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Old January 28, 2024, 07:09 PM   #26
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If you reload, Speer makes bullet that are specifically designed for short barrels.

Do you know where I can find some 135 Gold Dots for short barrels?
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Old January 29, 2024, 05:05 AM   #27
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In this calibers with short barrels I prefer the solid copper-polymer bullets made by a few companies, the one I know most is Inceptor. Performance is consistent, no need to worry about having enough velocity to expand the bullet and the recoil is a bit lower too.
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Old January 29, 2024, 09:26 AM   #28
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In case anyone is interested, Underwood is having a pretty nice sale on their highly rated defensive .380 ammo right now (possibly other calibers as well). I just ordered some, myself.

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Old January 29, 2024, 09:48 PM   #29
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Luckygunner labs is your friend.

I went with Remington Golden Saber Defense Compact Ammunition 38 Special +P 125 Grain. I’ll be carrying in my 2” 340.

In my Kahr CW380, I carry Fiocchi Extrema 380 ACP AUTO Ammo 90 Grain Hornady XTP. That bullet performed quite well.
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Old February 1, 2024, 11:35 PM   #30
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Choosing the best defensive ammunition for a .38 snubby revolver and a pocket bulk 45 ACP pistol involves considering factors like penetration, expansion, and recoil. Here are some popular choices for defensive ammo in these calibers.
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Old February 2, 2024, 07:29 AM   #31
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I’m weird. I get that. I’m all about penetration. I bought a case of .38 Special 158 gr Semiwadcutters years ago. No HP. On the rare occasions I carry my Airweight 642, that’s what’s in it.

In .380 I carry the non +P Buffalo Bore hardcast. UNLESS I know I’m carrying in a heavily populated area, like Las Vegas. Then, I’ll load with Gold Dots.
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Old February 2, 2024, 03:44 PM   #32
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"Best" is a discussion that typically evokes a lot of personal opinions.

How true. My thought has always been the best load in the gun is whatever happens to be in the gun when the Vigaro hits the Mixmaster. You don't have time to holler, "Hold on. I've got to change from target ammo to fighting ammo." You just go with what you have.

My carry back up .380 is a Walther PPK/s and I run the Federal Hydrashoks. I also sometimes carry a Walther PP in .32 ACP on very rare occasions, usually as a back up to something bigger.

My usual back up piece though is an S&W M60 .38 Spl. running Federal 125 gr. +P hollow points. Most time when I practice I run 148 gr. wadcutter loads, sometimes Winchester brand or handloads using my home cast 148 gr. Lyman #358495 bullet over .3.1 gr. W231 or 2.7 gr. Bullseye when just plinking with the gun.

Normal carry gun is a Colt Combat Commander in .45 ACP BTW.
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Old March 21, 2024, 10:06 PM   #33
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642 148gr LWC , 158gr SWC in speed strips for reloads

LCP … 100gr FNFMJ
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Old March 26, 2024, 08:42 AM   #34
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I looked for recommendations on YouTube, but, you know, sometimes personal experience speaks louder than anything else. I was kinda skeptical about buying ammo in the first place. Although, of course, my perspective has recently changed when I started buying from It seemed like a good option since it was easier for me to compare different options from the home site. I was just curious to find out if anyone has ever tried to buy ammunition from them.

Last edited by ZoieBarnett; March 27, 2024 at 05:17 AM.
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Old March 26, 2024, 09:11 AM   #35
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There is so much suspect and conflicting info in these 2 pages. I cannot comprehend how to make a good decision or if I made one.

It all comes down to ballistic performance of a round, your guns ability to facilitate that and your ability to run the gun. I thought we were talking about ballistic performance…..hmm.
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Old March 28, 2024, 08:12 PM   #36
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For 38 Special, in the old days (70’s) I loaded the 148 gr. hollow base wadcutters backwards at around 850 - 900 fps. Now, all my snubbies are 357, but if I was loading for 38, I would still like a soft lead 158 gr. SWC at 850 - 900. My daughter has the 38 and I have her buy Hornady Critical Defense 110 grain, mainly for lower recoil with the lighter bullet. She practices with 130 gr. FMC.
My 380 has Remington Golden Sabers in it, but I have a box of high zoot Underwood sitting on the shelf.
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Old March 28, 2024, 10:39 PM   #37
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I carry Winchester 200gr lead, super police in my 37.
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Old May 11, 2024, 12:27 PM   #38
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I live in a suburban neighborhood and in a house with wife and kids, so I'm more concerned about OVERpenetration.
My revolvers/semi-autos are loaded with either Speer GoldDot or Hornady Critical Defense. The Critical Defense is the best choice for me to ensure good performance but not passing through multiple walls.
I still have some boxes of Federal Guard Dog ammo, but after testing those in various pistols, I was disappointed with the accuracy - so those stay shelved in the safe.

These days, any defensive ammo with the little plastic 'plug' in the nose to ensure expansion is my #1 choice vs. a hollow-point that could get filled with sheetrock/drywall and act like an FMJ and overpenetrate.
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Old May 11, 2024, 12:54 PM   #39
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Old May 12, 2024, 10:05 AM   #40
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+1 for the Speer Gold Dot 135-gr short barrel version, it's my first choice and the Hornady is 2nd. Both are good options and will serve you just fine, I think it's more important to buy a box or 2 and shoot a few mags/cylinders to ensure your gun functions well with your chosen ammo than to nitpick the ammo itself.

Dang, just noticed this thread is getting a little long in the tooth....
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Old May 13, 2024, 01:46 PM   #41
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Well, it appears the OP's entire activity consists of 3 posts in this thread, the last of which appeared in Oct of last year, so perhaps the OP arrived at an 'answer' and disappeared from the forum.
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Old May 14, 2024, 08:45 AM   #42
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FMJ doesn't need anything special to it. Because of drag and friction, I have read not once that a +P or hardcast on a defensive round has proven anything a weak FMJ can't do.

Federal Deep 380 is probably the best performing 380 today.
Federal HST 38 is probably the best performing 38 today.

Both consistently open and go better than a lot.
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Old May 17, 2024, 08:03 AM   #43
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First choice would be Speer 135 gr. +P short barrel as many PD's use it successfully. If you're familiar with Massad Ayoob, it's one of his favorites based on actual shootings. If you can't find that, traditional 148 gr. wadcutters are great as they do cut full .38 caliber holes and are easy to shoot and practice with (low recoil). They're also not crazy expensive.
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Old May 22, 2024, 01:30 PM   #44
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Gold Dot 38 is kinda an older standard in 38 special. Doesn't work poorly, but for the same price there is a new better?

If you haven't checked into it, HST 38 is essentially 100% open at the mouth and goes deeper with greater expansion than Gold Dot.

Both Gold Dot (Speer) and HST (Federal) are owned by Vista Outdoors.

I think HST bests Gold Dot here for both qualities you want.

THAT said, HST performs poorly in 380, just like Gold Dot does. In 380, the same owned company Federal Deep 380 is probably the best 380 round ever made.
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Old May 22, 2024, 07:21 PM   #45
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Unfortunately, the .38 Special HST load hasn't been available for a long time.
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