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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have some 9mm +P 9mm ammunition that I haven't shot, and I've watched Paul Harrell explain the difference between them. He shot some of it through a Beretta 92 (which is a large pistol), but he said he wouldn't have shot it through his Beretta.

I don't know which pistols are rated for +P these days, but many pistols made by S&W were made of stainless steel. So it makes me wonder which S&W pistols are rated for +P. I also have some ammo with a +P rating in .45 ACP. Would it be safe to shoot it through a 645 or a 4506? (Both of these are stainless steel, too.)

The velocity of the 9mm +P 9mm ammo was in the .357 Magnum levels, so the pressures had to be pretty heavy. Who knows how heavy the pressures are in that! So if anyone knows about which pistols will take these ratings, I'd like to know. Would pistols that shoot this ammo need heavier recoil springs, or will the pistol's steel frames take the punishment?


https://youtu.be/oM5Am6rIu-s
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My dept is often credited with helping develop the 9mm +P+. At that time we carried S&W 439 as our issued firearm. Those of us on SWAT were allowed to purchase our own 459 for on duty carry. Working with Federal the 115 BPLE was created and we carried it for several years. Then working with Olin the W-W 115 JHP+P+ came about and we switched to that round which was carried until we went to the Glock in .40 in 1999. When the 3rd generation S&W came out we transitioned from the 2nd gens to the 3rd gens carry the 5904 and the 6904. My dept had about 2300 5904/6904 on the street. The minimum round count one would get shot was 400+ a year of +P+ ammo. SWAT guns would get at least 10,000 rds a year.
Not long after we went to the 5904 someone from another dept was at our range and made the comment that our 5904s would not stand up to the +P+ loads and that we'd be having a lot of trouble. So one of our range officers decided to see how long his issued 5904 would run shooting just the W-W +P+. He documented every round thru his gun. At about 50,000 rds he noticed the accuracy wasn't what it used to be. The rifling was getting worn out so he replaced the barrel. During that time he also replaced the springs but I don't recall the round counts when he swapped springs. Factory OEM springs. Not heavier. When he retired his 5904 had documented 80,000 rds. He bought that 5904 when he retired and he continued shooting it after retirement. He's been retired over 20 years. I saw him last fall at a LEOSA shoot and he was still shooting that same 5904.
This is not to say that your 3rd gen guns will go 80,000 rds of +P+. It just points to one off the rack, nothing special one that had a definite round count. The SWAT guns were probably around that round count too.
Now look at the cost involved. How long will it take you to shoot 80,000 rds of +P+ ammo? If you bought 50 rd boxes that would be 1600 boxes. If you got a deal on +P+ ammo of $25/box of 50 rds it would cost you $40,000 in ammo. If you can afford to shoot $40,000 of ammo thru just 1 gun then the price of a $500 gun is pretty insignificant.
 

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Mag357, I can only add that I've owned a pretty good number of the 1st. through 3rd. Gen S&W pistols. I've used +P, +P+ and equivalent hand loads in many of them. I have not experienced any issues in using these types of ammo in my S&W pistols. I can't tell you what ammo is safe in your guns, but like ispcapt I'm just sharing my experience with ammo that may be similar to what you inquired about. FWIW, factory +P ammo has a SAAMI spec...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the information, but I can't say it surprises me. Paul Harrell shot quite a few rounds through a Beretta 92, and said he wouldn't shoot that many rounds through his Beretta (the one he shot was a loaner), but it seemed to digest them with no problem. Still, it seemed to absorb them with no problem. I don't think I would shoot these rounds at the range, but I would carry them in a defensive situation or for practice.
 

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I was in a SAF school for pistol at one of the CMP games in Port Clinton a few years ago. That's when I learned how completely worn out a Beretta 92FS / M9 could get. They provided use with issue pistols from the Army reserve.

And it was literally battered to loose metal. It still shot.

The modifications that their team armorers taught us about would not have held up to that level of usage in any case.

Pistols like the 3rd generation S&W handguns were designed with SAAMI specifications in mind, including the +P specifications.

The owner's manual for the 3rd generation pistols is on the S&W website:

https://snwcdnprod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/owners-manuals/S&W_Metal_Frame_Autos_10-01-15.pdf

Their statement about +P and +P+ is on page 9 of the manual. They basically say you should expect more repair incidence when shooting +P and never shoot +P+ from the pistol.
 

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+P 9mm ammo has a SAMMI spec to standardize the pressures of any cartridge loaded to those pressures.
What is known as +P+ does not carry a SAMMI specification because +P pressures are considered the high limit for most firearms designed to shoot the 9mm ammo.
With no high pressure specs for what is called +P+ ammo there are no gun manufacturers that will accept it as an allowable cartridge load for any of their firearms.

What we know as +P+ is a wildcat, and loading such can be very dangerous. Use of any cartridge that exceeds the SAMMI +P specs will void the warranty on any gun that shoots it. The gun manufacturers have tested all of their firearms to the point of failure that they know by forensics what any given load will do to their products. If a gun is blown up by over pressure, the manufacturers can pretty easily prove out what the pressure was when the shot was fired, and when the parts failed.
Most firearms produced after the early 70's can handle +P loads, but that will increase the wear on the firearm as well. How quickly and how badly the wear will show seems to be undefined yet.

Regards,
Gearchecker
 
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+ ammo is trying to do something it wasn't supposed to do. Wasn't designed to do. I stopped borrowing trouble, a long time ago.
I already have plenty trouble, of my own.

I agree with Paul Harrell. I ain't putting that crap thru my guns. If I need more power, I go to a larger caliber. I feel fortunate, in that I have three
GEN IIs and IIIs. I don't know how I'll ever get them repaired, if they break. I'm surely not going to hazard them with anything they weren't specifically
designed for.
 

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+ ammo is trying to do something it wasn't supposed to do. Wasn't designed to do. I stopped borrowing trouble, a long time ago.
I already have plenty trouble, of my own.

I agree with Paul Harrell. I ain't putting that crap thru my guns. If I need more power, I go to a larger caliber. I feel fortunate, in that I have three
GEN IIs and IIIs. I don't know how I'll ever get them repaired, if they break. I'm surely not going to hazard them with anything they weren't specifically
designed for.
That is my take on it. If I want more power I will use another caliber.
 

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Millions and millions of rounds of +P and +P+ produced and sold for years now. Surely there are lots of reports of 9MM pistols being prematurely worn out, damaged, explodingiuhjga;
 
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