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Short barrel ammo for carry gun?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by breakingcontact, Nov 13, 2012.

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  1. breakingcontact

    breakingcontact Member

    Oct 25, 2012
    Austin, TX
    I've been very happy with the Gold Dots for carry.

    I see they make them for short barrel guns as well. Are these really the preferred round in a short barreled gun or is it so much marketing?

    I haven't looked at the expansion tests to see. I'm interested in the differences out of a 3.1" barrel (to be very specific).

    I've also read they are supposed to produce less muzzle flash. What do you think?
  2. Bovice

    Bovice Member

    Sep 27, 2009
    Seems like operating pressures have to be the same, burn rate may be a little faster to help with efficiency and lower the flash. Unburnt powder means huge muzzle flash.

    So what I am guessing, with my reloading knowledge and engineer's mind, is that it is a faster burning powder. This allows a complete and cleaner burn with a shorter barrel. Second, velocities may be lower. Using faster powder means you reach peak pressure faster, allowing less time to accelerate the bullet. Somebody once compared it to pushing against a bowling ball with a steady applied force vs. punching it quickly. So the projectile is probably slower than it's "regular" counterpart in the same firearm. Third, the projectiles probably are designed to open up at slower speeds with greater reliability.

    With this being the results I expect to find, at the outset I would say that short barrel ammo is probably inferior at penetration.
  3. Rexster

    Rexster Member

    Mar 25, 2007
    SE Texas
    I would bet the bullets are engineered to open at a lower velocity than JHPs intended for higher velocities. According to Mas Ayoob, the Speer Short Barrel Gold Dots have performed well, multiple times, for NYPD officers armed with .38 revolvers. This prompted me to buy the .357 version, which actually moves along just a bit faster than the .38 +P, and should therefore perform about the same.

    My wife, a forensic investigator, worked a shooting scene, locally, in which the .357 Short Barrel worked very decisively, though the weapon had a 4" barrel. A man was reaching for his weapon, which was stashed near him, and a woman fired one shot with her .357, which stopped the man's actions immediately. (This was domestic, with no clear "good" or "bad" guy/gal; the court system will figure it all out.) Of course, one incident is not a complete study, but when considered along with NYPD's results, is encouraging. To be clear, I am not a believer in any magic bullet, but I do like to carry what has worked multiple times in the real world.
  4. 1SOW

    1SOW Member

    Oct 28, 2007
    South Texas
    Coming from Speer, I wouldn't think it's ALL marketing hype.

    Speed of said bullet is the key. Short bbls will shoot slower than longer bbls which detracts some from bullet performance and penetration. Changing the bullet to open more at slower speeds would shorten penetration. Making the powder a little faster can make up some of the speed differences and maybe lessen muzzle flash.
    ATK/Speer says fully functional out of a 3.0" bbl. Select handgun, Gold Dots below

    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
  5. PabloJ

    PabloJ Member

    Oct 17, 2010
    In practical terms the difference is bullet speed is likely to be infinitesimal. I would take short barrel stuff only if muzzle flash signature is noticeably less then standard stuff.
  6. ku4hx

    ku4hx Member

    Nov 8, 2009
    For over forty years I've tailored powder to barrel length. Short barrels got faster burning powder (Bullseye, AA2 and etc) and those with long runways got slower powders (2400, AA9 and etc.).

    As long as the bullet I chose was designed to expand at the velocities I was getting, I was a happy camper. Of course, being a bullet caster I wasn't always looking for expansion, but complete powder burn, or nearly so, has always been always a good thing.

    Nice to see the factories finally caught up on the reality of gun barrels not all matching the barrel of their test apparatus. And acknowledging bullet construction needed to vary within a caliber and not just from one caliber to another.
  7. marcclarke

    marcclarke Member

    Jan 18, 2012
    Loveland, Colorado, USA
    Another consideration is that the factory short barrel loads are manufactured with low-flash powders to reduce or eliminate muzzle flash from short barrels.
  8. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Richmond, Virginia
    I clicked on the ATK link and looked at the charts for the regular and short barrel 9mm +P 124.

    The test barrel lengths are 4" and 3.5". Definitely shorter, but not short. I was curious, I can't use it in my Rohrbaugh anyway.
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