I have been carrying the Hornady, but the local shop ran out and the only other non +P they had was the Federal. I carry a Colt Cobra and my Mom carries an Agent.
I recently convinced her to change to a defense ammo and gave her some of mine and went to get us both a box.
What I did was take a pair of denim jeans and lay them over my burn barrel with 8 layers on each side. The barrel is a new (just the paint burnt off) 55 gallon drum that is fairly heavy.
At 7 yards I did my target practice. The Hornady penetrated the outer 8 layers of denim and the barrel and was stopped by the first inner layer of denim. I found the jacket but the bullet was lost in the ashes in the bottom of the barrel.
The Federal round penetrated the first 8 layers and made a nice dent in the barrel with the bullet laying on the ground. I did this twice to make sure.
The Hornady was quieter, less recoil, and no noticeable muzzle blast (broad daylight).
The Federal was loud (hurt my ears) had noticeable kick, and in broad daylight had a very bright white flash.
I know there are lots of other rounds to look at. These are the only two I have played with. I also know I open the question of penetration vs knockdown.
I like the Hornady if it is going to penitrate a heavy coat and the bad guy and not just bruise his ribs and make him mad.
Looking for opinions from others that are more knowledgeable than me.