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Gold Dots haven’t fared all that well through ShootingTheBull410’s Ammo Quest for short-barreled 9mm pistols. But hope springs eternal, and STB’s gotten his hands on some 115-grain Gold Dots.  Maybe these will be the right formula to put the Gold Dots back on top. Or maybe they’ll be just another case of Gold Duds.

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  1. Thank STB, great work as usual. As I carry a Walther PPS from time to time, your series of tests has been enlightening.

  2. He sure knows how to Shoot the Bull..

    A great series but once you have watched a few you start fast forwarding (at least I did). But it is nice that each video is comprehensive in case you have never seen them.

    Hope he keeps it up. Helped me see that my home SD rounds are no good in my daily carry

    • I totally know what you mean. A lot of these videos have a lot of repeated stuff. I tried to edit it out of some of the .380 vids, and people actually complained and said they wanted each one to be all-in-one.

      I’m experimenting with other ways to get the message in there without it bogging down the flow for folks who have already heard all that stuff before. Hopefully we’ll get some shorter to-the-point vids out of the next batch. There’s still one more of the old style that’s finished, but after that one goes live, I’ll hopefully have them a bit shorter.

      • How about an FAQ video that explains testing protocols, and the differences between gel and living body tissue? You can then link to it in the description and at the start of the individual ammunition video. I’ve noticed that when you cut down your explanation, there tends to be an increased number of YouTube commenters who ask about those exact things.

  3. Good work as always. I don’t have any 3″ barrel nines but working at a gun store, your series has definitely helped make better recommendations to folks who do. Much appreciated, keep it up!

  4. This guy posts a video, you guys show him on your site, and I think it’s really pathetic…

    That he doesn’t get more views.

    This guy’s work is really awesome.

  5. Question:
    Let’s look at the case of the one over-perpetrator…and assume that it is actually being shot at someone. To completely over-penetrate and exit a body it would have to past through the front layer of clothing, the body, and then a SECOND layer of clothing. Would a second layer of clothing be enough to stop a bullet that’s velocity had decreased somewhat form passing through an initial layer and the body cavity?

    • I did a couple of articles on overpenetration over on my blog. In general it’s not THAT much of a disaster, when you’re talking about an expanded hollowpoint overpenetrating. But a high-power cartridge like a .45 or a .40, using an FMJ (or a clogged hollowpoint) could be quite deadly indeed even after passing completely through a person.

      The clothing on the back side (well, okay, let me rephrase that…) The exit side clothing may or may not exist, so you can’t count on it being there, but if there was substantial clothing, it may actually be more of a bullet-slower-downer than you might think. The exit layer of skin, for example, is much tougher to penetrate than the entry-side skin layer, because skin is stretchy. The entry side skin is backed by bone or muscle or fat, so it doesn’t really have anywhere to stretch to, but on the exit side there’s nothing constraining it and so it may stretch so far as to take up about 4″ of bullet penetration potential to get through it. So loose clothing may actually stretch or fan out and maybe absorb more of a bullet’s energy than you might think offhand. However, it would still be pretty dependent on the sectional density and the residual speed; a big flat expanded hollowpoint moving slowly is a lot more likely to be caught in a net of clothing, than a small-diameter still-high-speed FMJ (or clogged hollowpoint) would be.

      People may have noticed that I’m a little more forgiving of mild overpenetration than I am of underpenetration, for those reasons. A little overpenetration might be bad, but nowhere near as bad as an underpenetrating bullet that fails to stop the attack. However, when we get to three, four, five, or (as in this case) more than 14″ of overpenetration, that’s when I have to be a hardcase and rule it out, because if the bullet can exit a full human body and still be lethal to those on the other side, well, there’s just no reason to have to accept that risk, when there are other choices out there that are much less likely to carry a similar level of risk.

    • My understanding from some shootings by the NYPD – when they actually hit a mammal – is that while bullets might pass through front clothing – body – rear clothing, the rounds ended up falling pretty harmlessly to the ground, or were caught in the rear clothing layer. Dangerous penetration pass-through wasn’t really an issue. Can’t remember where I came across this info, apologies for that.

  6. Given all the videos to date, I have but one question: why use a 115gr bullet, if a 147gr one (HST) expands just as reliably, but to a significantly bigger size due to being more massive?

    • I was a “Gold Dot” guy for a long time, but I have to say – all of my 9 and 40s are going over to heavy-for-caliber Federal HSTs. Quite solid and consistent ballistics from a variety of firearms.

  7. Great review, again.

    I think the 5th shot that overpenetrated is taken a bit too seriously IMO. I also thought this in one of the other reviews where 1 of 5 overpenetrated. 5 shots is just too small a sample to draw a bright line against all the other products. Could be, for all the products, 1 in 20 bullets is “bad” (for whatever reason). But when its that low, you can not differentiate the real % from only 5 shots. Statistically speaking, could be sheer luck.

    • Agree.

      This is akin to those guys that shoot 4 round groups at 0.75″, then the fifth shot opens the group up to 1.5″, so they call it a “flier” and report “good group.”

      There is no mathematical basis to throw out 1 in 5 without some detailed analysis to make that determination.

      For all the 5 round sets that show 0 over-penetration shots, what will the 6th do, or the 7th? For this set of 5, how do we know we could not also shoot 20 in a row with no overpenetration problem?

      But none of this will stop 90+% of those that watch the video from drawing the conclusion that “This bullet is not as good as bullet X.” It’s like pushing a wet noodle up a rope with one’s nose. Or something.

  8. Shooting the BULL is apropos. This test is nothing short of crap, the regimen is flawed the protocols suck and the resulting “data” is a joke. The same people who think this is a valid testing regimen probably fall for “global warming” too.

    • Well, thank you for that. I anxiously await your video series, with your data, to contradict STB’s findings. I’ll grab a Snickers, and hit the couch, your turn to shine…

      • I dont have to shoot Gold Dots into Jello to know they will turn a brainpan into scrapple. If in doubt pull the damn trigger 5x.

        • Don’t think it was Gold Dots (but was duty ammo), but Jared Reston got into a real life and death gunfight at close quarters. After already shooting the bad guy four other times, he shot three contact range head shots.

          At autopsy, only one of those three shots was determined to have delivered a fatal wound.

          Bullets from ‘service calibers’ have been known to bounce off human heads and cause nothing more than a nuisance injury such as superficial laceration.

          If you think that ANY bullet from ANY hand gun is 100% effective, you are deluding yourself…perhaps dangerously so.

          That said, these tests do not show what “will” or “will not” happen. But, they are data. They are something. They provide a baseline for academic comparison, and that’s not a BAD thing.


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