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Please explain +P+

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by FunYet, May 15, 2003.

  1. FunYet

    FunYet Well-Known Member

    I got a deal on some 115 gr 9mm +P+ at the range the other day. I shot 30 or 40 rounds through my Glock 26. Quite a punch but not uncontrollable. Not sure if I'd try the same load in my PM9. Anyway, think I understand +P = more pressure, and understand that many guns are rated to handle +P, while others are not. However, I don't understand the +P+ designation. Can +P+ be shot through anything rated for +P??? What's the advantage of +P+ (aside from the extra cool, loud BANG)? By the way, the ammo I got is marked “for practice onlyâ€, and is Speer GoldDot in a bulk package of 250 rounds.
  2. Hkmp5sd

    Hkmp5sd Well-Known Member

    +P+ ammunition is ammo that exceeds the SAAMI specs. It generates a greater pressure, providing greater velocity. It can damage some guns that were not designed to handle the extra pressure and can cause injury to the shooter if the gun fails.
  3. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Well-Known Member

    NATO standard 9mm ammunition (124grn FMJ @ 1200fps) is +P+ category. I don't *think* it'll damage a G26, but don't take my word for it.
  4. LIProgun

    LIProgun Well-Known Member

    Not according to my references.

    SAAMI spec for 9x19mm is 35,000 psi, and 38,500 psi for 9x19mm +P. 9mm NATO (M882) has a lower average case mouth pressure of 31,175 psi and a maximum pressure of 36,250 psi.

    Thus, pressure spec for 9mm NATO is below 9mm +P, and not in the +P+ realm.
  5. Penforhire

    Penforhire Well-Known Member

    I thought +p+ also has NO UPPER LIMIT, only that it exceeds the SAAMI upper. If true, that means unknown +p+ ammo should never be used, regardless of the launch platform. True or not?
  6. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    Unless things have changed, +P+ ammo was intended for LE use only, and has not been legally sold to the general public. It has no publicly published pressure or velocity figures and is indicated as being only for guns in top condition, which means checked out by an armorer.

    I don't KNOW OF any warnings on the 9mm against use in any of the new police issue guns, but .38 Special +P+ is specifically stated for use only in revolvers chambered and marked for the .357 Magnum.

    But there are some 9mm pistols out there I wouldn't fire even +P ammo in, and a few I wouldn't fire anything in. Take care.

  7. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Well-Known Member

    "...has not been legally sold to the general public."

    I don't think that's the case at all, Jim.

    The ammo companies don't restrict sales of +P+ out of any extant laws, but because they can't control the type or age of handguns that it might be chambered in in the civilian market.

    To the best of my knowledge, though, there's nothing to prevent the wholesaler or end user from disposing of of excess +P+ ammo on the open market, orange "LEO use only!" stickers not withstanding.
  8. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    the +p+ designation indeed has no upper limit as to it's pressure. it is simply an indication that the ammo is loaded in excess of the SAMMI standards for +p ammo.

    any pistol designed to digest NATO standard will gobble +p ammo, feed it +p+ at your own risk. that is why many manufactures will not sell it directly to the public, because they are trying to limit their liability when used in guns of unknown condition. LE agencies assume that liability when they purchase ammo marked in such a way.

    from your description of the ammo you were shooting, it sounds like part of the "gold dot recall" lot. it was part of a LE contract and was because it did not meet a contract standard. it was available at ammoman.com at a great price, packed loose and marked "for practice only"
  9. allanschisel

    allanschisel Active Member


    I have some 9mm Remington 115gr labeled +P+ that states a lower velocity on the package than CorBons +P 115gr stated velocity. CorBon may have a lower pressure, I don't really know. The problem is there are no set standards for the term "+P" or "+P+" and they are just general terms at this time. It would be nice to standarize it though. I have read about some Hirtenberger 9mm +P+ that was meant for subguns only and really is too hot for handguns.
    Allan Schisel
  10. TonyB

    TonyB Well-Known Member

    Yeah I get 38+p+ jhp that say "for law enforcement only;Controlled expansion bullet"They are Federal about $14.99 /50.I use them as my carry ammo.A little "spicy" but easier to control than 357's in my SP101.I asked my gun shop guy about the LEO only thing and he said"Do you want them?"I said "yes" he said" $14.99 please."
    So I'm not sure of the "warning".
    BTW I only shoot them in my gun because it's a 357.
    I wouldn't shoot 9mm +p or +p+ out of my Taurus PT99(Beretta wanna be)..just me.:cool:
  11. Shaughn Leayme

    Shaughn Leayme Well-Known Member

    The NATO loadings of 9mm can vary from +P to +P+, I have seen some loading when chronographed at 7 feet from a BHP get 1300 - 1350 fps with a 124 grain bullet (Canadian Surplus IVI - ?? rest of headstamp escapes me) The bullet weight can vary from as low as 109 - 124 / 125.

    It is all NATO spec as long as it stays within the interoperability guide lines, so there is some room for variation. Most of the very hot stuff is usually tagged for use in SMG, but it can still be used in pistols.

    The Military is not very concerned with longevity, since they have armourers to regularly maintain the weapons issued and if some parts or a slide need to be replaced it is done so.

    The Law Enforcement Only is mostly a marketing ploy and probably in a small way, gets the Anti's off thier back a little (Remember Black Talons).

    Never has been illegal to sell or buy Law Enforcement Only ammunition.
  12. cratz2

    cratz2 Well-Known Member

    While I understand the desire for +P+ 9mm ammo, with the 38 Special +P+, why not just step up to a 100% safe, standard pressure 357 Load if a 357 Magnum handgun is required or strongly suggested?
  13. Hal

    Hal Well-Known Member


    Because "Magnum" carries an automatic stigmatism with it.
    That's all. The vast majority of the population are so totaly ignorant of firearms, the word "Magnum" causes all sorts of negative reactions. LOL! Maybe we should all adopt the habit of saying .357GWB (giant wine bottle) and really throw em a curve :D

    Surpisingly (maybe not), that same stigmatism can be found even here among the gun-savy. There's a ton of posters that are dead set against the .44mag (.44GWB?) as a HD round. Why? Because it's a *powerful* magnum.

    There's still a lot of places/departments/employers that allow .38Spl, but not anything above. +P and +P+ can sometimes give more performance, and still walk the fine line.

    +P+ = another way of spelling "marketing".
    +P+ = another way of spelling "hard on the gun"
    It's a reference to PEAK pressure generated.
    (Where's C.R Sam when ya need him?) Sam explains it way better than I can.
  14. ThePerfectOne

    ThePerfectOne Well-Known Member

    I shoot exclusively 9mm +P trough my GLOCK 17 3rd gen. they are the Belgian military rounds: 124 grains, 1250 ft/s and a rough 425 ft lbs. I'm pretty sure that would place them in the +P class.

    the S&B rounds are pretty much the same as the military ones, maybe a tad less velocity.

    I personally have never seen a 9mm 124 grain bullet going over 1250 ft/s (commercial loads, not reloads).
  15. allanschisel

    allanschisel Active Member

    38 +Ps

    The reason a 357 has a longer case than a 38 spl is so a 357 cannot be put in a 38spl revolver. There is enough room in a 38spl case to load it up to a 357 levels, but that may cause a major problem in a weaker or older 38spl revolver if you tried it. It's a way the industry has of proteching itself (and novices).
    The Remington +p+ I spoke of is on sale for $10/box of 50 at CDNN.
    Allan Schisel
  16. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    the first +p+ loading (it was the 110gr treasury load) out here in CA was used by the CHP. they were required to load and carry .38 spl ONLY...even in privately owned .357 mag pistols.

    at the same time they started issuing the smith m-68. this has been described as a m-67 with a 6" m-66 barrel (before the 6" barrel was available on the m-66) or a 6" m-66 with a short (.38 special) cylinder.

    it was all about being PC...no magnums here

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