Federal HST .40 S&W 165 Grain Gel Test And Review

We shoot Federal .40 S&W 165 gr HST ammunition from a Glock 23 with a 4″ barrel into Clearballistics ballistic gel and measure velocity, penetration, expansion/fragmentation, and retained weight.

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Guns in this video:
Glock 23

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Transcript ….

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  • Kivaari

    That appears to be great performance. Getting the ~1200 FPS is impressive.

    • Stuki Moi

      No kidding! That’s almost 9/124 +p velocity from a 4 inch barrel. Quite the hammer! For those who like hot rounds and lots if them, 165 is where the big names, like Federal, are focusing their .40 efforts. The 180s are being designed to optimize for “FBI” penetration/expansion test results, in a more recoil and blast efficient fashion.

      165s are less recoil’y from less tight rifled barrels than Glocks’, though. In typical Euro fashion, Luger’s choice of 1/10 or so, was/is tight for a 9 (.357 mag shoots 180s straight with 1/18….). For defensive ammo in .40, it’s just gratuitous recoil for it’s own sake. Most departments holding on to the .40, are issuing 200fps slower 180s, making the issue less acute. But these hot 165s, has .45acp power factors (not just energy, power factor!), in 1/15 or 1/16 barrels aren’t that bad recoil wise, and in a double stack gun, you can fit a whole lot of them as well. A pretty authoritative combination of properties, IOW…

      • RocketScientist

        buh buh buh but the internet told me that .40 was to snappy and only a fool would buy it? I’m so confused.

        • Stuki Moi


          In all honestly, what the “experts” originally said, is that for a department consisting of officers with a wide spectrum of recoil tolerance, the 9 is a better bet. It’s really easy to see why, by watching a varied group of people shoot. When they shoot 9, those who could arguably be more effective with .40, still shoot 9 just about as well. Slightly faster, but perhaps not enough to make up for the slightly less impressive terminal performance.

          While for those on the opposite end of the spectrum, it’s complete night and day; they can’t hit anything with their .40s. Some can’t hit anything with 9 either, but for many, going from .40 to 9, is the difference between flinching and not, or between holding on to their gun, and having to regrip between every single shot.

          The trip from there, to the myth that even individuals who are perfectly comfortable with .40, are somehow massively suboptimizing by not shooting a 9 instead, is just insecure peanut gallery punters screaming “I’m with those ‘FBI experts'”, in an ever louder and crasser attempt to be part of some presumed “in crowd.” Kind of like the “I use the same gun as the SEALs” crowd.

  • Dickie

    Can u read me a bedtime story? Your voice is so soothing. Maybe it can be a story about .357sig.

    • Giolli Joker

      A story about .45 GAP would work better to let you catch sleep faster.

      • Dickie

        Cant believe they still make that. Glock even released a gen4 glock37 in 45gap. Wat r they thinking

  • 200 Dot

    Someone said we should care about ammo testing,then post a crappy ammo test.

  • You need to get grooming tips from James Reeves. That uneven beard is making my OCD gun nuts. j/k

    • 200 Dot

      Or dye it red and yellow like the flames on a rat rod hood.

  • Stuki Moi

    Since you’re the one paying for the gel blocks and spending your time, I’m not criticizing, but….

    There is some limit to the number of shots you can fire through the same block, before it “softens up” and provides less resistance. Hence less and slower expansion, and greater penetration.

  • Gary Foster

    Thanks for posting this. I just bought a .40S&W and I know what I’m going to buy for it now. At least to start with.

  • dhdoyle

    Andrew, your comment about over-penetration is disingenuous. For example, there is plenty of law enforcement data on overpenetration and wounding of bystanders in the days of issued 9mm and .45acp fmj ammo. Mas Ayoob wrote about it. Your blanket statement doesn’t take into account bullet construction.

    Further, nobody should be taking a shot with a bystander in the line of fire. You don’t have a good backstop and this is a Cooper Rule #2 violation.

  • scaatylobo

    Departmental choice was and still is the Ranger SXT and I am retired and still carry that load in my G-23.
    Nice video and it was simple & to the point.