Compact [CCW] 9mm that can handle +P+


June 24, 2012, 01:58 PM
What is a compact 9mm handgun that can safely handle +P+ ammo...and isn't a Glock. I would love to buy a Keltec PF9..but I've even heard that shooting +P ammo out of that gun isn't recommended.

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June 24, 2012, 02:05 PM
Counter productive to use +P+ in a compact to start with.

Sharper recoil & blast will slow down fast follow-up shots.
And a lot of +P+ will not outperform standard pressure ammo in a very short barrel anyway.

If you need more performance then standard or +P 9mm, get a .40 S&W version of the gun.


Steve C
June 24, 2012, 02:22 PM
No manufacturer will warranty their 9mm for +P+ as there is no standard for pressure beyond +P. +P+ is a desidgnation that says the rounds chamber pressure is greater than the maximum SAAMI +P. +P+ is only sold to Law Enforcement and military. Using it in your personal handgun is done at your own risk. If you want to know if your compact will hold up to it then buy some of the available +P+ surplus and shooit it in your gun but if you want guarantees you won't get any. If you want to carry +P+ then buy a box, shoot 1/2 to make sure they feed and function, and then reserve that ammo for carry and potential SD use. Practice on targets with standard velocity. I don't get a significant difference in point of impact with +P+ ammo vrs standard ball. +/= an inch or two at 25 yds or less isn't anything I worry about.

Logically one would believe that any of the commonly used full size handguns carried by Police and the military would "hold up" to these loads intended for duty carry. However the heavier loads will likely shorten the mechanical life of the handgun, something that's not important to LEO's as their guns are generally changed out before any damage will occur and they usually practice with lower powered range ammo and carry the +P+ for serious work.

June 24, 2012, 02:30 PM
since American ammo makers water down the load from its original specs, one has to get "+p" in order to get standard pressure 9mm ammo.

June 24, 2012, 02:35 PM
one has to get "+p" in order to get standard pressure 9mm ammo.
So a 9mm handgun that isn't rated for 9mm +P would be able to shoot it just fine?

June 24, 2012, 02:40 PM
Pyro, the +p ammo will accelerate wear and tear on the gun. many guns these days are made with the lightest material possible, not the strongest. their size and by virtue their design many times doesnt allow for beefy parts where it counts.

yes, a pf9 can shoot +p ammo. yes it will wear it out sooner than reduced power loads.

June 26, 2012, 09:03 AM
You can consider to go with a H&K USP Compact. A friend of mine was quite happy with his H&K USP Comp. I shooted more than 300 rounds it is reliable and very very accurate, like a full size pistol.

CCW a H&K USP Compact is not an issue with a good kydex IWB holster at all


June 26, 2012, 09:46 AM
There are 2 issues:

1) Cycling reliably

2) Breakage

The CM9 and PM9 will handle +P without flat-out breaking, which can't be said for the DB9 (if the negative reports are to be believed), and they cycle the+P reliably. But as has been stated, +P ammo is going to cause more wear and tear on the gun as opposed to std pressure.

IMO you're better off carrying a "heavy for caliber" loading in your short barreled CCW than a +P

For instance, the good 147gr 9mm personal defense rounds are going to penetrate to between 13" and 14" and expand to roughly .60"

Unless you give credence to the hydrostatic shock priciple or theories of "hard hitting" bullets, a 60 cal - 13" wound channel is about as good as it gets from a device that also fits in a pocket. IMO, a 9mm CCW is never going to get a 9mm projectile going fast enough that the temporary wound cavity is significant, and most of the sound & fury of the +P is wasted in a short barrelled pistol anyway. It makes a lot of noise, they are harder on the wrists and harder on the pistol, but don't create much improvement in wound dynamics.

June 26, 2012, 09:47 AM
+P+ is only sold to Law Enforcement and military.

That's false, and it appears you know it since in the next breath you tell him to buy some.

June 26, 2012, 10:26 AM
All Steel CZ75 compact.

A hefty but very slim compact at 2 lbs. The shape of the (inverted) slide makes it easy enogh to carry IWB.

June 26, 2012, 10:48 AM
All steel Kahr MK9 is another one...

Maddox Se7en
June 26, 2012, 03:05 PM
9x19 +P+ ammunition is probably an irresponsible choice for handguns. Unless the manufacturer warrants the gun for use with +P+ or +P, I would recommend against it's use. I own a PF-9 which I have had a few thousand rounds through. It's recoil from standard pressure 9mm is pretty snappy. With a higher pressure round, a follow up shot could be fatally slow.

If you cannot achieve the necessary penetration, range or accuracy with standard 9mm, it may be time to upgrade to a higher powered caliber such as .357 Sig, or 10mm. There are plenty of options for concealable sized guns in those calibers.

June 26, 2012, 04:07 PM
I have shot +P in my PF9. I don't anymore. It was an absolute bear to shoot with the +p and the book says it will shoot +P but "not with continual use".

June 26, 2012, 04:14 PM
No real need for +P+. If you have to go that hot, might as well buy a .357 Sig and get something designed specifically for that pressure.

June 26, 2012, 05:51 PM
I tried +P in my PF-9 Not best Idea . I went back to non +P Quicker follow up shots .

June 26, 2012, 06:54 PM
Ive shot a bunch of +P+ out of a number of guns with no ill effects. I currently use it in a couple of Glocks.

As far as moving up to 357SIG, interestingly enough, my 31 in 357SIG showed a considerable amount of accelerated wear with factory 357SIG, than my one 17 shows (which is at this point, just some slight finish discoloring in the same spot) and it will probably pass 50000 rounds fired before the year is out. Ive fired more +P+ through the 17 than I did 357SIG through the 31 too.

I havent found +P+ is any harder to shoot with, but I do practice with fairly hot reloads, so there really isnt any difference in feel in what Im shooting in practice and what Im carrying. I seriously doubt you could tell the difference in +P and +P+ if you didnt know what was in the gun.

Now if you get out of the +P+ realm, and get into some of the SMG loaded 9mm, you may have something more to worry about. I have had a gun show pretty extreme wear, to the point of cracking the upper and breaking some other parts using some surplus Spanish stuff. Then again, it, and some of the others Ive fired over the years, make current +P+ seem like target loads.

June 26, 2012, 07:06 PM
Id go w a 40 and not risk it with a 9mm and I'm not a 40 guy.

Also shot placement FTW!

June 26, 2012, 08:22 PM
Without enough barrel length to take advantage of a heavy loading, you'd just be generating more muzzle flash than ballistic performance with a +P+ load.

June 26, 2012, 08:31 PM
The problem many folks have is trying to get a "pocket" gun to deliver the performance of a service sized gun.

Thats just not going to happen in any caliber.

Use the gun for its intended purposes and you will be better served than pushing the gun's limits.



June 27, 2012, 09:47 AM
My Kahr K9 instruction book says +P+ is ok and I have shot hundreds of rounds of Hirtenberger +P+ rounds chrono'd at over 1500 fps through it without incident.

Steve C
June 28, 2012, 01:09 AM
"+P+ is only sold to Law Enforcement and military."
That's false, and it appears you know it since in the next breath you tell him to buy some.

Well let me explain the statement a bit better. +P+ is only manufactured for and sold to Law Enforcement and military by the manufacturers and not intended for the civilian market. Such ammo finds its way into the civilian market via the surplus rout. You won't find factory direct +P+ ammo manufactured by the major companies for sale to the general public that was not first ordered by LEO or Military procurement and then diverted to the civilian market when the order was canceled or sold to resellers as surplus. If your firearm is damaged by +P+ ammo you will have little to no legal recourse in getting compensation to repair you firearm. Not from the ammo or the firearm manufacturer.

I've never seen +P+ ammo sold at any of the "Big Box" stores but they do sell +P which is considered a "safe" SAAMI pressure level for modern handguns.

June 28, 2012, 02:11 AM
If I wanted more energy and velocity than a standard 9mm will give......I would get a .357 Sig.

June 28, 2012, 02:13 AM
Exactly what is it you think hotter 9mm will do from that gun that standard pressure won't do?

June 28, 2012, 05:38 AM
My Beretta PX4SC and Beretta Nano handle Winchester Ranger 127 and 115 grain +P+ very nicely.

June 28, 2012, 07:09 AM
I have a PF9 that I carry on a regular basis. With standard velocity HP ammo, I can empty the mag into an 8" paper plate as fast as I can pull the trigger from 5-7 yards. As someone mentioned earlier, the gun is a little snappy but certainly controlable in rapid fire. If 8 HP's won't do the job, I would probably need a lot more gun and backup to boot.

June 28, 2012, 07:56 AM
I'm not l.e. or military and I easily buy +p+ ammo from a reputable dealer, online. However, unlike the OP, who, for some reason, doesn't want a Glock, I do want a Glock and carry a G26 daily, loaded with 127gr. Win Ranger T +p+ ammo. I figure I could probably only fire 500,000 or so rounds of +p+ through my G26, before I'd have to replace something, but I doubt that I'll fire that many rounds through the Glock, anyhow. FWIW, I tailor my Glocks' recoil spring weights to the loads/calibers that I'm shooting.

The assertion that higher-velocity rounds aren't as effective from shorter barrels as are "standard" velocity rounds is nonsensical.

June 28, 2012, 10:45 AM
Steve, thanks for taking the time to explain, that makes more sense.

June 28, 2012, 12:35 PM
Trade it towards .40 S&W and the "problem" will go away.

June 28, 2012, 01:10 PM
They'll all handle it. They're proofed at higher pressures than +P+.

The question is: How many rounds/how long will they handle it.

June 28, 2012, 06:21 PM
I am with those that do not believe the negligible gain in FPS from a very short barrel outweighs the the added flash, blast and recoil. I do not believe one is going to really get any notable improvement in terminal ballistics.

June 28, 2012, 06:46 PM
I never really noticed any real increase in flash or recoil with +P+. It is comparable to 357SIG in feel when shot in the same gun. Having shot all of them, I do know that perceived recoil is less with +P+ than .40 S&W in the same model gun, and for me, faster back on target.

As far as ballistics go, Winchester 127 grain +P+ does mimic 357SIG in measured velocity.

June 28, 2012, 08:17 PM
Generalities about ammunition are pretty much worthless.
You can have slow burning or very fast burning powders that reach +P+ pressure levels, or medium burning powders.

The speed of the powder is going to determine how much of a velocity gain
you get in what barrel length you decide to use.

Valuable comments would be actual tests of the difference of different ammunition types in different barrel lengths.

Something like this, but using +P+ ammo, scroll to the bottom for the actual gun results.

Great thing about such tests is you can get a pretty good idea about what exactly works in your weapon barrel length.

If I was considering such a thing, I'd certainly be looking at the ballistics of larger calibers.

There does appear to be a about a 200 fps jump going to .357 Sig.

Still, the plus p corbon load 125 grain goes nearly 1198 fps out of a short barrel in 9MM Plus P.

The rational reason for wanting +p+ ammo would be to emulate the .357 magnum with a 125 grain bullet.

To get that you'll probably need a 4" barrel on your gun.

That makes your search a bit narrower.

The .357 Magnum with a 2" barrel gives you about 1200 fps with a 125 grain
bullet, using Corbon Ammunition.

Their 9mm pretty much equals that out of a 3" barrel, in an auto.

Without specific tests, my conjecture would be you aren't going to get a great increase in velocity with +p+ ammo out of a 3" barrel or less.

The surplus stuff was designed for submachine guns, with longer barrels, so they probably used a slower powder that would work less effectively in
a shorter barrel.

Buffalbore makes +P+ ammo. It goes the following from these guns, with longer barrels:
9mm Luger +P+ PENETRATOR Ammo - 124 gr. FMJ-FN (1,300 fps/M.E. 465 ft. lbs.
1317 fps Browning MK 111 Hi Power

1298 fps Glock Mod. 19

Item 24A/20 (+p+) 115gr. Jacketed Hollow Point
9mm Luger +P+ Pistol and Handgun Ammo - (+P+) 115 gr. Jacketed Hollow Point (1,400 fps/M.E. 500 ft.lbs.)
Browning Hi Power MK111, 4.6 inch barrel---------1426 fps
Beretta 92F, 4.9 inch barrel-----------------------------1402 fps
Glock 19, 4.0 inch barrel--------------------------------1389 fps

I think it's pretty telling that NONE of the tests are done with a barrel shorter then 4 inches, and that's the Glock 19.

I'd look at Buffalo Bores +P+ and consider the guns he's using if you are going to use such ammo. I would also get the stiffest springs I can for said gun from Wolffe and have them installed.

So if you want a .357 in your 9mm, it appears you need at least a 4" barrel, and all 4" barrels are not created equal. The Glocks seem slow, Walther's much faster with the barnes bullets at least.

June 28, 2012, 10:24 PM
I never really noticed any real increase in flash or recoil with +P+. It is comparable to 357SIG in feel when shot in the same gun.

Are you talking about service size guns or sub compacts? I have a snub nose 9mm revolver that definitely has more flash than any of my guns with 4"+ barrels.

June 29, 2012, 04:57 AM
Both. I shoot +P+ out f my 17 and 26 and see little difference.

Revolvers are a little different than the autos. The autos have a longer barrel in a similar sized gun. You get better powder burn in them. The revolvers barrels are shorter and you have the cylinder gap, which tends to produce a lot more flash. The smaller revolvers grips combined with heavy recoiling loads are also not as shootable, especially when shot with grips that are more suitable to carry. I can shoot my 26 all day with hot loads, my 642's are basically a 50 round box of punishment. Now with my 4" revolvers shooting the same ammo, its not anywhere near as brutal.

What 9mm revolver are you shooting? I had a couple of S&W 940's when they first came out, and both failed within 200 rounds and had to be replaced. S&W would never go into what the problem was, and I always wondered if the 9mm wasnt a little to hot for the J frames.

June 29, 2012, 12:45 PM
What 9mm revolver are you shooting?

The 940, I have never had an issue with mine. I actually think it is a nearly ideal defensive snub nose. I wish it had a trigger like an LCR and then I would say it was ideal. My 940 has a trigger job but I still prefer the LCR trigger.

If a J frame can live up to the the 35000 CUP chamber pressure of 357 mag I don't know why the 35000 CUP pressure of the 9mm would be an issue.

Both. I shoot +P+ out f my 17 and 26 and see little difference.

I also have a G26 as well and I would respectfully submit it is a bit of a different beast than the very small guns like the PM9 or PF9. The barrel length is only about half an inch difference ( a bit less I believe but I'd have to look it up to get the exact figure). However, as you noted grip size and shape is important in terms of felt recoil, control and follow ups. The G26 is a pretty larger gun compared to a PM9.

There is a huge difference in the blast, recoil, etc between my 940 and my G26.

I still don't see there being a truly notable terminal ballistics advantage, that said I would be much more inclined to run +p+ through a G26 than I would a PM9 or a PF9 (I believe any kind of significant round count would cause the latter problems in fairly short order anyways).

June 29, 2012, 04:10 PM
If a J frame can live up to the the 35000 CUP chamber pressure of 357 mag I don't know why the 35000 CUP pressure of the 9mm would be an issue.
You wouldnt think. I kind of doubt the higher pressures of the hotter 9mm's would really make any real difference.

I dont know what the deal was with my two, but neither made it past the 200 round mark when new. Both broke parts internally, and had to be disassembled to get the live ammo out to send them back. The second gun they sent me had the same serial number as the first, but the lettering was different on the second, and it was obvious it wasnt the same gun. When it took a dump, I sent it back and told them I didnt want it back in 9mm, so they sent me a 642.

Since they werent around much longer past that, I just assumed they were trouble and were discontinued due to it. I did like the idea, and especially the moon clips.

June 29, 2012, 04:45 PM
As others have said, in a short barrel +P+ isnt going to give you the kind of performance you are looking for. And depending on the gun, you may not be able to cycle the heavier loads like 147gr. For example, I had a Pf9 that would not reliably cycle 147gr defense rounds. The thing that is far more important to me than the pressure of the round is how well it has performed in expansion/penetration tests. The Hornady Critical Defense is only 115gr and standard pressure, but has performed very well.

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