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: 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?

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