Sig Sauer 365 JHP vs. Hornady Critical Defense :: uses Sig Sauer’s 365 JHP against Hornadys Critical Defense to see who has the edge. (Photo: Josh Wayner /

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The Sig Sauer 365 JHP goes head to toe with the Hornady 115-grain Critical Defense for the title of the best self-defense 9 mm ammunition. With both solid personal defense competitors, do you take the gold home with you?

A short story

Concealed ammunition

Sig Sauer 365 Munitions left and Hornady Critical Defense right. (Photo: Josh Wayner /

Both the Sig Sauer 365 JHP and Hornady Critical Defense loads are designed to fill the same general niche in the covert tote bag market. They’re both designed for compact self-defense weapons, but are equally at home in standard-size pistols. Hornady has been well established on the ammunition scene for decades and has been responsible for some of the most important advances in ammunition in recent years. The Critical Defense line revolutionized concealed carry ammunition due to its FTX tip that won’t clog the bullet or fill it with clothing or debris.

Sig Sauer, on the other hand, is a new player in the ammunition scene. You have done a lot to expand into the ammunition market and bring out some interesting products. The 365 ammunition was primarily designed for use in conjunction with Sigs P365 range of micro-compact, high capacity self-defense pistols. Projectile design and speed are designed to work together to improve the performance of small guns, with the V-Crown projectile offering a traditional jacketed hollow point.


Concealed ammunition

Both the Sig Sauer and Hornady ammunition feature a 9mm steel design. (Photo: Josh Wayner /

In order to remove any perceived distortion from the test, I decided to shoot both ammunition from a Glock 19X – rather than possibly affecting the results with the Sig Sauer P365. The Glock 19X offers a reliable, balanced, and accurate design for pistol shooting. To measure the accuracy, the Glock 19X was parked at a distance of 15 meters. I shot five five-shot groups with both the Hornady Critical Defense and Sig Sauer 365. The test was then shifted onto steel plates at various distances of up to 25 meters.

On paper, the 365 charge yielded an average group size of 1.75 “, with the smallest grouping 1.25” and the largest grouping 2.2 “. When it came to steel plates, the ammo was accurate, although it required a slight grip to the right of center.

The critical defense load resulted in an average group size of 1.2 “, with the smallest grouping at 1” and the largest group at 1.85 “. In total, this cargo shot down to an inch for all practical purposes. When it came to shooting plates, this charge was centered but slightly low. At a distance of 25 meters on plates, the bullets hit the sight, which meant that the target was obscured while firing.

Winner: Hornady


Concealed ammunition

Sig Sauer extension on the left and Hornady extension on the right. (Photo: Josh Wayner /

To test the speed, I fired both loads via an Oehler 35P chronograph. The speed is an average of 20 rounds fired 5 feet from the chronograph. The Sig 365 ammunition had an average speed of 1,176 feet per second. Hornady came in at 1,161 feet per second. The speed was essentially the same for both laps.

Winner: tie

Recoil & handling

Neither of these rounds is rated + P, so both offered slight recoil. The Sig 365 charges stacked against each other made for a faster feel, while the Hornady lap gave a smoother recoil. Although the Hornady charge was softer, the 365 laps did not experience any violent recoil. It was just a matter of sudden sliding. While each weapon handles slightly differently in terms of recoil, the clear edge went to Hornady.

In terms of handling, the Critical Defense won with the merit that the gentler recoil impulse allowed more focused and faster follow-up shots with fewer interruptions. This doesn’t mean the Sig 365 is a bad choice as it does very well overall, but the Hornady rounds only marginally ousted the Sig 365. It’s worth noting that none of the brand’s reliabilities have suffered a single failure while feeding or firing.

Winner: Hornady

Gel performance

Concealed ammunition

To test the ammunition, we paired the rounds with the reliable Glock 19X. (Photo: Josh Wayner /

Using the Clear Ballistics gel, the Glock 19X fired five rounds of each charge into the gel from a self-defense distance of 3 meters. The Sig 365 had an average depth of 13.8 inches in bare gelatin. All the balls recovered showed perfect expansion and were uniform. The deepest penetration was 15 inches and the shallowest 12.5 inches.

The Critical Defense also performed excellently as all five shots penetrated to within an inch of the same depth at 14.75 inches. All balls kept their plastic inserts until they came to rest. The expansion was pretty even, but not quite as uniform as the 365.

Winner: tie

A total of

This is a pretty close call as these two loads were run in very similar ways. I found that they were largely the same in terms of end use; But the Hornady Critical Defense only just beats the Sig 365 and wins overall due to their handling and the gentler recoil impulse. That being said, you can’t go wrong with any of these loads.

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