Hornady Critical Defense 410 Triple Defense

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Hornady has announced a new .410 defensive handgun load in their Critical Defense line. The 410 Triple Defense has a 115 grain .41 Caliber FXT slug backed by two .35 caliber lead balls (.35 caliber is just slightly smaller than 000 buck shot). The FXT slug will engage the rifling of a Taurus Judge.

The penetration and accuracy can be seen in the video below. It looks impressive to me.

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Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • JoeBob

    Seems more effective than the winchester PDX.

    • bbmg

      According to this test, the PDX penetrates deeper: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2011/08/18/taurus-judge-and-winchester-pdx1-410-shotshell-gel-test/

      I’m suspicious of the above though, unless the person holding the block has unusually large hands, that does not look like 12 inches to me.

      This seems to be more realistic: http://www.410handguns.com/wpimages/wp38faaf08_06.png

      From this site: http://www.410handguns.com/410_gel_results.html

      The fact is that a 410 shell only has so much energy to give from a handgun barrel, and the more projectiles you throw in, the less energy each individual projectile is going to have. With around 400 ft/lbs tops at your disposal, all that in a single slug isn’t going to be much better than a 9mm bullet.

      Three 000 buck pellets in a 410 cartridge from a short barrel give you the equivalent energy of being shot three times with a 22 rimfire, draw your own conclusions.

      • Denny

        “With around 400 ft/lbs tops at your disposal….” You probably meant without the slash.

        But, you are right, this is my thinking too. The energy divides. Here is another one to concider: why the penetration is so entrenched vision when comes to wounding potential. I am in no way a doctor, but I know that most terrifying mounds are those superficial ones. I feel this will be highly contested… -))))).

      • Denny

        Hahahaha… and I found my own typo (wound/mound). Too early in the morning, I guess.

      • bbmg

        ft-lbs, right you are.

        Mounds are mostly superficial ;)

        “why the penetration is so entrenched vision when comes to wounding potential”

        Because penetration causes damage, not energy.

        If someone shoots you in the head with a 9mm handgun while you’re wearing a kevlar helmet, all the bullet’s energy is transferred to your head but you’re unlikely to suffer naything worse than a minor headache.

        If someone shoots your unadorned head with a 22 rimfire, that’s around 4 times less energy than a 9mm but the fact that it penetrates means you have very little chance of surviving.

        Most people think that expanding ammunition is effective because it stops in the target, this couldn’t be further than the truth. Hollowpoints make a bigger hole, unfortunately they sacrifice penetration depth to do this. The ideal bullet expands *and* completely penetrates the target, which will bleed out twice as quick with an entry and exit wound.

  • Mr. Fahrenheit

    No kidding it looks impressive.

    I might have to pick up a Judge.

  • bbmg

    No mention of muzzle velocity from various barrel lengths, suspicious from an established ammunition manufacturer.

    I also note less than 12 inches of penetration in ballistic gel, which is the minimum most authorities on the subject seem to agree with when it comes to a reliable defensive round for a handgun.

    That being said, it is poking another two holes in the target aside from the main slug, definitely not something I would want to be hit by.

  • Denny

    Looks impressive, however the question to ask is what is energy left in the slug (since that is first in the line) at more than couple of feet ahead. I just look at ratio of projectiles mass and propelant, looks biased in favour of the former. Now, what would happen if the second and third were also slugs, semehow telescoped into each other…. has anyone thought about that? What would be resulting ballistics? This brings us into a multiple shot with enhanced hit probability potential for use in carbines.

  • Karina

    I remember tnoutdoors9′s test of the PDX, and if this one is anything like it, it’s not going to have exactly impressive penetration potential. But yes, as bbmg said, 3 holes is always worse than one.

    By the way, how would the performance of this be affected if one had a longer barrel than a Judge’s?

    • bbmg

      Longer barrel (up to a point) = more velocity, double the velocity and you have twice the energy. This is why it’s important that Hornady when showing the penetration performance in ballistic gel openly states what barrel the shot was fired from.

      • bbmg

        *I meant double the velocity and you have -four- times the energy.

      • Karina

        Ahh. That makes sense, thanks for the clarification.

  • gunslinger

    looks like a good product, but where is the calculated and tested data? I would think hornaday would have that info for us.

    • bbmg

      If it was impressive, they would have been more than happy to show it prominently in the ad.

  • Mu

    If it gives a Judge the equivalent of a triple hit by a 380, I wouldn’t complain. It will give anything but an attacking brown bear something to think about for a second.

    • bbmg

      At most, it’s the equivalent of a double hit from a 380, one hit from a 9mm, and a bit more than half the hit from a 357 magnum. Take your pick.

      • Noodles

        ONLY if your shot would have hit. I’d take 9 rounds of 380 over 6 rounds of this.

      • bbmg

        A shotgun still has to be aimed, and at the short ranges this thing is intended for I don’t imagine the spread is enough to significantly increase your hit probability.

    • noob

      Well, if the cylinder capacity is 5 rounds that would mean you are carrying 15 rounds of .380 by that equivalence, which you can bring to bear at about 3x the rate of fire all things being equal.

      That means you’ve managed to outgun a Beretta M1934, but you have less firepower than most modern concealable pistols.

      This would have been great in WW1.

  • Cliff Krieger

    “Most people think that expanding ammunition is effective because it stops in the target, this couldn’t be further than the truth. Hollowpoints make a bigger hole, unfortunately they sacrifice penetration depth to do this. The ideal bullet expands *and* completely penetrates the target, which will bleed out twice as quick with an entry and exit wound.”

    Not exactly right. A through and through would is great if you do not care about what is behind your target. Also, the human body is not a big balloon of blood. The blood is contained within the blood vesels. You bleed when you are cut because you have severed capillaries. They are too small to cause you to bleed out. To stop a person, you have to sever the bigger arteries or more smaller ones. Hollow points increase the odds of that by making a wider wound track, but yes, at the expense of penetration. The extra hole made by an exit doesn’t make much difference if you haven’t gotten the arteries in between.

    That said, wounds are as much art as they are science.

    • bbmg

      Fair comment, naturally if a bullet’s path doesn’t intersect any large blood bearing organs then it doesn’t matter if there’s one hole or two.

    • Mike Knox

      Expanding Projectiles use hydrostatic shock to to aggravate it’s wounding effect and inertia to arrest the target’s momentum. For that it doesn’t need to directly wound organs to cause bleeding but uses the shock to cause ruptured organs and tissue lacerations/tares. Half of that trauma is already enough to cause organ failure and target incapacitation.

      The Idea for stacked projectiles like this is to cause more wound channels in the target for both a wider shock zone and faster bleed-out started by the lead projectile in a staggered effect..

      • bbmg

        Disagree on several levels:

        - arresting target momentum? How long before this myth is forgotten? If a projectile has enough energy to knock down the target, then it also has enough energy to literally knock the shooter off his feet.

        - in order to have significant damage hydrostatic shock, you need a projectile travelling at several times the speed of sound, not the case with the Judge or similar revolver shotguns

        - stacked projectiles causing multiple shallow wounds are not as effective as a single projectile penetrating a vital organ. This is why birdshot is considered to be an extremely ineffective defensive load.

      • Mike Knox

        @bbmg
        I’m guessing you’ve never seen someone shot with a .44 mag hollow point in person. I’ve actually felt getting kicked hard in a major muscle group and I can attest that the shock from a hit like that can buckle up movement in the torso and limbs. So if a shock that mild starting outside can do that, try and picture what an intense shock from inside your centre mass can do to you.

        Next, ask any officer who’ve used a half load .45 ACP or a plain old 12ga beanbag on someone, they’ll tell you how quickly that target stopped in place. Then ask another officer who took a shot from OO buckshot to the vest, even with glancing or deflected shots they’ll get warnings from trauma surgeons about damage to midsection organs (liver, pancreas, spleen, even lungs). Even mild bruising can be dire or even fatal.

        Next time, try talking to people who’ve actually wintessed these things in person rather than just googling these up..

  • Lance

    Very nice round. Use your Taurus Judge to shot a intruder 3 times with one shot.

  • J-

    I’d like to know if they could do two of the .41 cal FTX slugs and ditch the buckshot. Sort of like the old Project SALVO. You could, in theory, have two bullets impact within a couple of inches at 25 yds. That would be a LOT of knockdown.

  • Tony

    “No mention of muzzle velocity from various barrel lengths, suspicious from an established ammunition manufacturer.
    I also note less than 12 inches of penetration in ballistic gel, which is the minimum most authorities on the subject seem to agree with when it comes to a reliable defensive round for a handgun.
    That being said, it is poking another two holes in the target aside from the main slug, definitely not something I would want to be hit by.”

    Thats actually taken horrible out of context, as many so ignorantly do over the years. The 12 inch rule is not what “authorities agree” would make a reliable defensive round. It’s what the FBI deem as a reliable “duty round”. Their requirements list the 12 inches of penetration as a standard for the projectile to do through objects and still effectively take someone down. (i.e. windows, doors, automobiles) A defensive load does not need to do that, as most self defense situations will not include a barrier. (of course there are always excepetions) The video showed the projectiles penetrating over ten inches with thick clothing. That is more than enough to take someone down and is a suitable defensive round.

  • cdbren

    750 fps I believe is what is quoted from Hornady. 294 fp of energy.

    That’s only a bit less than say a .380 round or a .38 special. But more fp of energy. I’ve seen some .45 ammo with exactly or near those numbers and people carry those all the time for self defense.

    Winchester:

    185 Gr. FMJ 770 244
    230 Gr. FMJ SWC 835 356
    230 Gr. JHP Subsonic 880 396
    230 Gr. FMJ 835 326

  • cdbren

    You don’t want a defense round in a house to go blasting through walls if you miss. The Judge is basically a close quarters/house gun with the .410 loads. It can be a very effective CC gun with the .45 long colt ammo. Or a snake gun with bird shot. That is the appeal of it. It is so versatile.