Diamondback DB9 and +P Ammo = Ka-boom!

Did you catch my article about +P and +P+ ammunition yesterday? In it, I basically recommended that new shooters avoid the +P and +P+ completely. Even as a more experienced shooter, I still avoid the stuff whenever I can. There’s one simple reason: dumb friends. Yes, you can be sure to always load the normal stuff in your old and well-worn guns. But then, when you’re not looking, your inexperienced, unsuspecting friend steps to the line and slides some .357 Magnum +P+ into his .38 Special revolver, and the next thing you know you’re spending the afternoon trying to avoid using the term “firearms accident” with the charge nurse at the local ER. Old video? Yes it is. Still, it’s one from which we can learn a valuable lesson.


  1. avatar Tim McNabb says:

    I have a DB9, and I recall a pretty explicit warning about not using +P ammo. Read the instructions.

    1. avatar mike says:

      They were pretty straight forward about the fact they knew it didnt take +p and that they accidentally loaded it with +p. They admitted it was operator error.

    2. avatar Daniel Silverman says:

      Wow, just goes to show you what not reading the manual can do!

  2. avatar Cyrano says:

    You would have to work at it to get a 357 into a 38. The cylinder is supposed to be short enough to not allow the 357 to slide into battery infront of the barrel. Though some guns have really sloppy clearances.

    1. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

      That’s what the hammer is for.

      1. avatar SD3 says:

        Guv’ner, you get my vote for President!

    2. avatar Pro-Liberty says:

      Yeah, I am confused by this. How would a .357 chamber in a .38 in the first place?

      1. avatar Hasdrubal says:

        Guys, pretty sure it’s a joke. If he called a magazine a clip while referring to idiocy, I bet that would be a joke too.

    3. avatar John L. says:

      Hand loads…

      1. avatar ensitue says:

        If anything a 357, being 1/10 of an inch longer than a 38 Spl, from the factory, should be even longer if it is reloaded brass. unless the handgun in question is a tarus the story reeks

  3. avatar Crunkleross says:

    I agree you shouldn’t shoot +p in anything not rated for it, but in my experience investigating quite a few blown up guns I have a hard time believing this was caused by one round of +p. It looks more like a barrel obstruction of some kind, or maybe the barrel was weakened after many +p rounds it’s not clear from the video.

    1. avatar JT says:

      Ya. I thought the same thing when I saw this a few days ago (I think on reddit). There is more at play here than just a few +P rounds through the barrel. I am thinking there was a squib.

      1. avatar joe smith says:

        they said it happened 4 or 5 rounds in.

    2. avatar danelover100 says:

      In the video it said it was the 5th round shot. So he loaded a whole magazine with the +P ammo.

  4. avatar APBTFan says:

    Dipshits getting what happens to dipshits.

  5. avatar TangledThorns says:

    I’m sitting on hundreds of +P+ and +P 9mm ammo. Its for SHTF and SD so its not ammo I’d bring with me to the range for practice.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      When the zombies are in the wire is not the time for experimenting (or a barrel failure).

  6. avatar PhoenixNFA says:

    Or someone almost put 300blk ammo into a gun chambered in .223….like a SCAR. Accidents happen, therefore you always gotta be vigilant when either introducing new people to firearms OR when using calibers that share magazines.

    That’s one of the reasons I only own guns in one caliber per “power level” (shotgun, small rifle, handgun, rimfire). No way I can put a .22 in my glock mag and it look right. No way I can put a .223 in a glock mag and it look ok.

    You CAN put a 9mm mag in a .357 sig. You can also put a .357 sig in a 9mm…

    Be careful y’all.

    1. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

      I read a while back about a guy who fired a .308 round in a .270 rifle. Fortunately the rifle only needed to be rebarreled. A weaker action and they’d have had to surgically remove the bolt from his face.

  7. avatar Korvis says:

    “.357 Magnum +P+”

    My hand hurts just reading that.

    1. avatar int19h says:

      Try it in 340 PD.

  8. avatar Pulatso says:

    One of my FIL’s favorite anecdotes is about a fool coworker that stole what he thought was standard .357 off his desk. Infortunately for the fool, it wasn’t factory, but handloaded rather hot, and was to be used in FIL’s Ruger .357. Theif tried to use it in a Taurus .357 with gun damaging results.

  9. avatar the last Marine out says:

    A 357 mag. will not fit into a 38 special !all old guns should be tested by a good gunsmith and also any second hand guns , all of them.

  10. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    Firearms are supposed to be proofed at +30% while +p is supposed to be +10%. I have a hard time believing that DB9 would have held up to a single +30% load if it blew up after 5 +p rounds.

    Personally I use +p Gold Dots in my Beretta 92 but use the regular 115 gr. Gold Dots in my Taurus 709. Taurus says all of their 9mms will shoot +p but I figure it’s better to be safe than sorry with a 19 ounce pistol.

  11. avatar Mark says:

    Slide a .357 into a .38 Special! How is this done although I know of a person who used a Clymer Reamer on a Smith Model 10 to enable this to happen I have never seen a factory wheelgun come like this.

    1. avatar darkstar says:

      Yeah, a good tenth of an inch longer (mag vs special) dunno how that happens. I did see first hand the aftermath of a 38 super round fired through a Smith 642 though. Not pretty.

  12. avatar Peter says:

    This is a good example of why you need to be very, very careful if you have any gun/ammo combination that could cause a problem like this. If you own a firearm not rated for +P, don’t have +P ammo around. Although, most of the warnings seem to indicate greatly accelerated wear possibly leading to a failure, not an explosion.
    This is one of the reasons I hesitate to indulge in a 300 Blackout, it uses the same magazine, parent case, and bolt as .223/5.56 but will ruin your day in a hurry.

    1. avatar Joe says:

      Several years ago there was almost what I’d imagine to be a very bad accident averted only by careful observation of the new shooter. Newbie sets up on line, starts to load magazine, then asks the gun’s owner “Why does this plastic box say “handguns only +P+” on it? The bullets fit the mag”. Owner swears a few times, asks to scrounge some 9mm off people at the range to trade for trigger time. Everyone who had some did so, since the firearm was an authentic FA Sten from WWII… I can only shudder to think what would happen if you put a bunch of hot ammo through that.

  13. avatar Joseph says:

    I don’t believe they make 357 magnum +P or +P+, and at any rate as others have pointed out, 357 won’t fit into a 38 Special cylinder…by design. You may have done that just for illustration.

    At any rate, it’s still good advise…you really don’t gain a whole lot from +P ammo except higher pressure. Why beat your gun up when you don’t have to.

  14. avatar daveR says:

    unsuspecting friend steps to the line and slides some .357 Magnum +P+ into his .38 Special revolver

    Nick, enough people have already jumped on you for this comment that you should maybe explain what you meant by it?

    And I still think that your general aversion to +P ammo in modern (steel framed) guns is not based upon any established fact. Fact is, getting reliable penetration and expansion out of a 3″ 9mm requires +P loads–that IS something that the data bears out.

  15. avatar Andrew says:

    Continuing the conversation, another google search brought this gem. This one is…

    f-ing scary:


    1. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

      “Well last Monday we had a member come in with what LOOKED like a TAURUS Judge. – ok np- we actually couldn’t find a manufacturer’s stamp. The only exception was that it shot 45-70 rnds…”


      OK, always establish WHAT model of firearm you’re shooting and WHAT the manufacturer recommends before firing a round commonly used by guides to fend off coastal brown bears.

  16. avatar jwm says:

    “It was a good gun…” until it blew up. Even though the gun was not rated for +P, and i don’t use non recommended ammo in a gun these days, it worries me that it only took 4-5 rounds of +p to create this handgrenade. +P is not that high pressured and a quality gun should have some safety factor built into it. Increased wear on a gun, yes, over time. But an explosion?.

  17. avatar Michi says:

    Ok, question time for the experts … I know (most) factory 10mm is loaded “light” these days; and isnt very different than 40sw. is there any risk in using the DoubleTap or CorBon (considered closer to “original” 10mm) loads in a glock 29? Is this considered “+p” or is it more that off-the-shelf 10mm is more “-p”? (So to speak …)

  18. avatar Accur81 says:

    Yep, I’ve still had absolutely zero problems with +P and +P+ ammo in 9mm, .40 Smith and .45-70. No problems either with olde school “Light Magnum” Hornady ammo or Federal HE either. Hornady Superperformance ammo works very well, too. Negligence can cause any firearm to be dangerous be it from a barrel obstruction, lack of maintenance, improper ammo, etc. I usually won’t purchase a gun unless it can handle hot loads (Marlin, Glock, Ruger, Winchester 70, Smith 500, 3″ or 3 1/2 12 gauges, etc.)

    If I’m not mistaken, the Winchester 9 mm NATO round is actually a +P (Q4318 124 grain FMJ), and there have been millions of those rounds fired down range. The Mk 318 Mod 0 and M855A1 are also pretty hot loads also, despite not being rated as +P.

    Personally, I think the most dangerous ammo is from the novice hand loader looking to impress someone with a Smokin’ hot velocity.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Yes, the winchester nato ammo is +p. It was my favorite practice ammo in my Sigma before the draught. It’s performance matched the Reminton Golden Sabre +p hollowpoints I use for defense loads. While I prefer my revolvers I like having a duty grade semi in the lineup in case of major shtf.

  19. avatar Ardent says:

    I’m with those who think there was more to this that a handful of +p ammo. Having once worn a Mod36 (airweight S&W) .38spc completely out with +p loads (and I do mean worn out; the cylinder timing was gone, the lock up weak and the side plates would back of and require the screws tightened after only a cylinder full by the end) I believe I can say with some authority that ‘barrel exploding’ isn’t on the list of failures from factory +p ammo in the correct caliber for the gun. Either that pistol was defective to begin with, the barrel was obstructed (or had been damaged previously) or someone loaded something way, way to hot into it. I wonder if by ‘+p’ they meant ‘hot hand load’?

  20. avatar jwm says:

    Anybody ever watch Iraqveteran8888 on you tube? I hope I got his handle right. he’s deliberatley tried to destroy guns. Not new top of the line stuff either. Old, tired break action shotguns from the catalogs. Hi Points. Mosin Nagants. What I take away from his videos is that it’s surprisingly hard to destroy a gun. Blocked barrels, over pressure loads, wrong ammo. I saw him load a 20 ga. shell in front of a 12 ga. shell in an old pump gun. He damaged the gun, but nothing as dramatic as this pistol.

    There’s something other than +P loads involved in this story.

    1. avatar Gyufygy says:

      Watching them try to blow up a Mosin and an Arisaka was amazing. All these crazy ass loads that just made the bolts really sticky.

  21. avatar brian says:

    Serious question – how is this barrel made? Is it rolled flat-stock that’s welded at the seam? How did they get so clean of a fault?

    I’m wondering if they didn’t cut the barrel to get this very result.

  22. avatar Roger says:

    Award the daily dumbass award.

  23. avatar Agitator says:


  24. avatar Ben Branam says:

    The video looks like it was a squib load not a +P problem. That round was over pressure to split the barrel like that.

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