The 5 Best Speer Loads

Speer Gold Dot Ammunition

The Speer Gold Dot is among the best designed and most effective modern expanding bullet designs.

There are many Gold Dot bullets, including .32 ACP and .44 Magnum loads, I chose just a handful to illustrate the design and performance of the Gold Dot.

Here are the best five Speer loads:

1. Speer Gold Dot 5.7x28mm

The 5.7x28mm has not been my favorite cartridge. Others are wildly enthusiastic. The introduction of the Ruger-57 has changed my mind a great deal.

We now have an affordable, reliable and accurate handgun that has good features for personal defense, including a safety that offers rapid manipulation.

Most of the ammunition available in 5.7x28mm has been either ball ammo for practice or a fragmenting load with limited usefulness for personal defense.

Speer now offers what is the most desirable personal-defense load in this caliber. My testing is limited because the ammunition is just getting into production. The bullet uses the Uni-Cor production method.

Basically, a solid bullet is punched out with a hollow cavity resulting in the Gold Dot hollow point. It is much more complicated than my simple description, but the bottom line is that the jacket and lead are bonded at the molecular level.

There is no fragmentation, and the bullet drives straight in the target and expands. The bullet will punch through light cover and covering garments.

This means a lot in a 40-grain bullet that may reach 2,000 fps or more in rifle-length barrels. The Gold Dot is also a high-quality projectile that has proven accurate in my test firearms.

Years ago, my cousin conducted an extensive test, not only of all types of ammunition, but of all service-pistol calibers, and concluded the Speer 230-grain Gold Dot .45 ACP was the finest available.

He armed his officers and special team with the GLOCK Model 21 .45 ACP and then concentrated on training.

Cartridge integrity is important, and the Speer Gold Dot is loaded to exacting standards. Reliability is first, accuracy and a clean powder burn are important.

More than a decade ago, the Ohio State Patrol chose a Gold Dot duty load after an exhausting firearms test in which they fired 228,000 rounds of ammunition without a single ammunition-related failure.

The Gold Dot is among our most proven service-handgun lines available.

Speer Gold Dot Uni-Cor
The Gold Dot Uni-Cor construction is unique and well suited to modern personal-defense needs.

2. .38 Special 135-Grain Gold Dot

For many years, the mainstay in .38 Special snubs was either a hard-cast SWC load or a 200-grain RNL bullet and hope for the best.

The ‘FBI Load,’ a lead semi-wadcutter 158-grain hollow point, was among the only effective expanding-bullet loads in this caliber. There were several problems, however.

When the new Scandium and ultra-light revolvers were introduced, harsh recoil proved to loosen lead bullets and sometimes tie the revolver up. Accuracy wasn’t that good, and velocity not that impressive.

Then, Gold Dot technology was applied to the .38 Special. By dropping bullet weight to 135 grains, Speer was able to get the bullet up to 900 fps on average in a two-inch, snub-nose revolver.

With 13 to 15 inches of penetration and solid expansion of over .60 inch on average, this is an outstanding defense load.

Speer Gold Dot .38 Special Bullet Expansion
The .38 Special Gold Dot offers good expansion.

3. Speer Gold Dot 10mm Auto

The Speer Gold Dot is among a very few 10mm loads intended specifically for personal defense rather than hunting. At 1060 fps, this isn’t the hottest 10mm, but it is well designed for personal defense.

The loading is among the most accurate 10mm loads I have tested. The 200-grain Gold Dot bullet penetrates 18 inches of gelatin very consistently and expands well.

This is outstanding overall performance. I have fired the Gold Dot loading in both Government Model and Commander-length barrels, as well as the long-slide Emperor Scorpion with excellent results.

Speer Gold Dot 10mm Auto Ammunition
Speer’s 10mm 200-grain hollow point is a formidable loading.

4. Speer .223 Remington Gold Dot

The Gold Dot rifle load has been overlooked too much, and some did not even realize the .223 Remington load exists.

The Gold Dot rifle load was developed for officers using ‘surplus’ M16-type rifles with a barrel twist that does not favor modern heavy bullet loads.

The 55-grain Gold Dot is a good performer, offering rapid expansion, as it should at well over 3,000 fps in most rifles. However, some of us prefer to hedge our bets with greater penetration.

My favorite is the 62-grain Gold Dot loading. Accurate, with good expansion and excellent weight retention, this is my choice.

There is also a 75-grain Gold Dot for modern rifles and the 1:7 inch barrel twist. The 62-grain loading seems ideal for personal defense, an important role for America’s rifle.

Speer Gold Dot .223 Bullet Expansion
The .223 Gold Dot offers excellent expansion and stays together in the target.

5. Speer Gold Dot .45 ACP

I have tested the Gold Dot most extensively in .45 ACP. The original Gold Dot and the new improved Generation 2, in both standard and +P versions, are formidable performers.

Whether a standard load at 790 fps in the GLOCK 30S, or the +P load at well over 900 fps in the five-inch barrel Government Model, the .45 ACP Gold Dot offers good performance.

The Generation 2 is an interesting design. The new Gold Dot features a hollow-point cavity filled with an elastomer. The new bullet also features reinforcing ribs for the petals.

The elastomer is designed to prevent the bullet from being plugged with clothing or intermediate material and failing to expand.

The Speer Gold Dot Generation 2 +P breaks 916 fps from a five-inch 1911 and 870 fps from the four-inch barrel Springfield Champion Operator.

The Gold Dot Generation 2 penetrated 18 inches and expanded from .79 to .81 inch. This is ideal performance and controllable in a steel-frame .45 or GLOCK 21 pistol.

Speer Gold Dot .45 ACP Bullet Expansion
The new Generation 2 .45 ACP is among the best Gold Dot bullets yet.

The Speer Gold Dot is a truly advanced projectile with an excellent combination of expansion and penetration.

The cartridges are loaded with a full powder burn, often producing only a warm glow rather than muzzle flash.

The whole package is a first-class loading in every caliber.

How do you like Speer Gold Dot ammunition? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (3)

  1. I’m surprised that a 10mm loaded like a .40SW made the list but not any of the 9mm choices.
    I really like the 9mm SB +P load in my G26.

  2. Good article. Just curious, why didn’t you include their 9×19 124 grain load? I would wager to saw the 9mm is more popular than the 5.7×28 or the 10mm.

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