Kel-Tec P32 vs. P3AT


Scott Free
September 26, 2008, 12:40 AM
I've had a P32 for some time. All in all, I'm happy with it, but sometimes wonder if it would be worth the expense to trade up to the P3AT. Would I gain much out of such a short barrel? Who has decided to stick with their P32? :confused:

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September 26, 2008, 12:56 AM
Why don't you pick up a used p3at? That's what I did. I had the p32 and saw a good deal on a p3at so I bought it. So now I have both.

The lack of rimlock is really the best thing about the p3at. I had rimlock twice with magazines in the p32, but only when racking the slide; it never happened when I was actually shooting it.

Check out ktog for some good ammo recommendations, e.g. Corbon DPX, Golden Saber, and American Eagle FMJ.

September 26, 2008, 02:12 AM
I'm with Chuck on this. The P3AT is soo cheap when she's used that you could pick one up for well under $200. I paid $169 for mine two years ago. I also agree that rimlock is the definite risk associated with sticking with the 32 acp as a defense round. Too many things to worry about in SD situations to just add this little bugger into the pile.

September 26, 2008, 06:14 AM
I like my P32, and the P3AT just isn't enough of an improvement for me to trade "up". I use FMJ or long JHP and haven't repeated any of the rimlock I had with shorter rounds. The calibers are too similar to worry about, and I like having that extra round.

September 26, 2008, 06:23 AM
I use FMJ's in myy P-32. This offers better penetration and negates the rim lock problem. Shooting the P-32 is much more enjoyable than the 3AT. I also like the extra round capacity and the last round slide hold back. For close range self defense, the .32 will do the job.


September 26, 2008, 09:19 AM
I went the other way: from a 2nd gen P3AT to a 1st gen P32 and it's been better suited to my situation.
I use only FMJ S&B which fit the P32 magazine, no rimlock in well over a thousand rounds.
Now, my P3AT was a great gun, 100% reliable with many many shots through it and no troubles, but it beat the heck out of my right hand when shooting. I like to practice a lot with what I carry....and I don't wear shooting gloves for practice, because I don't wear shooting gloves in everyday life. Switching to the P32 enabled me to practice a lot without the "4th magazine tremors" setting in as with the P3AT. Not everyone experiences this. I don't get these trauma tremors with my larger full-size pistols, but I did with the P3AT. So if your physical shape/condition handles the fit and recoil of the P3AT (or LCP) well, it's a good choice; if not the P32 is a good choice. Not much difference between the .32acp and .380acp from that short of a barrel.

September 26, 2008, 09:33 AM
I have had a P-32 2nd Gen for awhile, carry with Buffalo bore in chamber and on top of mag the rest are FMJ's, it has never given me a problem.

September 26, 2008, 09:41 AM
I prefer the P32. It is easier to shoot, in the size of the pistols, the difference between the two rounds is not enough to make the recoil worth it. I like the extra round and slide lock. Most people don't shoot their .380 very much or very well from my experience. Only a very few can shoot it well. I've done some comparisons between shooters that own a Kel Tec .380 and shoot it. I let them try a P32 and they shoot much better. I only practice shooting mine one handed since I assume that either I have a hand injury and lost my primary gun or things are so close that my other hand is being used to fend off an attack. In this situationn, the P32 is just more shootable.

September 26, 2008, 04:26 PM
IMO no comparison, buy the 380 over the 32 any day. More firepower, certainly lower priced ammo around and certainly ALOT more ammo variations to. Some great rounds are out there in the 380 102 grain golden sabre. Corbon dpx, corbon 90 grain hp. all super rounds that will more than outdue any 32 round and oh yes alittle bigger hole to. Nothing wrong with the 32, as there is nothing wrong witht he 25, as there is nothing wrong with the 22 mag, as there is nothing wrong with the 22 long rifle either. just most gun afficados feel the 380 is as low as one should go for a ccw gun...

Rex B
September 26, 2008, 04:32 PM
I vote both. I sold my P32 a year ago, because I already had a P3AT. ended up replacing the P3AT with a new one, and then bought another P32.
I carry the P3AT when I'm away from the house. The P32 is just enough slimmer and lighter that I prefer if for neighborhood walks, trips to the convenience store etc.

September 26, 2008, 07:24 PM
The P32 is a great little gun. I bought one a couple of months back at a gun show and my son took it home with him when he came for a visit a couple of weeks ago. I'm going to a gun show tomorrow to see if I can replace it. Can't see the need for the .380 (unless I find a hard-chrome P3AT :D). You can debate the merits of this and that caliber all day, but I doubt that anyone would look at your P32 and say, "Go ahead and shoot, its only a .32."

September 26, 2008, 09:31 PM
KT has an accessary for 32 that prevents rim lock from happening.:)

September 27, 2008, 12:27 AM
[QUOTE][KT has an accessary for 32 that prevents rim lock from happening./QUOTE]

Yep takes maybe 5 min to install I have been packing my 32 more than my 380 Extra shot and less recoil . I use Corbon HP in my 32 . A little less recoil ,

September 27, 2008, 12:36 AM
Though many like the P32 I would go with a P3AT as long as its one of the newer models made from 2007 on...

Choosing between a .32 and a .380 (though John Browning carried a .32) I will pick the .380 as it actually achieves 12" of penetration with FMJ.


September 27, 2008, 07:48 AM
Keep the P32 and wait for the Kahr 380 to come out!

September 27, 2008, 12:12 PM
I've carried my 1st gen P-32 for about 7 years now.
When I got it the P-3AT was not yet released.

It's never given me any major problems and I only encountered one minor problem (FTF with 10 round magazine, contacted Kel-Tec, they mailed new magazine spring, problem solved) which was fixed by Kel-Tec for free.

I've handled the Kel-Tec P-3AT & Ruger LCP, and concluded that they are not that much of an upgrade to justify the cost of converting from .32ACP to .380ACP.

I'm waiting to see if Kahr Arms ever releases the P-380 before determining if I really need to get rid of my P-32 for something else.

September 27, 2008, 04:29 PM
As above, when I got my P32, there was no P3AT. I probably would have bought the P3AT but don't see the sense in changing, now. I'm still kicking around the idea of the Ruger LCP, though.

October 4, 2008, 06:03 PM
I just bought another (my second) p32 this month NIB. I load it with Fiocchi 60 gr sjhp. No issues and I have shot 400 rounds so far out of it (100 rds each session). My 380 version bites the web of the hand to much when shooting, which results in me not practicing with that one very often. Even with as little as 400 rds fired I have become very good with the p32 and can control the groupings much better then I ever could with the 380. So that equates to 8 controllable COM hits to the BG if need be....I'm confident in the p32's abilities to stop an encounter when loaded with the SJHP from Fiocchi.

deputy tom
October 4, 2008, 06:07 PM
I'm staying with my P-32.It works and if I want to upgrade I'll go for a .45acp.YMMV.tom.:cool:

Harold Mayo
October 4, 2008, 06:41 PM
I have a P3AT and don't really like it. I don't have any really better view of the .380 as a defensive round than a .32 and the P3AT (mine, anyway) is VERY prone to malfunctioning if you limp wrist the slightest bit. My P32 was much more forgiving. I'm thinking about switching. They are more of what one guy referred to as "get off me" guns than anything, anyway. If you were to ever use one defensively, I think you're probably going to just dump the magazine into the guy and then run or use the advantage given thusly to fight him easier. CNS shots aren't all that easy with the little guns.

October 4, 2008, 08:52 PM
and the P3AT just isn't enough of an improvement for me to trade "up".

If you have shot both, you have noticed the difference in recoil--and it is a pronounced difference.

There is a reason for that--it is called "energy". Remember Newton's First Law?

I've owned both the P-32 and the P3AT, and after firing both back to back, I would never carry a .32. To be honest, I am "iffy" about the .380 round and consider it a bare minimum. The .32 is so far below that threshold I cannot justify carrying it.

I gave mine to the wife of a good friend. She is not quite 5', maybe 90 pounds dripping wet and is quite recoil sensitive.

I'd rather she had the P-32 than a can of OC spray, but that is about the only justification I can make for the P-32.

I guess a sharp stick is better than nothing, but you won't find me trusting my life to one...

October 4, 2008, 08:58 PM
380 over a 32 any day, ANYDAY. If one thinks the 380 is at the low end of the gun poll, then the 32 should not even be mentioned. Sure less recoil in the 32, LESS GUN TO.

October 5, 2008, 10:33 AM
I had two P32s and when the P-3AT came out I purchased one.

It didn't take long for me to decide to sell the two P32s and get another P-3AT.

First off for me I found the P-3AT to be more accurate than the P32, there is a much better selection of ammo in 380, it eliminated the rim-lock worry and last, why have two calibers in the same size pistol.

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