(from Nov 2013)
21st in a series of a quest to find the overall best ammunition for modern micro-compact 380 ACP pistols (such as the Taurus TCP 738, the Ruger LCP, Sig P238, Beretta Pico, Kel-Tec P3AT or S&W Bodyguard or any other popular 380 micro-pistol using a barrel length of around 2.8").
This is the sixth episode in the "Final Round", where I am re-testing ammo that performed well in the first round (through bare ClearBallistics gelatin). In the Final Round, I'm testing in genuine 10% organic ordnance gelatin (aka "ballistic gelatin"), and through four layers of IWBA-specification 16oz heavy denim.
In this installment, I am testing the Hornady Critical Defense 90-grain jacketed hollow point using Hornady FTX bullets, with the polymer tip insert. In this test, the ammo performed pretty well. The average penetration met the desired minimum 12" level, but one round fell short, and one round failed to expand. That's not a confidence-inspiring performance, even though the overall penetration and average penetration results were in fact quite good.
Note: I'm not making any claims for these videos other than that these are the results I achieved, in my own testing, from the stated pistol. I have no intention to make a blanket endorsement or indictment of any product, only to review and report what I found in a given instance. Obviously it is incumbent upon each individual to conduct their own research and make up their own mind about which defensive ammunition is best for their own purposes, in their own firearms.
The Critical Defense rounds performed poorly in the bare gelatin test and I would say they performed fairly well through the IWBA 4-layer-denim test, but I am bothered by their inconsistent performance. I wouldn't personally recommend carrying Critical Defense in .380 ACP in a 2.8"-barrel micro-pistol; the bare gel performance was poor and there are other rounds out there that perform better than these.