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Hornady Critical Defense .380 ACP 90 gr Ammo Test

by tnoutdoors9 • 309,699 views

Simple penetration and expansion test of the Hornady Critical Defense, .380 ACP 90 gr FTX, using a diluted form of SIM-TEST Ballistic Testing Media. This format is comparable to ballistic gel, and...

How about testing Corbon Pwrball .380 and also .32 acp calibers?
+tnoutdoors9 Why would you do such things? Man If I had the setup like you I would own a gun in almost every popular caliber to do independent ammo test in almost every manufacture.
+tnoutdoors9 I sold my .380 also and now only own two .32 acp for carry/home defense.
I have one of those "Ruger LCP' .380's.  I am not crazy about it except it is easy to conceal.  Really I feel it is just about a piece of junk.  I have other weapons that are much better.  However the LCP I have is really easy to JAM.  It is the jammingest pistol I have ever had.  But this type of Ammo, the Hornady with its pointed shape seems to "Feed" much better in to the Ruger LCP I have.  I don't "practice" with the Hornady, but I have shot enough of it to try to see if it helped the "Jamming" problem.  It appears it has, That little pistol so far has NEVER jammed on this "Pointed projectile" that Hornady makes.  Round Nose .380 practice ammo I have will jam in a heartbeat in the gun, and some flat nosed FMJ will jam in it too.  EVERY Semi-Auto I own has JAMMED at least once with me except ONE.  I only have ONE that has Never jammed and that is my Smith and Wesson 40 SW the old style that is mostly metal.  I forget the model number.  My Remington Tact 4 - 1100 12 gauge has never jammed either.  But to me it is in a different class.  This "Jamming thing" makes me dislike semi-auto's quite a bit.  I still like .357 revolvers the best, but they are just so big and heavy to conceal and carry.  BB
Ever have a Beretta Bobcat .22LR? I've never sen something jam that much. Doesn't matter WHAT round I put in it. Had several armorers look at it and tweak/clean it, still jams. Even had Beretta look at it, and it jammed every round when they tested it as well. Huge POS, I'm surprised Beretta didn't buy them all back and try to bury that part of their history.
+FraggedDabloons You have probably  already tried it, but I have several 22 LR "semi-auto's".  All of them have jammed once in awhile.  But on mine it seems they tend not to jam if I shoot a Round Nose bullet and have them lubricated very well.  Lubricated a little MORE than you are really supposed to, kind of like to "excess" almost.  Other than that, I don't know what else to suggest.  Some Gunsmith might can fix it, I don't know.  You know, I use those 22LR's for practicing, when a round jams, I save it and shoot it in my 22 revolver.  If I shoot Hollow point ammo in my 22 Semi-auto's I notice more problems.  The LCP Ruger, it had a "RE-Call" right after it came out because it would fire if dropped, so they re-called them, I sent a letter with it about the jamming.  When I got it back it STILL Jammed.  It will jam on that "American" brand round nose FMJ nearly every time.  I got some flat nosed FMJ, it does a little better with that, I practice with that round.  But the Hornaday ammo is sharply pointed and it feeds very well with it, I have NOT shot as much of that because of cost, but it has never jammed on it...........so far.  You know, I really prefer REVOLVERS.  My Ruger mini-14 Ranch Rifle will jam occasionally too.  I like revolvers and SHOTGUNS.  Any semi-auto or full auto can jam at any time it seems to ME.  Man they gotta be Clean clean clean too.  Hard to beat a .357 Revolver, just hard to C&C.  BB   
Thugs must laugh at us. We worry about penetration , hollow points, mag capacity, fps, laser sight, stopping power, etc.  They run at the 1st appearance of a gun, any gun.  They know a white hot bullet, any bullet, will put a bloody tunnel in their body, 4" or 14" don't matter to them. I wonder how many of those big city shootings are from legal permit holders who know enough to leave after shooting.  No witnesses in the hood and there's a lawyer attached to every bullet. 
Pretty much everyone who doesn't carry laughs at us or calls us crazy over this.
There is a lot of truth to all of that.  I don't want to be shot with any of them.  But some CRAZY and Doper people will keep coming at you even after being shot more than once.  There are SO MANY of those people around now.  This culture is getting lousier by the day.  BB
Great review, thank you. I am currently carrying this in my G42.
That's actually impressive for a .380
Have you seen the .380 RIP rounds? Thats what I carry for every day self defense! I just saw your video with your G19 and Ameriglo Trijicon sights? Im confused! Im looking to pick up some night sighys for my G42 and I want either the Classic or HD. Can you explain how it says trijicon on them? Thanks you and thank you for your services!
+Michael Roche II Ameriglo makes the sights and sends them to Trijicon for the inserts. Trijicon puts there logo on the sights because of the inserts and sends them back to Ameriglo. I love Ameriglo sights and will have them on my xds soon. :)  
Most popular 380s have a shorter barrel. Hornady critical defense claims to have less muzzle flash from short barrelled pistols I wonder if that works faster burning powder could give higher velocity.
+pickin4you Holy shit this is real life 
+Allen Vestal The answer is yes, he is suggesting that somehow slower burning powder that explodes in the air and not in the barrel is somehow aiding in bullet propulsion, whether he believes it or not.  The conversation ends here.  
For any who still think the .380 is a pipsqeak cartridge,this test disproves that. Big stretch cavity & ideal penetration for self defense. Thanks for the detailed testing you did.
I can't stand those people! Umm getting shot with this would suck!
For being a short 9mm I am impressed. I have these in .45 and I think the Critical Defense in .380 demonstrated in this video is devastating.
My Ruger LCP blew up in my hand at the range last trip. Using just Remington 95gr brass factory ammo. I am lucky I did not lose my hand or some fingers.  I do also have a P3AT and not crazy about shooting it either. I will tell you the first question Ruger asked me when I called was did I have +P ammo or reloads. They said usually when a gun explodes(I guess this happens more than I thought) it is usually the ammo so I guess it could have been a bad round from Remington however Ruger DOES NOT recommend using +P ammo so WHATEVER YOU DO, DONT USE +P. This ammo should be fine but just wanted viewer to know about this potential problem.Gun Explodes, Ruger LCP blows apart when I was shooting it.
+n4ktz Thanks for passing that along I had considered that gun at one point but purchased a different gun. Glad you didn't suffer and serious injuries just goes to show it dose not matter the maker of guns these things happen regardless of what you spend on a gun or its reputation.
Smart move....I would never get another(or shoot) an LCP.....
Great vid! Straight ad to the point, no bs. I've been watching reviews online about all types of hollow points for the 380 and this one is what I carry in my S&W bodyguard with full confidence
Yes! Picked a winner again. Love my critical series rounds. These videos just help me keep confidence in my carry choices.
I love how they plug up the tip -- so it won't get plugged up. LOL It's like using pregnancy as a form of birth control...
hi. i would like to see a test with a lighter bullet. here in my country El Salvador is only available Winchester SilverTip 380. no other option. i'd like to se how that bullet performs. i have a bersa plus as my primary carry gun... but full metal jackets tends to over penetrate targets. thanks Tnoutdoors9
Good video. I've been a fan of the Critical Defense ammo since I read the early reports when it first came out.
It didn't even penetrate the minimum 12"
How does the .380 critical duty perform?
a guy broke in the house next to me. he pulled a gun on the old man who lived there. his wife shot the man with her 380 using this ammo Hornady Critical Defense , she hit him 3 times in the collar bone area. they said they came out his shoulder blade like golf balls . she said he did not move when he hit the floor.
Thanks for the test.  I've been carrying this ammo in my Ruger LCP so it's nice to see how it performs.
Great video. Short and to the point. Thanks for uploading.
You didn't say how deeply the round penetrated. Kinda important.
+tnoutdoors9 test this in an LCP by chance ?
wish you would test with a kahr p380 or true pocket pistol as stated below
Your videos are #1, good round
I've seen a lot of mixed reviews of the Critical Defense in .380. in some barrel lengths, it doesn't get as good of penetration. with anything I carry, I like to have a round that can stay between 12 and 18 inches of penetration
I got some of these for my wife's DB380.  She shot a 2 liter bottle of water from about 10 yards away and the bullet didn't exit the bottle.  The bullet expanded perfectly, but I had expected a complete pass through on just one 2 liter soda bottle.  I'm thinking of loading her 6 round magazine with alternating  Critical Defense and FMJ bullets.  Or looking into some other round.  I was completely surprised by the results you got in your test because it didn't really match my less scientific one.
If a round overpenetrates, it could hit an innocent bystander 
His carefully planned out calibrated gel ballistics results didn't match your less scientific one. And you were surprised why?
Anyone tested a whole box of this ammo I wanna know the if they all perform the same
Seems like the best so far out of all of the tested 380
Awesome review keep them coming.  Im subing
Thanks for the review/test. Very informative.
Great review. I chose this round for my Taurus TCP .380 based on this review. Although there is another YT ammo reviewer that considers this round to be at the bottom of the barrel of all the .380 rounds he's tested I have to disagree. Based mainly on the depth of penetration it didn't pass his 12" minimum. From looking at the size and length of the stretch cavity it created I consider it a good self defense round even though it fell shy of his 12" penetration minimum. I'll trade that 3/4" penetration for a larger stretch cavity any day.
Really needs to be repeated with an LCP as the launcher.
+WinchesterRanger   You can expect less expansion with the LCP due to the much shorter barrel, or the possibility of no expansion at all depending on quality of the ammo.   I certainly understand the value of the flat pocket guns as a last resort but I'm personally not interested in them.
+tnoutdoors9 I was assuming you didn't just do these tests for yourself.  the vast majority of 380 users carry micro pistols, less so guns like the P232 and Bersa. Just trying to coax you into doing a micro 380 test :) 
380 rd is getting more popular I wonder if the price per rd will drop?
I don't see it happening
yea if they can make a cheap rd an sell it at a high price they have set, why wouldn't they.
Have you ever tried the bullets without the red plug? (Remove red plug before shooting)
Why?  You can just buy HydraShok's at that point.
+FrustratedNameSearch because these are not hydrahoks and I would like to see what happens.  On the same note, I will soon be making a video after shooting some lyman mold  wheel weight cast bullets  to see how they perform. I have also never used these.  I do not have a .380 anymore as I threw it in a fire and abandoned it to get stolen.  No one stole it after a year. It was that bad.
I carry this ammo in my Kel Tec P3-AT pocket gun. My primary carry is a Kahr CM9 with 124 gr Gold Dots & 147 gr Winchester Ranger-Ts in the backup mag. I feel confident in this load out, but when I cycle through all the Speers I may get some Critical Defense in 9x19 to replace them, based on this & other videos.
Thanks for reminding me why I waited for this quality ammo. Makes me more confident with a .380 too LOL.
Where I live, if you look at the price of the 9mm and 380 Hornady Critical Defense ammo, the 380 is cheaper. Plus you can find it pretty easy on store shelves. Lots of gun owners here, so 9mm is high priced and not easy to find.
Your fans are sure gonna miss you. 
Thanks to this video I have decided to make this ammo my choice of carry. Thank you tnoutdoors9 I appreciate your reviews.
this gun/ammo would stop me!  I wouldn't wanna get shot by it...even if you don't die right away, you would more then likely loose a lot of blood....not so good
I would feel safe using this ammunition against a bad guy.
Put Winchester PDX1's thru my wife's sig p238 and out of 20 rds, i had three failures to feed during a couple rapid fire sessions.No problems with the Hornady CD.However the Winchester's worked just fine in 9mm and 40.
I just received three boxes to use on my Bersa CC .380
"Love this defensive ammo...Hornady makes some great ammo......We have it in .380 (for my wife's LC380) & also in .40 (for my M&P Shield .40)......Good review on both,Thank you....Keep up the good work and as far as the back ground noise goes no worries from us here as we love that sound,LoL........Have a great day...."
Very informative...Bill
Thanks for the Video you always help me choose ammo that I have  feel will get the job done in a self defense situation.
Looks like a really good choice for .380 ACP !!!
You know a good friend of mine killed a small hog with this round haha. He was out fishing in texas and saw the small pig rooting around in the brush he crept up to within about 15 yards and one shot dropped it in about 25 yards.
It was a Taurus 738 I believe. 
Stop Shaking you Bastard
Once again, you have helped me to make a decision on a defensive load!  The tape doesn't lie. Hornady puts out a fine product. I have some of the old Hornady .380 that I put in my Bersa (Back-Up) and my wife's as well. After watching this video, I am going to get a couple of boxes of this 90 Grain Hornady Critical Defense. Thanks again for all of your hard work, which helps those of us with Conceal Carry Licenses.
Daniel W Ever consider you may need to shoot from the inside of a vehicle out? and if you say I'd just roll down the window I'm scared for you.
I was impressed to see a CD .380 FTX work well out of a 3.5" barrel after seeing a YT review of a 38 Special 110 gr FTX that didn't expand when using a 1 7/8" incher. I sure would like to see a test of the Hornady Lite 38 Spec 95 gr FTX using a 3.5 to 4" barrel to see if their is yet another option for home defense with reduced recoil and flip. Good job - thanks.
1:17 helps it feed better as well.
I'm carrying the Hornady CD in my Bersa .380 cc right now. I also like the Corbon DPX.
The UFO Shared on Google+ · 1 year ago
Note: No animals were hurt in the study.This in November's American Journal of Veterinary Research.  42 fresh cadaver heads of 12 to 18 month old steers were used to determine which firearm ammo worked best when used to euthanize feedlot cattle.(Again,these steers were already dead).  For each of 7 combinations of firearms & ammunitions (.22-caliber rifle firing a long rifle 30-grain plated lead solid- or hollow point round,.223-calibre firing a 50-grain ballistic-tip round,9-mm pistol firing a 124-grain total metal jacket round, .45-caliber automatic Colt pistol (ACP) firing a 230-grain full metal jacket round,and a 12-guage shotgun firing a 2.75-inch 1.25-ounce No.4 birdshot shell or a 1-ounce rifled slug).  The heads were all shot at an identical distance (3ml),angle,& anatomic location.  The heads were CAT-scanned & images were evaluated to determine extent of penetration,projectile fragmentation,cranial fracture,and likelihood of instantaneous death (equal or greater than 30% destruction of brain tissue or a brainstem lesion).  Results:41 of 42 skulls were penetrated by the projectile.Instantaneous death was considered a likely consequence for 83% (25/30) of heads shot with a rifle fired .22-calibre solid-point round,pistol-fired .45-calibre ACP round,carbine-fired .223-caliber round,and shotgun-fired birdshot and slug.Of the 18 heads shot with pistol-fired 9-mm and .45-caliber ACP rounds and rifle-fired .22-calibre hollow-point rounds,only 6 had brainstem lesions.  Conclusions:Gunshots delivered by all firearm-ammunition combinations EXCEPT RIFLE-FIRED .22-CALIBER HOLLOW-POINT ROUNDS AND PISTOL-FIRED 9-MM ROUNDS were viable options for euthanasia of feedlot cattle.
I have the P238 and was wondering what .380 round you recommend for personal protection. Seems the Hornady looks good as far as penetration but I like the expansion on the Winchester. Love your videos.
this is the best site for tests !!!! keep those tests commin'
I replicated this (4 layers of denim) with 10% ballistics gel. Also tested with bone embedded at 1/2' depth. The critical defense round shattered and failed to go any further than one inch total penetration upon striking bone. My video is crappy compared to yours, but the "non-bone" ballistics gel results are pretty similar to yours. I posted as a "video response"
i hav a bersa 380 plus. i tested this exact ammo with it but was havin failure to load, it seems like the front of the bullet was gettin stuck b4 it got loaded in chamber. hav u come across this problem? any suggestions on wat i can do or try?
really great in depth analysis! thanks!
Hey, I'm here in Clarksville TN... I fall asleep to that kind of ambient noise every night!
2:59 I took my dog to the vet and he said the same thing. Sorry tn...I couldn't resist... :D
I love watching your videos. I think they are GREAT for helping decide what carry ammo you want. Keep up the good work!!!
I appreciate your work. I own the Bersa Plus and love it. I wrote many of your numbers down on a card and take it with me when I go to gun shows and or big box and sporting goods stores for a reference. I don't buy it unless it has ggood scores from the card. So far as far as I can tell your data is spot on the money. Keep up the good work and thank you.
@FlagrantAvidity actully its does..the first time my friend was shot he panic and fainted the next time he was shot he ran away to safety..both times it was a 40 cal..
Thanks for the great work you do on ballistics
Good information. Keep up the good work. Any after thoughts on the Bersa thunder 380 plus?
Is .22 underpowered for self defense? Do you want to get shot with one? What a bunch of dumbass logic, I hate it when people say this sort of thing.
Which 380 cartridge would you say performs the best in regards to expansion and penetration?
I would agree, except that it looks like Hornady is ramping production of their Critical Defense in favor of their Critical Duty ammo, the latter of which has a harder jacket. It has a harder jacket for better obstacle penetration, but in reality just makes it harder to expand in flesh.
@FlagrantAvidity Im going to do it again and taking a video soon, i have two jugs but i am not sure thats enough, im going to wait till i have more.
Once again, a very professionally done video. Regarding adequate calibers for self defense...........the choice of bullet used is critical! Modern high end (and expensive!) handgun ammo with bullets designed to expand and penetrate really open the options for what caliber you carry. Personally, my carry guns are Hornady Critical Defense in 40 S&W and 9mm. At night I have Federal Hydra Shok 45 ACP 230 grn with a Surefire TLR-4 under a Glock 30 behind my head. Hope and expect to never use it!
Even more happy to have .380 be my carry caliber now
i have this exact gun what do you think is the best ammo?
Critical Defense in .380 looks great in gelatin tests but has a problem penetrating bone. My favorite load for the Bersa Thunder 380 is Speer Gold Dots.
Runs fine in mine, I bought 2 boxes, shot 1 box plus, shoots to what the sights are set to. But it is not a "comfortable" gun to just target shoot with.
Love you're ballistic testing videos try to make them most accurate as possible..
Your vid confirms I made the right choice. Thanks.
I just did my own little test of this ammo and had a MASSIVE failure, tested it on 3 milk jugs filled with water in addition to a thick plastic cooler also filled with water as a backstop. It did not expand at all and only bounced off the cooler. It had partially smushed sideways but did not expand in the proper way at all! I was honestly shocked. Im going to do some more testing soon to see if i can make it happen again on film.
Thanks for these great ammo tests! It really helped me narrow down the choices for my .380 LCP. I ended up choosing The Hornady Critical Def. Do you except donations to help out with the cost of all these vids? Paypal? Thx Again!
Or if Hornady maybe came out with a 100 grain +P Critical Defense FTX load in .380 maybe it could conistantly reach the FBI minimum standard of 12"+ penetration in denim dressed ballistics gel. I don't understand why ammo manufactures are not striving to reach that standard in the .380 caliber.
Very nice and very methodical. Thanks
Big damage how far did you shoot from..?
11.25 inches is pretty damn good for a 380. .380 ammo has gotten a LOT better over the last few years. Underwood, Buffalo Bore and Speer offer some excellent cartridges in 90 grain JHP that hover around the 11" mark. Personally, I'd like to see the 102 grain Golden Sabre bullet stuffed with a +P powder charge and fired from a Bersa Thunder 380.
I second that. Bersas crush Hi Points. Super reliable. High quality construction, machining and material selection. Hi points use cheap materials. Why do you think they're so cheap? Some of that cost covers the lifetime warranty, so in reality they're even cheaper than what you're paying. Bersa is all quality, high strength steel. The trigger is much lighter and crisper than hi-point as well. Just shoot one and draw your own conclusions.
you're barking at the wrong tree my friend. take my word, your "pea shooter" was designed by professionals and is meant to shoot FMJ ONLY. this JHP trend comes with the need for US law enforcement to shoot a long range WAR cartridge like 9 mm Parrabellum (sic) with minimal risk of ricochets or over penetration in urban environment. your Mak is designed from the get go for up to 25 yards engagements. within this distance there is no difference between 9x18 Mak and 9 mm Luger ;)
Oh trust me, it packs a punch. I call it a stalker stopper... (way before black ops 2)
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