Every so often I'll get an email from someone that has been following the blog and has read through a ballistics test or two. Sometimes they will suggest one or two loads that they would like to see me test. From memory, the 380 Hornady Critical Defense and the Corbox DPX seem to be the two loads that people are most interested in seeing tested and evaluated.
Initially, I had planned on testing all the Hornady 380 loads in one big test, but earlier this week I got an email from someone who wanted to send me two different Hornady loads to test. I had the Critical Defense on hand, but not the TAP FPD load. The requester actually got me motivated to add the "Support My Testing" donations link on the blog. He was also my first donor. I tested 5 different loads at the range today, but I've moved the Hornady CD review and test to the top spot and hope to have it wrapped up tonight. The other 4 test results will have to wait a few days.
I've also decided to do an individual blog article for each ammo tested, rather than lump 3 or 4 tests into one article as I did on this previous 380 auto ammo test. This will be the new standard going forward. I can always recap individual tests into a bigger article if it makes sense to do so.
With that out of the way, I'd like to tell you about my experiences with Hornady Critical Defense 380 AUTO FTX that I had today. Going from memory, the Critical Defense line of ammunition came out in 2009 or 2010 and it's primary selling point was that the hollow point cavity came pre-plugged with a soft polymer to aid in expansion when the bullet passed through heavy clothing. I've shot some of it over the last few years, but never tested the expansion capabilities extolled by Hornady.
If you follow my blog and my tests, you know my testing process. If you don't, then I encourage you to view the video in this blog as it shows my process. I also had 4 full water jugs with me today so I was able to include a bonus 4 layers of denim and water jugs test too. I captured all fired bullets and they are shown below with their corresponding data.
My Comments: Over the years since Critical Defense came into the market, I've heard mostly good reports about it. I've never had a problem with it feeding or firing from any 380 or 9mm I've tried it in. I was looking forward to seeing if it would perform through 2 and 4 layers of denim. I've always found Critical Defense to be a soft shooting loading with a lower perceived recoil than other 90 grain self defense hollow point rounds. From my testing, I think the engineers at Hornady did a really good job balancing expansion and penetration with the .380 loading. It increases in diameter without becoming so large that penetration is compromised.
I thought it was interesting to see the expansion differences between the bullet that impacted at 834 fps vs. the 855 fps shot. With such a small difference in velocity you can really see the difference in overall expansion and penetration. It seem illogical that the slower bullet would penetrate more deeply, but that's exactly what happened due to the lesser expansion of the slower round.
Overall, I really like the performance I saw today. My captured bullets looked almost exactly like the expanded bullets shown on the box. All rounds expanded and performed as advertised.