Ammo Review: Hornady Critical Defense vs. SPAM

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Welcome back to our continuing series where we subject Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty ammo to all sorts of abusive and at times, ridiculous, tests. You see, it’s supposed to expand every time. And we’re going to find out if it does.

Our reader suggestion for this episode is… Spam. Yes, the simulated meat kind.

We thought this was a great idea.

People at our outdoor shooting range? Not so much. Mainly because they got covered with Spam. But hey, that’s why you’re supposed to wear eye protection, right? So our conscience is clean, if not our clothing.

Down here in South Cackalackee we got ourselves a problem – wild spam. It’s everywhere and we find them in all sizes – from 7 ounce cans to 12 packs. And when it’s allowed to roam free in the wild, it can reach 25 pounds – so caliber selection is a bit tricky.

Anyway, wild Spam are slimy, slippery, and basically a booger to catch, so we elected to shoot canned Spam. Both original and generic. Just in case there’s a difference. We hear that artificial spam has even less meat in it so we figured it would be interesting to see if there’s a difference in bullet expansion performance and Spam lethality. Well, obviously Spam is lethal to humans, but is Hornady Critical Defense ammo lethal to Spam?

First we tested the Hornady Critical Defense .22 Magnum round. We thought it would be a pretty good solution for Spam – not too much meat damage, no recoil, and lots of rifle and pistol options to launch it. With a 45 grain FTX bullet that included one of those cute little red flex tips to aid expansion we were hopeful for consistent expansion results.  We elected to use a Ruger Single Six with a 7.5″ barrel – a portable Spam solution that would keep velocity reasonable at closer Spam hunting distances.

We originally expected the .22 WMR to leave a little something edible when all was said and done, but unless we intended to scrape Spam splatter off other nearby shooters at the range, it was not to be. The .22 WMR round was somewhat, ah, explosive against both brand name and generic spam. And we got great expansion from all rounds through both real and plastic Spam. Not bad performance considering that the round had to pass through two sides of metal skin and a big hunk of gelatinous fake meat love.

Because you never know when you might encounter an especially irritable Spam while attending to more urban chores, we tested a couple of common personal defense loads. Will a quick shot from your every day carry gun put down a Spam? Will there be any left? Will the Grocery Product Defense League of Americacome after you with abuse charges?

We aimed to find out and tried both 90 grain .380 ACP and 115 grain 9mm Critical Defense rounds.

While the .380 rounds mortally wounded all of our test Spams with a single shot, we were a tad disappointed with the expansion results. We shot them from a very short barreled Ruger LCP so velocity was at the low end of the round’s potential. We noted some mild deformation, but no actual expansion.

The 9mm rounds out of a Glock 17 Gen IVwere another story altogether.

More weight + More Velocity = Spam Juice

While juicing Spam this way is cheap and easy, not to mention fun, you’re probably better off using the Jack Lalane Power Juicer if you’re one of those that appreciates the extra nutrients available from Spam juicing.

What we learned

  • Shooting canned food is fun, but can be expensive
  • Domestic, or canned, Spam is much easier to shoot
  • Don’t shoot Spam when other people are at the range. Unless you have lot’s of Handi-Wipes available
  • Spam is NOT more edible after shooting. In fact, it’s even less palatable.

 

If you’re into video, check out SPAM – The Movie

Spam, spam, spam, and spam.

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?

Ammo Test: Will Hornady Critical Defense Ammo Expand In Rocks?

We aim to find out…

Hmmm. Tough barrier.

Ammo Test: Baking With Hornady Critical Defense Ammo

Our “Will It Expand” series continues. This week’s suggestion is…

Flour.

Yep, it’s perhaps the cloggiest stuff known to modern hollowpoints. Let’s see how it does…

Will it expand? In flour?

Ammo Test: Will It Expand? E-Mail Spam…

Our semi-serious testing of Hornady’s Critical Defense ammo continues. This weeks reader suggestion is email spam. One inch of it to be exact…

Hornady Critical Defense vs. email spam

Ammo Test: Hornady Critical Defense vs. a Bear – Will It Expand?

Self defense ammo vs. a bear. We find out!

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

Hmmm. Who wins? Lot’s of grape jelly or Hornady Critical Defense?

Ammo Test: Shooting Spam with Hornady Critical Defense Ammo – Will It Expand?

Shooting Spam with Hornady Critical Defense Ammo!

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