Explain +P

Explain +P

This is a discussion on Explain +P within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Could you explain +P ammo? How does it apply to me? I carry a Glock G35 .40 but may be adding a second EDC either ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array Jdschoolerjdsch's Avatar
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    Explain +P

    Could you explain +P ammo? How does it apply to me? I carry a Glock G35 .40 but may be adding a second EDC either in same caliber or 9mm.
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  2. #2
    Member Array Mtnmanca's Avatar
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    Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe +P means more power. Hence the +P. If you'll notice all the ammo that has +P is smaller calibers like 9mm, .38, 380ACP, etc. I think to allow for a bit more power on a smaller caliber like the ones I mentioned +P gives you that bit more kick to get the job done. If I'm wrong someone let me know
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  3. #3
    Member Array GrandBob's Avatar
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    It means "plus pressure" which means... more pressure than standard.

    Which means don't use it anything other than modern guns.

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    As far as the .40 is concerned, there is no such thing as +P (despite what some manufacturers might claim).
    There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.--RAH

    ...man fights with his mind; the weapons are incidental.--Jeff Cooper


    There is a reason they try and make small bullets act like big bullets--Glockmann10mm

  5. #5
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    So-called "+P" ammo is loaded to roughly 10% higher pressure than standard ammunition. As of today, the industry organization SAAMI recognizes "+P" levels for ONLY 4 calibers - .38 Special, 9mm, .38 Super and .45 ACP. In spite of what Buffalo Bore and others may advertise, there is NO industry spec for any other calibers. That doesn't mean you take your life in your hands with somebody's "+P" .380 or .45 Colt, it just means there's no common agreement on the pressure to which that round is loaded. No responsible gun maker will stand behind an undefined load.

    Practically speaking, the +P rating translates into a hotter loading of the same caliber in standard pressure loads. In 9mm, +P is worthwhile (IMO) for a carry load; for any given bullet weight, it launches the bullet at a higher velocity which generally will increase penetration, or expansion, or both. Virtually all currently-marketed 9mm handguns are OK to use with +P ammo (but not +P+... that's a different story).
    Last edited by gasmitty; December 12th, 2013 at 11:52 PM. Reason: neglected .38 Super - thanks, Kilowatt3!
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    VIP Member Array blitzburgh's Avatar
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    You said it way better than I could, gasmitty. Great layman's explanation!

    I've never shot any +P+ stuff, but it sounds fun...
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    SAAMI is the way cool military type acronym for Small Arms and Ammunition Manufacturer's Institution. They set guidelines for the makers. For instance, the 300 H&H Magnum has a SAMMI pressure limit of 54,000 CUP (copper units of pressure.) This pressure barrier may not be exceeded by ammo manufacturers. Reason is, are you running this ammo in a new, precisely machined firearm with vastly superior metallurgy, or are you stuffing it in a vintage 1937 Model 70 Winchester? If it's for sale by a dealer, it needs to be safe in ALL firearms chambered for that cartridge. Older cartridges are often loaded light for this reason.

    Now, if a ammo manufacturer wants to heat things up a bit, he may do so. Ammo that is loaded hotter than standard needs only be marked "+P" on the box and headstamp. Modern firearms can handle this extra pressure (higher velocity). Older ones, not so much. Your manual usually gives the go/no go for higher than industry standard pressure.

    It will accelerate wear on the gun, modern or not. Same as hotrodding an engine.

    To add to the chaos, some cartridges have "+P+" ammo.available. This (to me) is pushing it (literally). But some folks like it.
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    VIP Member Array multistage's Avatar
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    Gasmitty beat me to the punch as I was typing my long winded reply. Sorry for the redundancy.
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    VIP Member Array StormRhydr's Avatar
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    Its that stuff that I have no use for.
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    BB, you're too kind. I've shot Cor-Bon +P+ in a couple of my nines, and it's not vastly different in felt recoil than their +P loads. Noticeable, but not a huge step up. Now something like 125 to 180 grain in .357 Mag, that's the type of change that'll clear your sinuses...
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  11. #11
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    It's like ordering a Big Mac meal and having it "super sized." They put a little more powder in your fries (case).
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    Senior Member Array patri0t's Avatar
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    Dang, I used to teach ballistics classes & I got nothing that needs adding. You guys know your stuff.
    One thing, the non-SAMMI +P can be about anything, I just go by the rep of the manufacturer.

    Sometimes, like Speer learned with its Gold Dot .45acp 200gr GDHP LE rounds... they were failing to expand regularly. So they upped them to +P and solved the problem.
    They did the same thing with their 9mm 124 gr LE GDHP ammo too, IIRC.

    Unfortunately, +P can cause some HPs to expand too quickly, thus, denying the projectile adequate 'penetration'.

    Since the Makers' experts are constantly tweaking their ammo for maximum performance (& failing often enough), the best we can do is go with the name brands and know the diff between Carry, Duty & Range ammo.

    The .40S&W is a new round & will be used in newer sidearms, so it is already 'optimized' .... to +P a .40S&W would give you a 10mm.
    Other considerations are bbl length (~100 fps/in), bullet wt, bullet configuration, etc.

    Despite all the 'rocket science' involved, it is good to remember All sidearms are fairly 'wimpy'. More than 7 of 8 sidearm wounds are non-fatal.
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    Over pressure rounds. Just be sure to read the manual that came with the firearm to ensure it supports the pressure the increased amount of powder within the case generates. Even new guns may not be capable of + P (pocket-style such as LCP, etc) and ruin your day if fired.

    I, personally, don't shoot +P, but for those I own capable of them, its just a little more reassuring in the event one of my reloads has a wee bit more powder over the maximum. So far just once, but you definitely know when that happens and spend rest of day pulling bullets.

  14. #14
    Member Array kriller1217's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtnmanca View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe +P means more power. Hence the +P. If you'll notice all the ammo that has +P is smaller calibers like 9mm, .38, 380ACP, etc. I think to allow for a bit more power on a smaller caliber like the ones I mentioned +P gives you that bit more kick to get the job done. If I'm wrong someone let me know
    I carry 230 gr. +P HST in my .45. And i have only seen one company with +P .380 ammo, Buffalo Bore.
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  15. #15
    VIP Member Array Kilowatt3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    ...As of today, the industry organization SAAMI recognizes "+P" levels for ONLY 3 calibers - .38 Special, 9mm, and .45 ACP...
    Make that 4 calibers. Add .38 Super to the list.
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