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Federal Guard Dog Ammo Review: Legit Home Protection?

Federal Guard Dog Ammo Review

Federal Guard Dog ammo was Federal Premium's attempt to sell an expanding full metal jacket bullet that acts like a jacketed hollow point bullet upon impact.

The thought was to combine the reliability and accuracy of an FMJ bullet with the hard-hitting nature of a JHP bullet, eliminating the over-penetration problems of full metal jacket bullets.

This Federal Guard Dog ammo review will see what went right and wrong with the Guard Dog line.

Let's get started!

Is Federal Guard Dog Ammo a Good Brand?

Yes, Federal Guard Dog Ammo is a good brand...or was a good brand.

Federal no longer manufactures the Guard Dog line, though you can occasionally find a few boxes for sale.

Many ammo critics praised these rounds when they first came out. But apparently, Federal didn't think the Guard Dog line was worth keeping around after launching the Federal Premium Personal Defense HST and Personal Defense Hydra-Shok lines.

Pros and Cons

As always, we strive to remain unbiased while writing these reviews. Below, I've listed the benefits and drawbacks of Federal Guard Dog ammunition.


Federal Guard Dog bullets
  • It is as accurate as an FMJ bullet
  • Fed as reliably as an FMJ
  • Nickel-plated brass cases and boxer primers made reloading easier
  • Stopping power of a JHP bullet


  • No longer manufactured/discontinued
  • Lack of public and law enforcement interest in the EFMJ round
  • Only pistol calibers were available; no rimfire or rifle calibers
  • It didn't offer any real benefits over JHP bullets

Which Calibers Are Available?

Below are the calibers Guard Dog home defense ammunition was available in; I've also added the calibers for Federal's other personal defense ammo lines.

Federal Guard Dog Self-Defense Handgun Ammunition

Federal Personal Defense HST

Federal Personal Defense Hydra-Shok

Federal Guard Dog Ammo History and Important Information

Federal Ammunition is one of the top ammo manufacturers in the world. So initially, a lot of hype was around the Federal Guard Dog Ammo line, at least in European countries and a handful of states where hollow point bullets are illegal.

Instead of the traditional lead core bullet design, Federal used a polymer bullet encased in a full metal jacket. This made the bullets lighter but allowed them to expand on impact similarly to a hollow point.

Tests in ballistic gelatin revealed the expanding bullet design didn't penetrate to the FBI's 12" minimum because of the reduction in bullet mass, so Federal tried to market this product to the concealed carry crowd. However, no real benefits were found for using these rounds over jacketed hollow point bullets.

While the concept seemed like a good idea and the performance of these self-defense rounds was comparable, the 45 ACP 165-grain EFMJ had a muzzle velocity of 1,140 FPS and a muzzle energy of 476 ft/lbs.

Federal Guard Dog Ammo

But sadly, Guard Dog Ammo failed to stand out from traditional hollow point bullets. The demand needed to be higher for Federal Premium to continue to justify producing these rounds, so they discontinued the line.

Instead, Federal went all in on its Personal Defense Punch, HST, and Hydra-Shok bullets, which are jacketed hollow points. These self-defense cartridges have been extremely successful and are carried by civilians and law enforcement officers every day.

The Hornady FTX loads, such as Critical Defense and Critical Duty, are the closest bullets you can find to what Federal Guard Dog ammo used. However, FTX bullets are polymer-tipped hollow points, not expanding full metal jacket bullets.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below, we've taken the liberty to gather and answer a couple of the commonly asked questions about Federal Guard Dog ammo.

Is Federal Guard Dog Ammo corrosive?

No, Federal Guard Dog ammo is not corrosive. Federal ammo is high-quality ammo.

Where Is Federal Guard Dog Ammo Made?

Federal Guard Dog Ammo was made with the rest of its products in Anoka, Minnesota, USA.

Parting Shots

Now that you've read this Federal Guard Dog ammo review, you understand why Federal Premium discontinued these products.

It wasn't from lack of performance but from a lack of interest from shooters worldwide.

If you're still on the hunt for personal defense ammo to feed your Glock or Springfield Armory XDS, be sure to check out what's in stock at Ammo.com!

Wes Littlefield
Written by
Wes Littlefield