Well said sir, +1. If you don't mind I will take your suggestion and expand on it a bit.
My agency at one point was issuing the 9mm Gold Dot in standard, +P (both 124gr), and +P+ (115 gr) loadings. In short order we came to discover the +P+ load was damaging the roller blocks in our MP5 sub guns. At that point we did away with the +P+ option as a duty round.
I consider the MP5 a fairly robust weapon, especially when compared to many pistols available. So if it will quickly begin to damage an MP5, what will it do to many pistols if fired consistenly in them? We had a certain percentage of the office at that point who were saying hand me the +P+ for my pistol, I want the hottest round possible. Personally I feel no need to find out in one of my pistols.
I have to agree with both you and nevadaalan too, that far too many LEOs and John Q's spend too much time looking for the mythical "magic bullet" and not enough time practicing with their weapon using a round they can consistently shoot well with zero malfunctions.
While I like both the standard and +P Gold Dot 9mm loads, I personally don't see a great deal of difference between the two in terms of downrange performance. In my opinion, if either is placed where they belong, the odds favor the bad guy will not be able to tell the difference in velocity between the two rounds. So if someone feels they handle a standard velocity load better than they do a +P load, in terms of quicker recovery and tighter groups, that is the round I would suggest they use and practice with.
I am not trying to endorse Speer Gold Dots as the perfect carry round. Although it is often what is loaded in my pistols - that is after a great deal of testing in that pistol with that round. The same downrange performance in my opinion will largely be offered by any of the major brands of ammo in either their standard or +P loads.
As a 3.5 decade LEO, I do have a great deal of respect for my profession and those willing to serve in that capacity. But to be honest, in recent years I have noticed a trend where co-workers turn down practice ammo offered to them during quarterly quals as they "don't have time to practice". There are far too many folks I work with who simply shoot 4 times a year when required to demonstrate a passing score. While some do well, some also manage to barely shoot the minimum score. Personally, I do not want those minimal score folks standing beside me in a situation that has suddenly gone south.
The sad truth is that many civilian shooters clearly practice more often than at least some LEOs do. That fact will always be a mystery to me too. But good for the civilians anyway. I think the public perception is that all LEOs are very gun savvy too, which simply is not the case. I was recently drinking coffee during a first meeting of a manager in a large police department in my state.
They had recently replaced their duty weapons with a 40 S&W Glock. While he sat on the committee that made this selection, he was not able to tell me the model number of the pistol holstered on his side. When I attempted to question the rationale behind selecting the Glock over other brands, he stated that was easy. In their contact with other departments, they had been told that the Glocks seemed to work the most reliably when not cleaned frequently. That was both an eye-opening and depressing conversation for me.
Any weapon to me is a tool, and will do its part to protect me, if I do my part to properly maintain it. I had agreed to drive my shooting buddy up north to obtain a loaner vehicle while his state vehicle was being repaired. John could see I was not impressed with where this conversation was headed, and wisely announced it was time for us to get moving. Instead of heading north for his loaner, we spent the next hour in the local Sportsmans Warehouse, mostly handling various firearms they had on display.
I have nothing but total respect for my co-horts in crime, but it is conversations like this one that leave me more than a bit bewildered, asking myself where my profession is headed too.
But I do totally agree with your comment that folks should choose a round they can shoot well, and shoot it often. While I think it is great our site is able to share valuable information on weapons, ammo and tactics, I think it is also important to remind folks too. A round that functions perfectly in my pistol model x and shoots tight groups - may not function or group well for them in their model x too. That is where the importance of practice with your intended carry round is clear. There is only one way to see if it will function and group accurately, and that is to shoot it.
Just my thoughts for what they are worth.