without flaw while other brands had issues. In our test the recovered bullets looked identical to what you see in the expansion pictures. Very sharp edges and excellent expansion. The one item our test showed was a likely hood of separation of the jacket. However this separation proved to create a second wound cavity almost equal in depth to the main cavity, ie a positive. As a side note, the only media we found that did influence expansion was shooting through vehicle windows. This result was not consistent and influenced all evaluated rounds equally.

    Sure there are many consideration to account for in selecting a round. However after considering the likely situation I personally will encounter, I am confident that the HST is one hell of a round that I personally am confident in carrying the HST. Additionally my agency has seen a marked incapacitation rate since switching to the HST. After all this is what we truly are aiming for.

    I should also mention that in the selection process we also reevaluated or 9mm round. We had been using that same 9mm round for over 20 years and thought it was best to re-evaluate. We did not go with the 9mm HST and rather went with the Winchester bonded Ranger load. I was not involved with the testing and can’t remember the details, but I do remember that the bonded Ranger load was excellent in the vehicle glass tests.

  • Lance

    The 9mm HST has shown exillent expansion and penatration at standerd handgun ranges. Works for me.

  • DRod

    I’m not sure how new they are but I’ve had them in my USP45f for almost a year now. 230g +p makes a hell of a thud.

  • Keep these articles coinmg as they’ve opened many new doors for me.