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Handgun: Taurus PT92AF
Ammunition: Black Hills Gold Dot 124 grain +P
Test Media: Water jugs, one gallon each, first jug covered with four layers of denim

I had a request to test some +P Gold Dot ammunition.

I had on hand some Gold Dots as loaded by Black Hills. The factory claims that these 124 grain bullets scoot along at right around 1,250fps, and though I do not have a chronograph, those who do report that they do at least that velocity.

The standard setup from the side…

… and from the front.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The Gold Dot is a popular bullet among several manufacturers and the shooting public. I figured there had to be a reason.

Here’s the shot. Whoa, look at that jug fly! I’m glad my camera has zoom…

It shredded the first jug.

I set the first jug back up with its mates. I was expecting total destruction of the first three jugs and deep penetration.

I’m not seeing, upon first glance, the total water and plastic carnage I had come to expect from the hype. My first thought was, “It didn’t even make it to the third jug???

Hmm… strange, for a legendary bullet.

It actually made it into the third jug, barely. I found it intact in approximately the middle of the third jug.

It turns out the Gold Dot, driven to around 1250fps, will only penetrate about 15 inches of water, or approximately seven to nine inches of ordnance gelatin.

After I got inside…

I will say this for the bullet: It’s commendable how well it held together.

Expansion was approximately .63”. Not the best I’ve seen, but far from the worst.

Here are the numbers for the Black Hills 124gr +P GDHP loading:

Expansion was about .63”.
Penetration was about 15” of water plus four layers of denim.

I can’t help but compare that to other loads I’ve tested. Here are a couple other rounds tested, numbers according to the notes I took right after the test:

The Remington 124 grain +P Bonded Golden Saber expanded to about .75”, though it did show fragmentation of the hollowpoint. However, the first two jugs were torn up equally, indicating that it fragmented mainly in the first 12” of water. It continued on, destroying all five jugs after defeating the denim, though it only destroyed the last jug by cutting it as it deflected off an angle. Total penetration was 24+” of water, or 12” inches of gelatin.

The Remington 115 grain standard hollowpoint, standard pressure, showed an energy dump in the first two jugs, as did the Gold Dot, and expanded to about .50”, just a shade less than the Gold Dot. Penetration was right at 18” of water, three jugs after defeating the four layers of denim. This equates to nine to 11” of penetration in ballistic gelatin.

The Gold Dot did not expand as much as the Bonded Golden Saber, nor did it penetrate nearly as much. It looks as if it is approximately equal to the Remington 115 grain standard pressure in penetration, though it did show a bit more expansion.

After reviewing this load, I simply cannot recommend it above either of the loads to which I compared it. It does not have penetration superior to either loading, and it falls between the two in expansion. Additionally, it has more muzzle blast and recoil than either loading.

I believe that while the Gold Dot is a good bullet, it’s no longer superior to most state-of-the-art loads as the above test shows. It’s not past its prime, but there are better loads out there. However, if it’s your cup of tea, you’re not handicapped by carrying it.

Josh <><
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