Monday, May 7, 2012

Ballistics Testing Speer Gold Dot Personal Protection 9mm 124 Grain +P GDHP

One of the big advantages of purchasing the Boberg XR9-S is the ability of the pistol to handle +P ammunition and get good performance out of it with it's 3.35" barrel length.  I decided to test a few of the better known and used self defense ammunition loadings through the Boberg to see how the gun would handle them and also the terminal performance of the ammo  This test was done on the Speer Gold Dot 124 Grain +P GDHP.  I know this brand very well and it's been a go-to choice in many calibers because it was one of the first lines to standardize bonded bullets across the entire line up of calibers.  Bonding refers to the manufacturing step that bonds the bullet jacket to the bullet core.  The stats below came from the two test rounds.

This test may seem a bit self serving due to my test pistol choice, but I think the results should be very similar to those you would get from the Glock 26 or other small 9mm with barrels in the 3.25" to 3.5" range.

Pistol Specs:
Boberg XR9-S 9mm with 3.35" barrel

Testing Protocol:
My testing process is pretty simple.  I take one shot at alternate ends of a SIM-TEST block that is loosely draped with 2 layers of medium weight denim.  I take the shots from 8 feet away and impact velocity is measured 5 inches away from the SIM-TEST block.  My SIM-TEST blocks are now closely calibrated to ballistics gel density.  I shoot the blocks at the range and then bring them home and recover the bullets.

For the first time in over a dozen tests, I failed to recover a bullet.  Shot 1, of the two shot test, shed a petal during expansion that I was able to recover in the block.  The balance of the slug veered down and left and exited the ballistics block.  If you watch the video below in high definition and full screen you can literally see the slug impacting the dirt berm and rolling down the dirt wall.  I was oblivious to this when I shot the bullet recovery portion of the video as I had not yet edited the video of the range test.  If we didn't have some torrential rains over the last two days, I probably could go find the slug but at least I captured it on film.  I checked the board the block was sitting on and did find a scar in the plywood where the almost out of steam slug bounced off the plywood base and up into the wall.  I totally felt like a CSI investigator going through this process.  I got a pretty bad screen cap from the video and labeled it so you know where to look if you want to try watching the bullet exit on YouTube.  It's right at the tip of the pointing finger in the picture below.
 The second shot was recovered normally and it gave me that Gold Dot good feeling once I cleaned it up and got it all measured.  If I have any concerns with the test it is that shot one shed some jacket and core 8" into the block.  That's just not something you normally see with my testing protocol.  The video below documents the entire test from range testing to bullet recovery.

My Thoughts
I think there is a very good reason why so many people put their trust in Speer and the Gold Dot bullets.  In test after test we see uniform expansion and good penetration.  It may not retain it's fully expanded shape through it's entire terminal journey as some of the other do, but by folding back on itself it picks up some penetration distance over some other loads in this weight and +P velocity.  I will be doing a follow up head to head test in the same SIM-TEST block with the Gold Dot and HST soon.  I'd really like to see the results of that head to head test.

Disclaimer....This test should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation for the product(s) tested. It is up to each individual to make their own personal decision about which specific ammunition to use for their needs. It's also critically important to test any ammo in YOUR SPECIFIC FIREARM before relying on it for any purpose.  Ammunition labeled as +P should not be used in any firearm unless the firearm manufacturer specifically states you are permitted to do so.

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