Review of the Hornady Critical Defense .380 ammo - G&A Handguns Feb/March 08

This is a discussion on Review of the Hornady Critical Defense .380 ammo - G&A Handguns Feb/March 08 within the Ammo Cache forums, part of the General Category category; It's rare that you find any one issue of a gun magazine so chocked full of valuable information but the Feb/March 08 issue of G&A's ...

Thread: Review of the Hornady Critical Defense .380 ammo - G&A Handguns Feb/March 08

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  1. #1 Review of the Hornady Critical Defense .380 ammo - G&A Handguns Feb/March 08 
    Super Member kraigster414's Avatar
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    It's rare that you find any one issue of a gun magazine so chocked full of valuable information but the Feb/March 08 issue of G&A's "Handguns" is such a read. From a straight-to-the-point review of the Hornady Critical Defense .380 ammo to peforming perfect practice drills, measuring and testing handgun fit, to an excellent buyer's guide on holsters. There's more good information in this one issue than I have found in a whole year's reading of other magazines. But back to the Hornady Critical Defense .380 review by Patrick Sweeney...

    Key extracts from Sweeney's article are as follows and you can decide if this is the right carry ammo in your LCP:

    - "The FBI has long insisted that anything less than a foot of penetration was deemed insuficient for law enforcement needs, emphasis on long enforcement not for civilian defense. "Hornady specifically designed the Critical Defense line for .380, 9mm, .38 Special and .357 Magnum, the calibers we're more likely to be carrying. The bullet is intended to perform wll in gelatin - clothing or no-but auto glass, metal and pylwood are not as good. That's the price you pay for an easy-to-shoot load that works well in the non-law enforcement world."

    - "The (Hornady Critical Defense) .380 load fell short of the FBI minimum, which is 12 inches of gelatin with full expansion. The Critical Defense out of a Ruger LCP managed only nine to 10 inches of penetration. But again, this is designed for civilian needs, not law enforcement, and compared to other .380 loads, this is darned good."

    - " As for velocity, the 90-grain bullets averaged a very consistent 860 fps. No, that isn't a blazing speed, but w ho wants to shoot a compact pistol with a .380 load that does all it can to approach 1,000 fps? No, 860 fps is a good velocity when you consider that you get nine to 10 inches of gelatin penetration, Hornady accuracy and reliability, and consistent expansion."

    - "If you're certain that you'll be shooting miscreants through barriers such as glass, metal and wood.....Critical Defense is not for you. For the rest of us, who balance all the factors that go into load selection, Hornady has another winner."


    I think Sweeney's review pretty much says it all. For those in LE, the best application for this ammo would be for when-all-else-fails backup not for primary carry. For civilians who legally carry, odds are you are not going to have to defeat metal or glass barriers to save your skin, and you might legally challenged if you did so (depending on the situation). But for up front and personal defense, the Hornady Critical Defense .380 makes a lot of sense. My question is how does it perform as a one-stop head shot. I am inclined at this point to load 5 Hornady Critical Defense rounds on top of one Buffalo Bore FMJ or JHC for carry.



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  2. #2 Re: Review of the Hornady Critical Defense .380 ammo - G&A Handguns Feb/March 08 
    Full Member AZ Outlaws's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting... looks like I'll get some in .380 and 9mm, then rotate them depending on my mood between GS and DPX.

    AZ
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  3. #3 Re: Review of the Hornady Critical Defense .380 ammo - G&A Handguns Feb/March 08 
    Super Member kraigster414's Avatar
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    AZ, I just came back from the range to try out my post-recall LCP and fired a magazine full. Flawless feeding comparable recoil to most factory .380 loads and accuracy more than adequate for intended purpose. I plan to carry 5 on top of one Buffalo Bore FMJ.
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  4. #4 Re: Review of the Hornady Critical Defense .380 ammo - G&A Handguns Feb/March 08 
    Full Member snobird's Avatar
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    - "If you're certain that you'll be shooting miscreants through barriers such as glass, metal and wood.....Critical Defense is not for you. For the rest of us, who balance all the factors that go into load selection, Hornady has another winner."

    I think Sweeney's review pretty much says it all. For those in LE, the best application for this ammo would be for when-all-else-fails backup not for primary carry. For civilians who legally carry, odds are you are not going to have to defeat metal or glass barriers to save your skin, and you might legally challenged if you did so (depending on the situation). But for up front and personal defense, the Hornady Critical Defense .380 makes a lot of sense. My question is how does it perform as a one-stop head shot. I am inclined at this point to load 5 Hornady Critical Defense rounds on top of one Buffalo Bore FMJ or JHC for carry.
    Load selection is very high on my list as it pertains to potential defensive situations; IE: interior of a mobile home with neighbors within 10-20' or at an ATM or convenience store with other people present.

    I have a S&W Model 19 in .357; hunting rifles of the .30 cal family; shotguns 12 & 410 guage- all very capable of stopping the bad guy but not as practical as the LCP for carry and all susceptible of collateral damage by traveling through thin walls and greater range than necessary.

    The concept of mixed loads is not talked about very often but does make some sense and I would be interested to know if there would be any problems with feeding or POA. (A whole new topic that someone may be kind enough to develop.)



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  5. #5 Re: Review of the Hornady Critical Defense .380 ammo - G&A Handguns Feb/March 08 
    Super Member kraigster414's Avatar
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    Short answer is, the only way to know is to test and then test again. I have never had a problem in my LCP with the mixed loads I have fired. A final round of Buffalo Bore FMJ is added insurance and a personal decision - not everyone may feel the need. I would limit it to the first or last round only.

    Sorry Snobird I accidently responded in your post by mistake (!@#$ mods!) that's why is says edited. It was not as you can see.
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  6. #6 Re: Review of the Hornady Critical Defense .380 ammo - G&A Handguns Feb/March 08 
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    Why would one want to have 1 round of BB or anyhitng else for that matter? sorry if its a dumb question.
    Ruger LCP .380 ACP
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  7. #7 Re: Review of the Hornady Critical Defense .380 ammo - G&A Handguns Feb/March 08 
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    many people have particular feelings about the special order and arrangement that bullets fly out of their gun. Also, that for an particular scenario, the order of bullet type will increase their desired favorable outcome of the serial discharge.
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  8. #8 Re: Review of the Hornady Critical Defense .380 ammo - G&A Handguns Feb/March 08 
    Full Member ragu1macrider's Avatar
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    I ordered 50 rounds thru ATG...I don't know if it will be shipped quicklu or 10-15 days from now. Has anybody ordered from them before that can give me a heads up?
    "The second worst thing in the world is killing a person....The absolute worst thing is having to and not having the means to do it."
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  9. #9 Re: Review of the Hornady Critical Defense .380 ammo - G&A Handguns Feb/March 08 
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragu1macrider
    I ordered 50 rounds thru ATG...I don't know if it will be shipped quicklu or 10-15 days from now. Has anybody ordered from them before that can give me a heads up?
    I've ordered several times from ATG with fine service. The price has always been more than competitive. I have not ordered this particular round, however.

    P.S. - They always shipped right away and I got the stuff the next week.
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  10. #10 Re: Review of the Hornady Critical Defense .380 ammo - G&A Handguns Feb/March 08 
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    I picked some up this weekend and shot 5 rounds of it yesterday. It was $18 for 25 rounds.
    Not sure how it worked as I was shooting at triple stacked pieces of treated 12x12 lumber. After I shoot a few more rounds I will tear the target apart and see how they expanded. BTW, none of the rounds I shot (magtech, wwb, golden saber, aquila) went all the way through 2- 2x12's, their still stuck in there. The wwb and magtech that I dug out of the tree were so perfect I think I could have reloaded them.
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