Evolution of Speer Gold Dot boxes

Today I received a new style box of Speer Gold Dot in .380 auto, and it occurred to me to do a lineup of the earlier versions that Speer has done. There were a couple other oddballs using the old blue plastic cases, or CCI Blazer boxes which had Gold Dot loadings, but these are the common branded box types anyway. Oldest is on the left, newest / current is on the right


Speer also sold brass cased Gold Dot ammunition in 50 round boxes as LAWMAN ammunition. I’ve seen them in 9 MM and .45 acp with several bullet weights in each caliber. The boxes are white cardboard with black printing, and have a milky white plastic tray. Interestingly, the .45 acp Gold Dot bullets originally had eight segments, then only six, and currently .45 acp and .45 Colt Gold Dot bullets have seven segments. Go figure.

Just for the gallery.This is my Lawman box. Unknown content.

Original Gold Dot 45 ACP 230 grain was 8 petals, I still have the better half of a 50 count LEO box of them given to me by a old friend’s father. The original 185 grain load was 6 petals and so was the original 200 grain, also 6 petals. When 45 GAP caliber came out Speer designed another 200 grain +P 45 ACP load to go with the 45 GAP 200 grain load and it had a 7 petal 200 grain projectile that was much better performance at lower sub 1000 FPS velocities.
To my knowledge the weird " Purple Power " boxes as we called them back in 2001 had the new 230 grain 7 petal Gold Dot and I still have some of those also but only the boxes and brass left. Around that time when the “Purple Power " boxes came out was when the 200 grain 45 ACP +P got a face lift shortly after Brass Fetcher on YouTube proved it’s failure in 20% gel tests with denim added.
The reason the 230 originally had 8 petals was for deep penetration which was the Black SXT Talon’s selling point that made it so popular back then, expansion and penetration all in one 230 grain pill oh my! Gone were the days of having to pick between reliable 185 grain expansion and velocity or 230 grain deep penetration with maybe some expansion, maybe being key word there. Speer took note of this deep penetration trend and designed the 230 grain 8 petal to expand less and penetrate to nearly 20” inches in gel back in the late 90’s. The 185 .45 ACP was designed more for rapid wide expansion and to just make or break the 12" inch min. mark for FBI tests.
The legacy of the “Purple Power” 200 grain +P load started off as competition to Speer’s original 200 grain JHP ash tray ammo. People were loading dual base powder behind the ash tray and hitting 1200 FPS in some 6" inch long slide 1911’s and Glock 21 models. The old ash tray liked Long Shot and Winchester’s powders really well. Sadly the 6 petal 200 grain Gold Dot original was designed for 950 to 1100 FPS impact velocity ranges and anything under 950 FPS it performs weird and wont open up as much. They changed to the 7 petal but left the cavity the same as the older 185 grain and 200 grain which is shallow cone around 35-45 degree of angle allowing rapid expansion but not very controlled upon impact. GAP 45 never took off so it kinda failed and got pulled.

Matt - nice selection. I didn’t remember having the newest form, on the far right of your picture, but found I did have it in .25 Auto. I still don’t recall ever buying it.

Dugjans has a nice box there, but it is not a Gold Dot Box, just for the record.

I used to try to collect every style of box in every auto pistol caliber, but now, due to space and expense, I am happy to get one of each box-label style.

Here is a picture of some other Speer Gold Dot styles. The 20-round box at the bottom is simply the first run of that box style, and the first run of the Gold Dot “Short Barrel” load in 9 mm Luger 124 grain bullet. The top 50-round box is for 115 grain 9 mm Luger and the other two for 124 grain 9 mm Luger.

Nice to revisit some boxes I haven’t looked at in awhile. Thanks for posting the original entry.

John Moss