Hornady Critical Defense FTX Ammunition

Posted on March 29, 2009. Filed under: Guns and Hunting |

If you want a reliable, accurate jacketed hollow point self-defense round for your concealed carry pistol or revolver, you need to try the newest bullet from Hornady, the Critical Defense FTX. This bullet has solved the problem that hollowpoints have had for years- the hollowed out area in the front of the bullet gets plugged with dry material, like clothing, and then the bullet fails to properly expand. The Hornady Critical Defense FTX offers reliable expansion even through a thick winter coat.


Yesterday I went to the range at The Shooter’s Club in Fort Worth with my son Jeremy and friend Erich.


Erich and Jeremy both had new pistols they were wanting to try out and I was needing some practice with my S&W Mod. 66. But I was also eager to try out some new ammo that Jeremy had turned me on to, the Hornady Critical Defense FTX.

Friday after work I pulled into the Grapevine Academy store to pick up some ammo. They were basically out of all target ammo for the .380 and 9mm and .38 Special. The had almost no pistol ammo and were out of .308 rifle ammo. This was a little bit disconcerting. I had heard that there has been a run on guns and ammo since the election of B. Husseing Obamasky, but this was ridiculous. They did have some Hornady Critical Defense FTX in .380 so I picked up a box. At $25 a box, I only got the one box of 25 rds. I picked up a box of Winchester 147gr. 9mm because that was all they had. Voof!

We got to The Shooter’s Club at about 1130 Saturday and they had several firing lanes open, but right after we bought our tickets, a lot more people came in and filled the place up. We were just in time!

I have been to most of the shooting ranges in the Fort Worth area and The Shooters Club is definitely one of the best. The staff are always fun to talk with and knowledgeable and the range is a good solid, workable indoor range.

The three of us went to our assigned lanes and began unpacking. I had brought 3 handguns: my Ruger P-89, which I ended up not shooting, my S&W Mod 66, and my Taurus PT-58 in .380 ACP. Jeremy provided the ride to the range and the targets and soon we were all three sending bullets down range.

Jeremy was trying out his new Taurus PT-111 Millenium Pro 9mm which he had shot once before but had some technical failures and had to send it in to get fixed. He got it back not long ago and now was ready to really test it out. He shot well with a small variety of ammo and really likes it.


He tried one box of the Hornady Critical Defense ammo and had no problems. But his Millenium did have 1 failure to fire with American Eagle ammo. As soon as he squeezed the trigger again it fired.

Next, Jeremy switched to his Glock 19 in 9mm and fired another couple of boxes.


I had two goals for today’s training. 1) With my model 66 over the years I have noticed that 95% of the time I shoot it on single action. With a 6″ barrel, it is not a concealed carry gun, but I do carry it when I am hog hunting as my back up. On single action I can hit a man sized target at about 75 yards. But I need to practice it on double action, so that was the goal today.

My second goal was to shoot the box of 25 rds of Hornady Critical Defense in my Taurus PT-58 to see if it would function with this bullet. I had previously had some trouble with Hornady XTP rounds jamming my .380 so I stopped carrying that bullet in favor of Winchester Silvertips and Remington Golden Sabres, my two favorite hollow-points.

I pulled out the  Model 66 first and I took out a box of 100 rds of .38 special FMJ 130 grain bullets. I decided to conduct this training with the lower recoil .38s and next time move up to the .38 +P and then later move up to .357mag.

I put up a target and ran it out to about 7 yards. My plan was to fire 3 rds quickly, 2 to the chest in a point shoot style very fast, the 3rd round aimed at the head, but still very quickly. The goal was to get 3 rds in the kill zone in 2 seconds or less. This would be very different from the Qual ranges for my security officer’s license that was run very slowly with timed shoots with a ridiculous amount of time so that we could take a sure steady aim with each round. Today, I was going for speed first, but I wanted to see how that speed affected my accuracy.

I fired the first box of 50 at 7 yards and here is my score:

7 ring- 1

8 ring- 6

9 ring- 12

10 ring- 13

X ring- 7

Head- 16

Miss- 1 (head shot)

Total 56 rds.

Now that is not great shooting, a lot of guys could put all the rounds in the 9 or 10 ring at 7 yds. But, I was happy with my speed and accuracy. The one shot that missed the head, I knew immediately that I had pulled it out without taking aim. If I had been shooting that round at the body it would have been in the 8 ring; but if you are going to take a head shot, you had better aim every time.

The next box of .38s I moved the target all the way back to the 10 yard range. The only problem with The Shooter’s Club is that their range only goes to 10 yards.

At this range here is my score:

Outer edge (6 ring?) -1 (I immediately knew I had pulled this one out, it still hit the perp in the arm)

7 ring- 1

8 ring- 8

9 ring- 12

10 ring- 6

X ring- 4

Head- 11 with 2 misses (and one of those would have taken off his ear)

Total- 44

All in all I was satisfied with this bit of training. My goal for next time, besides upping the power to +P, is to have ZERO misses. At Ten yards it is simply unacceptable to miss with even a head shot.

After those hundred rounds I laid my Mod. 66 aside to cool off and pulled out my Taurus .380. A lot of people who write for gun mags always enjoy discounting the .380. I like this diminutive round a lot because I can fire it accurately and not have to worry about over-penetration and liability concerns that entails. The guy next to me on the range was firing .357 Sig ammo. That is an excellent round, but I am not sure I would carry that for personal defense unless we had a TEOTWAWKI situation or if I was hog huntin’.

I have had my Taurus PT-58 since 1994 and it is wonderful and reliable pistol. It is about th largest .380 ever made I guess, but with a 12 and 1 capacity, it has to be large.

All I wanted to do this morning was test it with the 25 rounds of Hornady I had purchased because my prior experience with Hornady had not been good with this pistol.

I loaded up the magazine and set the target at 7 yards. I kept the same firing sequence I had used with the Mod. 66, two rounds center of mass fired Very quickly with just a point shoot, then 1 bullet aimed at the head, but all in 2 seconds or less. After firing those 12 rds I loaded the remaining 13 and pushed the target out to 10 yds and repeated the exercise. I did not change targets this time like I did with the .38s but here is my score:

7 ring-1 (and that was dead center, below the Adam’s apple)

8 ring- 6

9 ring- 6

10 ring- 2

X ring- 1

Head – 9

That score doesn’t tell the whole story. With the .38 my groups were pretty big, but all those were double action. Now with the .380 my group was very tight, the dispersion was up and down, but all centered. The double action first round on every 3 round set shot lower in the group, but the lowest bullet was the 1 round in the X ring! The group was about 4″ wide but centered where the heart would be. The head shots were also more tightly grouped than with the S&W mod 66, but all the .380 head shots were fired on single action.

I had NO misfires or jams with the Hornady Critical Defense FTX rounds. These 90 grain jhp bullets leave the muzzle at about 1000 fps and have about 200 foot pounds of energy. Hitting where I was hitting, and not one miss, I am confident that each shot would have stopped an aggressor cold.

Now before I can whoop and hollar about the new Hornady bullets, I will have to test 1 or two more boxes with my Taurus and then get 2-3 boxes for my wife’s Sig P-230. I quite simply will not trust a new type of ammo until I have fired at least 50 rounds through the gun, and 75-100 is better. But at $1 a bullet for .380…..Voof! I will have to go slow ’cause that will break my very limited shooting budget. So far I am very impressed with this new offering by Hornady.

Go to the website I have linked above to see how the round actually works. If this bullet tests good in my two .380’s, I will start loading the Hornady bullets in all my guns!

The shoot at the range was a good time for the three of us. We went back to the house and had some hot tea and talked about guns, politics, books and religion, a great time!

Equality 7-2521


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[…] Mark12Ministries tells of his first experience with this Hornady product. Not much hard data, but at least it was reliable in his gun. […]

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