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What ever happened to the .32 auto?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by TonyB, Jul 31, 2007.

  1. TonyB

    TonyB Senior Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Schodack NY
    It seems like in the "olden days" .32 was all over the place for self defense guns.My grandfather had 2....so how come it's not popular now?Are people just more robust now, and need shootin' w/ a .45 in order to stop doing bad things?Were people back then just whimps?Or is the .32 still a viable round that is under-mis-estimated?
  2. zinj

    zinj Active Member

    Oct 29, 2006
    Gun technology has improved, so larger calibers can be built smaller. Essentially you can get a .380 in a gun the size of a .32. There also is the fact that .32 ACP is semi-rimmed, and thus vulnerable to rimlock.
  3. the naked prophet

    the naked prophet Participating Member

    Feb 20, 2006
    Medical technology has also improved. While once getting winged with a .32 might cause an infection that would kill you, nowadays you can get a dose of antibiotics and be fine. Of course, that's not to say that it's not lethal, just that it's not as lethal as it was before antibiotics were available. And since the bad guys don't have the fear of a deadly infection, they may not be stopped by a .32 since incapacitation may be primarily through psychological factors if nothing vital is hit. So we use larger calibers nowadays because we know what it takes to stop someone.

    I wouldn't hesitate to carry a .32 H&R magnum revolver though!
  4. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Senior Member

    Nov 4, 2006
    In addition to what zinj said, in the 70s the PPK/S became a popular off duty gun for LEOs. Many department policies said nothing smaller than a 38/9mm.

    While once getting winged with a .32 might cause an infection that would kill you, nowadays you can get a dose of antibiotics and be fine.

    While you might have some rational, I don't think bad guys think about infections. They think about getting shot.
  5. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    .32ACP is still around and still a great choice.

    Gun stuff is cyclic, like anything else.
    Best example is wearing pearls. Ladies never stopped wearing pearls, but when Barbara Bush was seen wearing them, the wearing of pearls increased.

    TV, Movies, Video Games, Gun Magazines, and Internet all influence buyers on what they buy. Called Marketing.

    One can have a case of Coca-Cola at home and the Sensory Input of Pespi (who paid to have their product in the movie) will have folks go buy a six pack of Pepsi on the way home from the movies.

    .32ACP increased in popularity again with the Beretta Tomcat with the tip-up barrel.
    Then it waned, only to be revived by the Keltec P-32.
    NAA 32 is again reviving interest.

    1. Have a gun.
    2. Shot placement.

    The Reality is, not everyone toted a hogleg in a caliber starting with a "4".
    Too expensive , heavy, hard to conceal...
    Lots of 32 and 36 calibers carried instead if one checks history.

    Physically Limited folks find the tip up feature of a Beretta .380 and .32 great!
    Fact is, the 32 conceals easier.

    Slide does not lock back on the P3AT, which again does not bother most folks, even at a range where they use Chamber Indicators to show "clear" for range rules...

    Watch a UC LEO, demonstrate being able to run a P-32, and Tomcat one handed.
    Replicate being shot, and racking the slide back on a P-32, inserting mag, letting fly the slide and back in the fight.

    Replicate getting a Tomcat loaded, dry gun, remove one ctg, insert mag, insert ctg into tip up barrel and back in the fight

    Replicate dry gun, getting one ctg into tip up barrel and getting one shot off in a hurry.

    There are folks with special needs and have special situations.
    Physically Limited folks, some with birth defects, amputees, injury, recovering from surgery, arthritis...

    Hence the person is wise to NOT rule out options, including certain platforms and calibers, including a 32.

    All the folks Marketing, all the folks posting on Internet, will NOT be at YOUR gunfight.

  6. usp9

    usp9 Senior Member

    Dec 17, 2005
    Bowling Green, Va
    What happened is that the .32s are still very popular as seen in the unquenchable demand for Seecamp, Keltec, NAA. Other guns such as the CZ 83, PPK, P232 are also hard to find. Alive and well my friend.
  7. Technosavant

    Technosavant Senior Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    St. Louis, MO
    1) Like zinj said, you can get a more powerful chambering in a gun nearly as small. .32ACP nowadays is pretty much just tiny automatics- anything larger will be eating .380.
    2) Although it isn't considered a "manstopper" round, it was plenty lethal. With modern medical technology, it is more effective against people who just don't want to be shot than it is against people who need to be stopped posthaste. Hence the migration to more powerful rounds.
    3) While the debate of lethality of smaller rounds will continue until the sun goes nova, until then, if you can carry and handle a more powerful round, why settle for anything less? You balance power vs. controllability vs. "carry ability," and for most folks, the .32ACP falls too far short on the first to overcome the second two, especially with what else is available.
  8. ozwyn

    ozwyn Active Member

    Apr 28, 2006
    I woudl also suspect a lot of the .32 demand may have been impacted by the end of the cold war and influx of cheap 9mm markarov pistols that perform well for the same kind of demands one might have for a .32
  9. JERRY

    JERRY Senior Member

    Jun 5, 2003
    i have for trade a S&W 649(.38) for a Seecamp .32
  10. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    Physically Limited Persons are getting effective hits , and effective hits quicker with 32 caliber gun, semi, or revolver.
    This is real important to them, and means a lot to me, and those of us that assist these folks.

    Big Factor in OUR situations.

    Gets back to payload to weight of gun ratio much like Rule of 96 for shotguns.
  11. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 25, 2002
    Down East in NC
    The Gun Control Act of 1968 pretty much put an end to the importation of .32 ACP pistols, AFAIK. That probably has a lot to do with it.
  12. Shipwreck

    Shipwreck Senior Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    Not to nitpick, but I think the first generatiopn Keltec 32s were out prior to the Beretta Tomcat. I might be wrong, but I think this is true.

    Anyway - I have a Keltec 32. I like it - but ammo prices are high!
  13. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Mentor

    May 10, 2005
    Kingsport Tennessee
    I have heard that Martin Fackler has accumulated data
    on actual shootings that shows that the .32 Winchester
    Silvertip hollowpoint is surprisingly effective.
  14. CWL

    CWL Mentor

    Jan 6, 2003
    Sorry dude, Beretta Tomcats came out in 1979. Kel-Tec didn't even exist as a company until 20 years later.
  15. Quiet

    Quiet Senior Member

    Apr 29, 2007
    bouncing between the 909 & the 702
    But, the .32ACP Beretta Model 3032 Tomcat didn't come out until after the Kel-Tec P-32 was released.
  16. Deanimator

    Deanimator Elder

    Mar 30, 2006
    Rocky River, Ohio
    What's the point when you can have a 9x19mm almost as small?
  17. Richard Simmons

    Richard Simmons New Member

    Feb 23, 2006
    Roanoke, VA
    Almost only counts in horsehoes and hand grenades :D

    "What's the point when you can have a 9x19mm almost as small?" Guess you could say the same about some .40S&W or .45ACP so why a 9x19?

    If you don't own or have at least a modicum of experience with a .32 there's no way anyone can explain it to you.
  18. Geronimo45

    Geronimo45 Senior Member

    Aug 28, 2006
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Some idiot/sage/whatnot decided that .380 was the minimum caliber to stop evildoers.
    "Cops use .38s. Therefore, .38 caliber is the absolute minimum." Was the thought behind it, as best I can figure.

    The .45 fans/groupies/whatnots heckled those as would choose, say, a PPK in .32 when they could get the same gun in .380.

    I find that I can shoot the .32 as long as I can afford ammunition for it. I can't shoot more than a box or two of .45 ACP before my hand gets sore. Sure, I could build up hand strength - but the fact is, at this time, it's more comfortable to shoot .32.

    That's what I wonder. Back then, you had Al Capone, Dillinger, Baby-Face, Bonnie and Clyde, and their ilk.

    Wonder the same thing about bears. People constantly saying that only an elephant gun or the latest and greatest super ultra-belted magnum with hydra-shok plutonium-plated-gold dots will stop 'em... when Davy Crockett and a lot of other folks used lead balls and black powder.
  19. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Senior Elder

    Nov 25, 2006
    Northeast PA, USA
    You can buy a 50 round box of Fiocchi 73 gr FMJ ammo for practice for ~ $10 and their 60 gr SJHP ammo will run you ~ $12 a box of 50. That ammo is very hot and rated @ 1200 FPS w/205 ft/lbs of energy. That is at or above the numbers for the .380 Auto. http://www.fiocchiusa.com/cat_centerfire.html
  20. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Senior Elder

    Dec 29, 2002
    Los Anchorage
    I used to have a Walther PP that was about the most accurate and rapid of all my short guns. With silvertips you could fire them off with amazing speed. More than fast enough to land the whole magazine in a foe. Put 9x19 in that same package, or a smaller one, and you'll be lucky to get half as many shots off, and to land any of them.

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