9mm Gold Dot bullet weight?

This is a discussion on 9mm Gold Dot bullet weight? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; After much research, I've decided to carry Speer Gold Dot in my 9mm M&P Compact, but I'm not sure whether to use 115 or 124 ...

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Thread: 9mm Gold Dot bullet weight?

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    Member Array HNLtrades's Avatar
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    Question 9mm Gold Dot bullet weight?

    After much research, I've decided to carry Speer Gold Dot in my 9mm M&P Compact, but I'm not sure whether to use 115 or 124 grain (both standard pressure). Are there compelling reasons to choose one over the other?

    I know the 124 grain +P is by far the most popular and street proven, but I'm not looking at +P and +P+ loads. I find that with standard pressure, I'm faster with followup shots and a bit more accurate. I'm also a bit wary of carrying 147 grain, due to what I perceive as a greater risk of overpenetration (I live in an apartment and am often out in the city), but I could be convinced otherwise.

    In the 115 grain corner, Massad Ayoob in The Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery has recommended the 115 grain Federal 9BP as one of the most real-world proven standard pressure 9mm loads available. I imagine that the 115 grain Gold Dot, with a more reliably expanding bullet than the 9BP and otherwise similar parameters, would perform even better, but that's conjecture on my part...

    On the other hand, Dr. Gary Roberts over at FirearmsTactical.com says, "With the exception of the Barnes 115 gr XPB all copper projectile, in general, most 9 mm 115 gr loads have demonstrated greater inconsistency, insufficient penetration, poor intermediate barrier capability, and failure to expand in denim testing than other 9mm bullets. For those individuals wanting to use lighter weight, supersonic 9 mmís, I think a better alternative than the vast majority of 115 gr loads is to use the slightly heavier 124 to 127 gr bullets or the Barnes 115 gr all copper bullet" (Best Choices for Self Defense Ammo). He also specifically lists the 124 grain Gold Dot as a load he recommends.

    With all that said, I know that Gold Dots in any variety (and most modern defensive ammo choices) are of sound design and will stop a threat if I get the rounds on target. What I want to know is if there's a compelling reason to choose one over the other, or if debating 115 vs. 124 is basically arguing over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Thoughts?

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  3. #2
    2xR
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    9mm Gold Dot bullet weight?

    I chose the 124s for my 9s because they give me almost the same ballistic performance as my beloved 357Sigs, but with less snap and bark at the shot! Just my $.02

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    Distinguished Member Array lchamp's Avatar
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    I've chosen 124...just because...no excuse, sir!

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    I like the 147grain, so does the DEA according to a Special Agent in my 3Gun squad a couple of weeks ago...

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    I prefer heavy-for-caliber bullets. Bigger rocks tend to hurt more than smaller ones.
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    RKM
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    Velocity and expansion will always vary in performance. But a heavy bullet will almost always reliably penetrate more than lighter bullets. I'd rather rely on penetration the expansion, and MUCH more than energy.

    Go with at least a 124gr 9mm bullet. I carry 147gr standard pressure HST's. The velocity numbers aren't very impressive, but velocity is not what makes this particular load "shine".

    Listen to Dr. Roberts. He offers very good advice and has excellent knowledge in terminal ballistics.

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    Shoot what you shoot best, any bullet hole is better than no bullet hole. Two light weight holes are better than one heavy hole.

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    9mm Gold Dot bullet weight?

    I use the 124 gold dots. It's used by many PDs. I don't change it based on season, I carry it year round.


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    Distinguished Member Array GlassWolf's Avatar
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    Personally I carry 124 grain +P and 147 grain standard pressure load 9mm gold dots in my PPQ, depending on the time of year.

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    Distinguished Member Array Hoganbeg's Avatar
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    The compelling reason you are looking for is penetration. A heavier bullet simply penetrates better. I don't consider the 147 grain bullets to be much of a greater risk of over-penetration. Have you seen the gel tests comparing the 124 gr with the 147 gr bullet? With the Gold Dots, best performance was with the 124 gr +P and the 147 gr. Since you have ruled out the +P round, that leaves the 147 grain.

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    VIP Member Array multistage's Avatar
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    Stick 'em through the slats and it really won't matter. I have HST, Gold Dots, and Ranger Ts, all standard but the Ts, which are +p. All are 124s. All are trusted by me.

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    124 w/o supressor, 147 with...
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    VIP Member Array SmokinFool's Avatar
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    I'm in the heavy-for-caliber camp but quite honestly, either one will get the job done.
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    You pays your money and takes your chances. You can only find so much research data and recommendations. The fact remains that every situation's different and is likely to yield different results than what even a dozen tests showed in "lab" conditions. Ain't no way around that.

    That said ...

    My preference is for the 124gr JHP +P, over all the other options of weight, pressure. I find that in a given gun, almost without exception, I'm able to achieve better overall accuracy (first-shot and follow-up), better penetration, more-reliable expansion. Yes, it'll be a tad deeper penetrating than less-powerful options in the cartridge. But the distinction's lost if considering a few sheets of drywall, between the 124gr JHP +P and any of the others: someone on the other side of that drywall's going to get hurt either way, from a stray round.

    Bottom line, I'm picking what's most reliable in my own specific gun. If there are multiple choices in my gun for absolute reliability, I'm picking the one that meets certain minimums on penetration and expansion (as best as I can tell/test). For me, that's ended up being the DoubleTap JHP 124gr +P, the Federal HydraShok Tactical JHP 124gr +P+, and the Remington Golden Saber JHP 124gr +P.

    Review: DT JHP 124gr, Fed HST JHP 124gr.
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    Senior Member Array jdsumner's Avatar
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    One thing you may want to consider is the availability of training ammo in the same weight. For a quick example, 115g 9mm is much, much easier to come across here than is the 124g ammo. So if you want you poa/poi to be as similar as possible between your carry and training ammo, you may need to look at how readily you can acquire the like for like weights.

    dan

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