New Choices From Hornady Ammunition: Accurate, Deadly, Dependable

For 2013, Hornady has successfully made a .45 ACP +P round that meets the FBI's demands.

Hornady ammunition has been the leading industry standard for the shooting world for years. They continually surprise us with new and exciting products of the highest quality. We’ve chosen just a few of our personal favorites to point out here; you’ve gotta see this ammo.

Hornady Critical Defense in 9x18 Makarov
Hornady Critical Defense in 9×18 Makarov

Critical Defense

Hornady’s line of personal defense ammunition has added .22 WMR, 9×18 Makarov, .44 Special, and .45 Long Colt to the lineup. Loaded with the patented FTX bullet, these bullets provide consistent expansion through heavy clothing, and won’t plug up like conventional hollow points if the bad guy is wearing a leather jacket for example. The .22 WMR delivers terminal performance from a short-barreled firearm comparable to the .380 Auto Critical Defense load. Those of you lucky enough to score a Kel-Tec PMR-30 need to take a hard look at that loading. Similarly, Hornady optimized the 9×18 Makarov to deliver superior expansion from its 90-grain FTX bullet. There aren’t alot of good options out there for defense use in 9×18, but there are tons of people carrying PA-63s and CZ-82s. Guys, stop carrying around cheapie full metal jacket ammo in these guns, you can do better now! Hornady has maximized the .45 Long Colt Critical Defense load for performance in short-barreled platforms, and is a fantastic choice for the very popular Taurus Judge. Both the .44 Special and the .45 Long Colt Critical Defense loads offer real “man-stopping” power. Hornady didn’t design the Critical Defense line for extreme tactical situations where shooting through barriers might be necessary. Critical defense is designed to expand quickly every time.

Critical Duty

Hornady built the Critical Duty handgun ammunition to meet the requirements of law enforcement and tactical professionals. But they aren’t snobby, they’ll sell it to the rest of us, too. The “FlexLock” bullets loaded in all Critical Duty calibers are rugged, heavy jacketed bullets that deliver virtually “barrier blind” performance. That means total penetration, weight retention and expansion are practically the same when shot through common urban barriers such as auto glass, sheet metal, plywood, drywall, and heavy clothing. Ever seen those scary dash cam videos where some moron tries to run over police officers and they have to shoot through his windshield? Critical Duty was designed specifically for those kinds of life-or-death situations. Now, these are “full power loads” designed for full-sized handguns. Although designed to work flawlessly in ALL handguns, Hornady did not optimize these loads for short-barreled, concealed carry-style handguns; they will deliver “standard recoil” during firing. That’s official company speak for “you can safely shoot this stuff through that tiny sub-compact single stack, but don’t whine to us when your hand stings afterwards.” Personally, I think Critical Duty deserves especially serious consideration from police departments issuing the good old Glock 22. Give those .40 cals a boost, your officers deserve the best!


Hornady’s LEVERevolution ammo may be hard to pronounce, but it’s the biggest improvement in lever-action rifle ammo since before I was born. Traditionally, lever-action rifles had to use round-nosed bullets because of their tube magazines that hold all the cartridges nose-to-tail in a straight line. Use of a spitzer-type pointed bullet could damage the primer of the cartridge in front of it in the magazine tube, or even prematurely detonate that cartridge under recoil, blowing up the gun. Hornady developed a version of that patented FTX bullet just for lever actions. The soft FTX ballistic tip won’t damage or detonate primers under recoil, so it makes the use of a modern aerodynamic bullet safe in lever-action rifles. You get better accuracy, up to 250 fps in velocity gain, and 40% more muzzle energy than traditional lever-action loadings. This flatter shooting round will literally extend the effective range at which you can take a confident, humane shot with your lever gun. Terminal performance on game animals is what we’ve come to expect from Hornady—absolutely devastating. LEVERevolution ammo is available in .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, and .45 Long Colt. 21st century ammo for lever-action rifles is here, but how do you say it? Lever Revolution? Lever Evolution? Doesn’t matter, really.

Steel Match

Hornady Steel Match in .45acp.
Hornady Steel Match in .45acp.
Hornady’s new Steel Match ammo has stirred up controversy among competition shooters. Serious competitors traditionally disdain steel cased ammo because Russian-made steel cased stuff isn’t accurate enough to win matches. But Hornady is now loading match-grade, highly accurate ammo in steel cases, specifically to meet “minor” power factor requirements in 9mm and .223 calibers, and “major” power factor in .40S&W, .45acp, and .308 Winchester. Word on the street is that the Steel Match ammo is good to go, with excellent quality bullets, powder, and primers, and put together with the attention to detail that we all expect from Hornady. It is said to be very accurate, reliable stuff, and because of the steel case, Hornady can sell it for 40% less than brass cased match ammo. Yes, the price of brass has gotten that high and all indications are it isn’t going to go down anytime soon. If steel and polymer-cased ammunition is the way of the future, then Hornady is way ahead of the curve with Steel Match. Some top competitors are saying “Eww, I can’t believe you’re shooting steel cases through your race gun!” Other competitors are saying “Yeah, but this stuff works just fine and costs a lot less!” These are only four of the many types of specialized, very high quality ammo Hornady produces. Some of their product lines are now famous, like Dangerous Game and Hornady Match. Others, like the Cowboy and Superformance Varmint, are known mostly to the niche of shooters they serve. Whatever line of Hornady ammo you buy, you’ll know its accurate, deadly, and dependable.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

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