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.32 vs .22LR for Self-Defense

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by The_Shootist, Mar 20, 2004.

  1. The_Shootist

    The_Shootist Well-Known Member

    Was in my favorite gunshop today and saw an interesting firearm: a Kel-Tec in
    .32 cal, 6 shots, seven ounces and SMALL - slightly larger than a cigarette pkg.

    I'm not one for mouse guns - .38spl in my SP 101 when I go small and more often 9mm in my G19 (or a full size 1911 or .357 during the winter).

    But on the RARE occasions when it HAD to be deep concealment in a light thin package I'd go with my 87 Beretta Cheetah in .22LR, stuffed with Velocitors (8 rds worth).

    The Kel-Tec however did look intriguing, but I'm wondering (particularly in its 2" bbl) what serious advantages the .32 rd has over premium .22s like Stingers or Velocitors - if any.I've fired enough of CCI's premium .22 rounds not to have any qualms over ignition (unlike the junky Remington bulk pack)

    Certainly, I figure there's no point in carrying backup mag - if I needed a backup mag, I probably should carry a bigger gun in the first place :D
  2. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Well-Known Member

    The Kel Tec 32 has been out for quite a while and now there's also a KT 380.
    I have them both.
    I used a 22 Beretta for a pocket gun before the Kel Tec.

    Just my opinion, but a Stinger from a 4 or 5 inch barrel would be more effective than a 32 from a 2 inch barrel.

    If both are fired from a 2 inch barrel I'de give the edge to the 32.

    In any case now the .380 is my pocket gun all the time.

    You know Texas in the summer, it's hard to hide a gun of any size but the Kel Tec 380 is always in my front pocket. :)
  3. ACP230

    ACP230 Well-Known Member

    Centerfire rounds are less likely to misfire than .22s.
    That's a point in favor of my PP .32, over my Beretta 21A in .22.
  4. PATH

    PATH Well-Known Member

    .32 round for defense is as low as I would go. I carry a P32. Th estopping power of the .32 is not impressive, IMHO, the .22LR is even less so.
  5. fastbolt

    fastbolt Well-Known Member

    Well, personally, I'd think that due to the combination of considerations of ammunition reliability, and semiauto pistol functionality ... I'd opt fo the.32 ACP, but only in a quality semiauto, and using quality ammunition.

    My reasons?

    After having watched a LOT of folks over the years on our range ... both in our agency and among the CCW licensees ... I've seen far more failures to function when someone is using a diminutive .22LR than when they're usign a .32 ACP ...

    I finally saw someone use a Beretta M21 recently who was able to complete the 36-round course of fire without any malfunctions. That was the second small .22 semiauto I'd seen do that ... the first being a Llama, believe it or not. It wasn't the first M21 that came through the course, though ...

    Sure, I've seen some "full size" Colts, Rugers and High Standard's complete the course without malfucntion issues, but hardly any of the smaller pistols do so. Maybe it's just a combination of the way the folks maintain their firearms, and the type of ammunition they're using ... except that's how they intended to use the firearms when carried for defensive purposes, it seems ... Oh well.

    While we've seen our fair share of PPK/S-type .32's, as well as other pistols, that exhibited malfunctions. Although, for the most part, the .32's seem to offer a much better level of functional reliability than .22's & even .25 ACP's ... with the FMJ ammunition most folks buy to use for the course, anyway.

    It sometimes appears that some folks simply think that if one type of ammunition/bullet style functions in their pistol, then other types of ammunition/bullets will function, too. I've seen more than one puzzled expression when I suggested they at least visit a local range and TRY their defensive ammunition choice, if it's other than the FMJ they shot for the qualification course.

    Hey, their lives ... their choice.

    Professionally? Well, my choice would be limited, because my agency has restricted its folks from carrying any personally owned off duty weapon which is chambered in any caliber less than .32 ACP. The reasoning behind that was due to concerns of officer safety, should the weapon actually have to be USED.

    I can think of one fellow that took a .25 ACP to an unexpected gunfight in which the bad guy brought a 9mm ... and after the good guy survived ... nobody was hit by any rounds fired from either side ... he started carrying a weapon chambered in a "more effective" caliber ... ;)

    I'm only responsible for myself, however, and won't try to influence anyone else in making an informed decision regarding this sort of thing ...
  6. tbeb

    tbeb Well-Known Member

    I would choose a .32 ACP semi-auto over a .22 LR semi-auto. If my only choice for self defense was between the 2 guns you mention, then my choice would be neither. If my choice was only between calibers, then I'd go with a lightweight .22 LR snubnose revolver that held more than 6 rounds. Don't know for sure if .22 magnum is a better manstopper than LR but that's what I'd get.

    The smallest guns I've ever carried were lightweight .380's and .38 specials. I don't want to go smaller in caliber because I feel these two are minumum.
  7. rolltide

    rolltide Well-Known Member

    In actual shootings, the 32 has proven to be 3 times greater stopper than the 22 compared under the same circumstances. The 32 is statistically equal to the 380 and 38 in a snubnose. I can fire the 32 faster. I feel the 32 is the best choice of calibers that will go into almost any pocket.

    The 32 is much much better than a 22 in both stopping effect and reliability for a pocket gun.

    Do beware of the rim lock problem with the P32. I persoanlly carry a NAA G32. Either the NAA or the Seecamp would be more reliable on average than the P32.

    Roll Tide
  8. Oleg Volk

    Oleg Volk Moderator Emeritus

    Do your own tests for penetration. Jacketed ball in .32 worked much better than unjacketed .22 in my experience. Ignition reliability is also a concern, though seems similar with premium .22s.
  9. MrChicken

    MrChicken Well-Known Member

    "I can think of one fellow that took a .25 ACP to an unexpected gunfight in which the bad guy brought a 9mm ... and after the good guy survived ... nobody was hit by any rounds fired from either side ... he started carrying a weapon chambered in a "more effective" caliber ... :) "

    A "more effective" caliber that would actually enable him to hit a bad guy? :)
  10. pauli

    pauli Well-Known Member

    hey, you never know, maybe the .25's ran out of power and fell out of the air ;)
  11. fastbolt

    fastbolt Well-Known Member

    Don't think that this wasn't mentioned to him afterward.;)

    I just think that he suddenly felt he was at a "disadvantage" when it came to the caliber and amount of "bullet weight" he was "facing" coming in his direction, if you will, versus what he was potentially able to "return" ... Also, the distances involved were farther than "across the street", if I remember the incident right ...

    Like the old saying goes ... Incoming rounds always have the right of way ... so move.
  12. Majic

    Majic Well-Known Member

    Sounds like it he needs to adjust the fire control system. I can't see where the caliber did anything wrong.
  13. mainmech48

    mainmech48 Well-Known Member

    Just my $0.02: The reason that I switched from a Beretta M21 in .22LR to a Keltec P32 was primarily because I couldn't find any brand of ammo that would function with 100% reliability in 100 rnds of testing.

    The levels varied quite a bit, but none of them were close enough for me to trust with the safety of my Personal Favorite Behind. YMMV, but anything less than 100% isn't what I had in mind in an "always" piece.

    My P32 has funtioned 100% with everything from generic ball to Federal and Speer HPs through nearly 1K rnds. It takes about 300 rnds without cleaning for it to begin to show any sign of malfs.

    It's also much easier to conceal than the M21A, as it's much thinner, but that's just gravy.

    The bottom line is that it works better, IME. It may be a toss-up in terms of "paper energy" between the cartridges, but at least the Gold Dots show some expansion in clay or water when fired from my pistol. The .22s generally didn't.
  14. cratz2

    cratz2 Well-Known Member

    I've had very positive experience with the P32s... If I had to choose between a P32 and a Beretta or Taurus 22 LR, I'd take the P32 every time. For one thing, I've yet to see a 22 pistol that carries as easily as the P32... It is very thin and very light weight.

    With the advent of the P3AT in 380, I see very few reasons to carry anything smaller than it.

    Comparing the 22LR to the 22 Magnum, 22 magnum bullets often have a thicker and more solid copper coating... I'd imagine FMJ 22 magnums would have a better shot (pardon the pun) of penetrating a skull than would most 22LR bullets. I wouldn't rely on either 22 LR or 22 Magnum for stopping someone in shorter order when fired into their COM.

    As M2 said, if both have a 2" barrel, I'd rather have a 380 or a 32 than a 22 LR... ;)
  15. Majic

    Majic Well-Known Member

    Setting the ballistics aside, the centerfire has a better record for ignition over the rimfire. Give me the .32 for the better chance that it will fire when I want it to.

    A lot of .22mag bullets are also jacketed too.
  16. arinvolvo

    arinvolvo Well-Known Member

    In a similar platform, and similar barrel length, 32 wins.

    However, if i had a choice between a p32 and a ruger mkII 22 to grab for SD...id grab the ruger. 22s can be pretty impressive given a bit if barrel length to work with...aside from having 10 shots in the ruger.
  17. MrMurphy

    MrMurphy Well-Known Member

    They make a 10-shot mag for the P32 last time I checked. :)
  18. cratz2

    cratz2 Well-Known Member

    That's what I mean... most 22 Mags are jackated while most 22 LRs with any copper are just thin coated.
  19. arinvolvo

    arinvolvo Well-Known Member

    Murphy, touche.
  20. azrael

    azrael Well-Known Member

    22vs 32??I would go for the P-32

    I own both the P-32 and P3AT and I carry both...

    Instead of the P-32 how about the P3at?? I seem to be selling alot of holsters for it lately...plus you dont have to worry about rim-lock with the .380....

    In size comparson the P3AT is only .02 th. thicker than a P-32

    My .02 cents

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