Davis P-32 Saturday Night Special


April 7, 2009, 10:59 PM
Last night at the range, I test fired a Davis P-32 that I'd never fired and, well, I had at least one malfunction during each magazine full of ammo. I fully stripped the gun today and found a couple of problem areas. The first, of course, is that it probably needs to be shot in. It does have thick nickel plating on the inside of the slide. The shaft that encloses the firing pin also is a bit rough and I feel a slight resistance when I push the firing pin through without a spring.

The P-32 is designed after the Raven .25 ACP and is a striker fired pistol. My Ravens were all good guns and very reliable, yet the the fit on this Davis is still a bit tight.

Unlike other autos, this one is not one you want to dry fire. Still, I wondered last night, is it repeated dry firing that kills the pin or is it cumulative? Has anyone broken a pin in one of these guns? Also, if I wanted to get a couple of extras and an extra magazine, where's the best place to get them?

Does anyone have any experience shooting the Davis P-32? And do you have any recommendations on how I might improve reliability? I don't want to waste a lot of ammo if it's just going to end up not improving.



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April 8, 2009, 04:12 PM
I had one of these once. While not the best weapon by a stretch, it was reliable. Not something yiu want to shoot hundreds of rounds per week through for sure. Sold it for some reason unkown to me at this time.

April 8, 2009, 04:17 PM
i owned, for a brief time, the Cobra version of the .380ACP. it's identical. the gun had problem after problem. the firing pin broke after 50 rounds, it jammed every 4th round, the slide cracked near the bore, etc.

i sent it back every time, and every time, it shot okay for one or two mags, then something would go wrong. the last time i sent it back, i just asked for a refund.

i also had a Raven, and it was reliable, but Davis/Cobra doesn't have the same quality. i wouldn't waste any money fixing it.

April 8, 2009, 04:59 PM
The best way to make a Davis a more effective weapon is to insert it into a heavy wool sock and bash your assailant with it.

Sorry, I couldn't resist. :)

April 8, 2009, 06:13 PM
I had one briefly in .380. Not sure if it was the same model, but the firing pin broke. Called Davis and found out replacing it would have involved drilling a spot weld to disassemble the gun and rewelding it to put it back together. I could send it to them to be fixed on my dime, so I passed.

I got it for free, so no big loss. It met it's demise to an 8lb sledge hammer and is sitting at the bottom of the Meramec River someplace.

April 8, 2009, 08:06 PM
Yes, the Davis and the old stainless .22/.25 Sterlings are the two worst guns I've ever seen. I should have traded this Davis in for a higher quality handgun, like an RG .22LR.

April 8, 2009, 08:12 PM
I would try gently buffing all the contact areas like the rails, etc. Maybe use a drill bit of the appropriate size to clean up the firing pin hole. Thoroughly clean any crud left over from the manufacturing process. Lightly oil the contact areas then shoot 100 rounds, reclean and oil and shoot 100 more. Hopefully this will smooth her out. I really can't recommend this gun for protecting your life, though as a range gun it might be fun.

If you really like the 32 cartridge keltec makes a good one and there's some inexpensive military surplus guns that might serve you better.

good luck

April 8, 2009, 08:46 PM
I didn't have any problems with a Davis P380 I bought for 50 bucks. I didn't keep it around, wouldn't carry something like that. It was as heavy as a boat anchor for one thing, but it was reliable and acceptably accurate. I've had junky zinc alloy SNSs before I couldn't hit squat with, so it sort of amazed me that it was as accurate as it was. I sold it to a guy out at work for 75. :D

Don't carry a cheap striker fired gun like that any other way than condition 3, nothing in the chamber. That's the only safe carry method, I mean, if you just HAVE to carry something like that. You know a Kel Tec P3AT or a Ruger LCP are lighter guns and more compact and fire .380 ACP. I see no real reason to settle for a low quality .32 when there are .380s out there that are reliable, safe to carry with a round in the chamber, and lighter and smaller Yeah, they're a little scarce right now and bringing a high price compared to a year ago, I'm just sayin'. I can get a LCP right now for 330, but have to get on a waiting list for it. They're back ordered. But, to each his own.

April 8, 2009, 11:23 PM
i owned one back in 89. they make great trot line weights.

April 9, 2009, 12:13 AM
Buffing the rough areas seems to be the way to go if I'm to get this thing in working condition. I'd never bet my life on it, but I could use it as a paperweight.

I'm almost sure the jamming is caused by the gun being tight and not shot in yet. Even so, ammo is expensive these days -- too expensive to waste on this. Wish it had been a Jennings.

April 9, 2009, 12:57 AM
LOL, I still have my Davis P380 purchased in the 80's or 90's. The rifling just about completely wore down to nothing after 3 boxes of Hansen 90gr JHP (don't know if they still make that stuff anymore). So while it's not accurate, it rarely hangs up on anything, especially FMJ.

Never would I suggest someone rely on Davis pistols for defense (or any zinc potmetal contraption), but they seem to have been the more reliable of the junkguns.

April 9, 2009, 01:20 AM
Double Post

April 9, 2009, 01:28 AM
Well, I have a Jennings J-22 that I would bet my life on. It has never failed to fire, eject and rechamber in the first four or five magazines full. As it gets dirty, it begins to malfunction, but I can take it apart and sweep it free of grit with a toothbrush, put it together again and enjoy flawless firing for another magazine or two. I've had it to the range about three times and so it's hardly been shot at all, but I've cleaned it back up and it looks brand new. I don't intend of betting my life on it, but I know if I had to that I'd be okay. (I've also had about five Ravens before that and all of them were ultra-reliable.)

With the Davis, I'm worried about the firing pin. Even if the bloody gun worked, enough people complain about the firing pin that I just don't trust it. Firing pins are $16 and extra mags are $25.

I wonder, are all the pins are subject to breaking alike, or does the heat treat of some make them better than others?

April 9, 2009, 01:39 AM
I had a Raven .25 about 20+ years ago.
After trying to shoot it one afternoon I got so mad I tossed it while going over the bridge at Canyon Lake in AZ.
If they ever drain the lake 200-300 years from now and somebody finds it and wonders "what the hell did they make this for?"

April 9, 2009, 10:07 AM
Two things:
1. Try Sellier & Bellot FMJ ammo...especially if the gun isn't broken-in yet. I was at the range a couple weeks ago and a guy there had the same trouble with his Davis P-32. Then he put a box of S&B through it without a hitch. My Davis pistols thrive on S&B.
2. Do a basic fluff'n'buff if necessary. Although none of my Davis pistols have required this, yours might.

Mine have been dry-fired quite a bit by me with no ill results. I am sure their previous owners dry-fired them a lot as well. I prefer to not dry-fire, but will do so after emptying the gun to release tension on the sear.

The Davis P-32 is usually a very reliable gun. It was the first offering by Davis Industries, it's best seller overall, and one of the best of the Ring-Of-Fire companies' offerings. The later P-380 version used the same components with a stiffer recoil spring and a buffer assembly.
Jim Davis was the former manager for Raven and was also George Jennings' son-in-law. He basically merged George Jennings' Raven design with Bruce Jennings' J-22 design and scaled it up to the .32acp cartridge. In it's day, Davis Industries outsold most of the high-end American firearms manufacturers.
The current COBRA rendition is not as reliable as the original Davis...IMO...but is still a fair basic pistol for $119.

Spare parts for Davis P-32? All of the COBRA CA32 and most of the COBRA CA380 parts fit the Davis P-32. Cobra bought the design and tooling from Davis. Just order the COBRA part numbers.
NOTE: If anyone has a Lorcin L.32 or L.380, the COBRA FS32 and FS380 are the same guns.

BTW: I'm not sure what kind of Davis pistol post #5 was referring to. No Davis Industries gun required anything to be ground off or welded to replace the firing pin. Davis Industries made two semi-auto pistols: P-32 and P-380 (They did offer a lot of derringer designs, also currently made by COBRA). Both the P-32 and P-380 only require pushing in the take-down button to remove the slide and the firing pin will then fall out of the slot. The only other semi-auto design from Davis Industries was the DAP, which as far as I have been able to ascertain never made it beyond the prototype and catalog insert stage. Perhaps you had an old Davis Warner pistol?

September 28, 2009, 09:47 PM
Does anyone know where i can buy and extractor for a davis .32 modle p-32. Email if you can help. acsmilton1@hotmail.com thanks

September 28, 2009, 09:59 PM
e-m sent.... http://www.e-gunparts.com/product.asp?chrProductSKU=316140B&MC=

September 29, 2009, 05:52 AM
I like the Ravens....uh that is, for what they are. I have come across quite a few older NIB examples and picked them up for around 75 each. I kind of like them as a novelty.

The newer Bryco, Davis, Lorcins have never been good to me though. I dont make it a habit of buying these at all.

September 29, 2009, 11:20 PM
I have less aversion to the weapon than I do your use of the term "Saturday Night Special". That term is an ignorant construct of an ignorant media. Its not a term any self respecting gun owner should really use in my opinion.

Davis aren't great guns. It may not reliably feed Dum-Dums, but then your not trying to blow a mans head "clean off" anyhow right? (end sarcasm)

September 30, 2009, 04:41 AM
Mine was reliable and fairly accurate to about 35'. The rifling shot out pretty quickly and the slide cracked. Davis (now Cobra) fixed it then I sold it.

My Bryco/Jennings pistols have actually performed a little better durability wise.

September 30, 2009, 04:13 PM
I like my CA380, although if I had it to do all over again, would rather have bought the .32 version.

October 3, 2009, 06:02 PM
Found the Gun Sites article comparing it to the Bryco .32
The funny points were the Bryco would function on all ammo types while their Davis would only successfully function with Federal. They also report 1" @10 yds with the Davis and 3" with the Bryco.

March 3, 2010, 03:23 PM
Is Cobra still fixing these pistols? I've yet to try it out again.

As for he term "Saturday Night Special," eveyone at the NRA used it when I worked there. One guy even had a "SNiS collection" (one of the finest collections of cheap pistols I've ever seen).

The thing about Davis is that it boasted about usind the "finest materials" in the production of their guns.

The design is pretty good. When they jam, there's usually a reason -- but I wouldn't bet my life on one. Still makes a great paperweight!

Good idea about putting it in a wool sock.

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