Now before we trigger a bunch of millennials here, I too, had overlooked Federal Premium Syntech ammunition (and technically I am a millennial… sadly). So what is so special about Syntech ammunition? It has a red coated bullet. It is affectionately or un-affectionately called the “lipstick” ammo. Finally, if you check out a United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) match, you will see it everywhere. What do they know that the general shooter is missing? Well, Syntech offers a host of benefits over traditional full-metal jacket (FMJ) ammunition and we will take a look at those benefits.
Federal Premium’s Syntech ammunition was 1st introduced to the industry back at SHOT Show 2016. At that time, most shooters and industry experts did not quite know what to make of it. It was something reminiscent of Nyclad ammo from back in the ’70s and it broke the mold of what ‘factory ammo’ typically was expected to be. Then, a little over a year and half later Federal Premium began to offer Syntech bullets as an individual component for reloaders. For the early adopters of the ammunition, this was intriguing news because Federal does not offer a lot of components for handloaders outside of primers and brass. Still, while many small companies or businesses offer powder-coated bullet options little to no manufacturers had a uniform coating like Syntech.
Next, leading into SHOT Show 2018 Federal Premium unveiled a new permutation of Syntech tailored specifically for USPSA shooters and the power factor requirements of their competitions. With over 31,000 active members of the USPSA organization and countless more who are weekend-warrior competitors, the new Action Pistol Syntech filled a void for many shooters. So with multiple flavors and caliber choices of Syntech ammunition available, let’s see why none of us should be sleeping on this ammo.
1) less recoil, harder hits, more accuracy
So what does it mean to have loads developed for USPSA competitions anyways? Well, it means that it meets the power factor requirements for their style of competition. So what is power factor? Power factor can be calculated by taking a given bullet’s weight… times its velocity… divided by 1,000. That number for handguns is likely in the realm of 100 – 200. Depending on how potent your ammunition is it can qualify you or disqualify you for certain categories of competition.
By having boxed ammunition readily available for action pistol shooters, it saves them time in reloading by not needing to reload at all. In a survey conducted throughout USPSA, it is estimated that 80% of those competitors reloaded to get their match ammo. The other 20% would overspend on boutique boxed ammo to achieve the desired slower velocity, required power factor and less recoil. Federal Premium’s Action Pistol Syntech is affordable compared to boutique ammo offerings, has the quality control of an industry stalwart like Federal and is guaranteed to meet power factor requirements.
So I know what all the skeptics are already thinking… “But what if I don’t shoot Action Pistol, USPSA or any type of competition like that?” Well, there still are a lot of benefits for the everyday shooter. In regards to Action Pistol Syntech, you have heavier grain weight offerings which afford you lots of benefits with the Total Synthetic Jacket (TSJ).
- 9mm 150 Grain TSJ
- .40 S&W 205 Grain TSJ
- .45 ACP 220 Grain TSJ
All of these grain weights were specifically chosen for the attributes Federal Premium was looking to provide. For one, there is less felt recoil. Regardless whether big-burly Billy-Bob is shooting or your gun-toting great grandmother, everyone is more at ease and a better shooter when there is less recoil. Secondly, these formulations hit steel harder guaranteeing more knocked over targets (no squeamish hits here). Thirdly, this ammunition because of its Syntech coating, the greater bearing surface on the pistol’s rifling and its Catalyst primer (exclusive to Federal) make it more accurate. With less recoil, stronger hits and more accuracy, a better is question is why would you not want to try Action Pistol Syntech? It is also worth mentioning that Federal Premium’s Action Pistol Syntech is the official ammunition of USPSA because of all the aforementioned benefits.
2) the secret sauce is in the syntech jacket
The TSJ jacket that is so iconic to Syntech ammunition has a lot to do with the positive properties it exhibits. The TSJ coating is uniform in its thickness and smoothness every time. Powder coatings conversely can be highly irregular in the thickness, consistency and smoothness. For that reason, the TSJ jacket of Syntech ammunition is better than any powder coat currently on the market.
Aside from the superior idiosyncrasies of the coating itself, the material in the TSJ is proprietary to Federal Premium and helps in barrel cooling over prolonged range sessions. It is also cleaner on your firearms which is tremendous because let’s be realistic… no one LOVES to clean their guns. Most people frankly do not clean them at all.
3) you’re not at a waterpark, nobody likes splash back
When you are rocketing down a waterslide in the middle of a sweltering summer day a little cool splash back is not such a bad thing. When you are shooting steel at a gun range and lead is rocketing back at your face for a hot splash back that is a bad thing. Nobody likes splash back while shooting. Period. With that in mind, the TSJ jacket on Syntech ammunition produces 91% less splash back while shooting steel targets compared to traditional FMJ ammo. This is in part to the TSJ and a specific lead-antimonium ratio, or internal lead hardness, that Federal Premium has achieved to ensure safe breakdown of the bullet at 7 yards or greater.
This not only makes your range day more enjoyable by not catching lead fragments and shrapnel to the face, but it is significantly more safe. If you were to catch a chunk of lead in your eye that can become an immediate vision-threatening problem and a quick trip to the ER. No one wants to end a range session prematurely because of that.
federal premium syntech ammunition
So let’s review… less recoil, more accuracy, cleaner, harder hitting, less splash back, better quality control and your barrel is going to run cooler and have potentially an increased barrel life. Federal Premium has always gotten my dollar for cheap FMJ ammo, but now I am sold on Syntech (you can keep that marketing nugget for free Federal Premium if you’re reading this… “Sold on Syntech”).
It might be early to think about this, but SHOT Show 2019 is around the corner. As Federal Premium moves forward with potentially more stuff up their sleeves it is important to note a slight branding change. Syntech used to run under the flag of Federal’s American Eagle line of ammunition. In the future, consumers will be seeing Syntech as its own stand-alone series of ammo.
Will we be seeing more caliber offerings in Syntech? More grain weights? Rifle ammo? Space Force ammo? Only time will tell. The most important question I have for the readers though is what do YOU think? Have you shot Syntech already? Love it? Hate it? Let us know in the Comments below!