Critical Defense has the potential to outperform many comparable JHP loadings due to the nature of its filled-tip design. An additional advantage is that it is compliant in areas where hollow points may be restricted. Photo Courtesy Hornady

Several years ago, Hornady introduced their innovative line of Critical Defense handgun ammunition. Designed specifically for personal defense, this line of ammunition filled a vital niche and stands as a viable alternative to jacketed hollowpoints (JHP) typically used in that role. Hornady has recently expanded their Critical Defense offerings to include other popular cartridges used for self-defense.

Considering the wide range of popular hollowpoints currently available, one may wonder where Critical Defense fits. The fact of the matter is Critical Defense outperforms many JHPs under actual field conditions. It also makes the cut in certain jurisdictions where the use of hollowpoint ammunition by private citizens is forbidden.

The Critical Defense 165-gr. .40 S&W load punched through 12.5˝ of gelatin. The elastoner tip is just to the rear of the expanded bullet.

Critical Difference
Modern autopistols have proven entirely reliable when using JHP ammunition. However, this was not always the case. Many self-loaders introduced prior to the 1980s were pretty much ball-specific and “iffy” performers when JHP ammunition was utilized. The feed-friendly Critical Defense bullet may just give some of these classic designs even greater capability.

Test rounds were fired through four layers of denim to simulate a heavy clothing barrier and into 10-percent ballistic gelatin.

Up Next


Critical Defense has the potential to outperform many comparable JHP loadings due to the…