Ammo Review: Speer Gold Dot .45 ACP +P 200 Grain

Since it’s the giving season, I decided to bring a pile of different ammo types to the range for some quick and dirty testing. Ammo makes great gunny gifts by the way. In these times of scarcity, your giftee will know you worked for it!

First up is a .45 ACP load I had high hopes for – the Speer Gold Dot .45 ACP +P 200 Grain hollow point.

The Speer Gold Dot .45 ACP +P 200 Grain load still offers weight, but with more velocity.

The Speer Gold Dot .45 ACP +P 200 Grain load still offers weight, but with more velocity.

Speer Gold Dot ammunition features bonded construction, meaning the lead core is surrounded by a chemically “stapled-on” jacket. This means two things. First, the jacket and inner core stay together which helps penetration. Second, expansion is almost always even and predictable. You can shoot most any Speer Gold Dot ammo into water or ballistic gelatin and it will expand perfectly. Where things get a little weird is when bullets have to pass through barriers – especially heavy clothing. Any type of hollow point ammo can clog up and inhibit expansion.

I was keen to try this .45 ACP 200 grain +P load because I’ve had mixed success with standard pressure .45 ACP 230 grain hollow points when exposed to heavy clothing barriers. The lower velocity of the full 230 grain projectiles tends to make expansion an iffy proposition. This load is not only lighter, and therefore can be loaded to faster velocity, it’s a +P load which gives it a little more energy boost.

I measured the velocity of this ammunition at an average of 1,047.7 feet per second with a Shooting Chrony Beta Master Chronograph placed 15 feet from the muzzle. Not shabby at all for a .45 load, right?

To provide some challenge to test expansion, I shot through two layers of thick leather and four layers of fabric. Two out of three projectiles expanded properly. The third got all cloggified with leather and barely started to expand. The largest expansion measured .748 inches in across – nearly 1.7 times original diameter.

The loads shot to point of aim and recoil was not perceptibly different than the 185 grain loads I normally shoot.

If you’re looking for a little extra zip for more predictable expansion performance, check out the Speer Gold Dot .45 ACP +P 200 Grain load. It’s still heavy, but a couple hundred feet per second faster than a standard pressure 230 grain alternative.

Nice ammo


  1. David Moore says

    I chose this particular ammo for my carry load for two reasons… first a higher velocity bullet tends to do a better job of expanding. Second, I carry a Springfield XD45 which has a four inch barrel. The lighter weight and higher velocity helps withe the performance of the bullet. I experimented with different brands of 230 grain loads in water and found that with my gun and it’shorter barrel the results were iffy, especially when shooting through heavy cloth. I had the best results from 185 and 200 grain +P ammo. With no barrier to shoot through the results were nearly perfect with the +P ammo. When shooting through 6 layers of cloth the result was about 90%. How do my results compare with yours?

    David M. Moore

    • says

      The cloth makes all the difference doesn’t it? I find the same thing. a 50 to 100fps velocity difference resulting from bullet weight or barrel length makes things unpredictable when going through a barrier. Most anything expands beautifully when fired straight into water or gel, but not so much when fired through a few layers of fabric.

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