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.32 v. .380?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by casual, Sep 23, 2005.

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  1. casual

    casual Member

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    i've seen suggestions on the forum that little difference exists in the power between these calibers, particularly in a short barreled gun

    does anyone have hard numbers for comparison between these calibers?

    i have a kel-tec in .32, but i'm considering a .380 Seecamp

    in addition, if anyone has personal experience with a .380 Seecamp, please post your opinion

    i've seen very few posts by individuals with the Seecamp .380

    i assume that is a result of the low output and relative expense

    thanks

    casual
     
  2. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Kel-Tec, IMO, killed the Seecamp for all practical purposes.

    I have a .25 Seecamp, as well as .32 and .380 KTs. I like the .32 KT just because I can shoot it really rapidly, but for realistic self-defense, the .380 would probably be the best choice for even occasional shooters, as long as their
    wrists are not damaged.

    John
     
  3. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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    .380 will make a bigger hole, and give you the option of using 90 gr. Hornady XTPs, which will penetrate around 11" and still expand reliably, just shy of the FBI's and IWBA's requirement.

    I'd say go for an NAA Guardian over a Seecamp, though. Only a small bit bigger and heavier, and a lot more dependable IMO.

    Basically, Seecamps are designed to be as small and light as possible, while NAAs are built to be as durable and reliable as possible, and Kel-tecs are made as cheap as possible. Some people have no problem with their Kel-Tecs, but really, if you can afford a Seecamp, there's no reason not to get an NAA.

    My only first-hand experience with a Kel-Tec P3AT was watching a young lady at the range. She was banging all her shots into the 9 and 10 rings with some kinda .22 revolver, and with a GP-100 with .38s. Then she whipped out her concealed carry piece, a P3AT.

    The first round didn't chamber right (I guess she doesn't carry it with one in the pipe). It took about 30 seconds for her to clear the jam and get it loaded. She took very careful aim, and squeezed the trigger verrrrrry slowly, and *pop*! No hole in the paper.

    After re-gripping the gun, she once again aimed carefully and squeezed nice and slow... and nothing happened, since the slide was about 3/4s of an inch too far back. Another 30 seconds spent clearing a jam, and she tried once again. *pop*, a hole appeared in the very corner of the paper.

    And on it went, almost every other shot jamming the slide open (failure to feed, round taking a nosedive into the feed ramp), with her just about missing the target completely when it did work. It wasn't an operator error, as far as I could tell. She was keeping her wrists and elbows locked, and taking the recoil with her shoulders. It wasn't overly dirty. I will admit that the poor accuracy may have been in part due to me shooting a .357 magnum snubby a few feet away with Winclean ammo, making a 12" fireball with each shot... (then again, it didn't mess up her groups too much with the .22 or .38)

    I notice a lot of Kel-tec advocates say things like "what do you expect for the price" and "you just need to do a fluff-and-buff." Why is it so unreasonable to expect a $250 gun to work with 100% reliability out of the box, when a Bersa is capable of that kind of reliability in the same price range?
     
  4. 1 old 0311

    1 old 0311 member

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    Had a .32 Seecamp. WORST gun I ever owned. Customer service DOES NOT EXIST.They did not have a live person answer the phones,just a answering machine. They would not call back. 15 calls in 4 months, also would not respond to mail. Once they get your money you are on your own.
    Bought a .380 Guardian 2 weeks ago. 250 rounds of 4 different types of ammo and it works every time.

    Kevin
     
  5. SouthpawShootr

    SouthpawShootr Member

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    Man, that kinda kills it. The price you pay for these guns, customer service should set the industry standard.
     
  6. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    Sort of hard to limp wrist a 23 oz. Bersa .380 compared to a KT that weighs less than half as much. Heck, I didn't even know Bersa was still in business until I looked them up. Even so, I'm still not interested in a heavy .380.

    I tinker with all my guns anyway so a little F & B isn't an issue.

    John...still looking for a hard chromed P3AT to replace my old HC P32.
     
  7. nero45acp

    nero45acp Member

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    My experience with Seecamp:

    I have an older Seecamp .32 LWS it has never had a FTF/FTE (but I've only used the "older type" recommended winchester Silvertips in it). Also, I once emailed Seecamp (4/11/05) with a question about their new ammo recommendations. I received a prompt (4/12/05), informative/helpful, and friendly reply from Larry Seecamp himself.

    nero
     
  8. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Member

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    Not this one. Not only do I expect the gun to work, I expect not to have to work on it. With the two P32s I've had, that has been the case. The one I'm carrying right now hasn't had any work other than a cleaning, yet is perfectly reliable.

    Chris
     
  9. 1 old 0311

    1 old 0311 member

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    Hi Nero,

    My Seecamp was purchased 6-7 years ago. At that time there was a 2 year wait and the going price was $700-$800. As I said at that time they had NO customer service. Along came Kel Tec and the Guardian. Seecamps prices, and sales, fell like a rock. They MAY be doing service work on them now, but the quality of the gun, JUNK, and their give a crap attitude turned me off forever. They didn't have a problem sitting on me money for 2 years but they DID have a problem providing me a pistol that would shoot more than 3-4 rounds without a jam. It is your money spend it as you wish. Me? I spent mine with NAA.

    Kevin
     
  10. SouthpawShootr

    SouthpawShootr Member

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    I expect every gun I buy to do what it was designed to do without any trips back to the factory. I will allow for a couple hundred rounds of break in, but if it's not working reliably by 500 rounds (& I feel this is a generous allowance), I'm :cuss: and I'll send it back for repair. My KT 3AT had one stoppage the first 100 rounds, I still have to take it back to the range, but I suspect that after a good cleaning, all will be well.

    I've never seen a Seecamp for sale in the flesh except for a .25ACP several years back and that was priced way out of what I consider reasonable for such a gun ($800 :what: ). Now, it's my understanding that the .25s are out of production and may generate a bit of collector interest, but with a gun like this I use it not collect it.
     
  11. phantomak47

    phantomak47 Member

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    Do some research before you go and buy a 380.

    Massad Ayoob has written several articles about how he has done some slaughter house testing with various 380 loads and that the round barely penetrates the smallest pigs skull. In some cases he reports that the 380 wouldnt penetrate the skull at all and this is why he had to stop testing the round on medium size animals.............just something to think about when it comes to defending yourself or your families lives....
     
  12. nero45acp

    nero45acp Member

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    Hi Kevin,

    Sorry to hear of your troubles and frustration with Seecamp. Glad to hear you're happy with the NAA. I've heard good things about them. Their .32NAA pistol is intriguing.

    http://www.naaminis.com/32NAA.html


    nero
     
  13. Chipperman

    Chipperman Member

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    Sorry to hear about the customer service problem you had.

    My service experience with Seecamp has been outstanding. I have spoken with Larry himself on the phone a couple of times.
     
  14. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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    Yeah, I've noticed the P32 and P11 seem to have a much better track record than the P3AT. Too much power in too small a package (like the P40), apparently. And they're trying to make a 9x19mm in ith same frame size, too! Some people just never learn.
     
  15. kokapelli

    kokapelli Member

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    Could you please tell me where you got this piece of information about a KelTec 9mm in the P-3AT frame?



    I have owned an NAA Guardian and had reliability problems with it.

    I traded it and purchased a P-3AT. The P-3AT with it's locked breech action is a pleasure to shoot compared to the blowback action of the Guardian.

    The KelTec P-3AT is lighter, thinner and dosen't have the brick like feel of the Guardian in my pocket.

    The P-3AT has been so satisfactory as a concealed carry gun and so reliable that I have purchased two more and now own three of them.

    If you wan't more felt recoil, than get one of the blowbacks.
     
  16. greg531mi

    greg531mi Member

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    I have a 32 acp and a 380 acp. One is a Autauga, and a Colt Pony. I have friends that have CCW's, and own 45's and full size 9mm, but hardly ever carry them, because they are big and hard to carry. These little pistols are easier to conceal and carry. I have mine in my front pocket right now, and had to feel it to be sure.
    The 25 are the smallest, 32 a little bigger, and the 380 bigger yet, on the whole. The 9mm is larger yet, except for the Rohrbaugh 9mm.
    We can get into that agruement about caliber's and such, and yes, the bigger caliber's do stop more times than small, but I think it is more of shot placement, than caliber. And with shot placement, it takes practice, practice, and more practice.......
    So, argue all you want, wasting your time, while you should be at the range!
     
  17. alamo

    alamo Member

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    While it is rumored (and hoped) that KT will make a single stack 9mm, there is no way it could be done on a P-3AT frame. It would have to be larger. RyanM is making that up or imagining it.

    I finally got a Seecamp 8 years ago after waiting the obligatory 2+ years and paying $600. It was extremely unreliable after numerous cleanings/lube and 200 rounds of Silvertips. They're fine pistols but don't let anyone tell you they're all perfect.

    That was back in the days when they felt no need to answer the phone or listen to their customers. I had been told from others that had experience, that repair service on a pistol took many months. That being the case, I sold it to a friend who was aware of the problems. Since they have competitors now, Seecamp actually answers their phone and talks / listens to their customers for a change.

    I carry a P-3AT now. Great little pistol. I also have 2 P-32s and 2 Autauga .32s that replaced the Seecamp. All have been much more reliable than the Seecamp.
     
  18. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    To try an answer the original question,
    If one was to shoot a blindfolded person in the right arm with a .32acp and in the left arm with a .380acp and both cartridges were full metal jacket or Silvertip, it is doubtful the person shot could tell you which calber made which wound.
     
  19. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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    Making it up or imagining it, right. :rolleyes: Some people... are real jerks when the stuff they "know" gets contradicted.

    No, been hearing the same rumors from various sources (KTOG, this forum right here, etc.). Kel-Tec is supposedly developing a single-stack 9mm which will use a P3AT frame lengthened by a couple millimeters, with slightly heavier slide.
     
  20. kokapelli

    kokapelli Member

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    I remember that someone on the KTOG ng started the same rumor. It didn't last long, because there was no substance to it.

    This is exactly how these rumors get started!

    I'm not saying that KT isn't working on a small single stack 9mm, but no one knows about it if they are.
     
  21. michiganfan

    michiganfan Member

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    Got 3AT in my pocket right now. Had an engagement today where it would be hard to hide the Glock. My 3AT has been reliable out of the box and the accuracy from 5-7 yards has been more than acceptable.
     
  22. RAD

    RAD Member

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    Do some research before you go and buy a 380.

    Massad Ayoob has written several articles about how he has done some slaughter house testing with various 380 loads and that the round barely penetrates the smallest pigs skull. In some cases he reports that the 380 wouldnt penetrate the skull at all and this is why he had to stop testing the round on medium size animals.............just something to think about when it comes to defending yourself or your families lives....


    So if I defensively shoot someone in the head with my P3AT 380 it isn't going to penetrate with FMJ?
    WOW!
    I better move up to a 480.
    :cool:
     
  23. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    Ayoob's 'testing' seems more dubious than M&S and a lot more anecdotal. While pigs and pig skulls are not quite the myth many hunters make them out to be, the fact remains that there are definitely portions of the pig's skull that are more robust than that found in humans. It has to be in order to support the stressors inflicted on it such as the massive jaw musculature and actual use of the head as a rooting tool.

    If Ayoob's tests were side shots with an attempt to penetrate the brain, then his rounds would likely have to pass through some of the heavy jaw muscles before getting to the brain.

    Then there is the aspect of unsupported expanses. The human cranium is largely like a hollow ball. There are few folds, angles, ridges on the exteior or interior to really provide any sort of structural support. A pig's cranium has a much smaller area available that is unsupported. I base this on the fact that I have a pig skull with me right now from a male pig that was just reaching adulthood based on eruption of the 3rd molars.

    Compare this with a human skull, particularly the cranium (brain compartment). Generally the thickness of a healthy adult cranium will be about 1/4 to just under 1/2 of an inch. The majority of this bone is not solid. Instead, it consists of an interior and exterior thin cortical surface between which is located spongy bone. The spongy bone isn't actually spongy. It just looks like a sponge. You get the same spongy bone at the ends of the long bones where the bone walls are thinnest. Spongy bone provides for excellent lightweight support, but isn't horrible difficult to penetrate with point impacts.

    So, the human skull protects the brain, but it isn't terribly thick or tough. Moreover, most isn't covered with heavy musculature or even very thick skin. Folks with hair get a lot more protection to their skulls from the hair than they get from their skull.

    Where all this is going is that there is really no legitimate comparison between pig and human skulls when it comes to protection against ballistic impacts in the living animals. To suggest otherwise would be naive.

    -----

    Getting back to the original query, neither .32 or .380 are at the high end of defensive performance. If you can't handle anything bigger then you go with what you can handle. Otherwise, you will be much better off with larger calibers.
     
  24. 106rr

    106rr Member

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    In the 1930's, the Italian Armed Services set up two commisions to study the difference between 32 and 380. Pistols tested were exactly the same make and type, berreta blowback. The Naval Commission came to the conclusion that the 32 was the clear winner without question. They cited greater reliability based on case shape and design, greater accuracy and higher magazine capacity.
    The Army Commission came to the conclusion that the 380 was the clear winner without question. They cited adequate accuracy, more power and adequate reliability and disregarded magazine capacity.
    The Italian Navy adopted the 32 and the Italian Army adopted the 380, both were certain of the facts! Good Luck
     
  25. copaup

    copaup Member

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    Oddly, I typed a rather lengthy reply to this that seems to have vanished. The short gist of it is that I have seen people who have been shot in the head with the 380. It did penetrate the skull from a frontal shot and they were quite dead. I have also seen one person still moving after taking a headshot from a 45 acp. Pistol rounds all pretty much suck and people can occasionally survive some truly horrific injuries. I trust the 380 as a close range backup weapon and that is about it, but I do believe that 6 rounds of 380 in the other guys chest should serve nicely to end hostilities.
     
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