I did however stop by my plinking spot today (on the way back from hunting ground scouting) to perform some over due ammo test.
I own and normally carry a Russian Makarov in 9x18mm. Yes it's not American, Yes, it's not a .45, but it conceals very well in it's Kholster, recoil is manageable, has a decocking safety and I can trust it to go bang each and every time I pull the trigger. Oh yeah, and I got it at a real good price.
When researching Self Defense ammo in 9x18mm I found good quality ammo was rare. There is plenty of Russian made ammo available including Brown Bear (a lacquered round nose) and Silver Bear (in both Round Nose and Hollow Point) and at the time Hornady made a HP in their Custom line. I had found a range report that found the Silver Bear actually performed better than the Hornady Custom. So for the last couple years I carried loaded with the Silver Bear (my thoughts were it's comparatively inexpensive and the Russians built the gun, they should know how to build the ammo too, right? ), not ever having a chance to test it myself.
Now, Hornady re-entered this year with 9x18mm in their Critical Defense line. I already load the .45 with this ammo and had been impatiently waiting for the Mak release. A local gun shop, DE Guns, was gracious enough to order some in for me, at a price close to Internet and I saved freight.
So anyway, I shoved a bunch of papers in some old milk jugs and filled them with water (that is about as scientific as this is going to get), unholstered the test weapon, and loaded with one round of Silver Bear 94 gr BiMetal HP and a second round of the Hornady Critical Defense 95gr FTX. I shot from about 6 feet away, kinda close, but my thought was to get an idea of effectiveness at 'critical incident' range. Both made pretty destructive work of the jugs, obviously dumping a lot of energy, but unfortunately I could not retrieve the bullets, never found them, no holes in the ground. My shooting angle may have sent them skimming the surface of the ground toward the back stop. I did find a piece of the Silver Bear's copper jacket and the gummy plug from the Critical Defense. Neither jug show signs of a complete through and through as the back sides were blown out, no defined holes. Well, now what? So, next I shoved all the wet papers into one jug and shot so that the bullets would end into the wet ground. These penetrated all the way through, but what I found when I dug them up was telling enough.
The Silver Bear penetrated into the dirt quite a ways, lost it's jacket within the matter, and the bullet never expanded at all. I was so dismayed I gave the Russians one more chance. The second round penetrated the same, but this time expanding decent, yet also losing it's jacket and plugging the hollow point with plastic. I have shot many of these at speed and they function just as good as the round nose version. The Silver stands for the galvanized steel shell casing, (as opposed to the 'Brown' of it's laquered steel cased sibling) which stores well. I believe they are a good option for the person at a real tight budget, or good enough for back-up while hunting, or such.
On the other hand the Horandy Critical Defense was just below the surface of ground and was completely intact, nicely and evenly expanded, just as advertised, leaving a nice 'wound channel', I might add. At almost $1.25 a round, I really can't afford to throw a bunch downrange, but they so far they seem to function and feed just fine. The nickle plated brass casing should also stand up to prolonged storage and body sweat.
Once again, the ammo company from 'just down the road' in Grand Island, Nebraska comes through again with a great product that I am comfortable relying on for my family's safety.
If any of you are ever in the middle of Nebraska for any reason and have an hour or two to spare, I recommend you stop by the Hornady factory and ask for a tour. The good folks there are more than happy to show you around and it is as top notch a family style company could be. They have expanded since our last visit, so I think we may need to stop in again, just to say 'Hey'.
On a side note: I hope to put their .30-30 Lever-evolution ammo to some real world testing later this month, but judging from my brother's one shot/one kill results, it should be just fine.
( Please excuse the crude pics as I couldn't find the digi-camera and had to rely on my cheap cell-phone. )