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Understanding +P Ammunition



When gun owners go ammo shopping, most of the times they see a box of +P bullets. With absolutely no idea, gun owners walk out of the shop, curious about what that +P ammunition is. Without much curiosity and delay, today, all gun owners will be understanding +P ammunition and what it does for their handgun.

How To Make Sure the Ammo Is +P

This is as simple as it gets. When purchasing ammo, buyers will need to look at the box and determine whether or not it is +P ammunition. However, +P has a cousin ammunition as well, which is +P+ ammo. The +P is less often placed on full metal jacket ammunition. In addition, if owners are looking at individual cartridges, they will be able to determine which ammo should be placed where based on the head stamp.

+P In-Depth

The “P” stands for pressure, although that is not so good for humans. Here is the insight; the commercial manufactures of ammunition are using standards of pressure sets through the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturer’s Institute (SAAMI) as it is federally commissioned. The SAAMI has been around since 1926.

When the striker hits the cartridge or the firing pin, there is an explosion that takes place inside the chamber that causes the pressure. The pressure that is created pushes the bullet down to the barrel and onwards. That pressure shortly closes the breach located in the revolver or it can fire a shot.

Handguns that are being manufactured now are created according to the SAAMI pressure standards. Because of consumer demands and technology advancements, companies have started making a line of +P ammunition showing how the pressure that is created by the powder.

However, some loads have powder charge that goes beyond the normal parameters that must be present in the +P ammunition, which is why it is called +P+. This is one reason why the +P+ ammunition boxes are labeled to be used only by law enforcement personnel, but there is no restriction for civilians to be using them.

Difference Between +P And +P+

Better and greater velocity can be achieved with the +P ammo as compared to other loads that have the same caliber. Most of the time, gun owners can balance the effect if they use a lighter bullet. What is meant by “lighter bullet”? Something that is in the range of a 10 percent of velocity and 20 percent of bullet weight.

For example, Winchester’s 9mm Defender line acquires a 147-grain bullet in HP and a 124-grain bullet in the +P model. The Defender’s heavy bullets have a muzzle velocity which goes at the rate of 954 feet per second, whereas, the +P bullet can go up to 1,095 fps. Clearly, there is a modest gain with this ammunition. Gun owners or buyers must be aware of the fact that if they are using shorter barrels, the velocity rates will be lower. The most accurate measurements will be different when comparing guns with others.

If the +P slightly goes over the maximum envelope that is recommended by the SAAMI’s standards, the +P+ ammunition can go a step further to increasing the powder charge. This way it has the ability to increase the pressure in order to attain greater than the 10 percent edge which was initially forced by the +P+.

The felt recoil goes higher with the +P ammunition. There is a slight disadvantage and it is less comfortable as it does not allow getting accurate shots on the range.

Is +P a Good Choice?

Only you and your gun can come to the proper answer for the following question; “Whether an increase in velocity, which could make penetration better and the ability to shoot better at further distance, worth the trade off in the form of a lighter bullet that could possibly lessen the expansion activity on the flesh?”

When buying ammunition, buyers need to make sure they are testing it before placing it in the firearm. It can be checked by firing a couple of shots in sequence to see if the performance will be reliable and good for your gun. The most important thing is to check if it will shoot when the gun is hot after firing repeatedly.

The +P and +P+ ammunition is more expensive as compared to FMJ. This ammunition could be amazing if it is functioning well in your firearm.

If this article helped you understanding the +P ammunition, you are ready to explore your options and choose based on the requirements of your firearm.


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