It’s no secret that we’re big fans of the .357 Sig cartridge around here. We’ve had a lot of fun and learned a few things while checking out the Glock 31 Gen 4 and Glock 32 Gen 3. So we jumped on the opportunity to do some testing with Speer’s Gold Dot .357 Sig 125 grain bonded hollow point ammunition.
We like the .357 Sig cartridge for a lot of reasons, one of which is the dramatic bullet expansion performance. In our tinkering and testing, we’ve observed that even a 100 foot per second velocity increase is a big deal when it comes to reliable bullet expansion – assuming all other factors are equal. And with the .357 Sig cartridge, it’s fairly easy to get an extra 100 feet per second, or more, over a roughly equivalent 9mm load.
Truth be told, it’s also fun to plink at 100 yard targets with barely, if any, holdover. While one may need to knock off the caffeine for a day or so to eliminate the shakes, plinking at 100 yards with the .357 Sig is surprisingly easy as you don’t have to account for “lob effect.”
If you’re a law enforcement or security professional, you might appreciate the penetration performance of the .357 Sig through things like auto glass, car bodies, etc. With a proper bullet design, expansion will still be reliable post-barrier.
Let’s take a look at what we found with this load:
The Speer Gold Dot features Uni-Cor jacket bonding technology. This means that the lead core is electro-magically melded together with the outer jacket material. Without going into serious engineering topics, it’s the same bonding process that keeps the Reverend Jesse Jackson and the nearest television microphone nearly inseparable. Got it?
From a Glock 31, with its 4.48″ long barrel, we measured average velocity of 1,405.7 feet per second. That was here in the deep south, on an 80 degree day. We measured velocity 15 feet from the muzzle using a Shooting Chrony Beta Master setup, which has only been shot a few times – and none of those were our fault! But it still works just fine thank you. As a side note, it was a really good design move on Shooting Chrony’s part to put the expensive “brains parts” of the chronograph at the end of a long extension cord – far away from where the bullets fly. Just saying.
Back to the Gold Dot testing.
To check out expansion performance, we went all bumpkin and used four layers of light canvas, two layers of cotton material and a bodaciously big bucket of wet pack since we’re too cheap to invest in proper ballistic gel. For those who don’t know, wet pack simply refers to newsprint that has been thoroughly soaked into eternal sogginess. Sort of like Al Gore’s handshake. And yes, just in case you’re wondering, it feel really gross to dig bullets out of wet pack. In fairness, wet pack has proven to be a half decent standby, although admittedly less consistent, for ballistic gel since it was invented by Gutenberg just after he finished his work with that printing press thing.
As you can see by the included photographs, expansion was boringly consistent with this load. Every single projectile we launched through the six total layers of fabric and into last week’s water-logged New York Times expanded perfectly. We’ve seen this result from the same load shot from a 4 inch barreled Glock 32 also. It just works.
In addition to consistent bullet expansion performance, the bonded design of the Gold Dot means that the projectile stays together, regardless of barrier encountered. While you might see an expanded petal break off once in a while, these bullets almost always stay intact, which leads to more consistent penetration performance.
The Speer Gold Dot .357 Sig has proven to be a great load and it’s our standard carry choice in both the Glock 31 and Glock 32.
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