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I just picked up a new P3AT as an off duty/backup weapon. Before I go to the range to determine which brand of JHP rounds will function best, are there any particular brands that any of you recommend? Or more to the point, are there any brands that you recommend that I stay away from? Some rounds just feed more reliably than others and I prefer not buying boxes of ammo that I won't be able to use. If I can limit it to 2 or 3 good brands to test, it would make things easier.

Thanks in advance.
 

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Many people, including me, like Speeer Gold Dots. A good reliable defensive ammo. The ones I would avoid would be Buffalo Bore, supposedly in the +P arena (though there are no accredited +P loads for the .380), but they refuse to provide figures on pressures, etc for their ammo.
 

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I agree with PF9Newbie about staying away from +P .380 ammunition as you really don't know what you're getting. I also carry my P-3AT often as my off-duty and I alternate rounds in the magazine going from Federal HST to Precision One XTP's. I have shot both and both feed reliably through the P-3AT. The HST's will give greater expansion but less penetration while the XTP's will give greater penetration with less expansion. With most .380 ammo, you're generally going to be trading off penetration over expansion or vice versa, hence why I decided to alternate rounds.

Some of the JHP ammo I have used over the years are Speer Gold Dot, Hornady Critical Defense, Hornady American Gunner XTP, Federal HST, Precision One XTP, as well as numerous FMJ brands (usually whatever is the cheapest.) I have never had a single failure in the P-3AT with any ammo. Enjoy your new gun!
 

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My favorite is Lehigh's XP round, they feed fine in my P3at and my brother's LCP. They are expensive but I think it's worth the cost.

Other good choices are anything using the XTP bullet, they don't expand much but penetrate well.

I like Gold Dots in larger calibers but they don't do very well in 380. They expand well but the penetration is shallow.
 

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Whatever brand you choose don't expect the advertised velocities claimed for it unless they specifically stated Keltec or a 2.7" barrel. MY KT runs about 100 to 130 fps shy of a 3.5" brl. Not a problem for me but just good to know.
 

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Ammo

I've used Golden Saber's in both of my pocket 380's for years without a single issue. I started using Hornady custom XTP's a few months ago after seeing some good reports. They fed, and extracted perfect as well but after chambering and unchambering a round several times I noticed the bullet was starting to come unseated from the case. I experienced this with multiple rounds. Maybe I just had a bad batch, I don't know but I've gone back to Golden Sabers and back to zero problems again.
 

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My Two Cents On Defensive Ammo for the P-3AT

I agree that the Lehigh Xtreme Penetrator is an excellent round. It is amazing, producing up to 18" of penetration, with a huge wound channel for half that distance. And though it has always shot fine at the range, it does not hand-cycle as well in my P3AT. So, I choose to use the original winner of the Ammo Quest .380 Tests ([ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNtPHYwcDts[/ame]), the Precision One XTP. This is a round that falls within the FBI specs of 12" to 18" of penetration with excellent, consistent expansion.

Why is it important for me to have a round that hand-cycles well in my little pocket rocket? Well, as long as the pistol goes boom-chamber-boom-chamber-boom, it is not. When that does not happen I may have to clear it to load a new round and I don't want to lose even a fraction of a second. So, it is Precision One XTP for me. And I am proud to say it is made right here in South Carolina.
 
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