Hornady Critical Defense .30 Carbine

Also new in Hornady’s 2013 Critical Defense line up is a .30 Carbine defensive round. It is good to see a modern defensive cartridge for the M1 Carbine.

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.


  • Lagduf

    Awesome, except where am I going to get an M1 Carbine? Wish the CMP still had them.

    • Reverend Clint

      I saw one at my local Big 5 but it was $900 and looked like it came out of a bog

      • Lagduf

        I’ve only ever heard of Big 5 carrying the commercial copies.

    • W

      ze internets.

      gunbroker or guns america. Of course, I found one in the classifieds based off stupid luck so its not impossible.

    • Auto-Ordnance

  • surplus-addict

    People are gonna love this! FINALLY something better than FMJ! That will make it a quite formidable home defense carbine!

    • Noodles

      If you don’t mind the weight I guess.

      • bbmg
      • bbmg
      • Esh325

        Have you shot a M1 Carbine? They are nearly as light if not lighter than a AR15 carbine, even though they have a wood stock.

      • surplus-addict

        WHAT weight?!?!? They are lighter than a feather! Recoil is non-existent also…

      • P161911

        It weighs less than a Ruger 10/22! 5.2lbs vs. 5.25lbs. An AR-15 tips the scales at 7+ lbs.

      • W

        bbmg, that is one neat looking stock even though i despise bullpups. I would also cry if I cut my winchester M1 to a shorter length. 🙁

        They are about 5-6 lbs, very lightweight. Not much for accuracy, though very very convenient for a ranch rifle. They are also very fun to shoot and wouldnt reject one for home defense (although it doesnt have a flashlight).

      • bbmg

        For a modern non-bullpup IMI made the Magal in 30 carbine, not a very reliable or well loved weapon by most accounts though: http://kalashnikov.guns.ru/foreign/galil/magal.jpg

      • cc19

        Just make sure it’s going through the genuine article like an Inland etc and not one of those newer, slop Auto Ords.

      • Michael

        I love the looks and size of the magal.
        This would be an excelent home defense/PDW.
        Now make it for under $500

    • DrewN

      Cor-Bon makes a stout DPX load and I’m pretty sure Winchester has a hollow point as well. Nice to have more choices though.

    • bbmg

      Finally? Such ammo for the 30 carbine has existed for ages, and performance for the Speer gold dot sounds very much like the one quoted for the new Hornady round.

      From here: http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_Defense_Ammo_FAQ/index.htm#.30%20carbine

      “The best ammunition choices for the M1 Carbine are the Remington 110 gr JSP (R30CAR) and the Corbon 110 gr JHP DPX loading using the all copper Barnes X bullet. The Remington load has an average velocity of 1864 f/s, expands to around .54” to .58” and penetrates 13” to 16” whether in bare gelatin, through automobile windshields, or Level IIIa body armor. This is comparable intermediate barrier performance to many good .223 loads. Likewise, the Corbon DPX load penetrates 18.9″ and expands to 0.56″ in bare gelatin. The Winchester 110 gr JSP also works reasonably well, but has a bit smaller permanent wound channel compared to the Remington or Corbon DPX load. In addition, the new Speer 110 gr Gold Dot carbine load appears very promising based on the factory test data released at SHOT 2009″

      New data shows that the 110gr Speer Gold Dot bonded soft point load is also a very effective performer. Penetration is in the 16-17″ range through most of the FBI barrier test with near perfect expansion. Velocity at 10ft averages right at 2000fps”

      This was three years ago.

  • Esh325

    It’s nice to see some real self defense ammo for the .30 carbine. I think the .30 carbine FMJ got an unfair reputation as not being lethal enough. At the ranges a soldier could a hit a target with a SMG, the .30 carbine was more lethal than any pistol caliber ball ammo at the time. Really though, there are superior choices to the M1 Carbine for self defense today, but I could see this appealing to people who only have a M1 Carbine, and don’t want or can’t afford a newer “assault rifle”.

  • Esh325

    You don’t think they could have used their super performance powder to squeeze more performance out of the round? Or perhaps the .30 carbine case cannot utilize that powder effiectively.

    • Chase

      Could the extra pressure beat up the gun, just like with the M1 Garand rifle and modern-spec .30-06 cartridges?

  • Nathaniel

    Oooh, nifty.

  • AZRon

    Yes I’m an old fart.

    I remember back in the early 1970’s you could buy an M1 carbine for ~$100.00. At the same time, you could buy a used Winchester 94 for about the same price.

    95% of the time, I wouldn’t feel disadvantaged with either one in a defensive situation. They’re short, light, and have an almost “evil” magazine capacity.

    There are a lot of people spending thousands of dollars to customize a short, light, handy carbine that is no more “tactical” than these classics. (by the way…”tactical” is in between your ears, NOT what you hold in your hands)

    If I was half as smart as I am ugly, I would have bought dozens of each when they were cheap.

    It’s nice to see that Hornady is finally payng attention to the round. Joyce would approve.

    • W

      …and i feel old when i remember buying 1000 rounds of 7.62×39 for 40 bucks…

  • SmackemYackem

    My theory is the bad reputation of the M1 Carbine had more to do with the poor accuracy of the wartime production rifles rather than the round being deficient. The M1 Carbine that I have which is surplus can barely keep the rounds on the paper target at fifty yards. If I had to defend myself with it, I’d probably miss, which is probably what happened in the field as well. The soldiers probably blamed the round rather than the rifle.

    110 gr @ 1800 fps isn’t all that different from 123 gr @2400 fps. It’s not like the slower one won’t do a thing while the faster one will kill you.

  • anon

    Now I hope somebody builds an AR-esque rifle for this round because it is deserves it.

    • bbmg

      Olympic Arms used to make the PCR-30

      Excel Arms offer the X-30R

      • anon

        Thanks for that! Off for a look now.

  • Southerner

    Now with this and other recent ammunition upgrades, the .30 Carbine comes into its own for deer hunting at reasonable ranges.

  • Nicks87

    I didnt believe it until I saw this video:


    What a nasty round!

    • Nicks87

      I know its Speer Gold Dot, 110gr but I wonder how the Hornady stuff compares.

    • bbmg

      … and that’s from a pistol length barrel!

  • Lance

    Easier solution since M-1 Carbines are stupidly priced now at $800- $1000 dollars buy a good AR-15 instead, 5.56mm is better than .30 carbine is.

    Ok apart from rifles price the carbine is a good handy rifles glad to see more tactical ammo made for it. most shooters turned away from ball ammo when reloading many used 100gr Speer plinker SP bullets better performance. Ball ammo was popular years ago when US Army stocks still existed and was cheap.

    • W

      cmon man! the M1 carbine is retro! 😀

    • Cymond

      For someone choosing a new carbine, an AR-pattern system is a good value. However, there are a lot of old M-1 Carbines sitting around out there. Those people will probably appreciate this ammo.

      The M-1 Carbine has some small advantages over a 5.56 platform. First, it’s a little lighter weight. Second, some people like a bigger bullet.

      Of course, some people may enjoy owning both. I don’t own a M-1 Carbine yet, but will someday. My personal policy is to have at least a little defensive ammo for every gun in my collection.

  • Mike Knox

    Wan’t there an AR-15 in this calibre?

    • John Doe

      If it’s a caliber, then there has been at least a dozen AR-15s in it.

      • Mike Knox

        I may have recalled an AR-15 upper in .30 something but not sure if it was this calibre and I can’t remember where and what it was..

    • Lance

      Yes Olympic Arms mad a .30 Carbine AR years ago.

  • JayT

    FYI, Choate Machine and Tool makes a nice pistol grip stock for the M1 Carbine, but personally I would like to see someone like ATI come up with something along the lines of a 6 position collapseable stock with some built in rails for goodies.

  • Michael

    This is a much underated round. Would be nice if someone make an inexpensive self defensive carbine, maybe a bullpup. Make a great house gun

    • Chrontius

      I’ve been waiting for a good M1 Carbine derived bullpup since the Hezi SM-1 project folded. However, if the thing were to be designed from scratch in the near future, I’d expect to see it designed around a quadruple-stack magazine.

      Maybe we could get this thing in a .30 variation? http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2011/10/21/prototyping-a-45-smg/

  • mosinman

    maybe this will get people to finally realize that .30 carbine was and is a good round, even in ball. but im not getting my hopes up.

  • Paul O.

    I’ve got a 1944 version that was given to me because it didn’t function. New hammer, sear and spring fixed it. It shoots a consistent 2 1/2 moa. With a red dot mounted on a forward rail it’s fairly easy to ding a 18″ steel at 300 yards. 300 yards is about it for the round. Remember Audie Murphy? It was his weapon of choice. Super light and little recoil. Deadly in his hands.

  • rebart

    It’s all in the cartridge design. Hornady critical defense should make the carbine a good defensive weapon.

  • Steven

    I need some help , I live in the GREAT state of cal & my self & for youn ones all hunt . The area we hunt only permits copper rounds . I have a old school M1 & can’t find rounds . Can any help me ?