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Manufacture's pressures for 380 ACP +P ??

There are no SAAMI pressure limits for 380 ACP +P. What pressures do manufacturers load their +P 380 ACP to? SAAMI for 380 ACP is 21,000. How much do they go over 2,000 psi?


  • nononsensenononsense Member Posts: 10,928 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1

    Appropriated from another online source:

    Non-standard "+P" Ammunition

    "How about the "+P" cartridges for calibers such as the .32 ACP and .380 ACP that are offered by some specialty ammo makers, such as Buffalo Bore? The answer, as far as I can determine, is that there are no SAAMI standards for +P ammunition in these calibers. Ammunition so labeled is not true +P. It is either loaded to the standard SAAMI MAP for the cartridge (perhaps right at the upper limit), or loaded to higher than permissible (thus potentially dangerous) pressure. The former is more marketing gimmick than anything else and the latter (over-pressure loads) are not safe for use in all guns and may degrade your pistol's reliability and longevity.

    Almost all .32 ACP and .380 ACP semi-automatic pistols are blow-back operated, not locked breech designs. In these pistols only the mass/inertia of the breech bolt and the pressure of the recoil spring keep the action closed during firing. These are carefully calibrated to the anticipated pressure of the cartridge for which the pistol is chambered. Any increase (or decrease) in the cartridge's MAP can create an unsafe and/or unreliable condition. In other words, these cartridges are intended to be loaded within a narrow range of pressures that cannot be exceeded if the guns designed to shoot them are to operate correctly. Since any handgun used for personal protection must, above all, be reliable, I recommend against the use of ersatz "+P" ammunition. Stick with ammunition loaded to SAAMI specifications."

  • Hawk CarseHawk Carse Member Posts: 4,363 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I don't know and doubt the makers will tell you. They may not know, not all these boutique super duper ammo loaders have the expensive test gear required for pressure test. They are just loading to what they think the guns will stand. Buffalo Bore says:

    "Can I shoot your +P 380 Auto ammo in my LCP?

    Yes you can. Gun makers often warn against using any ammo that is not SAAMI spec. and there is no SAAMI spec. for the 380 auto +P cartridge. Gun makers do this to protect themselves from any liability in our super litigious American society.

    Buffalo Bore and others have tested our 380 auto +P ammo in the LCP and many LCP owners currently shoot our +P ammo in their LCPs and we've never heard of any problems from the "power" or "pressure" of the ammo, but obviously the use of +P ammo in these little guns should be limited to just enough to test reliable feeding and point of impact, then carry the ammo in your LCP in the event you need it, but don't go plinking with it."
  • richardaricharda Member Posts: 405 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The LCP, like all the recent DA little pocket .380 autos, has a locked breach, as do the older Llama, Star, and Colt post-WWII .380 autos.
  • rsnyder55rsnyder55 Member Posts: 2,526 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I believethe SigSauer P238 SA also uses a locked breech.
  • NeoBlackdogNeoBlackdog Member Posts: 16,487 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    My thought, for what it's worth, is that if you feel the need to use .380 +P ammo, then you should have bought the 9mm, not the .380.
  • MobuckMobuck Member Posts: 13,686 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    "My thought, for what it's worth, is that if you feel the need to use .380 +P ammo, then you should have bought the 9mm, not the .380."

    That pretty much covers it.
  • v35v35 Member Posts: 12,710 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The SAAMI maximum product average .380 pressure is 22.8 kpsi and the maximum individual pressure is 26.3 kpsi using piezoelectric transducer system which supersedes the copper crusher system.
    Using Copper Crusher standards, pressures are 18.9 kpsi and 21.8 kpsi respectively.
    I expect the industry uses the lower while +P+ people use the maximum individual pressure standards.
    Consider liability exposure if a gun comes apart and a manufacturer's
    ammo can be shown to exceed SAAMI's max individual pressure specifications.
    In engineering design practice, products never use maximum allowable stress levels. Factors of safety are always applied.
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