9mm ammo


March 21, 2004, 09:42 PM
I was looking at 9mm ammo at ammoman.com. Some of the descriptions have (+9+) on them others have (+9). What does this mean if anything? Thanks Tim

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March 21, 2004, 10:05 PM
Tim, as I understand it ..... this is differentiating between three power levels.

Standard of course - is standard!

+P is plus P and a slightly higher vel and pressure round .. only for use in guns proven for same.

The +P+ is a notch higher still (could sometimes be ammo for SMG use) .... I think one example might be Hirtenburger 9mm Luger ..... was at one time anyways IIRC .. the Cor-Bon loads may also be categroized thus too. They would only be useable in a gun that was absolutely tops on strength. If used as SD ammo then maybe not something to be shot in huge quantities ... and then in a +P gun probably OK for limited use.

Others may help here but I cannot right now think of a handgun specifically rated for +P+ ....

March 21, 2004, 10:20 PM
I have heard it both ways. Some say that there is not such thing as +P+ as far as the SAAMI is concerned. Some calibers such as .40cal, 357mag, and .44mag don't have such a rating even though some companies advertise such loads.

+P ammo is stouter than standard pressure loads.
+P+ loads are a little stronger than the +P loads.
I have seen some so called +P+ laods that have lower velocities than some +P loads.

I would recommend Cor-Bon loads. All of their loads have high velocities.

March 22, 2004, 06:32 AM
Thanks for the info!

March 22, 2004, 07:23 AM
Others may help here but I cannot right now think of a handgun specifically rated for +P+

+P and +P+ are essentially the same. Firearms that can take 'em are glock's, HK's, sigs, beretta's and just about any modern firearm in good condition.

March 22, 2004, 08:10 AM
No, +P and +P+ are most emphatically NOT the same!

+P is a SAAMI-recognized designation that normally implies that the pressures produced by that round are no more than 10% above the normal pressures specified for it. +P+ means that it's at an even higher pressure, one not regulated by SAAMI, and therefore not rated as "acceptable" by any firearm manufacturer.

What makes it even more difficult is that some manufacturers label their ammo as +P when it's actually operating well into the +P+ spectrum, or don't label it at all as far as pressures go, but instead certify it as safe only in a given gun or range of guns from a manufacturer. For example, Buffalo Bore certify their "Heavy .45 Colt" ammo for use in all Ruger .45's. I e-mailed them and asked about its use in a S&W Mountain Gun. They replied (and I quote verbatim):
In the S&W, you can safely shoot item 3D. It is the only 45 colt loading we make that wont batter your S&W Mt. Gun.
Now, this has to mean that the other three .45 Colt loads they make are WAY above what could be classified as +P. Only the fact that Ruger revolvers are built like tanks allows them to safely fire these things. Yet, there is no +P or +P+ warning on the box - just the injunction that they're safe in all Ruger revolvers. This is scary, as Bubba is sure to think "Well, my Colt, or S&W, or whatever, is just as good as my buddy's Ruger - I'll shoot some of his loads!"

If you're interested in learning more about SAAMI pressure limits, including +P and +P+ loads, see here (http://home.sprynet.com/~frfrog2/miscellk.htm) for a very good overview. Worth reading!

Jim March
March 22, 2004, 04:59 PM
Several points here:

"+P" in the 45LC world is a MASSIVE jump upwards in horsepower compared to "+P" with 38Spl, 9mm, etc.

The reason is, Ruger came out with a series of 45LC guns built on "44Magnum grade" frames AND with the same metalurgy and lockwork as the Magnums. The 45LC dates to 1873 so it runs at VERY low pressure - factory ammo is often down between 12,000 and 15,000psi.

The Rugers can eat 45LC ammo running up between 30,000 and 34,000psi - and do so all day long with no significant stress on the gun (esp. if the loads are hardcast versus jacketed).

So the various makers of thermonuclear 45LC+Ps are VERY cautious, as their stuff could literally grenade even some modern-manufacture 45LC guns (lower-grade Italian SAAs and such) and dear God let's not even talk about antiques.


In 38Spl, +P+ is a code word for "this is for sale to police agencies that don't want to buy 357 ammo because they don't want to have to explain "killer Magnum ammo" on a witness stand, but want 357 horsepower levels."

Thou Hast Been Warnedeth. Stick 38+P+ in your "not +P rated" older gun, it's mebbe grenade time again.


This old "police term" for +P+ would make me leery of running 9mm+P+ in anything but a BEEFY gun. Full-sized Glock, SIG, H&K, maybe. KelTek P11? Not for love or money.


Plain old "+P" USUALLY means "no more than 10% over SAAMI spec", *except* with the 45LC.

March 23, 2004, 11:16 AM
When speaking of 9mm specifically - no other cartridges fall into this category - I'd have no hesitation at using Ranger +P+ ammo in modern Berettas, Glocks, Sigs, Smiths, H&Ks etc... But I personally wouldn't feel confortable about a steady diet of +P+ in poly guns... Keep in mind, I have nothing against polyt guns and I've carried three of them extensively, I'm just saying I wouldn't feel confortable with it, including Glocks and USPs and definately KelTecs.

I think of the +P as safe in pretty much any good name brand (not talking zinc metal based guns) in limited numbers.

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