Is +P / +P+ really that effective or is it just hype?

Rockrivr1

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I was reading a few articles about +P and +P+ ammo and it got me wondering if in today's world of advanced bullet technology is this type of ammo even needed. It's not that it's extra killy or anything. It's just higher pressure, which I equate to a faster bullet. Does that really matter with already existing defensive ammo that typically exceeds ballistic recommendations. I can see the downside as it might overpressure your handgun, but not sure if really provides that much more for you with any given hangun.

What say you?
 
I was reading a few articles about +P and +P+ ammo and it got me wondering if in today's world of advanced bullet technology is this type of ammo even needed. It's not that it's extra killy or anything. It's just higher pressure, which I equate to a faster bullet. Does that really matter with already existing defensive ammo that typically exceeds ballistic recommendations. I can see the downside as it might overpressure your handgun, but not sure if really provides that much more for you with any given hangun.

What say you?

It can matter depending on circumstances, you can get more reliable performance (expansion) out of a given cartridge /bullet type with the extra juice.

Plus it has more juice. Who doesnt want more JUICE? [rofl]

Any gun that isnt junk will not care about +P ammo or even in many cases, +P+ IMHO worrying about it if you dont run junk guns is silly. It works in most
guns worth carrying, absent some corner exceptions. (there are some guns that have timing or cycling problems with hot ammo).
 
Think of it this way.. The 9mm was introduced in 1902 with the German Luger.

Of course technologies exist to get more energy/ higher pressures today. However, it still fits in a 1937 gun. +p and +p+ are simply a warning that your gun should be rated for such.

How they preform in your gun is another story and this decision should be made on an individual basis based on performance and reliability. After watching far too many ballistic tests on youtube, the only constant is that nothing is constant.
 
Unpopular opinion: pressure, velocity, energy, etc don't matter in a self-defense handgun. What matters is how the bullet ultimately performs, which you can figure out by looking at gel testing. There are fast +p rounds that perform poorly and slower round that perform very well. Just look at the actual performance results instead of numbers on paper and go from there.
 
I've wondered this same thing in the past. +P often doesn't look all that special on paper. HST at 124 grain in a side by side comparison of regular vs +P is only a 50 fps muzzle velocity improvement (1150 vs 1200 out of a 4" barrel, per Federal's own figures). Not exactly earth shattering. Then I wonder about the type of gun you shoot for +P effectiveness. I've read some ballistics tests where they shot regular HST 124 grain rounds out of a 3.1" barrel and got as low as 1100. So if the promise of +P is an additional 50 fps, but you're potentially starting low due to a micro compact barrel (P365 is one of my EDC's), then it's a wash?

There are some +P+ out there in the 1300-1400 range though. But I don't really have much real world experience with either, hence my pondering this question as well.
 
I've wondered this same thing in the past. +P often doesn't look all that special on paper. HST at 124 grain in a side by side comparison of regular vs +P is only a 50 fps muzzle velocity improvement (1150 vs 1200 out of a 4" barrel, per Federal's own figures). Not exactly earth shattering. Then I wonder about the type of gun you shoot for +P effectiveness. I've read some ballistics tests where they shot regular HST 124 grain rounds out of a 3.1" barrel and got as low as 1100. So if the promise of +P is an additional 50 fps, but you're potentially starting low due to a micro compact barrel (P365 is one of my EDC's), then it's a wash?

There are some +P+ out there in the 1300-1400 range though. But I don't really have much real world experience with either, hence my pondering this question as well.

Look at gel tests across barrel lengths and so on, a lot of times +P ends up doing better because you get better JHP "activation" across barrel lengths, especially smaller ones.

Like @kalash says the raw numbers arent everything. IMHO the manuf numbers are shit anyways, most of those arent even out of real guns. What you want is some guy like what TNoutdoors9 used to do, if you cared about numbers he had real numbers with a real chrono. If you cared about gel tests, he had that, too.
 
Give me 38 spl +P+ over 30 Super Carry any day of the week.

But, give me 200 gr HCFNs in 10mm for daily carry, gotta have the JUICE!
 
I'm no expert and still learning but +P doesn't seem absolute. Specs on two rounds I have below.

CCI Blazer 38 special 158 gr +P FMJ
Muzzle velocity @ 850 fps and muzzle energy 253 ft lbs

Norma Range 38 special 158 gr FMJ
Muzzle velocity @ 968 fps and muzzle energy 329 ft lbs

Guess which one is more spunky out of a J frame?
 
I don't believe its any where near as important today as it once was. Technology has improved just leaps and bounds over the last two decades that its probably close to a wash. I believe that it might make a slight difference in smaller guns. But its far more important to hit the right spot on the target and do so repeatedly. Just my 2c. or buy a 40 and FTW.[pot]
 

Golden Saber is actually quite surprising for top 3. The DB9 almost made me stop reading, but it was definitely worth while.
 
I was reading a few articles about +P and +P+ ammo and it got me wondering if in today's world of advanced bullet technology is this type of ammo even needed. ...
Depends upon your requirements.
20200730_173733-jpg.403925
 
Look at gel tests across barrel lengths and so on, a lot of times +P ends up doing better because you get better JHP "activation" across barrel lengths, especially smaller ones.

Like @kalash says the raw numbers arent everything. IMHO the manuf numbers are shit anyways, most of those arent even out of real guns. What you want is some guy like what TNoutdoors9 used to do, if you cared about numbers he had real numbers with a real chrono. If you cared about gel tests, he had that, too.
TNOUTDOORS9 is back after a 2 year hiatus:

 
With todays advanced bullet designs, all it does is add recoil. However, +p/+P+ are a lot of fun to shoot at the range. I equate it to 3 1/2 inch magnum duck loads, all your going to gain is recoil with a small gain in pellets.
 
I was reading a few articles about +P and +P+ ammo and it got me wondering if in today's world of advanced bullet technology is this type of ammo even needed. It's not that it's extra killy or anything. It's just higher pressure, which I equate to a faster bullet. Does that really matter with already existing defensive ammo that typically exceeds ballistic recommendations. I can see the downside as it might overpressure your handgun, but not sure if really provides that much more for you with any given hangun.

What say you?
Don't know about handguns, but Hornady tried the concept back in the early 1980s with its "Light Magnum" series of rifle cartridges. It supposedly gave a .308 the same downrange ballistics as a .30-06, a .30-06 the same as a .300 WinMag, etc. I believe they no longer sell this type of ammo. Haven't seen it in years. Maybe the whole concept, while good, just never caught on.
 
Keep in mind. If you carry hot ammo. You need to be able to shoot it well. Which means, you need to practice with it. Watching someone at the range flinch may be funny. But that flinch is a problem. These days. We have people buying any ammo they can. Loading their guns and carrying it. Without running any of it through the gun. Having a super hot load that makes your pistol a single shot really isn't a good answer.

I worry about :
it cycles the gun reliably
A good quality hollow point
Good velocity
Low muzzle flash
 
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