Do you need +P ammunition for your gun?  Most people don’t know what +P means, or if they should use it.

Quick rule of thumb:  If you have an older gun, stay away from the atomic loads.  This includes new model Colt Single Action revolvers.

+P is a rating given to ammunition that has higher than standard pressure ratings for a particular cartridge.  For instance, +P loads for the 9mm increase pressure by about 10%.  This allows a higher muzzle velocity, greater chance of bullet expansion, and obviously more felt recoil.

For most applications there is no need for +P ammo, but two notable exceptions come to mind.  The first is hunting.  +P ammo for handgun hunting can be a real advantage for those taking medium to large game on the North American continent.  The other is for short barreled revolvers chambered in .38 special.  The shorter your barrel is, the more velocity you loose, which can lead to bad expansion.  Several companies including Speer have added cartridges specifically designed to perform in short barreled revolvers and pistols.

We have used Speer Gold Dot ammunition in many different pistols and found it to be a reliable performer.  If you are going to be hunting or using a small framed revolver you will definitely want to check them out.