Improvements in engineering and construction have allowed revolvers and semi-automatic pistols to handle ammunition at much higher pressure than standard loads. Among those with a license to carry permit, high pressure +P ammunition is considered preferable for self-defense. Successful concealed carry self-defense skills are reliant on proper practice and training. During skill development and target shooting sessions, it is best to keep high pressure ammunition usage to a minimum or else damage to the firearm is likely to result.

The Effect on the Firearm

The .38 Special snub-nosed revolver is a classic example of concealed carry handgun. As for ammo specs, standard pressure .38 Special round travels at 700+ feet per second while a +P round reaches well over 900+ feet per second. Obviously, there is a lot more pressure on the gun's barrel and frame when the +P round is fired. Going to a shooting range and target practicing with 500 rounds of +P ammo on a revolver is going to do more than just lead to a sore wrist the next day. The session could set the stage for developing structural and mechanical damage.  Repeated target shooting sessions with +P ammo might eventually cause cracked frames and expanded cylinders. These problems could lead to the revolver becoming unreliable due to constant misfires or cylinder freezes. With semi-auto handguns, the frame and the slide could crack.

A problem worse than a lack of reliability may loom. Over time, as the firearm degrades from "hot" ammunition, the structural integrity of the firearm ends up being compromised. What this means is the gun could literally explode. The fragments from the exploding gun could cause severe injury.

Reducing Potential Hazards

The steps listed below may reduce the chances of safety hazards on a concealed carry firearm from emerging: 

  • Practice with Low Pressure Ammunition

Getting a feel for hot ammo is necessary to develop skill for the gun, but do the bulk of the shooting with low pressure target ammo. Not only will this make the shooting session safer and more enjoyable, but the gun will also be preserved. Plus, it will be easier to clean since hotter ammo may leave more powder residue.

  • Research Appropriate +P Ammo

Some ammo is hotter than others. Always check with the manufacturer's recommendation to determine what the maximum ammo pressure load for a particular model is.

  • Ask a Gunsmith

When taking the firearm in for a cleaning, ask the gunsmith check for signs of hot ammo-induced damage such as a loose cylinder or hairline slide cracks. This way, further damage can be curtailed and immediate repairs made.

One last parting shot is worth mentioning. People carry concealed firearms to increase their safety. An unreliable or unsafe gun won't help with that cause. If you don't yet have your license-to-carry permit, contact a company like 4HrLTC.COM.