are .32 good guns


August 25, 2011, 10:15 AM
Hi, just wondering if a .32 caliber is a good self defense gun or is it not strong enough.? thanks

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August 25, 2011, 10:25 AM
Not what I would consider a good self defense caliber. Especially when most 380s and a few 9mm are the same size. That being said it's better than not having a gun.

August 25, 2011, 10:26 AM
Now if you mean the 32fed mag, YES a good choice. The .32acp is better than throwing rocks for sure. There ok. BUT. Today most 380's are the same size as the .32 cal firearms and offer a better choice and more power for the weight firearm and cost. Most of the lightweight .32/380's can be bought for around 240 bucks new and most weight between 8oz for ruger and KT and 17oz like with the Bersa 380. All tend to work well with the heavier be easier to handle for a new shooter. Do you have any buddies that might let you shot there pistols to see for your self. Stay away from any single action trigger really cheap handguns. You can buy a 9mm in the 12 to 13oz range now for the same money for a pf-9 keltec

August 25, 2011, 10:36 AM
As posted its better than nothing and shot placement is everything. A .32 in hand when needed is better than the .44 mag at home in your closet. Some will trash the round but none will volunteer to be a test target.

I would suggest not using hollow points in a .32 I don't think you will get the desired mushrooming effect that is why shot placement is important.

As posted you can get similar size guns with calibers of more power, but to each his own.

August 25, 2011, 11:06 AM
are .32 good guns

If you haven't already purchased the firearm, have a look at ammo prices first. 9mm is about the cheapest and has plenty of power with the right ammo.

fallout mike
August 25, 2011, 11:11 AM
.32acp?, .32 long?, .32 magnum?

August 25, 2011, 11:19 AM
youŽll poke ya eye out ....

August 25, 2011, 11:22 AM
I like my S&W top break in .32 S&W. 5 shots, 85 grains at 700 fps will put a damper on most people's day. Every other .32 has even more oomph.

August 25, 2011, 11:24 AM
.32 what???

highlander 5
August 25, 2011, 11:34 AM
I carry a Walther PP in 32 acp on occasion and I've been laugh at,got my chops busted for it,but so far no one has volenteered to let m put 2 or 3 rounds into any vital organs. There are better choices out there,but it still beats rolling around on the ground with said bad guy.

Onward Allusion
August 25, 2011, 11:57 AM
are .32 good guns
Hi, just wondering if a .32 caliber is a good self defense gun or is it not strong enough.? thanks

You posted in the revolver section, so I am assuming you're referring to either:
-32S&W Short
-32S&W Long
-32 H&R Mag
-327 Federal Mag

Any gun is better than no gun when you need one. Even a 22LR can stop or kill. Most situations end w/o a shot fired. I'm guessing you're talking about the 327 Fed Mag revolvers that are all on fire-sale right now. The 327 Fed Mag is a great cartridge. You get 6 shots of 9mm +P equivalent power in a package the size of a 5 shot 38 special. You also get to practice with cheap 32S&W Long cartridges at a relatively low cost. Also, if you're not ready for the snappy feel of the 327 Fed Mag, you can always load 32 H&R Mag for defense. ...38 special and 32 H&R Mag are somewhat close in energy.

August 25, 2011, 01:15 PM
My mouse, Kel-Tec .32 ACP is "backup" for my .45 ACP.

August 25, 2011, 01:59 PM
I have seven 32 caliber revolvers and really like the round. I have no problem using one for defense. I keep a S&W 431PD snubby in my nightstand loaded with lead wadcutter loads getting 850fps. That load gets 160 pounds of energy. Not tremendous but enough to get someone out of my house, if they are able to move.

I use a full power 32 mag load that from a 4" barreled SP101 would get 1250 fps for 295 Ft pounds of energy and 1305 fps from a 5.5" barreled single six and thats 318 ft pounds using an 85gr bullet. So its not a weak round with proper loadings. Just depends on what 32 you are refering to.

I have a 32 auto and used to have a 380 and was shooting them side by side one day. I managed to hit the steel target frame near the top edge with both rounds right next to each other. I couldn't see any real power difference from the 380. The dents looked just the same.

As much as I like the 32 rounds and as fun as they are to shoot I would only recommend them if you reload. I do and also cast most of the lead slugs I shoot so the rounds don't cost much. The cost of factory loads will wear you out. The guns are super fun to shoot and a box or two won't hold you.

August 25, 2011, 02:09 PM
I have a pocket .32 ACP & a 3" .32 Long revolver that I have been known to carry, often actually. Some people would say I am under armed, but I am comfortable with them. I also carry a full sized 1911 in .45 ACP at times, as well as a .44 Spl revolver, but the small guns are just easier to tote. :)

It is minimum for sure, but will kill if shot placement is good.

Some will trash the round but none will volunteer to be a test target.

just for fun
August 25, 2011, 02:30 PM
Got this Beretta model 35 32APC built in 1951 the slide to frame fit makes most of the "custom built" 45's look like a high school machine shop project! Too heavy for daily carry, still just right for light Summer wear. No, zero, nada, recoil. Harsh trigger pull. still a keeper!

August 25, 2011, 03:31 PM
Good defense round; a J frame Smith in .32 gives you a extra round that you will never need.

August 25, 2011, 04:19 PM
I have a Pre-WWII .32 ACP Ortgies pistol that I got in a box of gun junk from a yard sale. Had to buy a few parts from to get it running, but it's amazingly well made and extremely accurate. The only problem is that a box of .32 ACP hardball is as expensive as a box of .45 ACP hardball! So let me ask: Which which am I better armed?

August 25, 2011, 06:40 PM
You forgot .32-20, that beats all other 32's until you get to .327 Federal.

Of course ammo is hard to find and expensive, but it's worth a mention.

Deaf Smith
August 25, 2011, 07:29 PM
Be interesting to see a 7.62x25 Corbon DPX round. Now that would be some .32!


August 25, 2011, 08:22 PM
I carry a Walther PP in .32. I can hit what I aim at within a few inches. I also carry 9mm Makarov at other times.

August 25, 2011, 08:24 PM
tpelle - go to Widener's. They have Prvi Partizan a LOT cheaper than that.

Claude Clay
August 25, 2011, 08:41 PM
32 colt Long (and Short) 6" D.A. is excellant bullseye gun
32 S&W Long 4" Police Positive is a beauty of a carry gun from the time period when smart people feared the sepsis (infection) more than the wound'

since my daughter relieved me of most of my 380 carry guns, i've been reduced to P3at and S&W 332 for light carry and Colt 1903 for colder weather cause it fits in a Sig jacket so nice.

but what for back up.....a 351pd?

Shadow 7D
August 25, 2011, 08:51 PM
I really like my .32, all the flavors of them, got some really 'cute' gun
and some really good ones too, something like a KT P32, well, it doesn't get much more concealable than that.

August 25, 2011, 09:07 PM
Hmmm,..all those years I carried a Walther PP in .32 ACP,..I guess I was underarmed out of ignorance.... :-)

August 26, 2011, 12:39 AM
Thanks for your input, I feel a whole lot better knowing. I haven't seen the gun yet, all I know is that its a 6round revolver, I know thats not much to go on but when I see it i'll know. once again thanks

August 26, 2011, 12:43 AM
Just bought a Model 31 .32 S&W Long for the nightstand. Going to load 'em +P for the badguys.

August 26, 2011, 04:21 PM
Just buy and use whatever you feel comfortable with. That should settle the issue.:D

August 26, 2011, 06:55 PM
Or tell 'em if Teddy Roosevelt thought it was good enough for cops in NYC, then it's good enough for me.

August 26, 2011, 08:11 PM
yes it's good

Got one, never did carry it much, but never was real worried about myself when I did
It puts a 32 size hole in what you hit it with, pretty much anything short of steel or rock or sand or dirt.
Them bad guys with steely eyes mostly tend to get all misty eyed if/when you shoot at 'em, if they not be too busy running the other direction

practice, aim

Not my 1st choice in what I would recommend to close family, but none in our family are on active combat duty or LEOs.
Yet for all the scenario stuff so common on gun forums, the number of ugly situations which have been defeated by some average-joe with a 22 rimfire so far outweigh the number who lost out on account of not using a 45acp or 357, you have to google hard to find anything remotely near the examples of the 1st kind. Which a lot of folks do. Which is fine.

The "consequences-of" vs. the "probability-of", that argument cannot be ignored.
But how adventurous a lifestyle you choose to live, and where lived, that also counts for quite a lot.
Some folks really do need a backyard bomb shelter... but not everyone does.
Most of us are ok with somewhere in the middle, even the light side of middle.
all a matter of subjective perspective.

yeah, a 32S&W/L revolver with wadcutters really is one of the all time great bullseye shooters
and a 32 acp beats a cell phone whip antenna so bad for self defense it ain't even funny
and the 32 S&W/L just might be the all-time best centerfire revolver trainer to learn on, whist you ponder your next step up the power factor ladder

Shadow 7D
August 26, 2011, 08:37 PM
Just a point, the whole "well I'll just shoot you with it then"
is a fail on so many levels of debate, that lets just not do it

after all, I doubt you want to be kicked in the junk, let alone the butt... or shot

the .22 kills almost as much or more people than most of the other calibers combined
yes, it's better than a sharp stick, but...

Properly employed, the .32 is enough gun, learn to use it right and it won't fail you
pretty good read about it

the simple fact it
placement and penetration
you have adequate penetration(barely by somepeoples OPINION - it makes 12 inches)

August 26, 2011, 09:10 PM
link failed, Shadow

"the .32 is enough gun, learn to use it right and it won't fail you"
better said, yes, concise

I do prefer 380acp FMJ and/or 38+P JHP for myself, but one shot kills with any commonly carried CCW handgun cartridge in CCW size handguns is closer to urban myth than reality
(a decent mid-caliber centerfire rifle is just too doggone unhandy to wear IWB with t-shirt and shorts, more's the pity)
"placement is King, penetration is Queen", all the rest is user preference
practice, aim

August 26, 2011, 10:12 PM
The higher the power, the higher the chance of stray bullets going into your neighbor's house.

Shadow 7D
August 27, 2011, 01:57 AM
Oldfool fixed it, good and short read, not in depth (sorry, but for those that want that, google it, and you will be reading till next year, lets just say... the experts and pundits don't agree)

cause, it don't matter it you didn't hit it.

August 27, 2011, 07:10 AM
I recently acquired this 4" .32L hand ejector 5th change I frame. I have been carrying it and I do not feel under gunned at all, it's loaded with .32long wad cutters. I sure wouldn't want to take one in the chest.

August 27, 2011, 09:28 AM
3" barrel. Round butt. What's not to like? :)

August 27, 2011, 04:52 PM
You'll have to make a more concise description so to speak. The 32 acp, the .32 S&W short, .32 S&W Long, .32 H&R Magnum, and the 327 Federal Mag are all .32 caliber chamberings.

The H&R Mag has about the same energy as the .38 sp, get some good expanding or soft lead rounds and it'll do. The 327 fed mag is supposed to be as strong as a .357 mag, same advice for the bullets.

August 27, 2011, 05:26 PM
Of course the original gunfighter's pistol was the Colt 1851 Navy, and although it was a .36, its ballistics made it a close approximation of today's .32's. Anyway it was good enough for William Butler Hickock. Was it effective? Ask Davis Tutt.

Shot placement is everything.

August 27, 2011, 06:44 PM
I am new here but not to guns. I like the 32. My wife has a lightweight S&W in 32 H&R that I replaced her model 60 lady smith with, as she did not carry the 60 as it was too heavy. She CARRIES the titanium and aluminum DA only 32 H&R, and when I work nights it is under the pillow next to her.

I like and carry a NAA Guardian in 32 ACP. Buffalo Bore makes a 75 grain hard cast +P 32 acp round that will do a bit over 1000 FPS out of the little Guardian and penetrate 12-15 inches. It will not expand.

I also have a couple of 32 H&R Ruger single actions that are great fun, and will shoot 32 S&W long, 32 S&W and also handle 32 ACP just fine even though people will tell you they don't. Then for the big stuff I have a GP100 7 shot in 327 Federal. With the 100 grain bullet it does 1400+ out of the 4" barrel. That gun will shoot all the above rounds as well. VERY versatile.

By the way, Magtech makes a very nice jacketed hollow point round in 32 S&W long, and it is just under 22 dollars for a 50 round box at Midway. Too expensive to plink with but a box of 50 will give you carry ammo for a long time, and shoot lead bullet ammo for practice.

Just remember with the 32, like ANY handgun round (including magnums and 45) it is WHERE you hit that counts.

The 32 ACP works just fine for Europeans, and has for 100 years, and they are not that much different than Americans.


Burt Blade
August 27, 2011, 11:19 PM
+1 on the Ruger Single Six in .32 H&R Magnum. Great gun. Regrettably discontinued.

One with a birdshead grip would make a neat carry gun for those who participate in Cowboy Action Shooting.

August 27, 2011, 11:48 PM
just for fun,

I've got one of the same, 1951. Very nice little pistol, even has the original Italian leather holster. Bluing about 85%, barrel very shiny. I put new Wolff springs in it, used some Gun Butter lube on the inside metal parts, shoots as slick as any pistol I've ever had/owned. Best pawn buy ever!

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