LCP, Hornady Critical Defense, and "Smiley Faces"

LCP, Hornady Critical Defense, and "Smiley Faces"

This is a discussion on LCP, Hornady Critical Defense, and "Smiley Faces" within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I took my new LCP to the range today. This is our second one (my wife has one). I was very pleased with it - ...

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  1. #1
    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    LCP, Hornady Critical Defense, and "Smiley Faces"

    I took my new LCP to the range today. This is our second one (my wife has one). I was very pleased with it - no malfunctions, and I was able to keep magazine after magazine within a 1 1/2 - 2" circle at 7 yards...more than adequate accuracy for the role.

    My question relates to the Hornady Critical Defense ammo. While it functioned and fed just fine, I did eject one from the chamber after I had fired a round ahead of it, and upon inspection, I noted the "smiley face" that has been discussed here. Basically, something in the pistol (the bottom of the feed ramp? or a corner of the frame just below it?) is cutting a "smiley" in the polymer nose of the bullet.

    I'm not sure I can trust the feeding of this ammo? While I have not had any issues with it, I have only fired about one box (25 rounds) total, as this ammo is so expensive and hard to find. I did experience jams related to this issue with my wife's LCP with PowRBall ammo.

    Given the borderline penetration with JHPs in .380, my practice up until now has been to alternate FMJ with CD. I'm now thinking I should just use FMJ, for both feeding and penetration reasons?

    Thoughts?
    The more good folks carry guns, the fewer shots the crazies can get off.
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  2. #2
    Member Array ChihuahuaTN's Avatar
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    There is alot of discussion about there at the LCP forum

    elsiepeaforum.com

    also at length here

    Smileys

    Mike

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link, especially the second one.

    I'm 90% certain the "smiley" is coming from the sharp corner in the frame right below the feed ramp. That corner shows wear on both our LCPs. Unlike the P3at, it seems the LCP's feed ramp does not extend into the mag well, and it seems more rounded, looking at the pics.

    I also noted that the CD rounds are a bit longer than the WWB FMJ, which are actually FMJ-FP.

    I might send Ruger an email to see what they say, but I'm inclined at this point to say "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

    I still may just go all FMJ, both for feeding and penetration. Still thinking on that one...
    The more good folks carry guns, the fewer shots the crazies can get off.
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  4. #4
    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10thmtn View Post
    Given the borderline penetration with JHPs in .380, my practice up until now has been to alternate FMJ with CD. I'm now thinking I should just use FMJ, for both feeding and penetration reasons?

    Thoughts?
    I've been kicking this idea around as well. I'm actually gonna start looking for another pocket carry option in 9mm to address the penetration issue.

    I love my LCP and it's a keeper for sure, but I usually add two or three pistols a year to the collection and with all the ultra compact options available, I might find one that will scratch that 9mm itch.

    As for the smileys. I haven't noticed anything, but I haven't really looked either. Will racking the slide and ejecting the chambered round produced one, or must the pistol be fired?

    GBK
    "He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." Luke 22:36

    "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." Thomas Jefferson

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    I've only noticed the "smiley" thing when the pistol is fired. Racking manually doesn't seem to do it.

    If someone made a 9mm the size of an LCP that didn't cost a small fortune (like the R9) and that was reliable, I'd buy one. I suspect, however, that the 9mm is just too powerful (high pressure) to be reliable and durable in a pistol that light and small.

    I know you're kicking around the idea of getting a PM9 - I wish you better luck than I had with 'em! All that aside, they are a bit too large and heavy for pocket carry - though I did it for a few years. Having used both, my preference is for the LCP in that role.

    All the best!
    The more good folks carry guns, the fewer shots the crazies can get off.
    www.armedcitizensnetwork.org - member
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  6. #6
    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    Thanks man, I appreciate the information.

    Next time I'm at the range I'll check out the smiley problem with my LCP, it's been a while since I had it out so maybe in the next week or two.

    It's true I've been thinking about that PM9 quite a bit lately. I'm kinda hoping they have solved a lot of the problems you described having with yours by the time I make my buying decision. Anyway, thanks for the good advice and information. Have a great week!

    GBK
    "He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." Luke 22:36

    "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." Thomas Jefferson

  7. #7
    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    I spoke to a very helpful tech at Ruger. He acknowledged that this is a known issue (he has experienced it on his own wife's gun!). He confirmed it is the corner in the frame just under the feed ramp that is the cause of the "smiley."

    Recommendation was to either use a Dremel with a fine polishing wheel, or just shoot 200 rounds of FMJ through the pistol to flatten out that sharp corner.

    Once that is done, he said the "smilies" should go away.

    My wife's LCP should have about 200 rounds through it by now - next time we take it to the range, I'll have to check it.
    The more good folks carry guns, the fewer shots the crazies can get off.
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  8. #8
    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update! I've got several hundred rounds through mine already. I'll be interested to see if there's any there after my next range trip.

    "He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." Luke 22:36

    "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." Thomas Jefferson

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    Member Array ChihuahuaTN's Avatar
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    10thmtn, I believe the advise Ruger gave you is correct, but I think everyone should be doing a "fluff and buff" on all their carry guns regardless of there manufacture. Also does your LCP have the "relatively" new metal mag release? If not send it back to Ruger have them install it and do a factory "fluff and buff" to fix the smileys. Hope this helps
    Mike

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    Member Array ramrunnr's Avatar
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    I haven't noticed that problem with my P-3at. It is a second generation, and I have over 500 rounds through it. I have had no feed problems after my 50 round break-in (two failure to feeds during break-in). My sister has an LCP and I will check her gun the next time we shoot it to see if has this problem.

    I scratched my small 9mm itch with a Glock 26. The Glock 26 is larger than the PM9. I like the Glock and I can conceal it well enough so it works for me.
    Kel-Tec P-3at, Taurus PT-908, Glock 17, Glock 19, Glock 26, Kel-Tec SUB-2000 9mm (Glock 17 mag compatible),Kel-Tec PF-9, Ruger SP-101 2 barrel hammerless, Maverick Arms 88 Security 8-shot 12 gauge, Marlin 336W .30-30 Win., Rossi Model 92 SRC .357 Mag.

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChihuahuaTN View Post
    Also does your LCP have the "relatively" new metal mag release? If not send it back to Ruger have them install it and do a factory "fluff and buff" to fix the smileys. Hope this helps
    Mike
    Mike - Is it the LCP that now has the metal mag release, or the P3at? My LCP is a newer 372-series, but the mag release still seems to be plastic?
    The more good folks carry guns, the fewer shots the crazies can get off.
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  12. #12
    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    Decision time...

    Next time my wife takes her LCP to the range, I'm going to see if the "smiley" issue is resolved - hers should have about 200 rounds through it by now.

    However, the more I think about it, the more I think it is a non-issue. As I've echoed on this forum many times, "shot placement is king, and penetration is queen." While the Hornady CD load comes close to the FBI standard, it does not meet it. Factor in heavy winter clothing, the need to probably penetrate arms/hands before even getting to the torso, and our obese population (self included!), and I'm going to load FMJ in my LCP.

    I think the trade-off is worth it - better to get adequate penetration with a slightly smaller wound track than a slightly larger wound track that doesn't reach anything vital.

    I've had good luck with thousands upon thousands of rounds of WWB ammo - never an issue. Their .380 is listed as FMJ, but is actually a FMJ-FP. That will be my carry load for now, unless someone has a better suggestion for a FMJ-FP. Now, I just have to find some more of it - barely have enough to fill my magazines!
    The more good folks carry guns, the fewer shots the crazies can get off.
    www.armedcitizensnetwork.org - member
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  13. #13
    Member Array FHBrumb's Avatar
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    I have a new LCP myself, and did some reading on the Smiley dealio before the purchase. I have a few observations from reading.

    Yes, the 3AT has reported Smileys.

    I read a post from a shooter with a Chrony that documented smiley versus non-smiley rounds. In all cases, the smiley marked ammo DID show a velocity increase. In my mind, this means higher pressure at ignition. It was in the 20 fps range it seemed. Not much of an increase, but consistent.

    Although I can find the occasional KaBoom in the 3AT, I have yet to see one in an LCP. Not saying never happened, I just have not seen it yet. I can't help but wonder if these weren't firing high performance ammo, that hit a smiley, and the pressure spiked, causing a KaBoom. No evidence, just a question there...

    I think that another contributing factor in the smiley deal is mag spring power. If you look at the opened pistol with a loaded mag, the round does not point at the edge it's hitting during firing. I think a better push up from the mag spring will get the round up and in position better, and might help avoid a smiley and the potentially higher pressure situation.

    I did a mean fluff and buff on my LCP the day it came home. I have yet to get to the range with it...
    Washington Post 06/28/2010 re: Supreme Court Decision
    "The court's decision means that the enigmatically worded Second Amendment... identifies an individual right to gun ownership, like the freedom of speech, that cannot be unduly restricted by Congress, state laws or city ordinances. "

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