Reviewed: Federal Force X2 Home-Defense Buckshot

posted on January 9, 2020

Federal Ammunition's new Force X2 shotshells are here to solve a quandary many home defenders face. You see, shotguns are among the most popular home defense firearms in the country, and with good reason. Shotguns are affordable, they generate tremendous short-range energy, and they can create larger patterns with multiple projectiles than achievable with a handgun or rifle. But the assertion that buckshot-loaded shotguns are well-suited for self-defense applications because they don’t overpenetrate is actually false. Buckshot pellets are generally round and can indeed go through obstacles like drywall, and that is a concern in the home.

Federal took a hard look at buckshot and decided that the risk of overpenetration needed to be assessed and remedied. To accomplish this, the company created a new buckshot design with slits cut into the nine 00 pellets in a standard 2¾-inch 12-gauge buckshot load. Viewed in profile, these nine pellets resemble split shot sinkers, and when they strike a target the two halves of the pellet break apart to create 18 projectiles. Federal calls this new buckshot load Force X2.

When the two halves of Force X2 copper-plated buckshot pellets split apart, they double the number of wound channels and provide improved threat-stopping power—a real benefit when you need to stop a violent attacker. By splitting in half, the weight of each pellet is also reduced and the round profile changes to a hemispherical shape that doesn’t pass through barriers like walls. The result is a revolutionary new buckshot pellet design that is highly effective at short range but isn’t as likely to overpenetrate, the first major improvement to buckshot design in many years.

Federal Force X2 is currently available in 12 gauge only, and each box contains 10 2¾-inch Force X2 loads with a muzzle velocity of 1,145 feet per second. Loaded to those specifications, Force X2 pellets typically penetrate around 18 inches in bare gel, which is considered optimum in FBI testing protocol, and yet recoil remains manageable. The massive energy deposited by the load stays in the target and offers unrivaled threat-stopping capabilities. And, like other Federal products, Force X2 is loaded with premium components for reliable, consistent performance.

The launch of Federal’s Force X2 ammo is a true game changer in the self-defense market. Overpenetration is a real concern for any homeowner, and it’s critical to be certain that the load you select for your firearm doesn’t risk passing through walls and damaging property or injuring other people. It’s likely that Federal will continue to expand their Force X2 line of ammo (I suspect that a 20-gauge version and perhaps even a .410 version will follow), and that’s a real benefit to homeowners. For now, anyone who uses a 12-gauge shotgun loaded with buckshot for home defense needs to consider Force X2.  When you are required to defend your home and your family you need the best ammunition available, and Federal has set a new standard in defensive buckshot loads.

MSRP per box of 10 is $22.95. For more information about this load and all of Federal’s other ammo offerings visit their website at



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