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What is the BEST defensive load/grain for the .45 GAP?

Discussion in 'The Bull Dawgs Club' started by JCROWNII, Jan 12, 2010.



    Dec 30, 2009
    Hello GT,

    I have recently purchased a Glock 39 and I am wondering what is the best defensive loading I can use in the G39 (remember its a a sub-compact so it has a short barrel). I have heard that bullet expansion can be hindered due to such a big round coming out of such a short barrel so I might want to get a lower weight grain round (ie. the 185gr. or 200gr.) so that bullet expansion can be better because they have higher FPS.

    Here are my options:

    .45 GAP 230gr/850 fps
    .45 GAP 200gr/970 fps
    .45 GAP Reduced Recoil 185gr/1090 fps (Why do they call this reduced recoil?)

    Which would be the best and why as far as personal protection and stopping power?

  2. Officer's Match

    Officer's Match S.R.D. v

    Jun 22, 2007
    Lancaster, Ohio
    I'll be interested to see what other more knowledgeable folks have to say about this, but for my 38's I carry 200gr Gold Dots most of the time. I have considered HST 230's and Golden Sabre 230's also and am going to test them when the Global Warming kicks in and my admittedly wimpy butt can stand being outside for any appreciable time span.:whistling:

  3. Glock39Pirate


    Nov 17, 2009
    I've been carrying HST's in 9mm and .40 for a couple of years and had great results with them. So I'm continuing to do so in my 39 with the 230grainers until I see some testing done with them and the 200grain gold dots. So Officer's Match:please hurry up, some of us really want to see some hard data!:supergrin:
  4. miatank


    Mar 29, 2006
    Sahuarita, AZ
    I guess alot of folks are into bullet tests and such and that's fine. My perspective - nothing matters if you don't hit the target in a vital area. So the best ammo is the one that you and the gun shoot best.

    dave - what's good for me may not work for you
  5. Glock39Pirate


    Nov 17, 2009

    The OP has a good point, JHP's shooting out of short barrel subcompacts do expand differently, I'd really like to see some hard evidence too.
  6. miatank


    Mar 29, 2006
    Sahuarita, AZ
    That's true. Speer and maybe others make special 'short barrel' bullets. I load their 110gr version in my LCR - 2in snubby. I have not run the load thru the chrony yet - but will. Remember that the 39 has a 3.5in barrel - a snubby is about 2in and there is the cylinder to barrel gap.
    I did shoot Speer factory 200gr Gold Dot loads in a 38 and 39 and posted the chrony numbers. Don't have them in front of me right now. But IIRC the 38 gave about 950 fps and the 39 925 fps. Typical velocitys for 45. Not a big difference between the pistols and enuf speed to allow the bullet to expand.

    dave - when we get a 37 we'll check that one too
  7. tampashooters

    tampashooters Shellback

    Jun 25, 2007
    Tampa, FL
    Let me ask you....Would you even want to be shot with a little .22lr round? I didn't think so...

    Realistically, getting shot with any .45gap round is going to ruin someone's day.
  8. i'm not an expert (not even close) but all of my research have found that the le departments carry the 200 grain (gold dots). i have also found that the gap (including the 39) handle the 230 grain just fine. so i guess it's a matter of personal preference. for me i carry both the 200 gold dots and the 230 hst. both are very accurate for me. i've never tried the 185gr.
  9. zenmanxxx


    Mar 5, 2009
    Damascus, MD
    The one you practice with, can handle and keep on target...this changes from person to person.


    Dec 30, 2009
    So the recoil will be noticeably different between the 230gr and 200gr?

    So im guessing the 185gr will be lower recoil? I saw a box of .45 GAP 185gr federal hydra-shock's and the box said "reduced recoil"

    I guess im gonna try the 200gr and the 185gr and which ever I do with better I will carry. I dont think I will go with 230gr though. Unless I see a big benefit. I will carry 230gr in a G38 or G37 but not a G39. At least not yet, I have to see.

    BTW, where do you guys buy your defensive rounds? Online? I have searched for Federal HST's in .45 GAP but cant find where to buy them.
  11. have anyone tried double tap ammo? i understand that double tap reaches 45 acp +p velocities? haven't heard any reports on how well they perform. any info?
  12. tuica


    Apr 28, 2009
    Lack of velocity due to shorter tubes does not hinder the effectiveness of larger calibers as much as it does smaller rounds. The projectiles gain most of their incapacitating ability from having a larger diameter and heavier weight. Cheers
    Last edited: May 31, 2011
  13. up1911fan


    Mar 12, 2009
    Upper Michigan
    I'm carrying 230gr Winchester Bonded Ranger T's.
  14. David_Ely

    David_Ely GAP'r

    Jul 3, 2008
    Okemos, MI
    Me too! I also have some Speer Gold Dot 185gr but I prefer slow and heavy to light and fast when it comes to pistol ammo.
  15. xxlarge


    Mar 15, 2009
    Same place I buy my practice ammo....ammotogo
  16. You might want to look here:
  17. Deye76


    Feb 25, 2011
    Can't say it's the best,

    +1 for Speer Gold Dot .200gr. Wether it's me or the gun, .200gr (both HP & FMJ) is perferred over the .230 as shown on my targets. Need to give .185gr a try.
  18. SamRudolph


    Nov 19, 2010
    True to some extent, but a lot of heavy bullets that already move slow like .45 ACP tend to lose velocity rapidly out of a short barrel. A .45 ACP load that goes 900 fps from a 5" may only go 750 from a 3".

    Of course, I heard that the .45 GAP does better from short barrels compared to the .45 ACP.
  19. ricklee4570


    Sep 11, 2009
    200 Grain Gold Dots seem to have a very good reputation. Several Police agencies use this ammo.