Handgun Forum banner
1 - 20 of 23 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few weeks ago I was shopping at a large gun store in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area and was looking at a 9mm pistol (I do not remember the brand). The barrel was marked 9mm, but I was looking for something 9mm +P. I asked the young kid behind the counter (I am 60 so most of them look young) if he had anything in 9MM +P. He said all 9mm are +P even if they are not marked +P. That was news to me. Is this true? Can a 9mm pistol, even an older 9mm handgun, safely eat a steady diet of 9mm +P ammo or was he spewing forth incorrect information? My current handguns are marked 9mm Parabelllum. Can I safely shoot 9mm +P ammo in them?
 

· Registered
Joined
·
926 Posts
Most modern 9mm pistols (Glock, etc.) are rated for +P ammo. Older ones are not. I had a West German Sig Sauer P226 & I asked the manufacturer this same question. He said their older pistols should not be fired with +P but their newer pistols (9mm & 45 ACP) were made with upgrades that were specifically designed for +P ammo that didn't exist when the older pistols were made. I have never seen any pistol that had "+P" on the slide.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,767 Posts
I would suggest reading the owners manual for any handgun you are interested in to see what additional info on ammo is there.
I have a ruger and the manual says that while it can handle +P ammo, a 'steady diet' of +P can shorten the life of the handgun.
YRMV.
'
 

· Registered
Joined
·
241 Posts
From the Beretta 92FS manual:

Using good quality ammunition combined with preventive maintenace will make the
pistol perform flawlessly through years of service. To prevent malfunctioning always
visually inspect each cartridge for external damage before loading.
The pistol is designed and tested to withstand continued shooting with all brands and
types of commercial ammunition manufactured to standard (C.I.P., S.A.A.M.I., etc.)
specifications.
We do not recommend extended use of +P, +P+ or submachine gun ammunition
because the chamber pressure may reach or exceed proof load pressure decreasing
the major components service life expectancy.
The warranty does not cover the use of reloaded and/or hand loaded ammunition.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,305 Posts
I have never seen a semi-auto 9mm pistol with the caliber designation of 9mm+P on it's slide or frame. There are a few 9mm pistols which are not recommended for +P use and this is clearly stated in their manuals. However, most 9mm pistols will handle +P ammo just fine. Like others have said, a steady diet of this ammunition is generally not recommended but for SD use, you should be good to go. All of my primary and secondary pistols in 9mm get loaded with +P ammo.

For what it's worth, the gen3 Glock 19 was factory tested to be safe up to 43,000 cup (or psi, if you prefer). At the time I saw this there was a round available, and I imagine it still is, that was rated to 42,000 cup and that was/is the Winchester Ranger 127 grain JHP RAT9A +P+. While the gen3 Glock 19 did handle this in the test I saw, I would not recommend using it any more than absolutely necessary for any extended period.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
535 Posts
Pistols chambered in 9mm Luger will generally have "9x19mm" or "9mm Para" engraved on the barrel. As was said, even pistols that the manufacturers rate for +P ammo will not have that designation engraved on the slide. Manufacturers tend to be very conservative when it comes to ammo recommendations. Most will not authorize the use of reloaded ammunition and very few will authorize the use of +P+ ammo. The reason is that there is no control over reloaded ammo and no absolute upper pressure limit for +P+ ammo. If you have a vintage 9mm pistol it is probably best to stick with standard pressure ammo. Despite what was quoted in the Beretta 92FS manual, that pistol will handle +P ammunition just fine. In fact, the NATO spec ammunition that Winchester provides to the military for use in that pistol is loaded to slightly higher pressure than standard 9mm Luger.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,191 Posts
I shoot +P in any of my 9mm handguns without concern. None are vintage. I dug a little deeper into published information and found in 9mm 124 grain, there's not a lot of difference between standard ammo and what is designated +P. Once my decision was made, I lost the information and am not willing to resource is, but just look at something say like the Speer 124 grn. +P and compare it against many of the standard rounds out there. Many have higher rated velocity and energy. Printed chamber pressures are often less.

I practice with FMJ standard pressure 124 grn but make sure the velocity is close to the same as my Speer +P and I'm good to go. No worries. I can tell no real difference in how snappy both are either.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,305 Posts
I shoot +P in any of my 9mm handguns without concern. None are vintage. I dug a little deeper into published information and found in 9mm 124 grain, there's not a lot of difference between standard ammo and what is designated +P. Once my decision was made, I lost the information and am not willing to resource is, but just look at something say like the Speer 124 grn. +P and compare it against many of the standard rounds out there. Many have higher rated velocity and energy. Printed chamber pressures are often less.

I practice with FMJ standard pressure 124 grn but make sure the velocity is close to the same as my Speer +P and I'm good to go. No worries. I can tell no real difference in how snappy both are either.
All of my 9mm carry guns (currently there are only three; two in my primary stable and one in my secondary stable) ride with +P loads in either the Federal HST 124 grain or Speer Gold Dot 124 grain JHP configurations.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
926 Posts
A few weeks ago I was shopping at a large gun store in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area and was looking at a 9mm pistol (I do not remember the brand). The barrel was marked 9mm, but I was looking for something 9mm +P. I asked the young kid behind the counter (I am 60 so most of them look young) if he had anything in 9MM +P. He said all 9mm are +P even if they are not marked +P. That was news to me. Is this true? Can a 9mm pistol, even an older 9mm handgun, safely eat a steady diet of 9mm +P ammo or was he spewing forth incorrect information? My current handguns are marked 9mm Parabelllum. Can I safely shoot 9mm +P ammo in them?
Good question. Now that I've thought about it, it's interesting that some revolvers have "+P" marked on the barrel but I've never seen any semi-auto pistol with such a mark, even modern ones that are safe with +P. Makes ya wonder why.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
3,211 Posts
I don't shoot +P ammo. If I can't get it done with standard pressure or most SD loads, then I should not be trying in the first place. There may be some of the SD loads I have that are actually loaded to a +P pressure, but it does not say so on the boxes. JMHO.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
+P relative to what? 9mm ammo produced by U.S. Companies has LONG been loaded LIGHT....any casual perusal of factory 9mm loadings will reveal it's all pretty lame when it comes to chamber pressure.

In EUROPE by comparison, 9mm ammo is loaded to the original standard...meaning "hotter" than here in Product Liability Land. In European loadings what "we" call +P is standard pressure. The 9mm case is about as strong as a case CAN be with it's tapered outer body resulting in supremely THICK webs. It would take a LOT to blow out a 9mm case...A LOT!

Eon's ago I remember my earliest exposure to the 9mm with my S&W M39 and I swear I could have used the case itself as my powder scoop and still not blown the case!

So all this nonesense about +P and +P+ is simply more of the marketing juggernaut. When you see a 115 grain 9mm round going 1,150 fps you should KNOW it's loaded a full 150 fps below "spec." When you see 147 grain 9mm loaded to 950 fps...you should KNOW it's deliberately underloaded.

Having said all this...if one needs MORE power why bother trying to push the 9mm....simply bump up to the .40 S&W which can easily shade the 9mm by 100 lb-ft of energy - and more.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
131 Posts
A few weeks ago I was shopping at a large gun store in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area and was looking at a 9mm pistol (I do not remember the brand). The barrel was marked 9mm, but I was looking for something 9mm +P. I asked the young kid behind the counter (I am 60 so most of them look young) if he had anything in 9MM +P. He said all 9mm are +P even if they are not marked +P. That was news to me. Is this true? Can a 9mm pistol, even an older 9mm handgun, safely eat a steady diet of 9mm +P ammo or was he spewing forth incorrect information? My current handguns are marked 9mm Parabelllum. Can I safely shoot 9mm +P ammo in them?
I believe that salesperson was incorrect. I think there is a difference between the pressures/velocities of non-P+ and P+, but I do not know for sure. Other replies I see here look correct about checking what your pistol can safety fire.....oh, I just noticed this is an old thread.....<g>
 

· Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
I am of the opinion, that if you need the 9mm+P version of a round, actually you need the next step up in power from what ever caliber you have.
The 9mm +P will deliver slightly better performance than a standard 9mm carbine, at a noticeably higher cost.
It is also incompatible with some guns .
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,191 Posts
What problem does +p ammo solve?
I'm not sure it solves any problem so much as it adds some extra ranges in velocity you might wish to have. Also, that extra velocity might mean a slightly more reliable recoiling of the slide in a defensive situation. Maybe better internal ballistics. Who knows, but rather than pay attention to things like P or +P I suggest looking at bullet weight and velocity as well at internal ballistics. As I mentioned, the Speer Gold Dot 124 grain +P I like has a nearly perfect balance between reliability, penetration and expansion. Yet it's just 1220 fps verses 1150 for the standard stuff. So, I dropped to the Short Barrel Gold Dot +P because it was easier to find cheap practice FMJ 124 grain ammo with 1150 FPS velocity and decided the slightly less velocity was worth it to match the recoil impulse of my practice ammo to my carry ammo. Other than this, I'd still be shooting the +P with no concern whatsoever. Actually I can't really tell the difference.

It's not as much as many believe. According to SAAMI +P has up to 10% higher chamber pressure. That's "up to" and sometimes it's less than that. While the standard 9mm has pressures of around 35,000 psi, the +P stuff is 38,500.
With +P+ there's an entirely different story. It's not rated by SAAMI and the skies the limit. It can be 15% - 40% over maximum. Caveat emptor! :smt073
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,305 Posts
There are some specialty loaders that produce 9mm loads in the neighborhood of 1300 fps with 124 grain bullets (1295 to 1310). Double Tap and Buffalo Bore come to mind. Their 115 grain loads run at even higher velocities.

The thing about higher velocity is that with an expanding round, the bullet will shed its velocity more quickly because it reaches maximum expansion sooner in its travel through a body. While this does generate more disruption in surrounding tissues, it could also mean that the bullet has less chance of reaching some vitals. At maximum expansion, more surface area of the bullet is pushing through the body resulting in more resistance to its flight. The key is controlled expansion when using higher velocities to enable the bullet to do as much damage as possible. It really is a balancing act.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2,904 Posts
I choose my SD rounds according to whether the bullet expands and penetrates adequately with the charge used. All quality ammo does, every time, in ballistic gel that has been prepared to FBI specifications. To me, all this means is that the majority of rounds are likely to expand properly in a variety of circumstances, and are therefore likely to have the desired effect in many self defense scenarios. Nothing is 'carved in stone,' in a self defense scenario. They are all different, and very few of them will begin and end in the way that we visualize them, when we are preparing ourselves.

I use 147 grain hollow points in my self defense 9mm's, because every one of them impacts a target nearest to my point of aim with that bullet weight. As long as it is not sub-sonic ammo designed for silenced carbines or SBR's, all of the major manufacturers charge this ammo sufficiently to allow adequate expansion in most circumstances. I can and sometimes do use 124 grain ammo, without any major differences - I just seem to shoot more accurately at the range with 147 grain, so I prefer it. Most folks just use 124 grain in quality ammo, and are just as happy.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top