There are quite a lot of different types of ammunition available to you for both target practice and self-defense purposes. One of the most popular questions we see on the internet in the gun forums and on Facebook gun groups is this —
Can I shoot +P Ammo in my gun?
Probably. Many of today’s guns are quite capable of handling the extra pressures associated with +P ammunition. The best way to know if your gun can shoot +P or +P+ ammo is to look at the owner’s manual to find out.
But even this isn’t a foolproof way of knowing if your gun can shoot ammo that is higher pressure.
What is +P ammo?
+P ammo is nothing more than ammunition that has been loaded to higher pressures to help it move at faster rates and, thus, deliver more energy on target to increase its “stopping power.”
Because this ammunition is loaded to much higher pressures, it tends to wear firearms out that much faster–even if the guns are rated for and can shoot them.
+P and Legal Issues:
The primary reason for the confusion regarding +P ammo is due to manufacturers and the wording they put inside their gun owner’s manuals.
Many manufacturers are advised by their attorneys to put certain wording inside to say that the guns cannot shoot higher pressure ammo, or to only shoot factory new ammunition and that you must avoid remanufactured ammunition.
And if you do shoot this type of ammo that they can’t be held responsible if your gun breaks or has a detrimental malfunction.
Or, hurts you.
They don’t want to be held responsible so they put that bit about ammunition in there.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you CAN’T actually shoot +P ammo in your gun. If the manufacturer says you shouldn’t do something, they really know best and should be listened to.
How do I know for sure if my gun can shoot it?
The only real way to know if your gun can shoot plus p ammo is to find out from the source itself.
It’s always recommended that you read the owner’s manual that your firearm came with. Many of today’s guns are capable of handling the extra pressures associated with +P ammo, but some are not.
If your gun cannot shoot it, the manual will tell you. If you lost the book your gun came with, contacting your manufacturer via the contact page on their website is the next best option, even if it takes a bit longer.
What you don’t want to do, is read an answer on the internet in a forum from someone who is not likely an employee of that gun manufacturer, and take that as gospel.
Should you shoot +P?
This is the primary question that people don’t actually ask. A lot of the time people wonder if they can, but don’t stop to ask if they should.
The truth of the matter is that higher pressure ammunition will always wear your gun out faster than normal ammo will. This is one of the reasons why many defenders have moved away from calibers like 357 SIG or 40 S&W.
They’re loaded to higher pressures and wear guns out faster.
This isn’t a problem if you keep up with the maintenance on your guns, but still something to think about.
What is +P+ ammo?
+P+ ammo is that which is loaded to even higher pressures than the regular plus P stuff is. A lot of the time the +P+ stands outside of SAMMI regulations. I don’t personally shoot this ammunition, but know people who do.
Can your gun shoot +P ammo? Probably, but whether or not you want to or should is something that only you can find out for yourself.