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I'm looking into +P ammunition. (I have a Ruger PC Charger rated for +P.) I was surprised to see some fairly light grain weights - I had expected just more explosive force to drive a big chunk of lead. But I also noted the differences in velocities. Since I'm new to this, what factors should I consider in deciding which round to try? I'm looking at a defensive encounter, 15 to 25 yards.
 

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+P just means extra powder. Light weight projectiles in these cartridges will be propelled very very fast. Something traveling a very high rate of speeds (1400fps) sometimes will out preform a heavier projectile traveling fast (1100fps). Sometimes buying +P it does not meet up to other non +P ammunition. Read up on your ammunition watch some you tube vids on them and then decide if its for you.

Paul Harrel on you tube does and outstanding job on +P and standard ammunition, though he calls it Hyper ammo.

Not a big 9mm fan though I would stay in the range of 124gr for the 9mm or even 147gr for self defense. Speer, Remington, Winchester, Federal, and Magtech are all good. Though if you want tops for the speed and energy transfer then the 100% copper Underwood Lehigh ammunition is what to look for. This is from my experiences, others will have their own and will post up.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
So, in terms of destructive power at point of impact .... a higher velocity with a lighter grain bullet would likely outperform a heaver grain with slower velocity??
 

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There is a formula to help determine foot lbs of energy. Using stated velocity and bullet weight. A fast 115 grain at plus p. May not hit as hard as 147 grain at standard velocity. Look up the Paul Harre's video. He is very informative.
 

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Here is some of Paul's informative vids.....



 
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So, in terms of destructive power at point of impact .... a higher velocity with a lighter grain bullet would likely outperform a heaver grain with slower velocity??

There are other variables to that equation. Plus it will depend on the manufacture. Not all ammunition is created equal, lets say (non +P) 124gr 9mm. Some manufactures will load their 9mm 124gr (non +P) with different powder or different amount of powder. This will produce different results for velocity and energy transfer.
 

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I subscribe to noted gun writer and trainer Grant Cunningham's opinion that while +P does not do that much more tissue damage than non +P, it doesn't have to. His opinion, based on research of a lot of shootings, is that even a little more tissue damage can make the difference between a stop and a failure to stop. He feels it's worth it. Also, the accuracy element Harrell brings up seems irrelevant to me. A handgun in a real situation is almost always more accurate than its shooter. Practical accuracy is more about the Indian than the arrow. I also think his legal argument is irrelevant. +P is legal and it is used by LE. If your court case is cutting it that close, you have bigger problems.
 

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pick something that is reliable in operation in your gun in bullet profile and bullet weight.....period.

i have a preference for 124 gr and a hp from a reputable mainstream maker. Good luck with the limited availability in these interesting times.

you are already getting higher velocity with the longer barrel of the charger....more velocity than the same ammo from a mid-size handgun like a glock 19....you could say the additional barrel length is already turning your charger into plus p performance with std ammo......without the added pressure and expense.

of course you will still see even more velocity with plus p......but when is enough enough? When increased performance starts getting measured by dang few percentage points....well, to me 93% effective is just as good as 97% effective......some demand that xtra 4%.....i just want to hit the target in a good place and not depend on the science so much.
 

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Don’t get wrapped up in +P. Standard 9mm ball ammo of any flavor will go straight through the human body without issue. 9mm is already a high pressure cartridge. What you should concern yourself with is the ability of the projectile to deliver the maximum amount of energy before exiting the target. That usually amounts to a round that will expand to a maximum diameter and stay in tact to deliver that energy all the way through, creating a very large permanent wound channel.

That can be achieved with standard pressure cartridges. The ones pictured below are my choice as I have consistently measured .7” of perfect expansion and always in tact when recovered.

119135


You can get real close to the energy created by a round using the following formula:

(Weight X speed X speed) / 480,000

Where weight is the grains of the bullet and speed is feet per second. Again, a higher energy round isn’t necessarily better unless it’s able to dump that energy into the target. If it comes out the back side of your target still carrying a significant amount of that energy then that extra energy is kind of useless.

Higher pressure doesn’t always equal more energy.
 

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I am not a fan of +P ammo. The main thing it does is accelerate the wear on a gun. If I feel the need for more power, I go to a gun in a larger or more powerful caliber.
 

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So, in terms of destructive power at point of impact .... a higher velocity with a lighter grain bullet would likely outperform a heaver grain with slower velocity??
Not always. And just because it works on paper doen't mean it works in real life.
If the bullet you are using was designed to function at a variety of velocities it might dissipate more energy. Or it may not function at all. If it comes apart on impact, the pieces may not have enough energy to work.

Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk
 

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+P just means extra powder.
I don't mean to disagree with you, but I was under the belief that +P meant either "more power" and/or "more pressure". Both which can be achieved by (as you correctly pointed out) more powder or by using a different more reactive powder.
 

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Here is the energy created by 2 different powders using the same bullet, who’s load data are generating the same pressure.

119178


119179


Now let’s change the bullet weight, same pressure created.

119180
 

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I don't mean to disagree with you, but I was under the belief that +P meant either "more power" and/or "more pressure". Both which can be achieved by (as you correctly pointed out) more powder or by using a different more reactive powder.

You're right. I just wanted to keep it simple and not get into different powders. I find explaining to much or everything st once, students tend to get lost or confused. So I go with +P means extra powder / more power.
 
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Ed this may help some. This was a .50 diameter 250 grain powderbelt bullet, Shot from a muzzle loader. Hit a deer 80 grains of Triple 7 powder. No where neer a plus p load. Range was 71 yards. My neighbor uses a range finder. It expanded close to double the diameter.
119206

119207
 

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I have posted this on here before but the difference between +P and standard 38 SPL rounds is academic (literally and strictly). This pretty much applies to other calibers as well. Let me know what you think.

 

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Good article!
 
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Good article!
Thanks. This makes it very clear that minor differences in energy and bullet weight (like between +P and standard) will have insignificant difference in actual (based upon real world statistics) stopping power. If you really need "stopping power" get a shotgun or rifle.
 
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