Will a 9mm +P shoot in any 9mm pistol?

Being the geek that I am, I like looking at my blog statistical data. One of the more interesting things is to look at the things that people are searching for that leads them to my blog. I’ve been thinking about responding directly to some of them, as I find interesting ones. So, why not go ahead and start.

One that came in my current stats is:

will a 9mm +p shoot in any 9mm pistol?

I’m assuming the person is curious to know if 9 mm (Luger, Parabellum, 9x19mm, etc.) +P ammo can be shot out of any gun chambered for 9 mm.

Short answer? No, +P won’t shoot in any pistol.

Longer answer? Any pistol? No. Some pistols? Yes, but you better check first (and not by trying it and seeing what happens).

The thing is, any ammo that is +P rated means that it’s loaded to a higher pressure than the standard (non-+P) load; generally about 10% higher pressure. Thus, more pressure means more well… pressure and stress being imparted upon the firearm. Take a balloon. It’s only able to handle so much air pressure within it before it pops. But if you inflate it with more air pressure than it’s designed to handle what happens? It pops. More or less, that’s what could happen to your gun if you use ammo in it that it is not able to handle.

Thus, you must know your firearm. You must know if it can handle +P ammo before you use +P ammo in it. If you’re not sure, contact the manufacturer of the firearm and ask them. If for some reason you cannot do that, contact a reputable gunsmith. Yes, you could also try to find things out on “t3h int3rw3bz”, but that can be a crap-shoot; know your source. In the end, it may be safer to err on the side of caution and not use the +P ammo.

Note as well there’s a further variant known as +P+, which means the ammo is loaded to even higher specs. This is another thing to ask about and watch out for. Check this Wikipedia article on Overpressure Ammunition for some details on the topic.

Granted most modern firearms can handle the additional pressure of +P rounds, but it’s still wise to know for sure and not guess. Read the user manual, ask the manufacturer. Know before you do. You really don’t want to be on the receiving end of a firearms failure.

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