I’ve been a fan of the Speer Gold Dot ammunition for many years now. The 155 grain Gold Dot round for the .40 S&W is what I was issued at two different agencies, and I have seen the results of its use in officer involved shootings. I can’t say that it is better than any of the other premium rounds out there, but I believe it is a very good performer.
A fellow gun enthusiast, Bruce at Pocket Guns & Gear, does a lot of ammunition testing on his site. He was gracious enough to spend the time and webspace to test this round for me. So, I sent him a box and the results are posted on his site here.
Interestingly, the round did not perform as well on the denim test as I would have expected. On bare gelatin and on his bone-simulation test, the round performed very well. But two rounds into the denim-on-jello test did not impress me.
He and I talked about it in e-mail, I got the impression he was a little surprised as well. The only thing I can think is that the test gun was a Smith & Wesson Shield, which has a 3.1″ barrel. Perhaps the lower velocity (as compared to a full size pistol) allowed the hollowpoint to become plugged rather than expand? Of course, modern hollowpoints are not supposed to rely on velocity for expansion, right? Or so we have been told.
I know that in the multiple officer involved shootings I’m aware of that used this ammo, the bullets did their job. Variances in bone and body tissues rarely create a pretty hollowpoint like you see in company advertising, but the Gold Dot does work on the street – based on my limited knowledge, anyway.
In these real life shootings, the bullets were launched from SIG Sauer P226 pistols with 4.4″ barrels. Did the extra 1.3″ make a difference? Does size matter? Who knows?
Speer does make Gold Dot ammo for “short barrel” guns chambered for the .40 S&W. Speer states the ammo is “ideal for expansion in barrels as short as three inches.” So, perhaps that is the issue.
I can say that I am a bit off-put by the results of Bruce’s testing. His testing is solid, so I have no concerns that there was a problem with the methods used.
Personally, I’m not swapping ammo in my .40’s, but I plan on doing a little more digging to see if I can figure this one out.