Federal’s New .38 Special +P HST
Dr. John Woods 04.03.18
Why bother concocting a hyper special load for the weakling .38 Special? Ha, you must be kidding? I can hear the peanut gallery laughing out loud now. Well, usually it is the nut section that knows little about what they are spouting about. Anybody that thinks the .38 Special is passé is simply lost in a fog.
The .38 Special was developed in 1902 for the Smith and Wesson Military and Police Model revolver. It was created to replace the anemic .38 Long Colt used by the Army. The .38 Special has been chambered in numerous revolver models from a long list of gun manufacturers. It has been a long standing stalwart load.
The .38 Special historically has been long considered one of the most accurate handgun loads ever developed. It was and continues to be used in pistol matches because it is easy to shoot with a mild recoil. Using the classic 158 grain bullets, the .38 Special is a great shooter and easy for new shooters to learn the basics of handgun shooting.
It was adapted by hundreds of law enforcement agencies especially for short-barreled concealed carry guns used for undercover and detectives. Most used easy to hide and packable small framed revolvers with 2-3 inch barrels. Many wore them in ankle holsters as back up guns and still do.
Of course, it is the primary job of ammunition manufacturers to continue to enhance and fine tune all sorts of ammo options with new bullets, new loads, new powders and primers, for better ballistics with greater accuracy. For major ammo makers like Federal, this is their central issue other than continuing to produce supply lines of all the cartridges they load for the military, law enforcement, and civilian markets.
Recently Federal brought out a spectacular new load for the .38 Special. Their .38 Special +P HST load is a premium personal defense load. The internet searches indicate that “HST” stands for Hydro Shock (or Shok) 2, but there is no proof of that on the Federal web site. Some think the HST is the next generation of Hydro Shock bullets.
The new load is a 130 grain “buried” bullet that minimizes powder burn rate variations by reducing air space inside the case. This produces a load that has 5 times more consistent velocities than competing ammo. The load generates some 890 fps muzzle velocity. Looking down on the mouth of the round, the hollow point bullet is seated down inside the case almost flush. It is a very unique design that is making big waves for those using .38 Specials for self-defense.