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.

Comments

  1. What barrel length were the .40’s fired from?

  2. I’d like to see the test repeated with a stubby barreled .40, such as a Glock 27 or my other carry, Walther PPS in .40.

    It does look like .40 has reliable expansion in every media when fired from your test bed firearms.

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  4. easyrdr says:

    I second a similiar test using Walter PPS 40 as I carry that. I can almost dink clays at 100 yds with that gun and Win 165 white box hardball on a good day.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] make for spectacular water jug explosions, but when shot through something harder like clothing, leather, bone simulating materials, rocks, black eyed peas, or grape jelly, performance – and [...]

  2. [...] 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 [...]

  3. [...] line. While quietly going out our important business of shooting things like grape jelly, Spam, and leather boots, we heard the beginnings of a disturbance. Apparently a new shooter had arrived and set up in the [...]

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