I was fortunate enough to escape the melee at my house for a quick range session to test the next batch of handloads for the P30, and I have settled on a load. But first, check out the expanded Gold Dot that was shot into water jugs, the second one from left:
The one furthest to the left is a 147 grain HST, and the 124 grain Gold Dot expanded just as much - .708" at the widest point, and I didn't bother to get the average because it was so uniform. The third from the left is the same 124 grain Gold Dot bullet that I fired through denim, and thinking about it now so is the HST. The bullet to the right is a .45 caliber 230 grain Remington Golden Saber that I recovered from a bucket of damp dirt that I was firing into a couple of years ago. I haven't put calipers on it yet, but to my calibrated eye its expanded diameter is the same as two of the 9 millie bullets sitting next to it. Here's the back end where you can see what I'm talking about:
Now you can see why, with modern self defense loads, the 9mm performs in the same league as the .45 ACP. When bullets for the most popular defensive handgun cartridges - 9mm, .40 S&W, .357 Sig, and .45 ACP - are all calibrated to expand while penetrating to the same depth in ballistic gelatin, why not go with the round that has the least recoil and most capacity? It makes sense. If we were all stuck with ball ammo, mind you, I would chose the .45 ACP every time. That's a bit different.
As far as the Gold Dot handload I've settled on, the 6.6 grains of VihtaVuori wins the day again with a 1.692" five-shot group at an average velocity of 1,193 fps and a 17 fps extreme spread. It matches up close with the factory Gold Dots that gave me a 1.565" five-shot group at an average velocity of 1,182 fps and a 27 fps extreme spread. The last time the 6.6 grain VV charge gave me a 1.421" five-shot group, so I know this isn't a fluke. I'm also not going to dicker with the seating depth as I'm quite happy with inch-and-a-half 25 yard groups from a sub-compact length barrel. Also, I have to workat it to get that much powder settled in the case so the bullet can seat down all the way.
My brother also put some rounds through his M&P9C while the chronograph was up and the sun was shining. He thought the 147 grain HST +P rounds in his gun were recoiling a little excessive, and after shooting it I have to agree. You could feel a hitch in the slide when it went back, like it had some overtravel and was going back further than it should. Fortunately, the 124 grain +P Gold Dots did well in his gun, so he's switched to those under the promise of a steady supply of free ammo since I can make them so cheap.
Also of some interest, I broke down and added some duct tape to my home made appendix holster this weekend:
To go the extra mile on my trashiness, I couldn't locate my roll of duct tape and, because I was in such a hurry, as always, I had to use the duct tape from my Glock AIWB holster. This time though I'm using some soft gel and a synthetic shammy cloth to pad the holster, and I'm content with it at this point.