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+P 9mm in Beretta 92FS

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by squinty, Sep 8, 2008.

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  1. squinty

    squinty Member

    Dec 25, 2006
    I've only ever shot standard pressure loads in my handguns - my one experience with lightweight (180 grain, I think) +P loads in .45 was dissatisfying. Stinging recoil, much larger groups out of my polymer .45 (XD) Still, why trade capacity for muzzle energy if you can have the best of both worlds by shooting hotter ammo?

    How much advantage does +P 9mm have over standard pressures? How likely is it to damage my 92FS? How much harder to shoot, how much extra wear on the gun? What can be done to compensate for frequent use of +P loads in this gun (shock buffer, heavier recoil spring) and will those modifications affect reliability?

    Anyone shoot hot loads from their Beretta?
  2. jaysouth

    jaysouth Member

    Sep 1, 2003
    Middle Tennessee
    Please so a search on this topic.

    It has been beaten to death too many times.
  3. NG VI

    NG VI Member

    Dec 12, 2007
    He is right. But the +P US ammo isn't bad at all, if it wears out your gun any faster than US standard pressure ammo does than you probably have a poorly made weapon. NATO M882 Ball is 124 grain at 1299 feet per second, I have some +P HST and Gold Dot that is also 124 grain, but only going 1200 FPS, so take from that what you will, but the Beretta 92 eats M882 ball all day long in the service.
  4. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

    Aug 11, 2004
    somewhere on Puget Sound
    This is a frequently posed question. I'm sure you'll garner a variety of responses, and many from those that don't like the Beretta and/or believe it to be a fragile platform.

    The standard NATO round is as hot, or hotter, than most commercially produced +P. I've never had a problem shooting +P in any of my 3 92FS pistols, though admittedly, each has probably seen only a couple hundred rounds of factory +P and +P+.

    Many "experts" claim there is no real advantage to using +P over standard pressure ammo due to the excellent expansion characteristics of many of the standard pressure factory JHPs currently available.

    The 92FS needs no modifications to shoot +P, and most would feel only a negligible increase in recoil. With the Federal +P+ JHPs, I notice a most definite difference, but it's not at all unmanageable (for me). +P is not likely to damage your pistol if shot in moderate quantities.

    A 2-second GOOGLE search found this:

    "The Beretta 92FS," by Christopher Bartocci...
    ...published in Krause Publications' Handguns 2001(13th Edition), states the following information:

    "With the gun's major criticisms in mind, I wanted to see how the M9/92FS would stand up to a 20,500 round torture test using mostly +P and +P+ ammunition. I purchased a stock 92FS from a local gun distributor and made some calls for some high-power ammunition. The ammunition used in this test is as follows: 9X19mm (NATO, Parabellum/Luger) manufactured by Winchester/Olin Corporation.

    Beretta U.S.A. claims their pistol is serviceable to 35,000 rounds and that it will function under the most adverse conditions. Beretta U.S.A. claims 'the average reliability of all M9s tested at Beretta U.S.A. is 17,500 rounds without stoppage.' The ammunition I chose was the hottest ammunition available and I would not recommend anyone put high round counts of +P+ ammunition through any alloy-frame pistol regardless of manufacturer.

    The first thing I did was fire for out-of-the-box accuracy, I used the 115-grain +P+ ammunition and at 15 yards the 15-shot group measured 1.5 inches. I had nine magazines loaded up and someone loading magazines as I emptied them and, within 20 minutes, I fired 500 rounds with no malfunctions of any type...

    The next day I began firing 2,000 rounds of the 127-grain +P+SXT, by far the hottest 9mm ammunition I have ever fired. There were no malfunctions of any type using this ammunition. Over the next 3 days I fired 8,000 rounds of 9mm NATO, the standard M882 Ball ammunition issued to U.S. military personnel. The M882 ball cartridge is rated as a +P cartridge by SAAMI specifications.

    The barrel was cleaned every 2,000 to 3,000 rounds. It would take us 45 to 50 minutes to fire 1,000 rounds and, at times, the pistol would become too hot to handle. I fired 1,000 rounds of Winchester USA 115-grain 9mm ball with no problems and the pistol, after 11,500 rounds, was still delivering groups in the 1.5-inch range.

    At this point, the pistol was totally disassembled and cleaned. Then I fired an additional 6,000 rounds of the 115-grain FMJ with only one malfunction. There was one failure to extract due to an under-powered cartridge, not the pistol.

    After about 15,000 rounds I began to notice some pitting on the right wing of the locking block. I recommend changing this part when pitting is noted, but this was a torture test and we wanted to see how long the gun will last.

    As of now 17,500 rounds have been fired and I headed back to the range to fire the remaining 3,000 rounds. Finally at round count 19,498, I had a locking block failure. The left wing of the locking block broke and the pistol's slide locked up. By pushing down on the broken wing with a drift punch, the action was freed and the pistol subsequently disassembled, revealing some minimal frame damage - but nothing that would affect the operation of the pistol. I changed the locking block and within 10 minutes I was back in action and concluded the test with no other malfunctions. The last 15 rounds were fired for accuracy; the group measured about 1.75 inches at 15 yards. The accuracy had hardly changed at all.

    The locking block survived 19,948 rounds, which included 2,500 rounds of +P+, 8,000 rounds of +P and 10,000 rounds of standard 9mm ball. One friend of mine put it best: 'You fired $4,000 worth of ammunition out of a $450 handgun and broke a $60 part after 19,498 rounds were fired, what more could you ask?'

    I feel very few pistols will ever see this round count - except for a military pistol. For many years I have heard people claim the Beretta M9/92FS was a fragile gun because of those early, isolated incidents. Following this torture test, I know this gun is far from fragile! There is no question in my mind the pistol is serviceable to 35,000 rounds; I would not be surprised to see it last 50,000 rounds. The Beretta M9/92FS is, in my opinion, one of the most reliable firearms ever produced - and this test proved it."

  5. Redlg155

    Redlg155 Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    NW Florida
    I seriously doubt any problems will arise from shooting +P ammo. I've recently shot about 300 rounds of NATO spec Winchester Ranger 124gr FMJ with zero problems with controllability through a Smith and Wesson 5906. According to the label on the box of ammo, NATO spec is loaded 10 percent higher than the industry specifications. In essense, it is +P.

    I would not anticicpate any problems out of your Beretta.
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