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Ammo Quest 380 ACP Finals: Gold Dot test in denim



(from Oct 2013)

Eighteenth in a series of a quest to find the overall best ammunition for modern micro-compact 380 ACP pistols (such as the Taurus TCP 738, the Ruger LCP, Sig P238, Beretta Pico or S&W Bodyguard or any other popular 380 micro-pistol using a barrel length of around 2.8").

This is the third episode in the "Final Round", where I am re-testing ammo that performed well in the first round (through bare ClearBallistics gelatin). In the Final Round, I'm testing in genuine 10% organic ordnance gelatin (aka "ballistic gelatin"), and through four layers of IWBA-specification 16oz heavy denim.

In this installment, I am testing the Speer Gold Dot 90-grain jacketed hollow point bullets. In this test, the ammo performed quite well. The average penetration didn't reach my desired 12" level, and one round only made it to 10", which was a little disappointing. The overall average was a decent 11.7" for all five shots, but one exhibited nonstandard expansion.

These Gold Dot rounds performed decently in the bare gelatin test and I would say they performed decently through the IWBA 4-layer-denim test too. They show more consistent expansion than the Fiocchis did, about on par with the Hornady Customs, but not as much penetration as either of those. I would say that someone arming themselves with these Gold Dots would be getting very good performance, but perhaps not the overall best one could get from a micro-pistol. I am still testing the remaining rounds, but so far it looks like we've already found two rounds worthy of serious consideration.

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