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Ruger .380 LCP +P ammo a no no

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by billj888, Feb 28, 2010.

  1. billj888

    billj888 Active Member

    Recently bought this gun for concealed carry. I got home and read the manual to find that +P ammo is not to be used, voids the warranty or something. My mind is made up to buy some +P anyway for self defense even if only the first two or three rounds in the mag are high power and the rest standard ball ammo. May even fire a couple at a target just to feel the difference. Anyone see a problem?
  2. PX15

    PX15 Well-Known Member


    Respectfully, I wouldn't think you could rely on FUTURE proper functioning by firing only 2-3 rounds of your carry ammo choice in your self defense pistol.

    Additionally i think there several quite good dedicated self defense rounds that are pretty stout, but I don't "believe" to be considered +p's.

    I use Gold Dot jhp's in my LCP and Hydra Shok jhp's in my LWS380...

    I see no logic in deliberately buying a round forbidden, in writing, by the parent company when other options are available.

    I don't know how much more "oomph" a +p round would have (Buffalo Bore?), but I'm telling you that for this old fart I consider the approved rounds sufficient, and in the case of my beloved Seecamp, almost painful to shoot.

    I just don't believe the trade off for practical purposes is worth it, and in the unlikely event shooting a +p round in your LCP causes damage, you've been warned and chances are the warranty would be void.

    Just personal opinion, take it for what it is worth, (and that's not a whole lot..)

    I am of the opinion that shot placement is important, and I have put a Crimson Trace Laser on my LCP for that reason.. I wish CT made a laser for my Seecamp.

    No offense,


    P.S. I have found that the Winchester VP380 (truncated jhp's) function perfectly in both of my 380's, and some folks worried about possible lack of penetration in the 380cal round with jhp's actually prefer them as carry rounds.

    Last edited: Feb 28, 2010
  3. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Well-Known Member

    Ruger engineered and warrants* the gun to function with SAAMI-spec ammunition. There is no SAAMI spec for .380 "+P," AFAIK. It doesn't necessarily follow that "+P" (assuming it really is +P and not marketing hyperbole) will not function in it.

    *Ruger has no written warranty per se, but will stand behind the product.
  4. LightningMan

    LightningMan Well-Known Member

    I agree with PX15, but FWIW I wouldn't think shooting a few rounds of +P ammo in your LCP will instantly blow it up. Heck! I was at my local clubs range and some fellow shot up a whole box of Buffalo bore +P ammo in his LCP:what:. Not something I would want to do. That being said, I wouldn't recommend shooting much of it, as I presume you would speed up the wear & tear on that little pistol and eventually have a failure in the form of a KaBoom.:eek: The LCP is pretty much a copy of the Kel-Tec and their manual states the use of +P ammo should be limited. Suggesting only occasional use of it. PX15 is right on about carry ammo, as I wouldn't want to rely on some brand X +P ammo in which I have fired only a few rounds in my personal carry gun. You want to be able to practice with the same ammo that you will use for self defence. LM
    PS. on a side note, I have both an LCP & Kel-Tec and haven't shot any +P ammo in them. Just don't think it's needed.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2010
  5. lilidiot

    lilidiot member

    I really can not understand the ammo penetration thing in a .380. If you ever have to use it, God forbid, it will be at about 6 to 9 feet. That is going right through if it does not hit bone in a fmj. The Hornaday Critical Defense solid copper .380 is plenty.
  6. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Well-Known Member

    Unlike previous Ruger products which are overbuilt for their cartridges ("built like tanks," as the popular saying goes), this new pistol follows a different design philosophy. It is only built as strong as it needs to be and no more. If it were built strong enough to handle thousands of rounds of hot loads, it would no longer be small and light compared to the competition and would not sell.
  7. Gary A

    Gary A Well-Known Member

    I agree with those who say there are very good .380 loads that are not over-pressure and there is no need to run +P pressures in the LCP. I would even suggest that the desire to do so might indicate something less than full confidence in the caliber (which I can understand) and might warrant considering at least a micro-9, although you'll pay. There is Hornady, Federal, Speer, Remington, Cor-Bon, and a host of other good .380 loads out there without resorting to +P.
  8. PX15

    PX15 Well-Known Member


    I was also under the impression that there was no +p standard for the 380cal round, but recently I have seen two examples of factory ammo that "advertises" their rounds are "+P"..

    I believe the manufacturers advertising +p rounds were Cor-Bon, and I think it was Buffalo Bore..

    Don't know that there actually IS a +p round standard for the 380 cal. or if some manufacturers are just pushing the envelope with their self defense rounds and thinking advertising "+P" will get them more sales too boot?

    I do know that for my needs the Speer Gold Dots in the LCP and the Hydra Shoks in the Seecamp are hot enough.

    In fact, IMHO, shooting a hotter round than Hydra Shok jhp's in my LWS380 would require asbestos gloves...

    Best Wishes,


    BADUNAME37 Well-Known Member

    Where the problem lies is in the unsupported area, kind of an upside-down U shape over the feed ramp where the end of the casing and part of the sidewall of the base is actually EXPOSED. Just take your barrel out of the receiver and drop a cartridge in and look at what is unsupported and figure it out for yourself.

    Problems that are visible when the load is a bit excessive is a bulge in that area. Reason only confirms that a bit more pressure and you just might have a downward "blowout" which would most likely prevent any further rounds from being fed.

    Do you want a real big first shot, then no more shots after that?:uhoh:

    I didn't think so, I know I wouldn't.:eek:

    Other .380 Auto pistols may not have this "weakness." I find normal ammo plenty powerful enough.
  10. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Well-Known Member

    "Advertises" is the key word here. No one really knows without either the companies releasing the information or outside testing with pressure-measuring equipment or at least a chronograph.
  11. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Well-Known Member

    It's interesting to note that early LCP manuals did not have an admonition against using +P ammunition. I'm not sure what has changed since then and now.
    It's a moot point for me. When it comes to using a .380 pistol for self-defense, I'm an advocate of hardball.
  12. Gary A

    Gary A Well-Known Member

    I am almost positive, though not 100%, that Cor-Bon has stated in the past that their .380 "+P" designation is to tout claimed higher velocity, not pressure, and that they maintain that they are within SAAMI specs for the .380 caliber. Maybe on the upper end, though.
  13. duns

    duns Well-Known Member

    For steel structures generally (not sure about other materials) fatigue damage is proportional to stress to the power 4. So if +P stresses the gun by an additional 10%, the fatigue life will reduce to 1/1.1^4 = 0.68. On that simple argument, you might lose one-third of the life of the gun by using +P -- in any gun. Maybe the manufacturers of the smaller caliber guns are particularly concerned about it because their guns are not designed to fire a huge number of rounds anyway?
  14. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't do it (again). the only malfunctions I've had with factory ammo were with the Buffalo Bore "+P" loads.

    I'm sticking to the "regular" defense loads from now on.

    MICHAEL T Well-Known Member

    Several years ago when Corbon was new.They by mistake marked some 380 ammo +P They realized the error and stopped. Now years later their still trying to get mail order places and dealers to stop with the +P. The 90gr JHP today is the same as the mis marked +P Corbon 380 meets all SAAMI and is fine in any of the 380 's . BB claims +P again no real standards ever set by SAAMI . In a KelTec or LCP Ammo runs in the 900FPS range .Corbon runs around 960fps It will do the 1050fps or more in PPK/S and Bersa Thunders size 380's . I got the Corbon +P story from General sales manager of Corbon.
  16. Newton

    Newton Well-Known Member

    Based on the hundreds of rounds of Santa Barbara .380 I have run through my LCP (which loves them) I think you're safe.

    PS - The SB load is hotter than any commercially available US .380 ammo.
  17. sho'nuff

    sho'nuff Active Member

    I did a few rounds of +p buffalo bore in my tcp. I gave the rest away to a friend who has a bersa. These little guns snap enough with standard ammo its just going to put unnecessary wear and tear on your gun and make your hand numb for the rest of the day.
  18. lilidiot

    lilidiot member

    It will probably rattle that Bersa to pieces....:uhoh: They are really not meant for hot loads either. Now a Walthers PPK/S will take it fine but the recoil will be intense. I can only imagine the recoil in a Ket-Tec or Ruger copy with that short barrel. My KT .380 stings my finger on standard loads.
  19. lwknight

    lwknight Well-Known Member

    I might get smoked on this one but, I think ALL 380s are a big NO NO for self defense.
    I actually know a couple of guys that walk around with a 380 bullet under their skin.
    Had it been a 9mm or bigger , they probably wouldn't be walking around period.

    MICHAEL T Well-Known Member

    I have fired a lot of Corbon from my Bersa Thunder and it still fine its also a lot more comfortable on the hand than my PPK/S If is SAAMI approved ammo the Bersa will handle it . That goes for the 9mm 40 and 45 using real +P also.

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