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Federal Hydra Shok 12 Gauge Slug Review: Shockingly Effective?

Federal Hydra Shok 12 Gauge Slug Review

Federal Hydra-Shok bullets have been a staple in the self-defense realm for decades. They were commonly found in several beloved handgun and shotgun calibers, such as 9mm Luger, 45 ACP, and 12-gauge.

In this Federal Hydra-Shok 12-gauge slug review, we're focusing on the 12-gauge.

However, improvements have since been made to hollow-point slugs, which made Federal Ammunition discontinue the LE127RS or Federal Law Enforcement 1oz Rifled Hydra-Shok Hollow Point Slug.

So, as I write a review on these slugs, I'll mention comparable products, so you know what to load into your Remington 870 smoothbore 12-gauge or Mossberg 500 with a rifled barrel.

Let's get started!

Federal Hydra Shok 12 Gauge Slug Overview

The Federal Hydra-Shok 12ga slug was a solid low recoil slug that many law enforcement agencies loved to use for training over full power slugs.

Competition shooters and those looking for a home defense round also saw the benefits of these shotshells because they were easy on the shoulder, great for follow-up shots, and much less likely to over-penetrate walls.

However, as new developments were made to increase the accuracy of slugs, the Hydra-Shok slug couldn't match what the Federal Law Enforcement Tactical 1oz. Low Recoil TRUBALL Rifled Slug was doing in terms of accuracy at the same velocity of 1,300 fps.

Therefore, Federal Premium Ammunition decided to go all in on Truball and Power-Shok slugs and stop producing Hydra-Shok slugs.

Our Federal Hydra-Shok 12 Gauge Slug Review

Federal Ammunition is a brand known for producing some of the best ammo in the world. The production plant in Anoka, Minnesota, USA, meticulously manufactures factory ammo to as near hand-loaded ammo specifications as possible by implementing the latest technologies.

This is where the beloved American Eagle FMJ ammo and all other Federal ammunition products are made.

Federal Hydra Shok 12 Gauge Slug

In its time, the Federal Hydra-Shok 12ga slug was treasured by law enforcement agencies because of its reduced recoil, which made training more enjoyable and less painful. Other shooters quickly picked up on these benefits and began using these rounds for self-defense.

However, in my opinion, buckshot is the better option for shotgun home defense ammo, and many other shooters agree, which is part of the reason why Federal has stopped producing Hydra-Shok slugs.

They're no longer listed on FederalPremium.com; instead, they've been replaced by Power-Shok rifled slugs and Truball rifled slugs.

The rest of the Hyda-Shok lineup also seems to be on its way out with the introduction of HST bullets. Federal Hydra-Shok had a decent run but couldn't keep up with new developments in ammo technologies.

What was It Best For?

Federal Hydra-Shok 12ga slugs were best for LE training and home defense. They were loaded to reduce recoil, which made follow-up shots easier; the projectiles were less likely to penetrate multiple walls, and you didn't have to ice your shoulder after a long range session.


The most significant disadvantage of these rounds is they are now discontinued, so they're tough to find.

These slugs were never intended for hunting, as they needed more stopping power beyond 50 yards to harvest a deer ethically.

The final nail in the coffin for the Federal Hydra-Shok slugs was that they were much less accurate than other Federal slugs, like the Truball and Power-Shok slugs.

Pros and Cons

While writing these ammo reviews, we strive to be as unbiased as possible at Ammo.com, so we list the pros and cons of the ammo you're considering purchasing. As you continue reading, you'll learn the benefits and drawbacks of the Hydra-Shok 12ga shotgun slug.


12 ga shotgun
  • Less likely to over-penetrate than full power slugs
  • Easier on the shoulder
  • Faster follow-up shots
  • Empty hulls are reloadable


  • Discontinued
  • Poor accessibility, it's starting to become hard to find
  • Not intended for hunting
  • Not as good as buckshot for home defense
  • Less accurate than Truball Slugs

Federal 12 Gauge 1-ounce Hydra-Shok Rifled Slug Ballistics & Specs

Below, the team at Ammo.com has taken the time to create a ballistics table with some basic Federal 12ga Hydra-Shok slugs specs.

Federal Hydra Shok 12 Gauge Slug Cartridge Specifications

Note: This information comes from the manufacturer and is only informational. The actual ballistics obtained with your firearm can vary considerably from the advertised ballistics. Also, ballistics can vary from lot to lot with the same brand and type load.


Don't worry! Federal Ammo has related products that outperform the Federal Hydra-Shok 12ga slugs. You'll find a couple of them here and similar slugs from other ammo manufacturers.

Parting Shots

Federal Premium Truball 12 Gauge ammo for sale

Now that you've finished our Federal Hydra-Shok 12 Gauge Slug Review, you know these rounds are difficult to find because they've been discontinued.

However, there are better options produced by Federal, like Federal Premium Truball Low Recoil 1oz Rifled Slug and Federal Power-Shok 1oz Rifled Slug.

Be sure to stock up on all your ammo needs at Ammo.com!

Frequently Asked Questions

I've taken the liberty to round up and answer a few commonly asked questions regarding Federal Hydra Shock 12-gauge slugs below!

Are Hydra Shok bullets any good?

Yes, Hydra Shok bullets are good. They've been used since 1989.

What is a Hydra Shok slug?

A Hydra Shok slug is the slug Federal Ammunition used for many years in its law enforcement and self-defense shotgun ammo.

Is Hydra Shok ammo illegal?

No, Hydra Shok ammo is not illegal to use for self-dense, at least not in most states. Be sure to check your state and local laws.

Wes Littlefield
Written by
Wes Littlefield

Ammunition Reviews