Best .32 ACP Cartridge for CC


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wishin
January 8, 2010, 10:00 AM
Is there an effective round that gives the diminutive p-32 gun enough bullet for self defense concealed carry?

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Byron
January 8, 2010, 11:23 AM
Wishin, this is one question that will get many opinions.I prefer the Fiochi FMJ in my Walther PP.I like the concept of penetration.This is what I have in my wife's Walther. There will be many opinions on 60 grain Hollow Points.The Winchester Silvertip has a good track record.In shorter guns, I wonder if it will expand.Do a search on 32 ACP.There is a wealth of information on The High Road. Byron

okespe04
January 8, 2010, 11:38 AM
+1 Fiochi FMJ. Unload the entire mag on them the run.

jon_in_wv
January 8, 2010, 11:43 AM
I used to load my first round in the mag with Fiocchi 60gr JHP and the rest with the Fiocchi 73gr FMJs. The JHPS are pretty hot but they don't expand much if at all. The profile of the bullet makes it a little better if you are taking a head shot (especially on a large dog or something like that) and the FMJs will penetrate nice and deep. Surprisingly both rounds shot to the same POI in my P32.

Manco
January 8, 2010, 12:11 PM
I would recommend the heaviest FMJ round that you can find, which among factory loads would probably be the Fiocchi 73 grain. The 71 grain FMJ loads from any other name brand manufacturer should work fine, too. This should give you enough penetration against virtually any assailant, as well as the most reliable feeding.

coosbaycreep
January 8, 2010, 01:07 PM
I've wondered the same thing, as a keltec 32 is what I CC, and after chronographing various rounds, I've come to the realization that none of them offer enough of an advantage over others, so I just use winchester fmj because they're cheap and reliable.

here's some of my findings:
winchester 71gr FMJ=707-752fps
remington 71gr FMJ=782-806fps
fiocchi 73gr FMJ=730-748fps
fiocchi 60gr JHP=925-966fps
buffalo bore 75gr HCFN=774-824fps

The fiochi HPs have higher velocity and knockdown, but I've read online before (so it may be untrue) that .32acp doesn't penetrate far enough with HPs to be effective, and that rimlock is also something to worry about with this round, so I don't bother carrying them.

I've heard a lot of people talk up the buffalo bore ammo, but for the price ($1+ each), I don't think they offer enough increase in performance to bother with, and they're too expensive for me to practice with, not to mention being high pressure, which (supposedly) will wear out the gun faster.

I'm also not sure what guns these ammo manufacturers are using to test their ammo with, but none of the velocities I got were close to what they advertise. I was actually pretty shocked with how dismal the performance of this round is after chronographing it, and might possibly move up to a keltec .380 in the future because the increase in the weight and size of the gun isn't that much.

I haven't done any penetration or expansion tests with my .32 yet, but I plan to in the future. Sad as it may be though, it's still beats a sharp stick.

Manco
January 8, 2010, 02:52 PM
I've wondered the same thing, as a keltec 32 is what I CC, and after chronographing various rounds, I've come to the realization that none of them offer enough of an advantage over others, so I just use winchester fmj because they're cheap and reliable.

At the velocities you listed, FMJ bullets should give you something like 13-14" of penetration, which should be enough for the vast majority of cases.

The fiochi HPs have higher velocity and knockdown, but I've read online before (so it may be untrue) that .32acp doesn't penetrate far enough with HPs to be effective, and that rimlock is also something to worry about with this round, so I don't bother carrying them.

Well, anything you read anywhere could be untrue, and at least some of what you can find online is based on real data. Everything I've ever heard or read about .32 ACP has suggested that penetration will be limited with HP bullets that expand, and that's not hard to believe if FMJ really only gets you just enough penetration to start with (by the way, I favor achieving adequate penetration first with some margin if possible, although others may disagree with this philosophy). If you could find a HP that will fairly reliably open up to only the starting diameter of the bullet (0.309"), making the bullet cylindrical like a wadcutter instead of round-nosed, then that would probably be the ideal load for this caliber, all points considered. Otherwise, I'd personally stick with FMJ.

I've heard a lot of people talk up the buffalo bore ammo, but for the price ($1+ each), I don't think they offer enough increase in performance to bother with, and they're too expensive for me to practice with, not to mention being high pressure, which (supposedly) will wear out the gun faster.

For .32 ACP, that is no doubt a wicked-looking load, and I do think that it would cause more damage with its wide meplat (flat nose) than a FMJ-RN (round nose) bullet. While the probability of hitting something at all would not be appreciably greater, despite better edge-wounding, it would crush more tissue that it comes into contact with (which is especially effective on the lungs, for example), as opposed to a FMJ-RN which acts more like an ice pick. Then again, I'm not familiar enough with .32 ACP pistols to know how well they tolerate +P loads, it would be expensive to train as you'd fight without an abundance of cheaper +P ammo, and I'm uncertain as to how reliably such a round would feed. Once again, FMJ is probably the best way to go in this caliber.

I'm also not sure what guns these ammo manufacturers are using to test their ammo with, but none of the velocities I got were close to what they advertise. I was actually pretty shocked with how dismal the performance of this round is after chronographing it,

They almost certainly use guns that have barrels longer than that of the Kel-Tec P-32. Winchester, for example, tests with a 4" barrel, compared to the Walther PPK's 3.35" barrel, and the Kel-Tec P-32's 2.7" barrel. But even so, FMJ bullets will have enough velocity out of your gun to get the job done. Stick with the heavy-for-caliber bullets (generally advisable for relatively short barrels although I always do this anyway), and you should be fine.

and might possibly move up to a keltec .380 in the future because the increase in the weight and size of the gun isn't that much.

Although .380 ACP undoubtedly has more potential, I think it may be even harder to decide on an ideal load for it in some ways, as FMJ bullets will overpenetrate and probably not wound substantially more than .32 ACP, while HP bullets tend to be unreliable and may still not penetrate enough when they do expand. For perspective, it's a lot easier with revolvers and .38 Special because one could use all kinds of nasty bullets (e.g. the classic FBI load) that probably wouldn't feed and/or aren't available in .380 ACP. In this caliber, I'd probably go with JHP and hope that it penetrates enough, but I'd also be sorely tempted to make the jump to 9mm. Maybe others will have rather different opinions on this.

I haven't done any penetration or expansion tests with my .32 yet, but I plan to in the future. Sad as it may be though, it's still beats a sharp stick.

It's a small round to use on largish creatures like humans, to be sure, but make no mistake, it penetrates enough with FMJ bullets to kill pretty well if you hit something vital (and shot placement is still of the utmost importance even for a .44 Magnum).

Clarence
January 8, 2010, 03:43 PM
You could kill someone with a .22 short but I would never recommend it as a choice for personal protection. I have the same opinion of the .32 ACP.......now the .45 ACP is another story altogether.

351 WINCHESTER
January 8, 2010, 04:01 PM
The better .32 ammo comes from Europe. It was and probably still is very popular and most of their ammo is loaded a little hotter than our American ammo. Plus they take a little more effort as they seal the primers. Just make sure whatever ammo you carry is proven in your weapon. Stay away from hp's as you will eventually get a rimlock which is real bad.

Sometime ago I did some informal testing with the .32 from my k/t. Corbon was the hottest by far, but the bullet fragmented badly and didn't penetrate very deep. I had good results with the hydra shocks and mixed results with the gold dots. The silvertips were the wimpiest of all loads tested and some expanded and some didn't.

Manco
January 8, 2010, 04:22 PM
You could kill someone with a .22 short but I would never recommend it as a choice for personal protection. I have the same opinion of the .32 ACP.......

The .32 ACP penetrates enough to reach most every vital structure in the body of most every human target (save perhaps for those so morbidly obese that they can barely even walk, if at all). The .22 Short, on the other hand, is severely lacking in penetration against human-sized targets. It can kill, too, but .32 ACP is significantly better suited for self-defense.

now the .45 ACP is another story altogether.

If forced to use FMJ bullets like the military would be, for example, then aside from thin barrier penetration, it's probably not all that much more effective than .32 ACP, as you'd still have to hit a vital structure pretty much directly and the hole won't be that much larger. With JHP bullets, it does become significantly more effective than .32 ACP could ever be, but it's still just a little pistol caliber, and intuitively the improvement is probably on the order of going from the .22 Short to the .32 ACP, more or less.

NMGonzo
January 8, 2010, 04:48 PM
The Fiocchi hollow points are clean burning, hot rods.

Manco
January 8, 2010, 05:29 PM
The better .32 ammo comes from Europe. It was and probably still is very popular and most of their ammo is loaded a little hotter than our American ammo. Plus they take a little more effort as they seal the primers.

Maybe I'm just paranoid, but for critical ammunition--particularly carry ammunition--I find sealed primers reassuring. Not that I've ever had issues with non-sealed primers, but it's an effective contingency against moisture or other substances somehow getting in there and rendering one's defensive rounds duds. All of my self-defense ammo has sealed primers because I use law enforcement-type JHPs, but I imagine that most .32 ACP FMJ ammo typically would not have sealed primers (just guessing). So if you shower with your gun like I do, then this is another consideration...wait, did I say that out loud?! :uhoh:;)

Full Metal Jacket
January 8, 2010, 05:43 PM
.32 ACP Cartridge for CC

:eek:

Clarence
January 8, 2010, 05:49 PM
How many police departments in the United States use the .32 ACP as their duty cartridge?

Full Metal Jacket
January 8, 2010, 06:15 PM
How many police departments in the United States use the .32 ACP as their duty cartridge?

:eek::eek:

okespe04
January 8, 2010, 06:47 PM
I totally support the use of mouse guns for carry. For example I first started carrying a NAA .32 acp, I felt good about carrying a gun and got used to it. Then my LCP got back after the recall and I started carrying a .380 every day. Then this one day I was at a pawn shop and I picked up a used Glock 19. I started carrying that iwb often with the LCP in my pocket as a bug. Then just he other day I was at the pawn shop again and I picked up a Norinco 1911A1 (full sized .45 acp). Now I have been carrying that every day, with the LCP as a bug.

The moral of the story is mouse guns are gateway guns, a little something to get you into the swing of things. I highly recommend you go get a little pocket carry gun and get started packing every day. Then move on up the ladder as you get more comfortable.

groundhog34
January 8, 2010, 07:14 PM
To answer your question, NO

earlthegoat2
January 8, 2010, 08:20 PM
Any FMJ will be better than any hollow point I would think.

wishin
January 8, 2010, 08:26 PM
Thanks for all the input.

From the looks of things, Fiocchi has a bigger following here, so far. I went to my local gun shop today to buy the Kel-Tec P32 for my wife (.380 had too much recoil) and all they had in a HP was the Cor Bon, 60gr. JHP (1050 fps). I bought a box of 25, but paid dearly! Maybe I'll get some Fiocchi FMJ's on-line, unless someone convinces me that there's a better choice for self defense. I have read that some CCers prefer staggered loads.

Unload the entire mag on them the run.

Good advice.

makarovnik
January 8, 2010, 09:07 PM
Fiocchi FMj, S$B FMJ, Buffalo Bore hard cast flat nose. That was the question right?

Claude Clay
January 8, 2010, 09:23 PM
1--silvertips

2--Fiocchi FMJ

3-- S&B

w_houle
January 8, 2010, 09:38 PM
Hey coosbaycreep, do you have any stats on S&B? I'm contemplating a CZ 50:)

Jeff82
January 8, 2010, 10:12 PM
From my Kel-Tec P32 (in order of energy):

Brand--gr---style----vel---nrg
Yugo--71----FMJ----886--124 Yugoslav ammo, don't know name
S&B---73----FMJ----852--118
UMC---71--MC(FMJ)-847--113
Fed----65---HSJHP--829--99 Hydra-Shok
AE-----65----FMJ----797--92
FN-----73----FMJ----737--88
Win----60---STHP---810--87 Silvertip

6x6pinz
January 8, 2010, 10:20 PM
I wanted to see just how pathetic the 32acp round was, I have several pistols in 32. I took an old steel belted radial tire that was no longer mounted on a rim out for a range day. The 32 easily penetrated both treads of the tire at 20ft., double what an SD encounter would be. I can not imagine human skin or bone would be tougher than tire tread to penetrate. Even two layers screwed together did not stop the 32 but the 22lr barely penetrated one layer.

w_houle
I have a couple of the CZ70's, great little pistols and fairly inexpensive to acquire right now. I picked up one in like new condition for $125.

MedWheeler
January 9, 2010, 12:26 AM
Ignore the unproductive contributions to this thread. They come from people who would rather drive away from THR anyone that doesn't carry what they do, instead of understanding that you're much more likely to be an asset to our community if you are encouraged to start where you're comfortable and that you will probably upgrade later..

orionengnr
January 9, 2010, 12:52 AM
Hmmmm...not necessarily.

Maybe they have a bit more experience in the real world.
Maybe they have fired a P32 and a P3AT back to back (as I have) and noted the approximate twofold difference in foot-lbs recoil.

This relates to Newton's Third Law, and is irrefutable. If you want to trust your life to a .32, understand and accept the fact (not opinion) that it is a weak cartridge.

Is the .32 capable of killing someone? Yes, absolutely...sooner or later, if all goes perfectly.

If that is "good enough" for you, then carry on.

Sorry to rain on your parade.

Manco
January 9, 2010, 01:17 AM
:eek:

Wait, your username is Full Metal Jacket and in this thread most people are recommending FMJ rounds for concealed carry--if anything, you should be honored! ;)

How many police departments in the United States use the .32 ACP as their duty cartridge?

I doubt that any would since they have better options, but I've heard that some LEOs carry concealed .32 ACP pistols as backup guns, obviously to make them less conspicuous or to be able to carry them in ankle holsters, for example. It's certainly better than nothing, and like I said earlier, given a clean shot .32 ACP has enough penetration to kill nearly as well as any service caliber in FMJ. It's just a matter of matching a caliber's penetration capability against the size of the target, and .32 ACP is just strong enough to punch all the way through most people, which is a big step above smaller, weaker calibers and a huge enabler for shot placement.

I wanted to see just how pathetic the 32acp round was, I have several pistols in 32. I took an old steel belted radial tire that was no longer mounted on a rim out for a range day. The 32 easily penetrated both treads of the tire at 20ft., double what an SD encounter would be. I can not imagine human skin or bone would be tougher than tire tread to penetrate. Even two layers screwed together did not stop the 32 but the 22lr barely penetrated one layer.

Yep, .32 ACP FMJ is a pretty decent penetrator, like I've been saying. I daresay that it has most of the capacity to stop or kill that the larger pistol calibers have. I never thought I'd be such an advocate for .32 ACP all of a sudden, but I think some people underestimate it. Sure, I'd feel more confident with my .40 S&W in a gunfight, and would generally recommend something larger than .32 ACP for self-defense with a handgun, but if I needed such a level of concealability, I'd go to battle with a .32 ACP pistol, sure thing.

Clarence
January 9, 2010, 01:46 AM
Ignore the unproductive contributions to this thread. They come from people who would rather drive away from THR anyone that doesn't carry what they do, instead of understanding that you're much more likely to be an asset to our community if you are encouraged to start where you're comfortable and that you will probably upgrade later..
I certainly do not want to discourage anyone from carrying whatever they want to carry and I don't expect everyone to carry what I choose to carry. However, I think it is prudent to point out the fact that the particular round in question is very marginal when one's life may depend on its use. There are a number of other rounds that are more appropriate and with a wider selection of self-defense loads that can be carried in very small guns.

Manco
January 9, 2010, 02:33 AM
Maybe they have a bit more experience in the real world.

I seriously doubt that many people, individually, have nearly enough experience shooting other people with a variety of handgun calibers to make up a statistically valid number of samples. :)

Maybe they have fired a P32 and a P3AT back to back (as I have) and noted the approximate twofold difference in foot-lbs recoil.

Just because one caliber has a lot more recoil than another does not necessarily mean that there is a vast difference between their abilities to stop or kill. Diminishing returns are involved when you have to start trading overpenetration for a small amount of bullet expansion, as in this instance. There is also widespread doubt as to whether even a much larger amount of kinetic energy would more effectively wound a target, at least until one reaches the level of moderately powerful rifle calibers. It is very easy to waste what might seem like a lot of power in a small amount of meaningless tissue stretching and ultimately an even smaller amount of heat.

This relates to Newton's Third Law, and is irrefutable.

It's just a bunch of numbers at this level--the reality of gunshot wounding is far more complex.

If you want to trust your life to a .32, understand and accept the fact (not opinion) that it is a weak cartridge.

Indeed it is a weak cartridge, relative to some others by the numbers, but if it can poke a deep enough hole, then that's most of the battle right there. Everything beyond that, within the range of service pistol calibers, is an incremental improvement, relatively speaking--enough to be worthwhile, to be sure, but not enough to simply dismiss .32 ACP, in my opinion.

Is the .32 capable of killing someone? Yes, absolutely...sooner or later, if all goes perfectly.

If that is "good enough" for you, then carry on.

Sorry to rain on your parade.

All handguns are a compromise that may or may not be "good enough" for a given situation, and even the largest ones can only hit a single narrow spot. Given the option, I'd much rather use a shotgun loaded with buckshot for close quarters self-defense, but there are other considerations beyond wounding potential. Everybody who chooses to use a handgun for self-defense under some circumstances, even in .45 ACP, must have decided that it is "good enough" but in reality they're all weak cartridges. Looks like there's plenty of rain to go around. ;)

I certainly do not want to discourage anyone from carrying whatever they want to carry and I don't expect everyone to carry what I choose to carry. However, I think it is prudent to point out the fact that the particular round in question is very marginal when one's life may depend on its use. There are a number of other rounds that are more appropriate and with a wider selection of self-defense loads that can be carried in very small guns.

Admittedly, it is a marginal caliber, but instead of simply dismissing it, I've tried to characterize how it relates to other calibers, which would also be marginal on somebody else's scale of firearm effectiveness. Personally, I wouldn't be all that comfortable with anything less than 9mm, but honestly, isn't it also kind of marginal in a way? If the darn thing expands too much, like to 0.75" as some modern Speer Gold Dots and Federal HSTs are apt to do, then it may actually penetrate less than .32 ACP! :eek: What would happen if the bad guy is really thick in the middle and the bullet doesn't reach his descending aorta, while a .32 ACP FMJ round would have? :uhoh: So what now, is 9mm not good enough using the latest, most effective JHP bullet technology? Well, I guess that James Bond was right all along ;)--with the proper shot placement, you don't need more than .32 ACP (more than .22 LR is very significant, but more than .32 ACP is not quite as important, perhaps).

So am I doing a disservice by providing so many little details and an abundance of my own little opinions and observations as opposed to making more conservative recommendations, such as 9mm (which doesn't always penetrate more deeply than .32 ACP and won't always penetrate enough)? I think not because I want to explore these issues in detail and for people to understand what's going on rather than base a caliber's effectiveness on how hard it kicks and letting Isaac Newton lay down the law on which caliber is "good enough" on that basis. :rolleyes:

jon_in_wv
January 9, 2010, 07:08 AM
I have a friend that carries a 1922 FN in 32acp as his carry piece. He is a combat veteran and a Marine. He is a great shot and can hit damn near anything with that 32acp as fast as he can pull the trigger. He has killed people in combat and wouldn't hesitate to defend himself and I would be more scared of him and that 32 then just about any man around. Most people will sit on the internet for HOURS debating caliber and talking smart about what you need to carry but they don't spend any time developing a proper mindset or more properly training and shooting on the range so they might actually hit something if they ever needed to. If you feel comfortable with your 32acp then fine. A 45cp might be better for you but that doesn't mean a guy with a 32 isn't very capable of defending himself.

wishin
January 9, 2010, 10:22 AM
I like your constructive approach to the subject. My CC is a 9mm, well worn, Browning Hi Power. I needed something my wife would carry and shoot in an emergency situation. The .32 fills the bill nicely.

benderx4
January 9, 2010, 10:35 AM
I use Hornady XTPs in my Seecamp and I'm confident that combination would get me out of any pickle I might encounter in suburban Orlando.

wishin
January 9, 2010, 10:42 AM
Ignore the unproductive contributions to this thread. They come from people who would rather drive away from THR anyone that doesn't carry what they do, instead of understanding that you're much more likely to be an asset to our community if you are encouraged to start where you're comfortable and that you will probably upgrade later..

Thanks. I've found that some THRers are more into debate than answering the question posted. Sadly, it only foments further debate and detracts from the real issue.

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