25rds - 38 Special Hornady Critical Lite Defense 90gr. FTX Ammo


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Hornady Ammunition 90 Grain Jacketed Hollow-Point (JHP) Ammo Details

This is 38 Special Hornady Critical Defense Lite 90gr. FTX Hollow Point Ammo. The Critical Defense Lite 38 Special load is an effective, reduced recoil option for ANY shooter looking to minimize the felt recoil of their lightweight, compact personal protection revolver. Designed with the same proven components as the Critical Defense line of ammunition, this offering features a 90 grain FTX bullet with a unique PINK Flex Tip! This ammo is nickel coated brass cased, boxer primed, non-magnetic and non-corrosive. This ammo comes packed in 25rd. boxes.

  • Manufacturer
    Hornady Ammunition
  • Condition
  • Bullet Weight
    90 Grain
  • Bullet Type
    Jacketed Hollow-Point (JHP)
  • Use Type
    Self Defense
  • Casing Type
    Nickel-Plated Brass
  • Quantity
  • Ammo Caliber
    38 Special
  • Manufacturer SKU
  • Primer Type
  • Muzzle Velocity
  • Muzzle Energy
  • UPC Barcode
  • Cost Per Round

Ballistic Gel Testing


We tested this Hornady Ammunition 38 Special ammo by firing five rounds with a S&W 640 with a 2.125-inch barrel into calibrated Clear Ballistics gelatin. Of those five rounds, we discovered the ammo penetrated an average of 13.9-inches into the gelatin. Our test rounds ended the test with an average expanded diameter of 0.452-inches, retaining 99% of the projectile's original weight.

On this page, you'll see video of our tests including photographs that detail the ammunition before/after firing it through a four-layer barrier into gelatin. Also, you'll see how this Hornady Ammunition 38 Special ammunition stacks up compared to other self-defense rounds in 38 Special.

To read more about our testing procedures and processes, please head here.

25rds - 38 Special Hornady Critical Lite Defense 90gr. FTX Ammo fired into ballistic gelatin

Unfired versus Fired Round Comparison

Image detailing before and after firing 25rds - 38 Special Hornady Critical Lite Defense 90gr. FTX Ammo Image detailing before and after firing 25rds - 38 Special Hornady Critical Lite Defense 90gr. FTX Ammo

How do the results for this Hornady Ammunition 38 Special compare to other 38 SPECIAL?

25rds - 38 Special Hornady Critical Lite Defense 90gr. FTX Ammo Gel Test Results
Bullet Depth (in.) 12.4 13 13.1 15 16
Expanded Diameter (in.) 0.35 0.46 0.47 0.49 0.49
Bullet Weight after shot (gr.) 89 89.1 89.3 89.5 90
Bullet Velocity (fps) 888 897 901 928 935
Reviews Leave a Review
  • ☆☆☆☆☆

    posted on by Chris Williams

    Great round very low recoil very accurate and four out of five of my rounds expanded

  • ☆☆☆☆☆

    posted on by Fwank

    I'm surprised by how well it did, honestly. The Hornady FTX bullets in most calibers have failed to impress me in the tests I've seen. I am astonished that four of the five bullets expanded at such low velocities. Penetration and weight retention are likewise really good for a .38 snubby load, especially one that's not even +P.

    Hornady's muzzle velocity claims are, as usual with their revolver ammo, totally out to lunch. 1200 feet per second? Really? Maybe from a lever-action rifle with a 24" barrel. From a 2" snub-nose revolver it looks more like right around 900. And this might be for the best, because if you pushed them any faster they might overexpand and fail to penetrate adequately, and, of course, there would be more recoil too. Expanding bullets that are ultra light for caliber tend to have that problem. I kind of wish Hornady would print the correct velocity on the box, though.

  • ☆☆☆☆☆

    posted on by Bobo

    My wife was gun shy because of the recoil. She loves this round from my colt detective special. My colt detective, it now seems its hers.

  • ☆☆☆☆☆

    posted on by Steven Askew

    My wife's a first shooter and this ammo gave her the confidence she needed to get use to her 38 special with reduced recoil.

  • ☆☆☆☆☆

    posted on by Anthony Stevens

    The best vary accurate and so smooth my 38 snub nose. Usually has a lot of recoil this round had none great ammo

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