9mm Ammo Comparison Report -- DoubleTap JHP +P vs. Federal Hydrashok Tactical JHP +P+
This is a direct comparison of two excellent 9mm JHP rounds. If you're looking for good carry ammo for your pistol, you might want to consider either of these two bullets.
The comparison, below, was done during a range session back in October, at which time I directly compared these two different makes of ammo in a single gun.
Some folks might find this interesting, if considering either one of these rounds.
- Pistols Used -- CZ P01 9mm with an after-market stainless guide rod; and a Browning BDM 9mm, also with a stainless guide rod. For the purposes of this comparison, I will focus on the CZ P01. I did run some ammo through the BDM as well, but most of the comments here are related to use in the P01.
- Ammo Compared --
- Federal Hydrashok Tactical 9mm JHP 124gr +P+. Federal has been around a long time. They are strongly represented amongst the police community, for duty weapons. They make several reliable, strong loads. While the FHP +P+ isn't generally found at your corner store, Federals can be found most anywhere. Fairly consistent across a dozen boxes, in terms of the case, the length, the crimping.
- DoubleTap 9mm JHP 124gr +P. DT is a relatively new manufacturer. Their equipment is new. In a discussion with one of the DT folks, it was clear that their new equipment, calibration and attention to detail has paid off with highly-accurate and reliable ammunition. Random visual comparisons of samples from each box of the DT's shows little-to-no variation between bullets; a caliper measurement would probably show this.
- Criteria for Caring/Judging -- Reliability of cycling; consistency from one bullet to another; practicality for sufficient training to support daily carry. If ammo can't do that well, it's outta here (in terms of consideration for my own carry piece).
- Overall Length -- The shortest ammo I've used in these two guns is the CorBon Pow'r Ball. It won't feed at all. Most range ammo I use is of similar OAL, and generally feeds well. The FHT is longer still, by a margin, and is quite a bit better-feeding and more reliable. And, finally, the DT rounds are noticeably longer than everything, and marginally longer than the FHT rounds ... and they have been 100% reliable. Noticeably smoother-feeding, cycling. Coincidents? Perhaps but, FWIW, I have noticed a correlation between shorter rounds and increased cycling failures in each of three pistols, most notably the BDM and a Kahr PM9 I'm reviewing. My theory is that this OAL difference is a primary contributor to the extremely smooth and reliable feeding of the DT rounds, at least in my two pistols.
- Case Lips -- The DT rounds have a much tighter case lip, where the edge is tighter against the bullet. Running a finger over the FHT case lips allows the fingernail to easily catch on the lip; whereas, doing the same on the DT rounds shows the lips to be crimped much more tightly to the side of the bullet. Many folks have mentioned that rifle velocities can be impacted by tighter or looser lips. Perhaps this explains part of the heavier kick and speeds of the DT rounds over the FHT, as well as some of the feed reliability. Does it impact cycling reliability? Logically, it should; but, I don't know for certain.
- Feed Smoothness -- DT's were extremely smooth and clean feeding. Noticeably smoother than the FHT's. Both are head and shoulders above the smoothness of other rounds I have tried. Smooth is good, as it helps show up other issues or hitches in the overall cycling of the gun. Interestingly, with the CZ P01 back from the gunsmith, I'm now able to feel the "grit" during feeding of most bullets. Since the gunsmithing, the FHT's no longer "stick" or chatter up the feed ramp. The DT's are glass smooth.
- Feed Reliability -- DT's are extremely reliable. In 200rds fired, not a single jam; no feeling of hesitation during cycling in any way. When test-fed through a Kahr PM9 that's been giving me cycling woes, a magazine's worth cycled through the PM9 very well. (Hardly a scientific test, but a strong indicator, given that the PM9 has been a jam-o-matic extraordinaire the past few months.) I have put triple the number of FHT's through the P01, as compared to the DT's. I like the FHT's quite a bit and primarily due to the reliability have been carrying these daily in this pistol. Good stuff.
- Ejection -- Both the DT's and the FHT's eject strongly and smoothly. Empty cases for both land in a small circle about 7ft away. The DT's, of course, have a bit more punch, hence they eject more sharply. No issues with either.
- Blast & Flame -- The FHT's are flame throwers, and that's a fact. The fireball at 1yd off the muzzle is a good 1yd in diameter, give or take. The DT's throw a much smaller, dimmer ball of flame. Blast in the DT's appears to be about half the size of the FHT's. Either is manageable during single shots or multi-shot strings at 7yds, 10yds and 45ft.
- Recoil & Muzzle Flip -- As compared to range rounds of any flavor I have ever shot in any pistol, the FHT's have a noticeably heavier kick. In the CZ P01, muzzle flip is negligible, even more so in my Browning BDM. Very easy to manage. By comparison, though, the DT's are a strong step up the ladder in terms of both kick and flip. There is a heavy recoil that punches like a 230gr +P 45ACP, or harder. Even in the 28oz CZ P01, though, I find it reasonably manageable. Somewhat harder to control, it's still okay. Muzzle flip in the DT is about twice that of the FHT, but still only an inch, two at most. A strong grip and standing "over" the shot becomes a necessity with either of these rounds, in order to ensure follow-up shots are consistent.
- Follow-up Shots (ease) -- This is the one factor that has so far kept me from switching to the DT's for daily carry. Follow-up shots are impacted with the DT rounds, given how much harder they kick. They are manageable for brief periods (a few mags' worth), but after 30-40rds it begins to get old. The FHT's are easier to shoot follow-up shots. At 10yds, the FHTs are reasonably easy for me to keep within 3-4" groups when shooting moderately quickly. By comparison, the DT's open up to a bit larger than a hand's span.
- Accuracy -- Both the FHT and DT rounds are very accurate. No issues with either. Amazingly, the DT's are the most-accurate rounds I have shot through either the CZ P01 or the Browning BDM, bar none. In single-shot tests at 7yds, 10yds and 45ft, the DT's are consistently where aimed. The FHTs tend to be a little off, I'm guessing this is mostly due to my flinching in anticipation of the huge blast/flame these puppies crank out.
- General Availability -- Neither is available in your corner store. At least, not at my corner shops. Crappy neighborhood, I guess. The online vendor Cheaper Than Dirt carries the Federal Hydrashok Tactical 124gr +P+. The DoubleTap +P rounds are available directly from the vendor, online. I have never seen either in any store, nor heard of a store that carries these two specific rounds. Still, I have yet to see either out of stock. Can't say that about many different makes of bullet.
- Price -- The FHT's cost $170 per case of 500rds, at Cheaper Than Dirt. The DoubleTap rounds cost $190 per case of 500rds, or about the same price. Plus freight, of course, which is about $15 per 500 or so. The price isn't cheap, that's for sure. But this is first class ammo, IMO. Reliable, consistent, accurate. Seems like a perfect match for a carry weapon, given my criteria.
- Overall -- Both are exceptional. Perfect feeding, perfect reliability during cycling. More blast and much more flame from the FHT's over the DT's. Both are manageable in a carry pistol, though the DT's tax my strength and attention span more quickly, given how much harder they kick. But then, I'm not the gym rat I once was.
- What Would I Carry? -- Well, I actually am carrying the FHT's, daily. But I would not hesitate to carry either. If ultimate feed reliability was the sole criterion, I would pick the DT rounds every time. Best for me? It's a toss-up. Both are exceptional, IMO.