This is a discussion on .380 Gold Dot within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Every once in awhile I see something that makes me go, hmmmmm... If you look at the Ammo Quest .380 ACP Gel Test .380 ACP ...
Every once in awhile I see something that makes me go, hmmmmm...
If you look at the Ammo Quest .380 ACP Gel Test .380 ACP Gold Dot averaged 10.875" penetration through 4LD for the 4 Rounds that expanded properly.
Today I found an old experiment on YouTube where it fully expanded and penetrated 4 layers of 16 oz Denim, 6.5" of Hog Head (through the frontal skull), 5 layers of milk jug plastic and 12" of water.
Doesn't really seem like inadequate penetration.
If you google Shooting the Bull and look at the results of his .380 tests, it gives you a good run down on .380 ammo. The Speer Gold Dots do well but Precision One 90 gr. XTP's do even better. That's what I carry in my .380, but I have a 4" barrel and his tests use a 2.8" barrel. So I would expect even better results with my pistol.
The XTP Bullet when it expands in bare gel will give roughly 11-13" penetration.
When it expands through 4LD it will give you roughly 12-14" Penetration.
If it fails to expand in 4LD it will usually tumble and penetrate 15-18". Especially if it is under 850 fps.
If you look across all available gel tests you will see the chance of 4LD expansion tends to run around 50%. It tends to vary with bullet lot number, exact test conditions and velocity.
Other much more consistent bullets exist but unfortunately they all are consistently shallower penetrating (With the exception of Critical Defense which consistently expands and penetrates but varies by large margins for different testers).
The differences you saw in the four different loadings of the Hornady XTP Bullet in the Ammo Quest were primarily the result of lot to lot bullet variation and chance, although the slower loadings may have had more problem achieving expansion.
If you go to a 4" barrel you should see roughly a 80-100 fps increase in velocity. It's possible you would see a little less because according to Precision One their loading is optimized for the LCP. That should mean a little bigger expanded diameter, a little better chance of expansion and a little shallower penetration. That is exactly what the Ammo Quest test of the Precision One in the G42 (0.5" Longer Barrel and I believe around 40 fps faster) showed.
If for some reason you want higher velocity in a one of their cartridges I was told that the Precision One +P did not exceed the 21,500 psi SAAMI limit for the cartridge. It is just higher pressure than their standard loading. The G42 had springs speced for CIP European Ammo (Which typically doesn't exceed SAAMI Max but is closer to it) and so some would not cycle with the standard PO offering and +P was developed specifically for it.
Precision One XTP - 925 fps (4")
Precision One XTP +P - 975 fps (4")
Hornady Amer Gunner XTP - 1000 fps (4")
I should reiterate that "it could" doesn't mean it will be worse of course but, bullets are designed for optimum performance in a pretty narrow velocity window and anything less or more is not optimum.
Just because a bullet does well in a 38 special does not mean it will work well in a 357 magnum and visa versa.
Just reading many threads and tests of .380 performance, one thing that strikes me about the Speer 90 grain Gold Dot SB is its remarkable consistency across all reports and different tests by different testers. It never seems to come out ĎfirstĒ but itís always near the top with consistent, uniform and reliable expansion and around 10.5 to 11 inches +/- penetration. Iím still relying on 95 grain fmjfn but am looking hard at Gold Dot for this summer. Sig P238.
One issue I have with Shooting the Bull is that he preaches the FBI standards, but the FBI report those standards are based on says that the gelatin the FBI tests used was a special formulation and was kept at consistent temperatures under laboratory conditions. It also said that gelatin tests do not simulate penetration in the human body. They can't account for bone, air pockets, etc. The purpose of gelatin tests is simply to provide a consistent medium for comparison within a study. It concluded that gelatin testing studies can only be compared internally, withing each study. One gelatin study cannot be compared to another one.
I saw a test on YouTube recently where a .380 round actually got better gelatin penetration after going through a rack of pork ribs than it did without the ribs.
Attack Squadron 65 "Tigers", USS Eisenhower '80 - '83, peackeeping w/Iran, Libya, Lebanon and E. Europe
It's really hard to say with all the variations...
"Military" 20% Ordinance Gel
"FBI" 10% Ballistics Gel
"Clear Ballistics" 20% Gel
"Clear Ballistics" 10% Gel
I've seen comparison tests where FBI Gel had great expansion and good penetration on 5 out of 5 and in CB 10% it completely failed to expand and massively over penetrated in 5 out of 5.
I've also seen comparison tests where a .40 S&W 180 went 15" in FBI Gel and 20" in CB 10%.
I get getting good results with Sig Elite Performance 165 gr in a wild pig carcass and have seen excellent results in FBI Gel yet it over penetrates in 20-22" range in every CB Test I've seen.
The studies do show the FBI Test is consistent with soft tissue only shots in expansion and penetration. If you hit bone penetration can be effected. More than the simple effect on momentum. If you loose petals penetration can increase. If the impact increases the amount of expansion it will decrease.
It does do what it's designed to do. A bullet that expands in the FBI Heavy Clothing Test is likely to expand in an actual shooting. A bullet that penetrates 18" or less in the Heavy Clothing Test is unlikely to leave the target with a massive amount of remaining kinetic energy.
A bullet that penetrates 18" in bare gel is likely to penetrate deeper than one that penetrates 12" even if they hit bone. That assumes relatively equal caliber, sectional density and velocity. I'm not sure how comparable numbers for a 3200 fps 55 grain and a 800 fps 230 grain are.
Carried the Hornady XTP for years in my LCP and Glock 42.
But in November of 2017, I switched over to factory loaded Speer Gold Dots.
In every test I did, the XTPís were wildly inconsistent in their expansion and penetration.
Not the case with the Gold Dots, they are very consistent.
If I'm aiming for your eye and miss...
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Be on the safe side fire multiple gold dots and play the odds.
One more step and it's on!