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Speer Gold Dot G2 CarryGun Ammo

The terminal performance of Speer Gold Dot has been adjusted for compact and subcompact handguns and features an optimized G2 bullet design.

Speer Gold Dot G2 CarryGun Ammo

Speer’s Gold Dot family of ammunition has been a leading choice of law enforcement professionals for almost 30 years. It offers exceptional terminal performance and reliability. In 2019, Speer began offering the Gold Dot G2 ammunition to armed citizens, which had previously only been available to law enforcement. Speer has added new Gold Dot CarryGun ammo to its lineup which features a new version of the G2 bullet optimized for compact and subcompact pistols, Gold Dot CarryGun ammo offers the Gold Dot’s expected performance and barrier performance from smaller, lighter concealed carry firearms.

The Gold Dot Story

In the wake of the 1989 Miami-Dade shootout during which law enforcement bullets failed to adequately penetrate and neutralize the attackers, the FBI set out to develop a method by which to evaluate bullet performance and ensure that duty ammunition offered sufficient energy, expansion, and penetration capabilities. That test became known as the FBI Protocol test.

Speer introduced Gold Dot in 1991, and it was a significant step forward in bullet design. Until then, duty bullets were generally made of a lead core with a drawn jacket and hollowpoint nose cavity to initiate expansion. Speer opted to use a different technique by fusing a pressure-formed lead core to a plated jacket. The design created a molecular bond between the jacket and the core and minimized any chance of bullet jacket-core separation. Speer set a new standard in duty ammo performance and ushered in the age of bonded bullets. The company called the process UNICOR construction.

The bonded design also helps Gold Dot bullets retain weight and transfer energy effectively, even when fired through barriers, which was one of the factors that allowed Gold Dot bullets to perform so well in FBI Protocol tests when compared to its peers for decades. The UNICOR design allows Gold Dot bullet to expand and create massive wound channels and penetrates well through a variety of barriers. Plating the copper onto the lead core allowed for precise control over jacket thickness. Consistent jacket thickness improved accuracy. The plating process also allows Speer engineers the flexibility to customize jacket thickness for each individual load.

G2: The 2nd Generation Gold Dot

The Gold Dot G2 aimed at achieving better FBI-protocol test scores than the original Gold Dot. Both the standard Gold Dot and the new Gold Dot G2 bullets utilize UNICOR construction, but the G2’s unique design is an evolutionary step in duty bullet protocol performance.

“Gold Dot is a more traditional hollow point design,” said Federal Handgun Ammunition Product Manager Chris Laack. G2 is a different style of bullet, and its combination of a shallow nose cavity, new skiving, and an elastomer-filled nose cavity allow it to excel in the most difficult barrier tests. This provides more consistent performance through tough barriers like wood and steel.

“What the G2 does is keep things like plywood from filling the hollow cavity and preventing other tissue from entering the hollowpoint cavity and causing it to open,” Laack said. “It just prevents that hollowpoint from getting plugged. It’s important on some of those harder barriers like plywood or steel where steel can kind of deform the nose of the bullet and collapse the hollow point in on itself. Our G2 design prevents that from happening.”

Fissures cut into the bullet cause the G2 to expand reliably and transfer energy effectively while maintaining straight-line penetration, and that’s what has allowed Speer’s Gold Dot G2 to achieve the highest FBI protocol evaluation scores of any ammunition ever tested.

Optimized for Compact Carry Guns

Gold Dot G2 is still a capable duty round and, as such, is designed to perform in full-sized handguns. However, many people interested in personal defense and concealed carry prefer more discreet handguns with shorter barrels. To meet those preferences, Speer developed Gold Dot CarryGun loads designed specifically for use in compact and subcompact carry guns.

“The new Gold Dot CarryGun takes the idea of the G2 duty bullet and applies it to everyday carry-type firearms.” Laack said. “We took the G2 design and that purpose of working through all those barriers and applied it to compact handguns.”

To accomplish this, the team at Speer developed modified, lighter Gold Dot G2-style bullets that would reach optimum velocity in short-barreled pistols. Speer is also using nickel-plated cases for more reliable feeding, and a sealed CCI primer that are sensitive and reliable. With Gold Dot CarryGun ammunition, you can expect the same performance that made the Gold Dot and Gold Dot G2 famous from lighter, smaller, carry pistols.


“If we are going to make a bullet that is designed to be as barrier blind as possible with excellent terminal performance, could we make it work with the more limited velocity potential in a short barrel?” Laack asked. “Yes.” To do this, each of the bullets in CarryGun are completely redesigned versions of G2. As a result, they have lighter grain weights to get a little more velocity out of them. Speer also redesigned the shallow cavity and did several other modifications to optimize it for common carry guns.

Speer’s engineers at Speer to fine-tune these loads, each specific caliber individually, for short barrels. The Gold Dot CarryGun 9mm load utilizes a 135-grain bullet instead of the 147-grain bullet in the Gold Dot G2 duty ammunition. The .40 S&W Gold Dot CarryGun ammo fires a 165-grain bullet as opposed to the 180-grain offering from the G2 duty load. Finally, the .45 Auto +P CarryGun bullet weighs in at 200 grains instead of the 230-grain G2 duty bullet.

Most shooters believe that a defensive bullet — any defensive bullet — will perform well in typical self-defense situations. However, a duty bullet that is designed for and optimized to a full-sized duty pistol may not perform to the same standard from a short-barreled carry or backup gun. By taking the Gold Dot G2 bullet and customizing it to function in short-barreled defense pistols, Speer has created a self-defense load truly optimized for the guns in which it will be carried.

Speer has launched three Gold Dot CarryGun offerings: a 9mm load firing 135-grain Gold Dot G2 HP, a .40 S&W load with a 165-grain Gold Dot G2 HP, and a .45 Auto +P version with a 200 Grain G2 HP. All three will be sold in 20-round boxes.

There’s no room for compromise in a self-defense situation. When lives are on the line you must rely on your self-defense ammo to perform flawlessly, and Speer’s Gold Dot CarryGun does just that.

For more information on Speer Gold Dot CarryGun ammunition and all of Speer’s products, or to shop online, visit

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