Among my favorite types of ammunition for personal defense are those using the Hornady eXtreme Terminal Performance bullet.
The XTP is just one among many Hornady products I use and have confidence in.
Modern handgun bullets have benefited from developing technology, design and materials.
Modern shooters may not realize this, but although the hollow point pistol bullet has been around well over 100 years, performance hasn’t been ideal. Some failed to expand unless they hit a brick wall, others expanded too soon and fragmented.
The bonded-core controlled-expansion bullet is a good choice for personal defense, offering a balance of expansion and penetration.
The recommendation for a handgun bullet for personal defense isn’t something I take lightly.
A handgun cartridge must be resistant to the elements, feed reliable, and feature a full powder burn.
The full powder burn limits muzzle signature and is a key element of accuracy.
Velocity must be enough, but not so much there is greater recoil and pressure than we really need.
While many loads were developed for the giant law enforcement or military market, reliability is the first concern and penetration is essential.
I have no use for fragmenting or trick bullets.
Ultra high-velocity, ultra-lightweight bullets will underpenetrate or fragment on light obstacles, such as a heavy belt buckle.
The adversary may have his arms extended firing at you. You may not have an easy frontal shot, but a shot in which the bullet must travel at an angle to reach vital organs.
The bullet must penetrate heavy arm bones and reach vital organs. The only predictor of incapacitation is penetration causing blood loss.
Penetration of 16 inches or so is ideal. The bullet should expand to 1.5 inches past its original diameter.
Hornady XTP and FTX
While I have the greatest respect for the XTP bullet, there are other choices.
The Hornady Critical Duty load recently won the prestigious FBI 9mm ammunition contract. Accuracy is excellent.
The loading demonstrated exceptional performance in clothing penetration tests as well as sheet-metal penetration.
Hornady left behind standard bonded-core technology using a hollow point and designed a bonded core with a deep sump and a polymer nose insert. This results in consistent expansion, even after penetrating barriers. The nose simply will not clog with material and fail to expand.
In most concealed carry handguns with barrels as short as three inches, the Critical Defense loading is a better choice.
The Critical Defense load is the original Hornady polymer nose FTX design.
The nose plug is an aid in instigating expansion even after penetrating heavy clothing.
An overlooked and very effective loading, as an example, is the .357 Magnum Critical Duty.
Hornady Handgun Ammo
The 250-grain XTP for those handloading the .45 Colt is an outstanding bullet, accurate with good performance.
The XTP features a bonded core that bonds the jacket to the lead core.
I have loaded the 90-grain XTP to 1,600 fps in the .38 Super, as an example, without fragmentation. The bullet stays together and expands.
The 9mm 124-grain XTP is among the best balanced and most accurate loads in a wide variety of handguns.
The 200-grain XTP is a favored loading in the .45 ACP. I have never fired this load in any pistol without excellent accuracy and performance.
Hornady Shotgun Ammo
Not content to master the pistol ammunition category and rest on their laurels, Hornady developed impressive 12-gauge shotgun loads.
The Critical Defense features an eight-pellet loading that has proven reliable in self-loading shotguns.
Automatic shotguns need a good balance of velocity and payload to function reliably. The Critical Defense loading offers consistent results.
In a self-defense loading, you do not want a wide dispersion of pellets.
You want a cohesive array of hits, tightly centered on target, well past 15 yards to cover every scenario.
Hornady’s Critical Defense and the new Hornady Black shotgun shells solve a lot of problems.
Hornady Rifle Ammo
FTX technology has translated well to rifles. The Hornady 155-grain Critical Defense is the outstanding personal defense load in the .308 rifle.
The Hornady lineup, from the various XTP loads, the .22 Magnum Critical Defense, up to the .308 Winchester and .45 ACP loadings, offer first-class reliability and accuracy.
Effect on target is designed in every case to offer a good balance of expansion and penetration.
These loads are ammunition you can bet you life on.
What is your favorite type of Hornady defense ammunition? Let us know in the comments below!