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Federal Premium Micro HST .380 Auto Personal Defense Shells

Product Tests


 "All Premium® Personal Defense® HST® loads provide consistent expansion, optimum penetration and terminal performance, but the 380 Auto Micro load goes a step further to raise the bar for micro-size handguns. The HST construction ensures micro-size handguns deliver the power needed for personal defense situations."

I have reported several times that I carry a handgun every day. I do that as a matter of routine and believe that’s really the way that all of us should approach the subject. Too many times we read of a robbery and assault in the home when some bad guy or guys force open a door, attack the homeowner and then rob them. The results are always unpleasant and sometimes tragic.


We all hope that will never happen to us, our loved ones or anyone that we know but the reality of the situation is, we can’t pick the time, place of person that some thug will decide to attack.


Since I operate by the old saying that “the best gun in the world is the one that you have in your hand when you need it”, and know that I may be reluctant to strap on a heavy gun each day, I’ve really been enthusiastic about the many micro pistols that have come to market in the past few years.


The fact is that a pistol or any other gun for that matter, is only as good as the ammunition that is available for it. With the correct gun, ammo and time spent at the range, each of us can be our own front-line of defense.


For the past couple of months, I’ve been evaluating the Federal Premium .380 HST loads.

Federal provides a good bit of velocity and energy information on their site and I'd encourage you visit it and take a look at all of it. I am most interested in performance at 7 yards, so the information at the muzzle of the gun, 1030 f.p.s. and 233 ft. lbs of energy, means the most to me.


I was also very interested to see how these shells would feed through my Kahr CW380, how accurate they were and how their recoil affected my ability to get back on target for a second and third shot. The HST shells have 99 grain JHP bullets, heavy for a .380 and frankly I had some concern about recoil.


I try to keep my evaluation of micro pistols in the real world. If we are ever called upon to use one of these guns, it will most likely be at very close range and we will likely need to fire more than one time to stop a determined attacker or attackers. I like to see all the rounds shot hit within a 10” or so circle at 21 feet.


It’s the time of year when I have a lot of outside range work to get done, so I took the Kahr and the Remington HST shells with me on several trips. I wanted to fire several magazines at each visit and combine that with some shotgun patterning that was needed. A little variety is always nice!


I loaded 3 magazines with the HST shells and set up a target 21’ from my position. I started with a holstered gun, drew slowly and deliberately and then fired 2 rounds at the center of the target. I paused, fired 2 more, paused, fired 2 more and then after a brief pause, fired the last round. I was very pleased to see that all 7 rounds hit within the 10” circle. I was also pleased to note that the recoil in no way affected my ability to get back on target.


My wife Doris had been observing all of this and since she also has a Kahr CW380, I asked if she’d like to put some of these rounds down range. I have never know her to refuse to shoot, and she willingly agreed. That gave me an opportunity to not only see her shoot but also observe the muzzle flip of this very small pistol with the HST rounds.


She went through the same exercise and frankly, it was no challenge for her. She put 7 rounds well within the 10” circle and in a much tighter group than any of mine. She repeated that with another magazine and then went back to her work at the range.


What I saw was some muzzle rise of course but she was able to very quickly bring it down and get off a second shot very accurately. The recoil did not bother her and she eagerly picked up the second magazine to repeat the process. She did need to sight-in her 20 gauge competition gun, so she was also ready to get back to that.


I put a few more magazines through the Kahr and varied my routine by firing 3 rounds before a pause each time. I was not on a clock and did not try for great speed. I fired deliberately at the target, much as I’d hope to if it were a more serious matter. I did not have one failure to feed and all the rounds put hits within that 10” circle.


That really told me all that I needed to know about the Federal Premium HST .380 rounds. I did not make any attempt to determine bullet expansion or penetration. I may do that another time but for the present, I’m very pleased with what I saw. I feel confident that I can place 7 hits accurately and pretty quickly with the HST .380 shells and can recommend them to anyone looking for a reliable and accurate micro pistol round.


To learn more about Federal Premium HST .380 rounds and other Federal products, please visit


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