As a shooting instructor, one of the things I do is teach concealed carry certification here in North Carolina. It’s been interesting how the demographic of my classes has changed in the last couple of years. When I began teaching the certification class, most of my students were shooters who wanted to carry or avoid having to continually get pistol permits. Now, things are different.

Now almost all my students have little or no firearms history: I estimate about 40% have never fired a gun when they come to me. They come with a desire to have the ability to defend themselves and little else. In my class, I discuss choices for guns and ammunition and I often get calls with questions afterwards. I tend to be more aware of trends and reports on the effectiveness of ammunition and developments in concealed carry issues like new concealable guns, ammunition for self defense, and holsters.

When I heard Remington has launched a line of defense ammunition, I was intrigued and asked for some samples. Recently, I read the test of penetration and expansion in the current issue of The American Rifleman and decided to try some of the Golden Saber. I choose to carry a revolver, sometimes a Smith & Wesson 637 and sometimes a Charter Arms Bulldog. Since Golden Saber isn’t available in .44 Special, something I wish Remington would correct, I decided to test the .38 Special 125 Grain +P load. I was impressed.

The NRA test involved ballistic gelatin and reported numbers on expansion, weight retention, and penetration. I decided to test accuracy in my tiny microcosm of journalism. It began with an innocent pot shot at a plate on my plate machine at 50 yards. I’m fully aware that half a football field is considered extreme range for a two inch barreled, 12 ounce revolver but I hit the plate on the third try. I did have the advantage of late evening and a Crimson Trace grip. At 25 yards, I could hit the 8” plate every shot single action. I decided to get more scientific and set up a one inch target paster on the back side of a SR1C target center. I suspected I’d use a lot of the center but I was wrong.

At 25 yards using the Crimson Trace to aid my hold, I put the first shot within an inch of the paster. The resulting five-shot group measured less than four inches at 25 yards. I tried it again on a Caldwell Orange Peel target and got an under-three-inch group. This is impressive accuracy for a snub gun. I realize the group would be a lot larger without the Crimson Trace but it demonstrates the accuracy of Golden Saber. This is serious ammunition with penetration, weight retention, excellent expansion and, as my little test proves, real accuracy. Good work, Big Green.

Image courtesy Dick Jones

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  • Azbearhuntr

    One often overlooked attribute of defensive ammunition is muzzle blast in low or no light situations. Golden Sabers at least in 45 ACP in my 1911 are very bright and send “streamers” of fire out. Wouldn’t be my choice, there are equal or better bullet designs out there that go further to maintain your night vision after the first shot.

    • Dylan Saunders

      The Golden Saber bullet is a great design that expand kinetically, which means that they expand reliably when many other hollow points do not. They are ideal for use here in Alaska, for example, because they will expand after penetrating heavy clothing. Many LE agencies up here use them.
      As you have discovered though, Remington has not been loading their Golden Saber ammo with flash-suppressed powder. Perhaps they have a good reason, but I think it is something they need to fix, if they have not already.

  • I’ve shot GS in 38,357,380,9,40,45 all off hand and with good results. The only issue is some short barreled handguns do not like to load the hollow points without a failure eventually. Shop around the iNet for this ammo, the price can vary widely! Remington also has their Ultimate Home Defense line of ammo, which appeared about 2 years back. Essentially it is the same exact thing, different package? Through investigation it appears it is the same except, the GS has a waterproof mouth and primer, the HD line does not specify that. Oddly, I generally find the GS ammo for a lower price than the UHD. Guess it’s the Home Defense crowd markup. Haven’t tried the UHD line since it costs more to purchase than Golden Saber. Remington also has the GS Bonded line for LE and it can be found on line.

  • p leadley

    I still have .38 s&w Magsafes in my Airweight. Why should I change?