Latest Shooting Buyers Guide Additions

My Gun Culture Shooters Buyers Guide

We’re introducing a new weekly article feature, and a whole new section of MyGunCulture.com this week. Our Shooters Buyers Guide provides a quick and easy reference to stuff that is a solid value – and works. Think of it as shooting tips for buyers.

We check out a lot of shooting gear – tactical lights, gun lasers, optics, red dot sights, ammunition, reloading supplies and equipment, shooting bags, holsters of all kinds, and much, much more. While we can’t do an in depth review of everything that crosses the shooting bench, we can help filter out what works well – and what doesn’t. If you see an item listed in our buyers guide, we’ve used it, we like it, and we believe in it.

Here are this weeks picks:

Sights, Optics, Lasers, Lights

TruGlo TFO Fiber Optic / Tritium Handgun Sights

Crimson Trace LG850 Lasergrips – Glock Compact and Full Size Models

Aimpoint Micro H-1 Red Dot Sight

Crimson Trace Lightguard for Glock Pistols

Crimson Trace Lasergrips For Glock Full Size and Compact Models

Holsters

Blade-Tech IDPA Competition Pack with SRB (Sting Ray Belt) Holster

5.11 Tactical COVRT Z.A.P. 6 (Zone Assault Pack)

Galco Ankle Glove Holster

Blackhawk Leather Magazine Pouch

Galco Ankle Glove Holster

Blackhawk Sportster Standard Concealment Holster

Ammo

Hornady Critical Duty 9mm +P 135 grain Flexlock

Remington Golden Saber .45 ACP +P 185 grain JHP

CorBon DPX .357 Sig 125 Grain Ammo

American Eagle .223 Ammo – Reloaders Bargain

Federal’s Guard Dog .45 ACP – Expands Like All Get Out

Hornady Critical Defense .38 Special +P 100 grain

Speer Gold Dot 9mm +P Bonded Hollow Points

CorBon 9mm +P 115 grain JHP

Shooting Accessories

Gunzilla Gun Cleaner, Lubricant, and Protectant – Look Ma! No Stink!

ESS Crossbow Eyeshields – Eye Protection with Style

Slipstream and Slipstream STYX Weapons Lubricants

Books

Shoot! Your Guide to Shooting and Competition by Julie Golob

The Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery by Massad Ayoob

American Heroes in Special Operations by Oliver North

GunDigest Shooter’s Guide to the 1911 by Robert Campbell

Reloading Equipment

Shooting Chrony Beta Master Chronograph

Forster Case Trimmer

Ammo Review: Hornady Critical Defense vs. A Frying Pan

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Our potentially life saving Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty ammunition tests have already revealed that…

Hornady Critical Defense 45 ACP 185 grain

The Hornady Critical Defense .45ACP round expanded after passing through the frying pan – just not in the traditional way.

With all the testing we’ve done with Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty ammo in our Will It Expand series, there are still some cliches that need to be put to bed.

For example, the defense from a frying pan attack. This one is legitimate as it’s portrayed in Disney’s ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ ride. Just ask that drunken pirate running eternal from the angry frying-pan-wielding wench. Around and around they go. When he gets whacked nobody knows.

We’ve been slack on testing the .45 ACP loading of Hornady Critical Defense and this caliber somehow seemed appropriate for the frying pan test.

So we headed off to the range with a genuine Teflon-coated frying pan and a gaggle of cardboard milk jugs filled with water. An iron frying pan would have been more authentic to the cliché, but we weren’t willing to give up homemade cornbread for this story.

Weighing in at 185 grains with a velocity of 1,001.5 feet per second as measured by our Shooting Chrony out of a Springfield Armory TRP 1911 full size pistol, we figured the round would have no problem perforating the pan.

As you can see by the photo, the Hornady Critical Defense .45 ACP bullet expanded – although in a non traditional manner. The projectile compacted inwards, rather than expanding outwards – just like Hornady claims in its hard barrier tests.

AVAILABLE HERE: Hornady Critical Defense 45 ACP 185 grain 20/box

Ammo Review: Hornady Critical Defense vs. Butt Modulating Yogurt

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Admit it. You’ve already got the Activia jingle going in your head.

Hornady Critical Defense ammo test shooting yogurt

Hornady Critical Defense ‘regulating’ prune flavored Activia.

Or at least you’re wondering why a perennial hottie like Jamie Lee Curtis is now hawking butt modulating yogurt.

Or what happens when bullets strike Bifidus Regularis bacteria – gajillions of them?

Or whether ammunition has occasional irregularity?

Or whether prune flavored yogurt has a messier ballistic aftermath than something fruitier – like strawberry mango tropi-blend with guava-kiwi-pomegranate concentrate?

Or if premium ammunition is worth the cost in terms of facilitating intestinal transit?

But enough of that. After seeing the Activia commercial for the 3,012th time, and listening to its claims of being able to handle the toughest of bowels, we had to ask some questions.

Activia Prune flavored yogurt waiting to be shot with hornady critical defense ammo

Prune Activia – Pre-Yogurtal Expansion

Can prunes handle Hornady Critical Defense pills?

Can Activia regulate the performance of high velocity 9mm and .40 S&W expanding ammunition?

Is the explosion caused by bullets hitting prune yogurt similar to that caused by prune yogurt hitting your bowels?

These are important questions and we aimed to find out.

If you hadn’t figured it out already, we stocked up on Prune Flavored Activia and headed to the range with a few boxes of both Hornady Critical Defense and Hornady Critical Duty ammo. Jamie Lee Curtis did not attend as ballistic testing is not covered in her endorsement contract.

Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty 9mm expansion performance

Glock 17, Critical Defense, and Critical Duty vs. Intestinal flora.

What caliber is appropriate for prune yogurt? We had no idea, so we went with two common self-defense calibers – 9mm and .40 Smith & Wesson. Not knowing how tough of a barrier prune flavored Activia is, we tried both Hornady Critical Defense, designed for civilian self defense use, and Hornady Critical Duty, designed to penetrate tougher bowels barriers, yet still expand.

Here’s what we learned.

Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty .40 S&W ammo expansion performance

We’ve found that the Beretta PX4 loaded with Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty ammo facilitates intestinal transit with aplomb.

Shooting yogurt makes everyone at the range laugh like kindergartners with a whoopee cushion.

Expansion was not an issue. The yogurt expanded all over the range, and some counties of 3 bordering states.

When shooting yogurt, bring lots of wet wipes.

If you get into a running gunfight in a health food store, no worries about evil d00dz taking cover behind the Activia display – you can shoot right through it.

You can buy Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty Ammunition here.

Hornady Critical Defense .38 Special +P 100 grain Ammunition

Hornady Critical Defense .38 Special AmmunitionWe’ve been testing a lot of Hornady Critical Defense ammunition and with rare exception, we’ve observed excellent results.

Critical Defense is designed with a polymer plug in the hollow point cavity which aids with bullet expansion – even after the round penetrates barriers that would clog a normal hollow point round.

We’ve shot it through leather, clothing, rocks, grape jelly, flour, and all sorts of silly things with good result.

Available Here Hornady Critical Defense .38 Special 100 grain Ammo 25 / box

Ammo Test: Will Your Short Barrel 9mm Penetrate Heavy Clothing?

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Of course, penetration is only part of the battle. Will your 9mm ammo actually expand after penetrating heavy clothing?

On this episode of Will It Expand, we aim to find out!

As we couldn’t find any heavily dressed bad guy volunteers, we resurrected the boots, stuffed them full of old shirts, and placed them in front of our high-fallutin’ wetpack bullet catcher setup. That gives us a reasonable approximation of a heavy coat or jacket and some lighter clothing layers. And with a lot less bad attitude than your typical street thug.

For the ‘short barrel’ part of the equation, we used a Glock 26 Gen IV which is in for review. A great little gun that packs 10+1 rounds of 9mm and features a 3.4” barrel – perfect for our carry gun test. Shorter barrel, a little less velocity, and a good bit more stress on hollow point performance through barriers.

On the ammo side, we’re trying three different 9mm loads:

Hornady Critical Defense 9mm Luger 115 grain FTX

Cor-Bon 9mm Luger +P 115 grain JHP

Georgia Arms 9mm +P 124 grain Speer Bonded Unicore Hollow Point

Once again enduring the strange looks at the range – “Why on earth do those idiots keep shooting cowboy boots at the range dear?” – we persevered and shot the boots, dug bullets our of wet and nasty wetpack, and brought you the results. Just as a side note, it’s amazing how much wet junk mail resembles used diapers.

The results:

The CorBon loads all expanded beautifully.With one we did have jacket / core separation, but overall they made cute little mushroom shapes.If anything, the CorBon loads expanded a tad too much and penetration was about 50% less than that of the other two loads.Chalk this up to a lighter bullet than the Georgia Arms Gold Dot and bigger expansion than the Critical Defense projectile of the same weight.
The Georgia Arms Speer Bonded Unicore loads were solid performers through our tough, winter attired, evil d00d simulation.Out of seven rounds fired, five expanded perfectly and demonstrated excellent penetration. Two projectiles partially expanded.
All four Hornady Critical Defense projectiles had excellent penetration.Two expanded perfectly, the third had perfectly adequate, but less photogenic expansion, and the fourth had some deformity and partial expansion.

We were somewhat surprised at the good performance turned in by all three loads out of a shorter barrel concealed carry gun. We’re waiting on a backorder of the new Hornady Critical Duty 9mm load, which is a bit heavier, and will test that against a heavier CorBon 9mm JHP load. Should be interesting.

Stay tuned…

You can buy Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty Ammunition here.

Ammo Review: Hornady Critical Defense vs. Flour – Will it Expand?

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Why? Umm. Because we can?

In this episode, we test Hornady Critical Defense ammunition against what is arguably the cloggiest stuff known to hollowpoints – flour.

Stick with us, you never know when you might run into a real-world shootout in a bakery. Or something.

Being that we expected flour to be a tough customer, we elected to test both velocity and weight. Critical Defense .357 Sig to meet the velocity threshold and .40 S&W to meet the weight.

We thought this was a great idea that had potential not only for real world application, but entertainment value as well. And we weren’t disappointed. When you hit a bag of flour with expanding ammunition you get a gratifying ‘fleur de flour.’

Oh, in addition to a neat picture of a bag of flour exploding, we also have expansion test results. Just for fun, we tested two loads in each caliber: the Hornady Critical Defense rounds and Speer Gold Dot projectiles.

The Hornady Critical Defense load in .357 Sig held up pretty well to the bag-o-flour. Five of the six projectiles expanded fullyand the sixth expanded partially.We would trust this load in a donut shop shootout.
OK so we went a little trigger happywith the Speer Gold Dot loads and shot nine of them into the flour. What can we say? It made for great explosions!Out of the nine we shot, five expanded fully, two clogged up and didn’t expand at all, and two expanded just a little – although in a very non-photogenic way.
We shot four rounds of the Critical Defense .40 S&W loads into the flour and all four expanded adequately.As the photo shows, one was exceptionally photogenic and the remaining three were less attractive, although plenty effective.
Cloggy, cloggy, cloggy.Of the three rounds of .40 S&W Gold Dots we recovered, none of them expanded properly.One had no sign of expansion at all, one had a weak attempt, and the third must have hit a flour-based black hole. Either that or it nudged another projectile already in our high-tech bullet catcher.

So what have we learned? Before carrying into a bakery, be sure to test your carry ammo in appropriate conditions.

To see more episodes of our Will it Expand series, click here.

You can buy Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty Ammunition here.

Ammo Review: Hornady Critical Defense vs. Grape Jelly – Will It Expand?

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All y’all have some pretty weird suggestions for our semi-serious ammo testing. Here we are, trying to be all scientific, and you keep sending suggestions for silly random things to shoot. Like you really might find yourself in a situation where you have to shoot through a large glass jar of grape jelly to protect your family. We decided to proceed with this one anyway, as this test offered exciting possibilities for lower cost wine production methods.

Well, you never know. Stranger things have happened. Just watch Jerry Springer sometime. You just might find yourself in a life or death situation where some crazed evil d00d is pelting you and yours with large jars of grape jelly. Rather than judge, we’ll just follow the Boy Scouts creed and be prepared – and find out if our carry ammo is up to the task. If we were dealing with cheap generic grape jelly, we would have tested this scenario with 9mm or .40 S&W loads. Given that it was about 1/2 gallon of genuine Knotts Berry Farm jelly, we thought it prudent to test with .357 Sig.

Loaded with a 115 grain FTX projectile, this load is rated at 1,235 feet per second and in our Glock 32, it chronographed at 1,231 feet per second from the 4” barrel. Plenty enough to stomp grapes.

In addition to providing great entertainment for our staff, there was some practical value to this test. After all, the 1/2 gallon of grape jelly was enclosed in glass. That’s roughly equivalent to the FBI glass barrier test protocol right? Right? Come on, stick with us here…

Anyway, we backed up about 15 feet, placed a high-tech bullet catcher made of wet pack (a pile of thoroughly soaked paper) behind the grape jelly, and fired…

That’s when the cops showed up. Well, not quite, but it was a close call. You see, when you shoot at a sealed glass jar, filled to the brim with gelatinous substance, with a high velocity projectile, all that energy has to go somewhere. Apparently, the latent grape jelly energy dissipated by covering every person at the range with a moderate coat of sticky, sugary, slime. Let’s just say we were more popular before we shot the jelly than after.

After apologizing profusely to shooters in all the other lanes and the good citizens of Montana, we went in search of the bullet. To see if it did in fact expand.

We’ll let you know, as soon as we find it. Apparently, shooting grape jelly creates a matter / anti-matter implosion. As best we can tell, that Hornady bullet is orbiting Saturn about 128 years in the future. Or something like that.

We’re not giving up. As soon as we can find an equally massive glass jar of grape jelly, we’re going to try it again. This time with an electro-magnetic containment vessel.

Stay tuned.

You can buy Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty Ammunition here.

Ammo Review: Will Hornady Critical Defense Ammo Expand in Rocks?

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We’ve had great success getting Hornady’s Critical Defense ammo to expand after passing through all sorts of crazy things – plastic, old garage rags, honey bears, Wal-Mart house brand grape jelly, spam, flour, e-mail, leather boots, canned vegetables, and more. So we figured it’s time for the ultimate test.

Rocks.

Rocks are hard and as we figure, tough on ammo. And you need to know if your ammo is going to perform should you ever encounter an evil d00d wearing a protective vest made of rocks.

When it came time to head to the range, we found actual rocks to be a bit problematic as they are big and heavy and somewhat uneven. And you know how scientific we are are about these things. We need repeatable uniformity. Sounds sophisticated doesn’t it? Repeatable uniformity.

So we elected to use some stone floor tile that we had laying around in the garage. Because it offers repeatable uniformity. And because it doesn’t seem to match any of the floor in our house. Apparently we stole it from the neighbors while they were distracted by the True-Green lawn guy.

As we’ve already discussed, rocks are hard. So we went full octane – .357 Sig and .40 S&W. Out of a Glock 32 and Beretta PX4 Storm respectively.

We used our standard high tech methodology:

  • Take random stuff to the range
  • Bring lots of Hornady Critical Defense ammo
  • Place cameras out there
  • Get strange looks from people at the range
  • Shoot through said random stuff
  • Catch the bullet in our special wet pack blend (soggy newspaper and cardboard)
  • Dig out the bullets

Surprisingly, both the .357 Magnum and .40 S&W Critical Defense loads expanded properly after passing through, well, rock more or less.

What’s the point you may ask?

The point is… Now you know not to put stone floor tile in your ballistic vest. It won’t help you.

You can buy Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty Ammunition here.

Ammo Review: Hornady Critical Defense Ammo: These Boots Were Made for Shootin’

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This week’s episode of ‘Will It Expand’ undresses the heaviest of outerwear – leather. As we had no interest in perforating our nice leather coat, we elected to use an even tougher leather barrier – an old pair of Justin Boots.

So – stick with us here – the idea is to shoot hollow point ammunition through not one, or three, but two layers of very heavy leather and into our sophisticated special blend of ballistic testing material called wetpack which consists mostly of thoroughly soggy newspapers. Will traditional hollow point ammo expand? Will Hornady Critical Defense expand? Every time? Will we ever be able to wear these boots again? Is ammo-induced ventilation covered under warranty?

First up: Hornady Critical Defense .38 Special +P 110 grain

We shot the boot with a couple rounds of Critical Defense and a couple rounds of Cor-Bon .38 Special +P 110 grain JHP and Speer Gold Dots. We’ve found the Cor-Bon load to be excellent with sporadic observations of jacket / core separation. Gold Dots don’t separate due to their bonded construction and have an excellent record of expanding in reasonable material. Both the Cor-Bon and Gold Dot loads failed to expand properly after passing through two thick layers of foot-conditioned leather. The projectiles showed early indications of expansion but by no means blossomed to anywhere near their full potential. Kind of like Lindsay Lohan. Both Critical Defense rounds expanded, although one was far more photogenic than its sibling.

Next up: Hornady Critical Defense 9mm 115 grain

Increased velocity helped all the 9mm contestants. The combination of a hotter and heavier load and a longer barreled pistol (Beretta 92FS) made a noticeable difference. We happened to have a box of Federal Premium 9mm Luger +P+ 124 grain Hydra-Shok on hand. These are marked ‘Law Enforcement Use Only’ but we figured this was important enough work to bend the rules a bit. Let’s keep that just between us, OK?

Anyway, everybody expanded AND was photogenic. Conclusions? Beats us, but it sure was fun.

And last but not least: Hornady Critical Defense .40 S&W 165 grain

This last test makes us wonder why we bother carrying anything but a .40 caliber. Lined up next to the .38 Specials and 9mm rounds, these all looked mighty impressive. Especially since all the tested rounds expanded perfectly.

We used three. The Critical Defense .40 S&W 165 grain, a DoubleTap Ammunition .40 S&W 165 grain Gold Dot, and a Winchester .40 S&W 165 grain T Series.

All performed as intended and seemed completely unaffected by conditioned and highly-polished boot leather.

What’s next? Let us know and we’ll shoot it.

You can buy Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty Ammunition here.

Will Hornady Critical Defense Ammo Expand in Black-Eyed Peas?

Big expansion or big mess?

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