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Can a .32 ACP CC gun have enough balls to be a respectable defense gun?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by wbond, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. wbond

    wbond Well-Known Member

    I like Fiocchi 32 ACP for my Firestorm (Bersa) .32 ACP. In addition to perfect functioning, the Fiocchi is very hot loaded. I shot into a water barrel from 8 ft away and EVERY hollow point expanded beautifully and consistently. How is that possible? Well, for one thing, Fiocchi gives around 1,200 fps to a 60 grain SJHP from a 3.5" barrel gun.

    The reason most Americans think the .32 ACP is a wimp round is that all USA brands of .32 ACP are wimpy to varying degrees. Corbon .32 isn't to bad, but Fiocchi is far more powerful in this cartridge/caliber for medium (3.3") to long (3.8"+) barrels. The other USA brands of .32 (other than Corbon) are pathetically wimpy. Fiocchi is the hottest/strongest factory .32 ACP there is. Many other European brands make semi-hot .32 ACP ammo (semi-hot being similar power to Corbon .32 ACP). Fiocchi is by far the hottest (really the only hot) .32 ACP ammo made.

    For comparison: Typical USA "high-end" defense ammo for .32 ACP gives only 125 ft/lbs, though a few brands give 130 ft/lbs. Winchester Silver Tip and Federal Hydrashok being examples of some of the best American ammo and only offering 125 and 130 ft/lbs energy. Typical velocities are 900 to 1000 fps for 60 grain hollow point .32 ACP American defense ammo. That is pitiful. No wonder most US Citizens think the .32 ACP is wimpy and the .380 much better. That is a correct opinion when looking at most USA .32 and .380 ammo. Corbon does claim 147 ft/lbs for their .32 ACP and I believe them. It seems clear that Corbon is the best of the USA .32 ACP ammo. However, most/much European .32 ammo is MUCH hotter and better than any USA brand.

    Did you ever wonder how the Europeans and South Americans can be relatively happy with .32 for so many years? Even with many of their police having carried it for years? In some S American nations police still carry it. How do they get by? Well, they have hotter .32 ammo than any American brand of .32 ammo and they also use guns with 3.5", 3.8", and 3.9" barrels to give it some punch.

    Fiocchi .32 ACP gives 1200 fps from a 3.5" barrel and 205 ft/lbs energy. That's more energy than many .380 defense rounds have! That puts Fiocchi .32 ACP it in a class by itself among .32 ACP, and head and shoulders above USA .32 ACP ammo for guns with barrels that are 3.2" and longer. Though Corbon does theoretically make the best .32 ammo for guns with barrels that are 3" and shorter (Corbon designed its .32 for short 2.5" barrel specifically). Even so, NAA has ballistics data for its short 2.5" barreled NAA .32 that shows Fiocchi giving best performance of any brand that NAA tested (even though Fiocchi isn't designed for very short barrels).

    The Fiocchi .32 has 205 ft/lbs which is the SAME energy as Fiocchi .380, and MORE energy than many USA brands of .380 defense ammo. Wow. In fact, the Fiocchi .32 from my Firestorm (Bersa) .32 is giving almost as much velocity as the .32 NAA gives from the shorter barrel .32 NAA gun. i.e. - Fiocchi .32 makes my Firestorm .32 a viable defense gun that is arguably competive with a .380 of the same barrel length, and my .32 Firestorm (single stack) has an extra round compared to a .380, and my .32 CZ83 (double stack) has 3 extra rounds (compared to a CZ83 .380).

    I have heard that Fiocchi (and other European brands) are slightly longer than many American brands, and therefore the European ammo works better in the European and South American .32s than the American ammo does, but the American ammo works better in American .32s. With regard to feeding reliably. Also, the European .32 ammo, especially Fiocchi, might be to powerful for some tiny American .32 mousegun pocketguns and might not feed reliably and might even just blow a little mousegun to pieces.

    i.e. - use wimpy American .32 ammo in American made .32s, and use hot European ammo in European and South American made .32s (Fiocchi being my favorite, and Sellior and Bellot my second favorite European brands).

    Then, if you use a gun like the S. American cops often choose in some nations, or the Europeans did for a long time, it's even more potent due to the longer barrel (though slightly less concealable). For example: CZ83 (3.8" barrel with 15 +1 capacity), Beretta Cheetah (3.8" barrel or 4.9" depending on model#), FEG (3.5" or 3.9" barrel depending on model), Walther PPK (3.2" or 3.3" barrel - forgot which length), Walther PP (3.9" barrel).

    So with barrel lengths from 3.8" to 4.9" combined with hot European .32 ammo that's designed to be optimal for 3.5"+ barrels, they were/are getting respectable stopping power from their .32s. With those barrel lengths Fiocchi .32 will give velocity from 1225 fps to 1300 fps. Yes, it sounds amazing and it is, but it's true. Test it for yourself with Fiocchi .32 SJHP if you have a .32 with a 3.8" or longer barrel. You'll be exceeding 1200 fps, possibly by as much as 100 fps.

    With a 3.5" barrel (like my Bersa/Firestorm) you will get from 1150 to 1200 fps with Fiocchi 60 gr .32 SJHP. That is dam near .32 NAA performance. The .32 NAA boasts 1222 fps with a 60 gr HP, which is supposedly good defense performance, according to Sanow. Well I don't know about how good that is in a real world shooting, but I do know that it beats hell out of typical USA .32 ACP ammo that typically drives a 60 gr HP at 950 fps and the hottest brands to 1,000 fps. So the .32 NAA is clearly better than American .32 ACP. However, Fiocchi .32 ACP is giving performance very close to the .32 NAA when the barrel is 3.5". That's the same barrel length where American .32 ammo is semi-pitiful.

    I think that's because USA .32 ammo is made for tiny pocket size mouse guns and therefore not loaded very hot. The European .32 ammos, especially Fiocchi are hot loaded for use in Walther PPK and PP, Bersas, CZ83s (in .32 ACP), Beretta Cheetahs, and Fegs. i.e. - European .32 ammo is made for strong guns of respectable size with decently long barrels. The PPK has the shortest barrel of all those European guns mentioned. The others listed have 3.5", 3.8", 3.9", and 4.9" barrel lengths with 3.5" and 3.8" being the most common.

    Now if you you have an American .32 mousegun of some sort, I'd suggest NOT trying hot European ammo because your mousegun is probably not made for ammo that hot, and also if it's a pocket gun it's likely made for shorter .32 ammo like Winchester Silvertips or Corbon .32. In which case, the Corbon is the better choice IF your gun is strong enough for that much power. I wouldn't recommend the Fiocchi .32 for any American mousegun for strength concerns and also feeding reliability concerns. Except for a .32 NAA which is strong enough and functions well with it, and also works well with Corbon, according to things I've read about the NAA. At the NAA website their ballistic comparison chart of .32 ACP shows Fiocchi the hottest of what they tested, even from the short 2.5" NAA barrel. However, for a barrel that short, I suspect that Corbon would be as good or better.

    From a longer barrel (say about 3.2"+) the Fiocchi .32 ACP SJHP ammo is in a class by itself with 40% more muzzle energy than Winchester ST or Federal HS.

    With a Walther PP, Berettah Cheetah, or especially a CZ83, and some Fiocchi .32 SJHP ammo, that is a reasonably potent .32 ACP package between the barrel length, hot ammo, and high cap magazine (CZ83 is 15 + 1 and the Cheetah double stack is about the same). It would substantially exceed the .32 NAA performance from a .32 NAA gun.

    With a Walther PPK, Sig 232, or Bersa/Firestorm .32 (3.2" to 3.5" barrels) the Fiocchi .32 SJHP is reasonably potent with performance approximately equal to what NAA advertises its .32 NAA to do from the NAA gun.

    To put that another way, the .32 Fiocchi SJHP ammo makes a .32 ACP a viable "one shot stopping potential" competitor to a .380 of same barrel length, and the .32 ACP has an extra round in a single stack mag, or 3 extra rounds in a double stack. Though neither a .32 ACP or .380 can get up enough velocity to expand bullets and have adequate muzzle energy from barrels shorter than 3.2", IMO. Many ballistic tests have shown that. Both need a barrel that is 3.5" or longer to develope adequate velocity to have some punch. Fiocchi ammo greatly increases that punch in a .32.

    I don't claim Fiocchi to be best in other calibers though. For example, in .380 I prefer Speer Gold Dot. Who makes the best ammo all depends on the caliber, the need, and the gun. I only claim that Fiocchi SJHP is the best .32 ACP for European and South American guns with barrels that are 3" or longer, and MIGHT also be the best ammo for a NAA .32 ACP. I also like Fiocchi a lot in 9mm, but I like Speer GD and Federal HS most in that caliber. No single ammo maker is best, but a given manufacturer might make the best in a given caliber.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2008
  2. jocko

    jocko Well-Known Member


    well it would be better than a rock but it is at the very very low end of a defense round. IMHO

    Just so many other better choices out there and most cases in the same frame size .

    That being said I owned (once) a kt32 but never carried it. 32 small hole, 380 bigger hole

    Ur long essay seems to me to be like your trying to convert other people into the 32 land of oz, more than actually wanting feedback.
  3. Rock

    Rock Well-Known Member

  4. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    Maybe the better question to ask is if you have enough balls to compensate if the .32 doesn't.

    When you pose a question like this, you have to consider not what the potential for positive results is, but the ramifications if they don't materialize.
  5. Mad Magyar

    Mad Magyar Well-Known Member

    I have an excellent .32acp in a reliable Mauser HSc, and I also use Fiocchi ammo. But for a daily CC, I don't use it that way. It's a great B.U.G. on my person or vehicle; but I feel a .380 is about the minimum I'd go when going out....
    To be honest, at one time I'd slide it in my jacket pocket when going out for milk at the local "Rob n Go"; but with the reality of car-jacking, the punks & illegals looking for prey: not anymore....:)
    Just one more point. The pawnshop owners in my area tell me that many of the "gang-bangers" purchase his Jimenez pistols in .22, .25 & .32acp.; all legal of course. If I'm confronted by any of these types; I don't want to be on equal footing but have an advantage....
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2008
  6. Rock

    Rock Well-Known Member

    Like maybe multiple assailants or a much larger person who takes it away from you when it fails and either beats your head in with it or proceeds to empty the mag in your head.
  7. kokapelli

    kokapelli Well-Known Member

    wbond, 1200 fps! I don't know where you got your ballistics but I think you might want to look at these 32 cal tests..........


    Another thing is, bullet performance in water is not relatable to how a bullet will perform in tissue.

    [​IMG]This is the round you referred to and as you can see it did not expand when fired into gelatin and only achieved 968 fps with 125 fpe.

    In the above gelatin test the Fiocchi round was clearly out performed by the Cor Bon 60 gr bullet.

    The less than an inch of barrel length difference in the test gun could not possibly increase velocity by 232 fps.
  8. AirForceShooter

    AirForceShooter Well-Known Member

    With proper shot placement it's fine.
    Without that it could be a .44 mag and it wouldn't help

  9. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Well-Known Member

    Of course, technically it's better than no gun at all. Practically, with sub-compacts available in 9mm, .357 Sig, .40, and .45 ACP/GAP, I seen no reason to hang your life on one. No matter how good the new loads are, the bigger ones will be better.

    ALL PISTOL ROUNDS ARE INADEQUATE FOR PERSONAL DEFENSE. In picking the one that is ALMOST at the bottom of the list, you are talking yourself into the idea that you are 'ok' if you use it. This is not true for any pistol round, this one less than others.
  10. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Gosh, I hope so, I carry a .32 ACP a good bit. :uhoh:

    It beats the bazooka you left at home any day.

    I also carry a .22 Mag a lot. Trust me, you don't want me to shoot you 2 or 3 times with either one. :)
  11. saltydog452

    saltydog452 Well-Known Member

    Don't know. Hope I never find out. But a 'mouse gun' at contact distance ain't awful and might cause the BG to alter his thinking a bit.

    Don't know what does the job, the projectile or gas.

    I'd think it'd be better than an 88 Magnum in the trunk though.

  12. 1911Today

    1911Today Member

    If you have to ask...

    I'm no ballistics expert, but if you have ANY doubts about the efficacy of your chosen round, maybe it isn't the round that you should be using. My recommendation would be to go with tried and true rounds, like 9, .40, .45, and countless others. I personally use .45 for self defence because I know that if it is my life on the line, this round (considering good placement, and that's why we train) will stop the threat, most if not all times.

    I have a friend, Eli, a LEO, that had a burglar break into his home in broad daylight while he was taking a shower. The family dog alerted him, but he only managed to get his Kel-Tec .32 backup weapon from the drawer. He fired upon the intruder, missed, but the .32 rounds they recovered from the 1/2" wooden fence in his backyard were barely sticking into the surface of the wood. When the gun was returned after the investigation, he didn't want anything to do with it, promptly sold it, and bought an XD in .45.
  13. lazyeye

    lazyeye Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't want to get shot by one.

    But by the numbers (Evan Marshall et al) .32 lacks the probability of a good stop that larger calibers have.

    For instance the teeny tiny PM9 on my hip at this very moment, that is only a few hairs larger than a .32 autoloader.
  14. tlen

    tlen Well-Known Member

    Nothing less than a 9MM for SD and/or carry; .380 ACP for a bug.
  15. sadp40

    sadp40 Well-Known Member

    european police that they were enough

    for a lot of years. i have a Walther PP in 7.65mm German police marked. i keep it stoked with corbons and i have faith that if i do my part it would be quite enough. not to turn any stomachs but i shoot armadillos here at the house with it all the time.
    those corbons do a number on them, i shot one that was huge last month and it just exploded.
    do i carry it for social type work? well no. i have bigger weapons for that but would i wring my hands and cry if that was all i had? certainly not.
  16. ggarfield965

    ggarfield965 Active Member

    No, 32 ACP is way too big. It will kill someone. You should be using a .25 ACP or a .22 lr. All this talk about people taking shots and then proceeding to kill you is bull. All this talk about difficult shot placement is crap. I happen to know because with a reasonably accurate airsoft gun (aka poor accuracy at best after 50 feet), I can shoot someone in the head who is running with a 6mm pistol. Another thing I have noticed is that 3-4 shots to the chest or back with a 400 fps 20 gram plastic BB sends someone screaming and diving to the ground yelping and cursing. In fact, I think a serious airsoft pistol like a 400 fps CO2 or Green Gas is a pretty good non-lethal deterrent. Just make sure it is semi or full auto :p But no, in all honesty I would feel confident with a 32 ACP in a gun fight, let alone for self defense. After all, the PPK was a favorite of Bond's for many years.
  17. ggarfield965

    ggarfield965 Active Member

    Oh, and up here in WI, people just walk around with arisoft guns, swords, hunting rifles, shotguns and whatever. You can't CC here, so we just sling a good 12er on our backs and see who wants to mess with us then. Think I'm kidding? I'm not. My friend walked around a city (pop. 9,000) with a sharp 24 inch sword one day and not a single cop said anything. We shoot at eachother in the parks with airsoft guns all the time. No one cares.
  18. krs

    krs Well-Known Member

    James Bond is a character in a FICTIONAL novel series with the same veracity as Harry Potter or "The Little Train that Could".
  19. PRM

    PRM Well-Known Member

    Bigger is Always Better

    I'm not going to argue that bigger is not better. I would take a howitzer any day. What is practical? I love my .45 and .44 Special, but the truth is, today I am carrying a .32 Walther, and I am not the least bit worried about being out-gunned. It is a defensive weapon, hopefully I will never have to use it. However, should I have too, there are nine rounds to start with, and another 8 rounds in a spare magazine. If that doesn't terminate the threat, I seriously doubt anything bigger will work either. Over the years I have heard a number of individuals talk down this calibre - never heard anyone volunteer to be shot with it to prove their point.
  20. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Well-Known Member

    I'm not volunteering to get splashed with a bucket of cat urine either. Doesn't mean I will hang my life on it.

    ALL handguns are inadequate. You must give yourself every possible advantage.

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