Review: Federal Syntech — Training Ammunition Perfection

By Bob Campbell published on in Ammunition, Reviews

Ammunition manufacturers have made great strides when it comes to hunting and self-defense ammunition. Training ammunition however, has (or had) progressed little. Oh sure, your can buy steel case ammunition or remanufactured ammunition at a decent price, but I am talking about training ammunition that still maintains its price point, but offers a technological advantage. Federal offers a practice load that, surprisingly, to few shooter’s have experienced or understand the advantages of. The American Eagle Syntech is well worth your time and effort to obtain and use.

Two Federal Syntech cartridges

This is a loaded 9mm Syntech.

This loading is designed to be useful when airborne lead must be restricted, such as when shooting in an indoor range. The lead bullet isn’t exposed to burning gas or primer ignition, so there isn’t any melted lead with the Synetch loading.

Lead is also an important part of the priming compound. To overcome this, Federal developed a new primer—the Catalyst—to overcome lead emissions. The result is a very clean cartridge. Another advantage is that the Syntech projectile is less likely to splash back or break into large shards when it meets a steel plate.

All of this was good, so I wanted to see how the loads fired and performed. I collected a number of my favorite 9mm handguns and headed to the range. You do not have to ask me twice to go shooting! I took four 9mm handguns and the .45s. I had more 9mm to expend than .45.

My crew and I fired a total of 400 rounds of 9mm and 200 rounds of .45 ACP. This isn’t a military grade test but Federal has a great reputation for reliability. I wanted to gauge the Syntech loads against Federal American Eagle, so I brought along 50 rounds of American Eagle 124-grain 9mm FMJ and 50 rounds of 230-grain .45 ACP American Eagle.

9mm Handguns and Loads Velocity 25-yard groups
Beretta (With Wilson Combat additions) 1,142 fps 1.8 inch
Wilson Combat EDC X9 1,129 fps 1.65 inch
Glock 17 Vickers Tactical 1,134 fps 2.9 inch
Arex Rex Zero 1 1,112 fps 2.35 inch
.45 ACP Handguns and Loads Velocity 25-yard groups
Kimber Custom II 799 fps 2.0 inch
SIG P220 R 760 fps 1.7 inch
Rock Island Compact 773 fps 3.95 inch
Beretta W/C 1,140 fps 1.4 inch

Clearly, the loads are comparable to any on the market for accuracy, and accurate enough for IDPA use. They are similar to the original Federal American Eagle FMJ loads in performance. After firing 600 rounds in a few hours, the crew and I broke out our Shooters Choice cleaning kits. The cleaning wasn’t much of a chore. The bore was clean and powder ash was limited. This is a good product worth its price.

Have you fired Syntech ammunition? What were your results? Share your answers in the comment section.


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Comments (2)

  • Don Mogorit


    My 9mm SAR B6PC has had zero, yes zero, mis-feeds after 5000+ rounds. I had 2 in my first box of these. Both rounds had a cut in the red coating, I cannot say if this was a result of the jam itself or damage due to loading, packaging, etc.)


  • RD


    I also find Federal Syntech to be good training ammunition. Groupings are good and no problems cycling. Clean-up is a snap as my guns almost didn’t look like they had been fired! In my area, this ammo, when you can find it, is more expensive than standard loads.


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