My choice is the full size M&P and Federal 147 gr. HST's. I also have an XD9sc with the same ammo. Both rigs are a formidable set up as well as sgb's rig in the photo.
If the ammo you received was tarnished and the box fell apart, I'd say there was a possibility of water or humidity being involved. Bullet tarnish isn't something I worry too much about, but add in case tarnish or pitting and I'd return them as well. Reading articles is fine...so long as you find them here and search for all available on what you're researching.
Some of the basics...make sure the ammo you buy feeds and works well in your pistol and you can hit with it. Avoid the bulk ammo buy until you are certain and have enough range time to figure out what works best for you and your pistol. Many leave out the 'and' part and simply go for the 'you'.
Why I don't go for the heavy 147gr for PD? I live in a changing climate. You live in a warm environment year round. Improving expansion at low velocity might not actually be something for you to be concerned about.
My opinion? You got me on the bubble here. Get the GDHPs if you like to see muzzle flash in the daylight and a bit more recoil. Exchange the Remingtons if they feed well and are more accurate. If you're really on the bubble about which 9mm ammo to choose, then maybe your funds could be used toward testing out the 40 S&W. I figure that's worthwhile since you're contemplating carrying the max in 9mm anyway. A bigger hole is worth a little less velocity. If that thought crosses your mind remember this conversation. Do the best you can is all that matters really. The 'killer bullets' are just a marketing tactic. Your mind, your practice, and your willingness to survive makes it all happen. Manufacturer ads,commercials, opinions, etc.......none of these things will be there at the time you need to answer with your decision in order to save your life.
No matter what you "hear" now, you won't "hear" the shot that takes down your enemy. That's what's important in life.
I run Speer GDHP 147gr in my XDSC. Just make sure whatever you choose works reliably in your handgun (100-200+ flawless rounds). It can be pricey to test but in the grand scheme of things it's nothing if you are going to trust your life to it. If possible try other rounds so that you know you have more than 1 option for ammo.
As for ammo, Golden Saber is an older design that often suffers from core/jacket separation if that matters to you. In the testing I have seen, denim seems to clog GS bullets more often than Gold Dots. The 147gr GS hold together better than the 124+P in the testing I have seen. The bonded GS would be a better choice if you're set on Golden Sabers.
Gold dots are very good and I wouldn't hesitate to carry them in any self defense weapon. I would choose the Gold Dots over a GS. The 124+P Gold Dot is a great load. The 147gr Gold Dots are good if you desire deeper penetration.
But - Federal HSTs are in my opinion one of the best handgun defense rounds in existence, but that doesn't mean other stuff is inadequate.
Unless you have to buy ammunition soon, I recommend looking into 147gr Federal HSTs. SGammo.com had some last time I checked. I carry the 147+P HST.
You might have seen this list floating around on other threads, but anything listed here is good to go.
Barnes XPB 115gr HP (35515) loaded by Cor-Bon (DPX09115)
Winchester Partition Gold 124gr JHP (RA91P)
Winchester Ranger-T 124 gr +P JHP (RA9124TP)
Winchester Ranger-T 127gr JHP +P+ (RA9TA)
Winchester Ranger-T 147gr JHP (RA9T)
Winchester Bonded 147gr JHP (RA9B/Q4364)
Speer Gold Dot 124gr JHP +P (53617)
Speer Gold Dot 147gr JHP (53619)
Remington Golden Saber 147gr JHP (GS9MMC)
Federal Tactical 124gr JHP (LE9T1)
Federal Tactical 135gr JHP +P (LE9T5)
Federal HST 147gr JHP (P9HST2)
I've used both, Hornady TAP and Speer Gold Dot. Not in a SD/PD situation (thank goodness), but at the range. Like others have said, you really can't go wrong with most of the common names you'd find out there. But, I have seen and read ballistics reports that make Gold Dot, Golden Saber, and Federal HSTs look like cream of the crop. Find what best suits you, and stick with it. Right now I have Speer Gold Dot loaded in at least two mags of each of the firearms I keep.
I currently have 147gr. Ranger-Ts in my G19. I've read and seen awesome results from the 147gr. HST and would really like to pick some of those up. Personally, I'd stick with HST, Gold Dot, or Ranger-Ts. I've never been fond of Golden Saber...but that's just my opinion. YMMV.
I know this is an old thread but in reply to the tarnished brass issue brought up by the OP, both Golden Saber and Gold Dot use nickel plated brass so there should be no tarnishing with either. Just saying.
I have used both over the years and have never had that problem. The brass jackets on the bullets of both can get dull if not kept in a climit controlled enviorment.
I'm not sure the tarnish on the brass bullets on the Golden Saber would bother me unless it was very extensive. I have also experienced Golden Sabers box bottom, a lattice type, falling apart upon opening one time. That really puzzled me, not sure what caused that. Hasn't happened since. Bullets were not tarnished, however. As far as choosing between the Golden Saber and Gold Dot for a defensive round, I would be comfortable with either, preferably in 147 grain, assuming each is reliable in your gun, with a nod to whichever you shoot better.
I agree completely that either round will fill the bill for a quality defensive round.
I get the 25 round boxes of Golden Sabers for my Glock 36 EDC and the dividers are made of plastic.
When I was still on the job we got the 50 round boxes of the .45 ACP 230 grain. We had several boxes of one of the shipments from the supplier that appeared to have gotten wet and the ends of the boxes when opened fell apart and the cardboard dividers were in the same condition.
All the rounds fired but were only used on the range and not as replacement duty rounds.
It really makes no difference flip a coin on that call.
I currently carry Ranger-t 147gr in my m&p shield9. It is very accurate, has low muzzle flash, and seems to require less cleaning than when using FMJs for practice. I have also used Gold Dot 147gr in the past. It too was clean, accurate, and not blinding to fire in the dark. I'd say either of these would be good choices, and are usually cheaper than Rem GS