Nyclad 9mm variants


Here are 4 variants of Federal’s Nyclad in 9mm - all are hollow point. The 2 cartridges in the middle are nearly identical, with the same headstamp, but the lettering size is slightly different, and also the projectile on the middle left cartridge has a deeper / wider hollow point:

Were these available in Federal’s Nyclad line in 9mm with round-nose or semi-wadcutter like the .38spl is?


To my knowledge, these were never available in Semi-wadcutter or a true round-nose bullet form in 9mm, by Federal. Joe will be posting pictures for me, when he has the time, of seven variations, which include the four already shown, including the headstamps. I included the original four just for continuity.

You will see that Federal did make the Nyclad in 9mm with a flat-nose bullet of about the same shape as that of their hollow-points, but WITHOUT the hollow point. There were other auto pistol calibers - .45 certainly, and .380 auto comes to mind. I did not show those as I thought for once I would not go off on a tangent and change the parameters of someone else’s thread, something I often do without thinking, and for which I apologize (but unfortunately, with no guarantee that it won’t happen again).

John Moss


I have the 9MM 2nd from the right. I am curious, what is the purpose of the nyclad covering? Do they still make this type of ammunition?



As far as I know, the purpose was to reduce barrel wear & fouling.


Nyclad are lead bullets. The coating reduces leading of the bore, and perhaps increases velocities, although I am not at all sure about that. Tis ammunition last appeared in Federal’s 2001 catalog, with one offering in 9 mm Para (a 124 grain HP bullet) and four offerings in .38 Special Caliber, 158 grain bullet in standard and +P loadings, and the same in 125 grain bullets.

Their advertising blurb in the catalog gives the following explanation of the bullet:

 "This unique load protects you, your handgun and the environment all at the same time.  The patented nylon-clad bullet eliminates bore leading, reduces airborne lead and provides the accuracy and stopping power favored by many law enforcement officials."  

So, their is no claim for increased velocity. The reduction of airborne lead particles, especially on indoor ranges, may actually be its most important attribute, if it really works. It probably does. They have ways of measuring that result.

Some police, in ignorance, equated the nylon jacket with KTW rounds. I saw, myself, a sample of that on the TV show “COPS,” when a gun was unloaded and found to have “Teflon-coated cop-killers” in it. The ammunition displayed for the camera was clearly Federal Nyclad, or possibly the earlier Smith & Wesson rendition, and not teflon-coated at all, but rather just nylon-coated lead. Ignorance knew no bounds as the officer, who obviously barely knew which end of his gun the projectile came out of, explained about the “cop-killer” bullets he was holding.

John Moss


Thanks so much DK and John!

I always wondered about these bullets. I really like the idea of lead free or anything that reduces air born lead, especially in indoor ranges. I went shooting the other day and the indoor range required that only lead free ammo be shot. Pretty cool except finding lead free ammo not on back order is a major pain. Anyhow, I learned a lot, thanks so much guys! Much appreciated info.



[quote=“APFSDS”]I have the 9MM 2nd from the right. I am curious, what is the purpose of the nyclad covering? Do they still make this type of ammunition?


Federal had stopped making Nyclad ammo quite some time ago. But just within the last several years Federal reintroduced their 38Spl 125gr +P HP load packaged in 20 round cardboard and clear hard plastic Personal Defense boxes and 50 round plain white cardboard boxes.


Pictured are seven variations of the Nyclad cartridges, the first 3 (from the left) from Smith & Wesson, and the last four from Federal.
There may be others, but this is all I have seen. From left to right, they are:

  1. S&W with green primer seal and very short, hollow-point bullet. 
  2. S&W with green primer seal and a longer, hollow-point bullet.
  3. S&W in nickeled case and a hollow-point bullet that is longer yet 

than the others.

All of the Smith & Wesson rounds have the same headstamp, which is pictured below in the headstamp picture, in the same order as the picture of the cartridges.

  1. Federal with rounded ogive, hollow-point bullet, and red primer seal.
  2. Federal, about identical to above, but with thinner letters 

(possible just a newer bunter). The main difference, however, is that this one lacks the red primer
seal of No. 4.
6. Federal with rounded ogive, flat-nose bullet. It is NOT a
hollow-point, This round also has a case cannelure not far below the case mouth.
7. Federal with the same projectile as No. 6, but without the case
cannelure and with a different headstamp layout, although the contents of the headstamp are
the same as No. 6.

Each of the Federal rounds has a a different headstamp, if we count the thick and thin letters as being different. The form and size of the letters of Numbers 4 and 5 are actually identical, as far as I can tell.

These headstamps are in the same order, left to right, as are the cartridges in the cartridge-profile picture. The headstamps need no further explanation other than to again point out that while the content of numbers 6 and 7 are the same, the format of the two headstamps differs.

Photos by, and cartridge from the collection of, John Moss


Awesome stuff John - now I know which cartridges in this line I need to be on the lookout for. Sometimes as a collector the hardest thing is just knowing whether or not you have everything in a series, or what is out there.


DK - You are absolutely correct! I doubt very much that I have every Nyclad variation. Some of this stuff comes and goes before collectors ever get a shot at it. By the time we find out about it, it has all be sold and no more like it shows up again. This is especially true of the imported stuff. That’s why the more eyes looking for this stuff, the better.

John Moss


It’s early so forgive me if I read you wrong…if it’s the Federal RN/FN, non-HP NT-NyClad you need let me know, I have about 25 left. I have one box of the S&W 124gr HP, and I think some of the .38 HP and SWCFN. I need to catalog my stuff BADLY!

The Nyclad RN/FN and the HP version were the last products sold to my knowledge before the recent .38sp re-release. They were sold in the gold-box Federal Premium NT line, as reduced-lead police training ammo.

Something I’ve noticed amongst my Nyclads is slightly different colors…the older, S&W Nyclads have a darker blue plastic coating than the newer Federal NT products. Jones’ excellent photo looks to show the same ‘trend’.

I think they’d sell gobs of the Nyclad HP in .38sp, .357M, 9mmP and .45acp, esp. given the current favor of short-barreled pocket guns.


That’s actually my photograph. Joe just posts them for me, although he often “helps” them a bit, which sometimes they need. He is very good at it. I am happy to say that appears to be as I sent it to him. The two yellow-brass cased S&Ws have a bullet coating about the same color as the Federals. The nickel-cased round has a bullet that to the eye appears almost black, although in strong light it has a slight bluish cast to it. There are slight differences. I do not think they are of any significance, however. Just different batches of the nylon-coating material.

I don’t collect .38 Special, and had not noticed the reintroduction of the Nyclad 125 grain. It probably would be o.k. for lightweight 2" guns - the stated velocity would indicate it is a light load and wouldn’t be a bruiser in recoil. I simply carry .38 Match wadcutter in my Colt Cobra. It is not too hot for the duraluminum frame (I know the new lightweight frames are better material, but these older ones do stretch with hot loads, and that cannot be repaired), has sharp but moderate recoil, and is extremely accurate out of the two inch barrel. Should do a fair job of penetration - perhaps not up to FBI Standards out of a two-inch - and the flat nose should disrupt some tissue fairly well. A compromise, but I can shoot this gun and ammo combination very, very well. Only hits count with any ammo. Again, though, the Nyclad should be a fairly good choice for those of us a little recoil sensitive when firing these little, lightweight revolvers.

John Moss


I am not sure if they are hard to find but if any collector is interested in the one I have I would be happy to send it to them for free.