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Get Competitive With Federal Premium’s Syntech Action Pistol Ammo

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Federal Syntech Action Pistol is currently available through Brownells and MidWayUSA. Offerings include 150-gr. 9mm TSJ, 205-gr. .40 S&W, and 220-gr. .45 Auto.

As with any sport, there are certain requirements in both skill and equipment when it comes to bringing home the gold in competitive shooting. The amateur baller who plays H.O.R.S.E. with friends after work isn’t exactly preparing themselves for NBA tryouts. Just as the weekend pistol, rifle or shotgun plinker isn’t on their way to outshooting the likes of Jerry Miculek, Julie Golob and other professional gunslingers. And for much the same reason, many shooters have considered, but ultimately shied away from, competition shooting due to insecurities regarding their current skill level. To help ease the intimidation factor that arises when shooting that first match, Federal Cartridge Company recently treated myself and a handful of firearms media personalities to a tour of their ammo plant, along with a primer in United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) taught by Josh Froelich, one of Federal’s top shooters.

Action pistol stages offer shooters a more dynamic training opportunity over static ranges to include moving while shooting, shooting around obstacles, and sometimes moving targets.

Choose A Discipline

There’s a multitude of different shooting games in existence, and there’s surely a game with a rule set that jives with your personality and the equipment you currently have on hand. Bullseye, Bianchi Cup, Multi-gun — the list goes on. Take a look inside your gun safe to get an idea of what you have to work with, and compare that to the match offerings that are being held at your local shooting club. For the sake of brevity, we’ll focus on action-pistol, and more specifically, USPSA here. Once you’ve identified the match you want to shoot and dusted off the appropriate firearm, the next item on an aspiring competition-shooters’ to-do list is to simply put their gear on and show up.

Most serious competitors I’ve met have been more than willing to share a few words of wisdom. After winning the 2018 IPSC Shotgun World Shoot, Federal brand ambassador Josh Froelich instructs a group of gun guys on the finer points of breaking down a USPSA stage.

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

I couldn’t tell you the number of friends I’ve asked to join me at a small match, only to have them offer up an excuse to not attend, such as “I need to practice more before I come.” They’re missing the point. Competitions ARE practice, and unless you’re planning on bringing home a paycheck for your showing, shooting matches serve as an excellent personal evaluation regarding individual strengths and weaknesses. During my time with Froelich and the crew from Federal Cartridge Company, there would be no excuses.

On the range, us merry media personalities were outfitted with offerings from GLOCK, BLACKHAWK!, and Uncle Mike’s. With our loadout of pistol, belt, holster, and mag pouches, all of the equipment we were carrying was affordable. Outside the purchase of a few extra pistol mags, there’s a good chance that if you’re looking to get into the action-shooting sports, you already have the equipment you need to get started, to include eye and ear protection. Resist the urge to splurge on competition-specific lickies and chewies until you’ve had a taste of the action and talked to others regarding their experiences.

The next piece of the puzzle when it comes to getting started in competition shooting lies with ammunition. While factory ammunition is certainly all that’s needed to get the job done, it’s important to note that according to data collected from Production Division Shooters at the 2017 USPSA Nationals, 71 percent of them are shooting hand-loaded ammunition — and they do it because they’re able to tailor their loads to meet minimum power factor requirements, ensuring they have the softest shooting loads allowed by the rules and facilitating faster split times (power factor = bullet weight x bullet velocity (fps) / 1000). You see, USPSA offers two different point systems depending on whether shooters are running low-recoiling versus heavy-recoiling loads. The power factor system is a great way of leveling the playing field between calibers such as 9mm and .40 S&W. The problem with factory loaded ammunition, though, is that regardless of caliber, they’re coming in WAY over minimum power factor (read: excessive recoil). That is, until today.

Much to the benefit of busy shooters who are simply thankful to find enough time to make it to a match, Federal Cartridge Company and USPSA teamed up to develop the perfect factory load for action-pistol shooters — Federal’s Syntech Action Pistol. While taking advantage of their exclusive Total Synthetic Jacket (TSJ) technology, the bullet gurus at Federal were able to pair heavy-for-caliber bullets with a lighter, clean-burning powder charge resulting in a soft-shooting, competition-ready load that meets power factor requirements.

Competition shooting is very much a social activity. A single day of shooting with someone you’ve just met can easily mark the start of a lasting friendship.

Shooter, Make Ready

After a day of instruction from Froelich, which had us focusing on movement, transitioning between targets, and stage planning, our group was ready for its first match. If you haven’t experienced the exhilarating feeling of shooting and moving at the same time, especially in a controlled, safe environment, there’s nothing like it, and I encourage you to give it a try. We were shooting Syntech Action Pistol loaded with 150-grain, 9mm TSJ bullets. Having had the opportunity to shoot it the previous day alongside standard 115-grain 9mm full-metal jacket (FMJ), rest assured the recoil impulse between the two is significant. Whether you’re new to competition shooting or a seasoned champion, Federal’s Syntech Action Pistol is the only way to fly. Plus, in addition to its reduced felt recoil, the TSJ bullets offer the benefit of reduced splash-back on steel targets, along with a flatter than typical nose profile for increased energy transfer on steel.

Stand By

Upon completion of the match, my final placing was somewhere in the middle. Not once did I feel like I shot a stage on par with my capabilities, and that makes me want to do it again. But who was I competing against besides myself? I learned a lot — less about shooting fundamentals than about movement and stage breakdown. Every stage in action-shooting is an exercise in short-term memory. The little things add up. Josh Froelich is a humble master of his craft. Competition shooters of every level would be wise to seek out Federal’s Syntech Action Pistol load. And if you’ve been toying around with the idea of diving into competitive shooting — get your gear on. I’ll see you at the range.

Learn more about Federal Premium and Syntech cartridges. Or, contact Federal using their Contact Us page.