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Thread: Hornady Critical Duty and Critical Defense. What's the Difference?

  1. #1

    Hornady Critical Duty and Critical Defense. What's the Difference?

    An answer to this burning question is found here:

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  2. #2
    Member Zincwarrior's Avatar
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    Oct 2016
    Central Texas
    Yes, Duty is supposed to have greater penetration. Defense is intentionally less so that rounds aren't blowing through multiple walls, people, etc.

  3. #3
    Site Supporter
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    Nov 2012
    Erie County, NY
    For those in Austin, GT Distributors (when was there until 2019) only would sell Critical Duty to LEOs. But you could go down to other LCS, Academy and Cabelas/Bass Pro and find it on the shelves.
    Cloud Yeller of the Boomer Age

  4. #4
    Site Supporter ccmdfd's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Southeastern NC
    I thought about posting that video when it came across my recommended list the other day. But I couldn't make it through the whole thing and didn't feel like it would be fair to post about it.

    Maybe I'm just in a bad mood but to me it came across as a bit condescending." You do not need more than 8 in of penetration in a self-defense shooting" seems very similar to the argument of who needs 30 rounds of AR ammo.

    I say this is a person who often is forced to carry either a g42 or an LCR because of being in an npe and having restrictions placed on what you wear. When I do that I'm making the informed decision to carry something that doesn't meet standard FBI criteria because in my opinion some gun is better than no gun. But, in my house everything that is loaded for defense is carrying something that's on the list and passes the FBI criteria.

    If you can't carry something on the recommended list because of costs, or availability, that certainly understandable. I can also appreciate someone who just evaluates their situation and says they don't need more than what Critical Defense does.

    But the thought of replacing the stuff that I have now with something that's only going to penetrate a few inches through bare gel, God only knows what it does with heavy clothing, just doesn't make any sense to me.

    Rant off. Maybe I am misinterpreting it but the vibe comes off as condescending to me.

  5. #5
    Fwiw, I have spoken to Hornady tech support and seen federal LE tests of critical duty 135+P from short barrel pistols, including as short as the P365 and G43. It performs well, there doesn’t seem to be a need to go to critical defense for short barrel (or any barrel) as long as recoil is tolerated.

  6. #6
    Except for a handful of loads, Hornady Critical Defense fails to penetrate deeply enough to reliably reach and pass through vitals in the torso to physically damage them. It is intentionally designed this way by Hornady. Its reduced penetration depth is conceptually flawed and not supported by informed medical opinion.

  7. #7
    Reminds me of the brilliant theory behind the adoption of 115 silver tips. I wonder how that worked out?

  8. #8
    That's nice someone made a video, but Hornady already tells you the basic differences between the two lines:
    Critical DUTY® & Critical Defense® Differences

    Critical Defense®
    Critical Defense® handgun ammunition was developed to provide the best performance for DEFENSIVE or PERSONAL PROTECTION SITUATIONS and is the ultimate choice for any short barreled, concealed carry style firearm.

    The FTX® bullets loaded in all Critical Defense® handgun ammunition are designed to expand and provide the terminal performance needed for close encounters often associated with personal protection situations. Given that, Critical Defense® is NOT intended for use in extreme (law enforcement) situations that require superior barrier performance.*

    The FTX® bullet will expand reliably and will not clog like standard hollow point bullets when fired through heavy clothing.* Additionally, Critical Defense® ammunition IS optimized for short barreled, concealed carry style handguns and will not deliver excessive recoil and associated muzzle flip.
    Critical Duty®
    Critical DUTY® handgun ammunition is built to meet the needs and requirements of LAW ENFORCEMENT and TACTICAL PROFESSIONALS, as well as those law abiding citizens who prefer a full-size handgun for their personal protection and demand superior barrier penetration and subsequent terminal performance.*

    The FlexLock® bullets loaded in all Critical DUTY® offerings are rugged, heavy jacketed bullets that deliver virtually "barrier blind" performance (i.e. total penetration, weight retention and expansion are practically the same) when shot through common urban barriers* (bare gelatin, auto glass, sheet metal, plywood, drywall, heavy clothing*).

    In addition, Critical DUTY® loads are "full power loads" designed to function full-size handgun slides. Although designed to work flawlessly in ALL handguns, these loads are NOT optimized for short barreled, concealed carry style handguns; they will deliver standard recoil during firing.
    VCDL, ACLDN, SAF (Life), GOA, NRA (Benefactor Life), USAF Retired

  9. #9
    Site Supporter ccmdfd's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Southeastern NC
    Quote Originally Posted by Bucky View Post
    Reminds me of the brilliant theory behind the adoption of 115 silver tips. I wonder how that worked out?
    I've never read anything about, or researched the development of the silver tip.

    Was it specifically designed to under penetrate?

  10. #10
    In the video they were kind enough to mention that caliber is irrelevant now and that they're loading their ammunition to the optimum performance level for their bullet designs regardless of caliber potential. I noticed this with 357 SIG vs 9mm, but some people have been a bit dismissive of this situation when I brought it up in discussion in the past. My next parlor trick for this will be swaging Speer Uni-Core 125 gr 357 mag bullets down and testing the bullet with heavy loads in 357 SIG. I'll need to work the loads up of course, but hope to get this project going after my shoulder heals (torn tendons). I'd sure like to get my hands on some 357 mag Gold Dots, but the drought continues.

    Please don't think I'm putting Hornady down for loading factory ammo to the best level of bullet performance in each caliber, I think it's the smart thing to do and I believe all responsible ammo manufacturers are doing the exact same thing.
    Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem
    I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude
    -Thomas Jefferson
    I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.

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