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+P Ammo

8057 Views 13 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  kelsey
Can someone please to me everything about +P Ammo along with it's advantages and disadvantages. Thank You.
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Disadvantages its usually more expensive and harder on gun

I see no advantage to it
I'm not an expert but I was told higher pressures equal higher velocities thus better penetration.
Yes - usually a price penalty but - for guns designed to take it there is a small edge to be had.

I have no figures on hand to check but seem to recall that 9mm will give another approx 50 fps.

If we make a comparison of std and +P based on this, out of a shall we say 3" barrel - then call std vel 1050 and +P 1100 - this with a 124 grain bullet would translate into comparitive ME figures of - 300 ft lbs and 333 ft lbs respectively.

In 9mm in particular, where we already have a very high pressure round - the pressure increase will be significant and so the need to have guns used that are proven for such.

I would not practice all the time with +P but in my SIG I know the std vel rounds for practice hit very similar POI to +P at combat ranges - so carry the +P.
+P will give higher velocity= more penetration. Whether this is good or bad depends on what you are shooting at, from what and what type of bullet.
Personally , I shoot heavier , slower bullets and don't use +P for my guns. Maybe some others can chime in for the thoughts or reasons they use +P.
As the 9mm is somewhat marginal compared with some larger cals - I reckon the extra penetrative edge could help - possibly in assisting slightly better expansion - tho not by much.

One other small point too - I did notice when I had my 226 go slide-sluggish on me last year - the grease problem - it ran fine with +P - but was just marginal then with the std vel - and so I feel there is a small extra functional edge to be gained re gun reliability, should anything be prejudicing that just when needed.
As I understand it, the Small Arms & Ammunition Manufacturers Institute (SAAMI) has established certain pressure limits for different calibers to be loaded to. There have been limits set above the standard pressures for certain calibers (.38, 9mm and .45). These are "+P" pressures. There are additional pressures levels above the +P for certain calibers (.38 and 9mm). These are "+P+" ratings.

The advantage of a "+P" or "+P+" round is that it generates a greater amount of velocity. Higher velocity tends to equate to better terminal ballistics (effect on the target) though several standard pressure loads deliver adequate terminal performance as well. In short, +P or +P+ ammunition generally equates to more "stopping power."

For example:

Speer's 9mm Standard Pressure 124-grain Gold Dot has a published velocity of 1150 feet per second (fps). Speer's 9mm +P 124-grain Gold Dot has a published velocity of 1220fps, a 70 fps increase.

Federal 9mm Standard Pressure 115-grain JHP has a published velocity of 1160 fps. The Federal 9mm +P+ 115-grain JHP has a published velocity of 1300 fps, an increase of 140 fps.

The downside to using +P or +P+ ammunition is the cost, a possible increase in perceived recoil and accelerated wear on the firearm.

FWIW, when I used a 9mm my load was either Speer 124-grain +P Gold Dots or Winchester 127-grain +P+ loads. While I often felt more recoil (sometimes I did not notice), my times between shots were just as fast as with standard pressure ammunition. I put several thousand rounds of both loads through my weapon without any noticeable effect.

IMO, when using 9mm or .38, it is desireable to use +P ammunition. That is not to say that adequate results can not be achieved with standard pressure ammunition.
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Originally Posted by Rocky
+P will give higher velocity= more penetration.
It is my understanding the the higher velocity may result in more penetration, more aggresive expansion of the bullet or both.
Hello. The penetration thing depends upon the bullet construction. An aggressive expander like 9mm Corbon 115-gr. +P, which uses Sierra's 115-gr. Power Jacket Hollow Point is rated by the factory at 1350 ft/sec. From my Hi Power, the average velocity is usually right around 1400 ft/sec. It may or may not penetrate as deeply as say the same bullet at 1150 to 1200 ft/sec. On the other hand, bullets like DPX or Speer's Gold Dot most likely will penetrate more deeply at higher velocities as they are much less likely to fragment.

cost is higher, but is well worth it in 38sp and 9mm. just about any new gun made will shoot the +p. but some can not take a lots of it. nothing wrong with five or six rounds sometimes. i would not shoot 25/50 rounds down range at the same time. space it out. i carry +p+ hydro shock in my s&w model 60 (1980).

Higher velocities don't always translate to better penetraion.

The Ranger 230gr 45 loading will outpenetrate the 230+p load with the same bullet head everytime.

It depends on the heads design parameters and what optimal velocity is was designed for. Pushing the same bullet designed for 1100fps to 1170fps may just result on less penetration as the bullet expands sooner and so slows down.

btw-I also use the heavyweights in all calibers. Presently the 147 Ranger T's in the 9mm and their standard 230 offering in 45acp.

My understanding of the Standard vs. +P loads is:

The affected calibers are .38, 9mm, and .45
These rounds have been around for many years and lots of weapons built to handle loads of the Standard Pressures only.

Attempts to "upgrade" the round via higher velocities led to the +P & +P+ standards. Only newer weapons built to withstand these pressures should use the + loads.

Other rounds like the .357magnum, .357Sig, .40 S&W, 10mm, are already "upgraded" rounds and are operating at near maximum pressures.

As to benefits?? That is in the eye of the beholder. I am still a fan of better accuracy (shot placement) versus harder hitting. A good standard load that delivers good accuracy and managable recoil will perform far better overall IMHO.
Be sure you use a firearm that is rated for +p ammo for safety's sake...
Thanks everyone very much for answering my question. I understand it much better now.
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