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Ammo Military & Law Enforcement

Hornady’s Critical Duty Faces the FBI Ammunition Protocol Test

by G&A Online Editors   |  May 16th, 2012 49

Since we first heard about Hornady’s Critical Duty ammo in November, we wondered how the round was really different than the company’s popular Critical Defense line.

They’re calling Critical Duty the “big brother” of the earlier personal defense round, with technology built specifically for the needs of law enforcement. It’s a tougher bullet that can go through tougher barriers with a “ruggedized” FlexLock design, a heavy InterLock band and Flex Tip techonology.

What does this all mean? Well, the Flex Tip is designed to accompany the new FlexLock bullet in helping to eliminate clogging and aiding expansion, and the InterLock band is designed to keep the bullet and core from separating.

All of this is said to ensure a bullet that can handle the various FBI barriers, including bare ballistics gel, heavy clothing, drywall, plywood, sheet metal and glass. We caught up with Hornady’s Neil Davies at the range to get the scoop on the round and find out if it could really stand up to its “big brother” claims. Hint: We weren’t disappointed.

  • JeffB.

    All well and good but we did not get to see close up the expansion factor of each.Just took you're word for it..Also had been told by Hornady that shooting the Critical Duty was NOT advised in my Glock model .23 40 caliber.
    Am I to understand that the Critical Defense is NOT a plus P and the c.Duty is?..Yes I am confused..

    • William Kister

      Critical Duty is made to penetrate more then Critical defense which could make it more likely to have over penetration and harm someone by going through a wall or something. that is probably the reason they told you that. They have the same power just the critical duty has a tougher bullet construction that has to be able to pass through auto glass and meet the requirements that law enforcement agencies would need in certain cases.

      • Heretic

        Yea, if you penetrate a wall and hit an innocent person, you're in big trouble. If the FBI does it, it's no big deal.

        • Shay

          If you hit an innocent person you are considered a murderer if an FBI special agent kills an innocent person while shooting a bad guy he is considered a hero and gets a medal.

        • Joe Bawden

          That was a Hilarious interpretation!

    • Heretic

      I don't recommend firing ANY ammo out of a glock : )

      • Gunner

        I'm not very fond of them either:-)

      • Geo1

        I agree…LOL!!! My Glock .45 just happened to blow to S**T in my face one day at the range!
        That's why I got rid of ALL of my "CROCKS"

        • JOBLO


        • Guest

          I carry a Glock 22 on duty and as a SWAT Operator. I have put thousands of rounds through this weapon, and abused the hell out of it. I have not had a single malfunction. Not one. I trust this weapon with my life. I don't care for the way it feels in my hands – very boxy – but because it is a battle gun, not some show gun, I will continue to carry it until the day I die. I live on the street every day, and I choose Glock because I KNOW when I pull the trigger, IT WILL GO BANG. If your buddies Glock blew up, then he did something that he shouldn't have.

        • Thomas Smith

          Geo1 you should elaborate on that a little. It blew to sh*t in your face doesn’t give the rest of us much to go on here. Any gun will blow to sh*t if i shove rocks down the barrel and try to shoot a ++P++++ hand loaded junk through it. So tell us, what ammo were you using? Had you ever cleaned your gun, ever? Had you recently field stripped it and installed any IEDs in the action?

      • Tigasport

        I own a Glock 19, 22, & a 23. I don't know why there is so much buzz about them not performing. I have had no issues with mine. I have put hundreds of rounds through the Glock 23 without a hiccup. I see no issue shooting Hornady Critical Duty through a Glock. For that matter even Critical Defense. Glocks should have no problem shooting a +P load as forum after forum guys have been doing it for 1000s of rounds.

      • Vince R.

        then you Sir, are VERY MUCH out of touch with reality!! Have a nice day! And i would prefer you not buy a Glock, so that some deserving individual CAN!!!

        • JOBLO


    • MacTex

      When were you advised by Hornaday NOT to utilize this round in your Glock Mod 23? Did they call it, or claim it was, a +P round? Either of those two facts, if proven accurate, would change a lot of things.Please elaborate…

  • Robert Mead

    If you are carrying a Glock, you are unarmed. My buddy's Glock would not eject, making his gun a single shot. Of course Glock repaired the gun free of charge, but if it had been needed for protection the first shot better be right on.
    I would not have one as a gift if I had to keep it.

    • MacTex

      So, based on one firearm, you are condeming all firearms of that make? Rather narrow minded, don;t you think? Every firearm mfg has a lemon now and then – it happens. I have had nothing but positive experiiences with Glocks since the mid '90's.

    • joblo

      That's why 65% of Law Enforcement agencies use glock., because they are reliable. Boy, I wish ignorant people were not allowed to post comments on the internet. Way, too many idiots with a computer!

      • David Horgan

        Actually they like them because they are cheap and mostly modular. Being reliable is a fringe benefit.

    • Thomas Smith

      Wow man, lets just simplfy your moronic comment. You know a guy who got one of the only problem glocks in the world (out of millions) and you now feel that all Glocks are essentially paper weights? Anyone worth anything is going to range test any weapon before depending on it with their life. Please leave the conversation to people who know a muzzle from a seer unless you are asking a question.

    • David Horgan

      Not a Glock fan. But they are great guns. So your friend got a malfunctioning Glock and they fixed it for free, where’s the problem? 100% of gun manufacturers have a manufacturing error every once in awhile. Its really how they take care of the problem and like you said, they fixed it for free. If someone gave you a $500 Glock you wouldn’t keep it? Doubt that. I would.

    • Bryan

      Not absolutely crazy for Glocks. However calling someone a moron and an idiot doesnt actually contribute to the conversation either. Forums: serving angry shut-ins for 20 years and going strong. lol. I have a Glock 35 and find it to be very reliable, but the trigger guard rubs my finger the wrong way when I fire no matter how change my grip. Other than no issues

  • Richard

    I own two Glocks a 9 and a 45. Carried both of them on duty. Shot thousands of rounds in over 18 years of ownership. Never had any trouble with either one. I like them both lots, and still carry them, even though I am now retired.

  • Andre

    If you limp wrist a Glock, you can get a bad feed. Certain(economy priced) ammo will double feed in a Glock in fact any make of gun. I own a Glock 23 40 cal. and I use a Wolf 9mm conversion barrel. It's rare but jams happen,some times it's operator error. I know a Glock will handle any of the +P ammo that's out there without the recoil you'd get from other makes or models. I've shot the G 26 and 30 and they shoot fine.

    • Fred

      No. Not all economy priced ammo will double feed in any make of gun.

  • MacTex

    Geeeez, you guys don't believe in any middle ground, do you? Not a lot of room for discussion here…

  • RacerX

    so, you guys that dont like Glock, what do you see as a better gun?

    • OregonDetective

      1911, or a Sig.

    • Jared

      HK P30 .40 Hands Down!

    • ColdDeadHands

      S&W M&P! 17+1. In my opinion, ergonomically perfect, 3 different backstraps for a custom fit, Well over 2000 rounds with ZERO malfunctions. My petite daughter can run a full clip through without misfiring or failing to eject. My Kimber 1911’s can’t say that. Doesn’t seem to be at all affected by “limp wristing” I have 4 clips, and have run through all 4 as fast as I can pull the trigger. VERY accurate even with Cheap ammo. About $550

      • David Horgan

        You run “clips” in your M&P handgun? Interesting….

      • rj

        You have a clip for your handgun? Tell me. How do you top load this clip into the eternal magazine through your ejection port exactly? Its a magazine. Not a clip. A clip is entirely different.

  • John

    First of Hornady’s Critical Duty fails the FBI Ammunition Protocol Tests on expansion of 1.5 times its original caliber.

  • Will Carry

    Hornady makes fine ammunition. They are among the best. Over the years I have come to the conclusion that there is not a lot of difference between the really expensive ammo and the cheaper ammo. The bad guy will certainly not know the difference.
    Since when did a Blue Jean jacket become a bullet proof vest? I have shoot a 22 long rifle round through a heavy Air Force arctic parka so I don't hold much credence to the heavy clothing myth. But I am not a law enforcement Officer either.

    • Chuck

      Hopefully we will never have to find out but…the idea is, the more a round expands, and with the ragged edges, the more internal damage- so if you don't get the center-brain shot to stop him in his tracks, the internal bleeding makes him lie down and leave you alone faster. Tear enough veins, arteries, deprives the brain of blood and out they go.

  • Chuck

    Anyone wanting more data on these rounds, I've seen a couple of articles in gun magazines about them. The 'experts' seem to think they're really special. I've seen pics of the bullets after going thru the different media- the one that went thru glass was actually kinda flat, but it expanded. All the others were not only expanded but ragged all the way around- just what you want, those ragged edges tear tissue that FMJs would push aside. I was impressed.

    • John

      I’m talking about the failure to expand to 1.5 its original caliber in ever bare gel.

      • Matt

        1.5 times its original size means it expanded by 1/2 of its original width. 9 mm will have a end result of around 13.5 mm, an increase of ~4.5 total. It doesn't look like much but I bet that those bullets expanded in the proper manner.

  • Dead eye

    Don't know where the glock haters come from but if they were crap then law enforcement would not use them so if they trust it why shouldn't I until I am proved wrong and my family buries me I will trust my glock 23 with my life

    • Ben-jammin

      Im not a glock lover just bc it doesnt feel well in my hand, but I know they are superior weapons. If not then why would most law enforcement in the US use them. Although I will ask you to try out the cz 75 sp-01 tactical. Cz 75's are the most widely used guns among law enforcement in the world. But a glock is a glock, its proven to go through the torture tests; i just dont prefer the feel. Go to the range and try a CZ 9mm

    • Actual Shooter

      LE uses Glocks because Glock sold them the pistols for a VERY reduce rate when they first made them. WAY less than 1/2 the commercial sales price. Also LE typically do not shoot that much so the weapon that they carry really does not matter as long as it is light and does not kick when they shoot. Look at what special forces use, the Marines just signed a contract for new 1911’s.

      • Actual Shooter

        FYI, I own a Glock so I am not a hater at all just going by the facts.

      • usmcmailman

        Not just 1911’s, but COLT 1911’s. Much more accurate than any Glock!

  • DOC

    I purchased my Glock 17 in November 1992. I have fired several thousand rounds, including everything from "cheap" ammo, up to several brands of +P. This includes rapid firing 32 round Glock magazines. I will sadly admit that I have never properly cleaned her. She has never had any type of malfunction.

  • John

    Lets see what ATK says about it.

  • S&W carry

    My preference in .40 is the S&W m&p pro series, comes with night sights out of the box along with a slightly better trigger for only about $80-100 more then standard line. Also a fan of the glock family but feel they are a nit too boxy on the ergonomics side. My next purchase will probably be the HK P30 or a Sig 229 its hard not to love a good doule/single action.

  • guest

    LOL, I thought the feed was about ammo not Glocks! But since your on Glocks, I have a 27 .40 sub compact. with lots of rounds(+1000) through it. It has only malfunctioned once (failure to eject), but I don't believe it was the Glock just randomly malfunctioning it happened when I was fighting for control of the weapon. During the struggle the perp. had his hands on the slide while pulling the trigger causing the round to discharge and the casing to not eject. Havn't had a single problem with the weapon since.

  • catswold

    From all I have been able to discover–from medical reports and studies, bullet weight is more important that velocity for penetration. That means, for me, subsonic (143gr) 9mm and 230gr. .45acp rounds are all I carry for SD.

    For my money, very few of the wonder-rounds are as effective or any more effective than a hard-cast lead bullet of good weight. Sadly, those are ruled out for stock Glocks and other firearms with non-traditional barrels (lands and grooves).

    As for Glocks, I bought my first G17 about around 1985 shortly after it was labeled a "terrorist weapon" that "could not be detected in a metal detector." "If the MSN is agin' it, I'm fer it." It was the best feeling pistol I have ever held–yep, the old series 1 fit my hand and shot like a MFer. It was love at first trigger-pull.

    Since that time, I have had G17's, G19's, G21's, G30's at various times and fired thousands of rounds with them and I have NEVER experienced a failure to feed or a stove-pipe, or any other malfunction–never. I would trust my life to one in a New York second. Sadly, I let go of my last one due to financial needs a few years ago and now that I am able, they are like hen's teeth to find and when you do, they are $100-200 above MSRP.

    For SD ammo, I like Winchester Ranger 230gr hollow-points and Federal Hydro-shock 143gr. I'm nobody special, just an interested "gun-nut." I currently shoot a Ruger P345, a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm (for EDC) and an old pre-model 10 38-special snubby with 158gr LSW.

    Besides, placement trumps caliber and brand, everyday.

    High-cap guns aren't going to be outlawed this time around and prices will drop eventually then I will buy one and keep it.

  • Randy Huyck

    Fired twenty Critical Duty through my 4.25″ 1911 today. Target was backed by 1/2″ plywood and two layers of old wet hay bales. Recovered four of the 20 – virtually no expansion. Plastic was still in the cavity, not plugged by wood. Not very happy about these results, I would have hoped for better.

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