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Old July 7, 2009, 02:13 PM   #1
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Ruger LCP 380 ACP P+

I like everyone else Iam having a hard time finding 380 ammo for my Ruger LCP. I happened across some today at my local gun shop and it happened to be Buffalo Bore 380 +P so I purchased it without reading my owners manual first. Ruger says "NO" P+ rounds. Thats what I get for not reading first huh. My question has anyone shot +P in their LCP's or is it just too risky?
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Old July 7, 2009, 03:25 PM   #2
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I did not know that either. I almost bought an LCP yesterday but I didnt because all they had was +p ammo and I had never heard of the brand.
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Old July 7, 2009, 03:32 PM   #3
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I put ALOT of Double Tap's +P through my LCP without any problems. I'm sure it'll wear it out a little quicker but I think it'd be good.
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Old July 7, 2009, 04:01 PM   #4
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There is a more fundamental question than wear that surrounds the use of +P ammo in any gun. Ostensibly the idea behind over-pressure ammo is that using it will translate to greater velocity when shot from the handgun. But, that is not always the case. There are a number of articles around that conclude that the expected extra velocity does not happen in every case. That has been my finding as well.

I have a number of 9 mm guns and a chronograph so I set out some time ago to test the idea. Shot a lot of +P stuff through my guns, chronographed the results and, much to my surprise, sometimes there was no increased velocity at all Sometimes there was My less than scientific conclusion is that it takes a particular combination of gun and ammo to produce the desired result - increased velocity.

Now you will get the increased wear that comes from increased pressure but you may not get the desired increased velocity.

Seems to me to be both a waste of time and dollars to just purchase +P ammo and assume that you get the desired result.

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Old July 7, 2009, 04:09 PM   #5
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My P3at manual specifically says .380 +P is OK, and the Ruger sure looks like a copy of the Kel-tec with a few minor refinements. The problem is, I don't think there's an official SAAMI spec for .380 +P, so who knows what pressure Buffalo Bore and others are loading to.

I handload mine to about 19000 or 19500 psi using Unique powder (the highest performing commonly-available powder for .380, according to Quickload) and it's all I can do to hang on when I touch one off
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Old July 7, 2009, 05:29 PM   #6
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+P .380? That is a new one on me. I thought the +P .380 was a Makarov?
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Old July 7, 2009, 06:08 PM   #7
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The early guns didn't carry the explicit "NO +P" warning in the manual. Just re-checked mine and it's not there. That being said I've only used standard pressure ammo in mine thus far and really see no reason to change that.
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Old July 7, 2009, 06:16 PM   #8
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Mine's an early model too and I don't recall the no +P ammo being stated in the manual. Personally, I've only used standard ammo in mine.

With that said, seems like I read a review on here about a fellow using Buffalo Bore +P ammo with good results.
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Old July 7, 2009, 06:58 PM   #9
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Unless something has changed recently, there's no SAAMI spec. for a .380 +P.

Cor-Bon used to promote their.380 round as +P but that load, while hotter than most .380 loads, was within accepted SAAMI specifications and is still being sold but without the claim of being a +P round.

I think when a manufacturer says they are selling .380 +P, it's a marketing decision where the term +P designation is used loosely. It probably does mean the round is hotter than most available but it still should be, hopefully, within SAAMI specs for the .380.

I could be wrong but will THINK I'm correct until shown otherwise.

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Old July 7, 2009, 07:54 PM   #10
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I carry standard loads in my KT .380 ACP. I don't think that you gain much with +P in that small of gun.
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Old July 8, 2009, 02:59 AM   #11
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"Ruger says no +P loads".

There's your answer.

You might get away with shooting higher power rounds or you might just introduce excessive wear into your LCP that might make it infuriatingly unreliable.

Why chance that?
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Old July 8, 2009, 08:37 AM   #12
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I think there is an even more fundamental question being ignored - why use +P at all? While there certainly is market demand for it, that's no justification. After all, the Pet Rock sold well, too.

For the incremental increase in velocity, you also get increased recoil and it's associated responses - slower return to target times, higher impact to the hand and trigger finger causing actual injury, and actual battering of the weapon. All this to gain an almost immeasurable difference in penetration or stopping power. What can be documented is strictly academic - it takes more practice shooting accurately to gain any advantage.

If somebody needs the perceived power increase, why not move up one caliber? You get it all then, a platform designed for it, reliable function, and more than a few percent improvement. Shooting the next larger caliber is often a lot more pleasant than hot loads in a smaller gun.

+P is a marketing gimmick for the consumer. If your initial caliber won't do the job without it, move on. You're making the wrong choice.
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Old July 9, 2009, 01:19 AM   #13
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+P is a marketing gimmick for the consumer. If your initial caliber won't do the job without it, move on. You're making the wrong choice.
Not true at all. Some of the finest SD loadings, with the best track records when used in the real word, are +P or +P+.
That being said, the only calibers that I use or carry a +P loading for are 9mm and .38 Special. These are proven to be more effective manstoppers at +P or +P+ loadings.
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Old July 10, 2009, 09:48 AM   #14
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The example of 9mm and .38 being a popular +P load is also a good example of why many agencies went to .40. I will suggest a 9mm in +P is harder to shoot accurately than the standard and equivalent round in a .40. I wouldn't surprise me that the economics of buying ammo in bulk tipped to the .40 in this example.

We all want "manstopper" ammo, but the quest is made difficult by the actual demands doing it at the event. More accurate fire from a "friendly" caliber would seem to be a better choice for the average carrier than a smaller pistol with higher recoil.

It's really the whole point of the .380 - better performance than the .32. Again, if the caliber isn't good enough, why devote money and effort to hot rod it when you can simply move up?

Having dreamed of VW kit cars in the '70's, I finally put pencil to paper. A cheap '66 Mustang with V8 and a few Shelby parts would drive circles around the kit car and leave money in the bank. So that's what I did.

We all like to get incremental increases in performance for our money spent. I would suggest a Crimson Trace laser would be money better spent than +P ammo for overall performance. You still have to hit what you're aiming at.

But, I'm not well known for following the crowd. My take is that if it's popular, there's something wrong with it.
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Old July 11, 2009, 12:48 PM   #15
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Yes, I have shot the Buffalo Bore .380 ammunition in my LCP, despite the warning in the newer manual that wasn't in the original. I asked Buffalo Bore directly how much over standard pressure it was before ordering and the number he claimed was just a little above SAAMI, so I ordered some to test.

The bullet on the hard cast ammunition appears to be similar if not an actual Penn 100gr TCBB. Penn .380 HCL

The Buffalo Bore functioned flawlessly in my LCP. And while the recoil was notably greater than the 102gr Remington Golden Saber I usually carry, it was surprisingly controllable given some reports I have read about how "stout" it was. I personally did not find it significantly less controllable than either the Remingtion GS, or 95gr FMJ standard loadings from Blazer and Fiocchi I have also put through the LCP. YMMV.

I definitely wouldn't put a steady diet of the Buffalo Bore through an LCP, but I also would not hesitate to carry it if you prefer penetration to expansion in this caliber and you are not recoil sensitive.
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Old March 29, 2011, 04:01 PM   #16
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I also ran a bunch of Buffalo Bore and other +P through the LCP and it kicked hard but worked fine, but that was before I read the warning in the instruction booklet. Haven't shot any since.
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Old March 29, 2011, 04:24 PM   #17
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If you are worried, Wolff Springs has a variety of increased rate recoil springs for the Ruger LCP.
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Old March 29, 2011, 10:57 PM   #18
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Springs don't solve everything. The chamber wall on the LCP is very thin. Tim Sundles of BB has said that the .380 +P rounds produce ~25,000 psi, which is an increase of more than 16% over SAAMI standard. That's quite a lot of pressure to apply to that super-thin chamber wall and barrel for long. The gun was designed fairly close to the limits of what's possible with the .380 in the first place.

Furthermore, users at the elsiepeaforum have documented catastrophic failures and serious damage caused by BB and other +P rounds, like MagTech, in as few as 10 rounds fired through the gun. That might have something to do with why the newer owner's manual expressly proscribes use of +P ammo.
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Old March 30, 2011, 02:18 AM   #19
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I strongly advise against using Buffalo Bore +p ammunition in the Ruger LCP. My dad got me four boxes when he bought me my LCP. He was unaware of Ruger's warning. I shot twenty rounds and my brother shot twenty. Literally every. single. shot. the gun jammed. Switched to standard pressure ammo and no problems since.

Still have two boxes left. Just waiting until I can get them off my hands.
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Old March 30, 2011, 04:01 PM   #20
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There is no set maximum pressure specifications for +P .380 ACP. Any ammunition labled as '+P' will be higher pressure than standard loads, but since there is no specifications, Ruger has no idea how hot an ammunition manufacturer loads their '+P' .380 ACP (or will load in the future).

Other calibers have a set maximum pressure for +P loadings, and firearm manufacturers can design their pistols to handle them because the specs are known.

Since Ruger cannot know the maximum pressure of a +P .380 ACP round, they cannot say that the LCP can handle it.

Chances are, it will do just fine, and only accelerate wear somewhat like with other guns rated for +P loads. Ruger's warning against +P .380 ACP in their LCP is most likely only a CYA move.
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Old March 30, 2011, 04:31 PM   #21
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Ruger's warning against +P .380 ACP in their LCP is most likely only a CYA move.
It's a CYA move, but odds are pretty good it was motivated by some real-world results, given that the language warning against the use of +P rounds only appeared in the owner's manual after documented catastrophic failures and instances of serious damage from certain brands of .380 +P ammo began to appear on forums dedicated to the LCP and other .380 pocket pistols.
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Old March 30, 2011, 04:38 PM   #22
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AustinTX, this is totally off topic, but I always enjoy seeing your sig. I just flat out agree with your gun choices.
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Old March 30, 2011, 06:49 PM   #23
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Appreciate that, LawScholar! It's a work in progress. Unfortunately, Mrs. ATX isn't quite as happy as I am about the most recent progress.
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Old March 30, 2011, 07:35 PM   #24
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I strongly advise against using Buffalo Bore +p ammunition in the Ruger LCP. Still have two boxes left. Just waiting until I can get them off my hands.
Go ahead and PM me for the sale of your ammo. Despite your strong recommendation, I have shot over 100 flawless rounds of BB 95g +P FMJ through my LCP and it's now my carry ammo in that particular gun.

BTW, I love it when newbies dig up threads that are almost 2 years old and post in them like it's an ongoing conversation.
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Old January 1, 2012, 05:21 PM   #25
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Sorry to dig up an old thread, but most forums want people to search before posting...

I'm rather new to guns and after buying a Springfield Armory XD 45 ACP about 2 years ago, decided it was time to buy a good .380 carry gun. I went to the gun show yesterday and purchased a Ruger LCR. After being told that the background check pile was a mile high and it wouldn't be approved until today (Sunday), I went home, performed a Google search on "Ruger LCP ammo review" and came up with the article recommending Buffalo Bore JHP... so in my excitement I bought 3 boxes last night.

Today, after church, I got a call telling me to come and pick up the gun. When I got home with the new LCR I read the owners manual cover to cover and it says not to use +P ammo. Being new to ammo and guns, I went to the Buffalo Bore sight and realized that in my infinite wisdom, that I had just bought 60 rounds of +P ammo.

What can I do? already shipped my ammo and now I know that Ruger recommends I do not use this ammo. Will local gun stores buy or trade new, unused ammo?

Also, what is the best carry ammo to carry that falls within Rugers recommended ammo?

Thanks a million for the help!
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