Vista Outdoor showed off a trio of new pistol-caliber ammo offerings at SHOT Show 2023 in Las Vegas this year, stacking on some more customized handgun/carbine rounds for self-defense, duty, and competition uses.

We got a nice tour of the Federal booth and a rundown on what’s new – and how it was made – for a first-hand look.

Speer Gold Dot Carbine: Handgun & Carbine HP


Gold Dot Carbine
The new Gold Dot Carbine offers a hollow-point round customized for both handguns and carbines. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/

Among the new rounds on display was the duty-oriented Speer Gold Dot Carbine offering that provides a 135-grain hollow-point 9mm option specifically meant to bridge the needs of pistols and pistol-caliber carbines. The rounds features a shallow “dish” in the nose with an elastomer-filled cavity to help defeat various types of barriers. 

“We wanted to take the learnings from all that different product and those technologies and put them into something optimized for carbine use,” said Chris Laack with Vista Outdoors, Federal’s parent company.

“We had a bunch of different bullet prototypes that we’ve done for contracts over the years. We started with kind of playing with those, learning what we could about what is possible in a 16-inch barrel. But then also being mindful that it needs to still work in a handgun.”

Federal tested to ensure the round maintained close-range expansion in a handgun-length barrel but also longer-range terminal performance in carbines, effectively optimizing a hollow-point round to be a do-all for both platforms.

Gold Dot Carbine
To hit the mark for both carbines and handguns, Federal used a 135-grain Gold Dot bullet that still offered expansion from carbine-length and handgun-length barrels. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/

“The beauty of the Gold Dot technologies is that with that Uni-Cor bonding it can handle the velocity shifts really well,” added Laack “Whereas a traditional cup-and-core type bullet might have problems. Something that’s going to work great at carbine velocities is probably not going to want to open at a handgun velocity.”

Now that Federal’s engineers were able to solve that with the new Carbine ammo, those in need of a handgun and carbine loaded with hollow points have a new option in a single package. 

.30 Super Carry Punch

It’s been just over a year since Federal announced the .30 Super Carry, but the company hasn’t simply been ridding the waves on the original round. Federal’s engineers set right to work developing new loads, and they went to the customers for ideas.

“We’re learning more and more about what we can do with the cartridge,” said Laack. “And the HST is amazing. It’s working exactly the way we planned, but we’ve been having some consumers asking…can you maintain that 9mm-type effectiveness but make it even lighter recoiling.”

.30 Super Carry Punch
.30 Super Carry now comes in a Punch flavor for self-defense. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/

So, Federal did by using its .30 Super Carry Punch round. After extensive testing, Federal loaded the new round with a 103-grain bullet, which was a weight that worked well for terminal performance but also reliably in the .30 Super Carry guns on the market. 

The slightly slower-moving bullet still achieved 11.9 to 14-inch penetration depths at around 1,170 fps. But the kicker is in the recoil, with the 103-grain Super Carry offering 30-percent less recoil than the 124-grain 9mm Punch round. That’s not bad given the comparable terminal effectiveness and the increased capacity of the smaller .30 SC. Perhaps better yet, Federal is expecting a more cost-effective end product compared to other hollow points on the market.

Gold Medal Action Pistol


Federal Gold Medal Action Pistol
The decision to add Gold Medal Action Pistol to the catalog was based on consumer responses to Federal's Syntech Action Pistol round. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/

Before Federal introduced its Syntech Action Pistol round, factory ammo use in action-pistol shooting was in the low single digits. That move bumped it up to about a third, which is a not-so-insignificant feat among folks who are often loathe to change their favorite round.

“It showed that the interest was there. People loved it,” Laack noted. “We were able to maintain product in a specification that worked for that community. So, we’ve been asked to do a conventional jacketed version of an action-pistol load.”

Federal Gold Medal Action Pistol
The bullet is fully enclosed on all sides to reduce lead exposure and fowling. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/

Federal happened to have a bullet ready to go for the new Gold Medal round,  having developed it for reduced-lead contracts already. The 147-grain bullet features a sealed base, making it a totally encapsulated projectile. This reduced the amount of lead exposure. Federal combined this with the same primer used in the action-pistol Syntech round to create an accurate and clean-shooting round for high-volume shooters.

It's an appreciated nod to those of us who are not bullseye shooters but do like to put a fair number of rounds downrange, whether it’s competition or not. Though it is still geared to meet the needs of competitors in particular. 

revolver barrel loading graphic