Critical Defense Lite 9mm

Richard Johnson
by Richard Johnson
critical defense lite

At the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers show in October, Hornady introduced a number of new products that will be available in 2015. Among them is the new Critical Defense Lite round in 9mm.

The new load uses an FTX bullet – a hollowpoint with a polymer plug – like the other Critical Defense loads use. However, this bullet is light for the caliber: only 100 grains. Also, it is a standard pressure round, not a +P.

Combining the standard pressure with a lightweight bullet can create less felt recoil as compared to heavier and faster rounds. In fact, Hornady states this round generates 27% less recoil than “standard loads.”

What the comparison load was that the company used to calculate the recoil reduction is not given. However, Hornady does offer a heavier, faster 9mm load in the Critical Defense line that would be the best choice for comparison.

Hornady states this load will penetrate 10″ in ballistics gel in the FBI heavy clothing test.

The polymer tip is pink, and the company donates a portion of the proceeds to fund breast cancer research. The rounds are also more expensive than the standard Critical Duty loads: $28.12 for a box vs $27.71 for a box of the normal Critical Defense 9mm.

Richard Johnson
Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is

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  • Daymon Daymon on Dec 18, 2014

    Shot placement is more important than power. Smaller hands, elderly, injured, handicapped, I can see a roll for this round.

  • Dr. O Dr. O on Jan 04, 2015

    I applaued Hornady for producing these rounds. My 70 year old mother was reluctant to move to the 9mm until she fired these rounds. I bet anyone that breaks into her home now will not stop and say "no do not shoot me with those "wimpy" 9mm rounds" gives her the confidence to pull the trigger without flinching. All of you 200+ pound men that can fire anything in a pistol caliber great, you are just like me and quite frankly are the target size my mother needs to stop. I rather her shoot this round than a .38 ACP. My guns are all loaded with a form of Hornady for home defense, their stuff just works.