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Should I continue to use +P ammunition as my defensive ammo of choice?


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IMO, use quality ammo, preferably w/ a bonded projectile, that you shoot well! I happen to carry +P mainly because I am very well stocked in it. I am fine with non +P though in a quality load. As far as wear goes I wouldn't be real concerned especially if it is an M&P, Sig or Glock. Just my .02 worth!
 
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Virtually all damage done by a bullet at pistol velocities (below 2200 fps) come from physical crushing and maceration of tissue, not from any lateral wound effects like is seen at rifle velocities. The meager difference in velocity between HST 124 standard pressure and +P is insignificant. My impression is they sell the +P merely because some people think +P is needed.
I hear that alot my experience tells me different. Most people who quote the 2200 fps have no idea where it even came from. I call BS on it everytime I see it. The 357 Sig 9mm +P as well as magnum revolvers cause "high velocity wounds" at speeds at and over 1300 fps.

Under 1100 fps what you say is true, all damagage is a result of direct contact with the bullet.
 

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I would think +P would be less effective and harder on a small frame gun than something like a Glock 19. The longer barrel would get more advantage from the higher pressure.
 

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I'll be long gone before I wear out any of my firearms and I don't believe everything I read on the internet. It's like the caliber wars, put a couple holes in something attacking you to stop the threat.
 

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As @Rock and Glock said, I wouldn't over think it either.

It's been posted here before, but I recommend viewing and listening to the Federal team who design and test bullets for a living. They're more concerned about designing a bullet that penetrates and expands, less concerned about what velocity it is to achieve that. Virtually all damage done by a bullet at pistol velocities (below 2200 fps) come from physical crushing and maceration of tissue, not from any lateral wound effects like is seen at rifle velocities. The meager difference in velocity between HST 124 standard pressure and +P is insignificant. My impression is they sell the +P merely because some people think +P is needed.

That said, I don't agree 100% with everything they said. I have heard enough anecdotal evidence from street shootings that handgun velocities over 1200 fps tend to create slightly larger wound tracks than lower velocity rounds. HST +P doesn't quite get to that velocity, but Underwood does make +P+ loads with Speer Gold Dots that push over that 1200 fps mark. It comes with the cost of more muzzle blast and recoil.

Personally, I have various guns and mags loaded with either HST standard and +P, and Underwood loads, based on what each gun groups better with. In many cases it's a toss up.

Exactly. The video is right on. I didn't even say "that said".
 

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Some of you are familiar with Grant Cunningham. He is a prolific author and podcaster on topics related to defensive shooting and preparedness, a shooting trainer and a high-end gunsmith. He takes a very level-headed, risk management approach to his topics. He does his homework. He is a member of this site who has posted on rare occasions. His is just one voice, but I have several of his books and I thought I would share some of his observations on this. I am paraphrasing.
  • He references and endorses Greg Ellifritz' studies that the #1 correlation to stopping an attack with a gun is putting multiple rounds on target quickly. So the #1 consideration for choosing ammo for a given defensive gun is what ammo can you (not anyone else) do that best with.
  • He debunks the idea that +P's are useless since they’re not a huge increase in power. He says they don’t have to be. The idea behind the +P is to add enough energy to reliably deliver an expanded bullet deep enough to do its job. It doesn’t have to be a lot of extra energy - it just has to be enough. So as long as you can shoot multiple shots with it just as quickly and accurately as you can non +P, and most people can, then you should take all the power you can get. +P offers some more power without a lot of added recoil.
  • He likes the idea of choosing a round that has a lot of data on it, both ballistics tests and real world experience, not just a few data points. For that reason, he is a fan of Speer Gold Dot +P's in the middle of the bullet weight range because there is a ton of information out there that it is effective in a wide range of situations.
Just another opinion, but something to think about.
 

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I hear that alot my experience tells me different. Most people who quote the 2200 fps have no idea where it even came from. I call BS on it everytime I see it. The 357 Sig 9mm +P as well as magnum revolvers cause "high velocity wounds" at speeds at and over 1300 fps.

Under 1100 fps what you say is true, all damagage is a result of direct contact with the bullet.
Absolutely. I had the unfortunate experience of standing by in a trauma bay as a surgeon tried in vain to save a life. Everyone in that room was shocked when he cut into the chest cavity. The wound was caused by a .357 Magnum.

One of the keys to this is understanding the supersonic shock wave that builds up on the nose of a bullet traveling faster than 1140 fps at sea level - the speed of sound, which is slower as you go higher. The shock wave grows more pronounced as the speed goes beyond the trans sonic region.
 
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If you shoot regular ammo most of the time and the self defense ammo sparingly, you should be fine. It’s just telling you that +P will wear you gun out faster. You will probably never wear the gun out.
If you can afford to shoot enough +P to wear out your gun,you can afford to buy a NEW GUN :)
 

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I have Glock, Ruger, Taurus and S&W handguns. All are rated for +P ammo and I use it if that is what I have. I am more interested in POA/POI than whether or not it is +P or standard pressure. Haven't experienced any negative effects so far. Acidentally purchased some Speer 9mm +P+ rated at 40,000 cup a while back. The Glocks seem to handle it fine but I don't intend to buy any more of it. I would move up to 357 Sig if I thought I needed more in 9mm.
 
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