Hornady announced a new line of law enforcement ammunition called Critical Duty. This new ammo was designed to meet the specific requirements of police use. Critical Duty ammunition will be available in two 9mm loads and one .40 S&W load initially.
The Hornady Critical Duty ammunition uses a new bullet design that incorporates elements from previous company designs to perform well in the FBI ammunition testing protocol. The bullets use the Flex Tip technology, which is a polymer filled hollowpoint. The Flex Tip prevents the hollowpoint from being filled when passing through clothing or another barrier, yet it also helps expansion when striking the target.
Hornady also uses an InterLock band to hold the bullet jacket to the core, rather than using a chemical bonding process used by many other manufacturers. The benefit to the Critical Duty line of ammunition is that Hornady can use a heavier, antimony-rich core rather than a soft, pure (or close to pure) lead typically used with bonded bullets.
Critical Duty ammunition use low-flash powders and nickel cases.
The initial loads will be:
- 9mm: 135 grains @ 1010 fps, 305 ft-lbs
- 9mm +P: 135 grains @ 1110 fps, 369 ft-lbs
- .40 S&W: 175 grains @ 1010 fps, 396 ft-lbs
As mentioned previously, the Critical Duty ammo was designed to perform well in the FBI testing protocol. The protocol is an arbitrary set of standards developed by the FBI to measure ammunition performance. While I do not think the protocol is proportionally reflective of law enforcement shootings, it does provide a standard by which two ammunition designs can be compared.
Hornady states the FlexLock bullets in the Critical Duty line perform very well in the FBI protocols. This is good from a static testing standpoint, but actual performance in the street remains to be seen. There have been some rounds that performed very well on duty, but failed to meet the standards of the FBI protocol.
Likewise, I’m sure the reverse is true. I’m cautiously optimistic about the performance of this ammunition, but will not be swapping any of my ammo over to it yet.
[Note: I am a firm believer that shot placement trumps bullet design. Rapidly putting multiple rounds into vital areas is more likely to stop a fight than the choice of Federal vs. Speer vs. Winchester vs. Hornady. However, there are clearly some designs that perform better than others. So, given my druthers, I’d rather rapidly put multiple good hollowpoints into a target than the same number of cheap FMJs.]