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.32acp vs. .380acp

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by SouthernYankee, Oct 18, 2012.

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  1. SouthernYankee

    SouthernYankee Member

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    Just looking for some opinions. Though I have previously owned guns that have shot both calibers in the past, I am again looking to a smaller frame pistol to carry in my pocket on little quick errands around town and around the "property." I know people make fun of .32, but I have always thought it to be quite sufficient and, as such I am leaning towards a Beretta. I didn't want to spend more than $400.00 and refuseto buy junk! Opinions please, and thank all of you for your consideration.
     
  2. primalmu

    primalmu Member

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    I'd probably go for a Kel-Tec. I've read numerous reports of some of the Beretta Tomcats cracking frames after very few rounds.
     
  3. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    I own the PF-9 and P3AT Kel Techs and have owned the P-32.

    I have a very high opinion of all 3 firearms and have found them remarkably accurate and reliable having shot hundreds of rounds through them.

    I sold both my and my wife's P-32s and bought the .380s in their place for when a larger handgun wasn't practical to carry in every situation. I pocket carry the P3AT in any pants/shorts (and I don't wear baggy cargo shorts). I carry the PF-9 in all but my light weight shorts.

    In the price range it is difficult to find anything better.
     
  4. 56hawk

    56hawk Member

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    What Beretta are you thinking about? I have a Beretta 84, but don't carry it since I have 9mm's that are smaller.

    If I had to choose between 32 and 380. I would go with 380 every time. The guns are the same size, but 380 is twice as powerful.
     
  5. 351 WINCHESTER

    351 WINCHESTER Member

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    The Ruger lcp is tops in a .380 pocket pistol. In .32 I don't know of anything that beats the p32 k/t.
     
  6. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Saw this article posted over on the CMP Forum. Interesting results that bullet or cartridge really does not matter on the success of a shooting.

    http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/node/7866

    So, like real estate, looks like it is location, location, location.

    Anyway, I carry a 380 ACP with me for self defense. My Kel-Tec P3-AT has been very reliable but the DAO trigger is limiting for me. I like my Wather PPK for the double action on the first shot then single action there after. I feel more comfortable with that mode of carry although the first shot is a "gimme". But the PPK is bordering on the large side.

    I have an early Sig P238 which is reasonable reliable now. The SAO trigger is a limiter for me for carry. Carrying cocked and locked would not be an issue when anarchy takes over but it is not for me under current conditions.

    I have a Colt 1903 (32 ACP) which is fun to shoot and accurate. I am considering getting a modern pistol in 32 ACP to play with. The Colt, although not in great condition, is too valuable to consider a carry gun.

    One of my requirements is to be able to discreetly carry the gun away should I have to leave my vehicle in an unsecured situation.

    These are my idiosyncrasies and I do not expect many to agree with me.
     
  7. sidheshooter

    sidheshooter Member

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    For similar to the OP's requirements, I personally chose a *very* lightly pre-owned Seecamp .32, LNIB. My idea of the ultimate pocket pistol. Any bigger, and I'd rather just go IWB with something punchier. They're out there for $400 inclusive, and they are most certainly not junk.

    JMO.
     
  8. usp9

    usp9 Member

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    I agree. For $400 the tiny, all steel Seecamp LWS is very hard to beat.
     
  9. kokapelli

    kokapelli Member

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    If you want to stay at or below $400 buy the Taurus TCP which is similar to the LCP and the P3AT, but with a better trigger and less felt recoil.
     
  10. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    Another vote for the Seecamp - excellently made
     
  11. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    This was my first impression of the Kel-Tec P32, and it also explains my reason for choosing it over the P3-AT.. my range report from June of last year:

    Now, I've shot this thing many times since then, and carry it with two of those WWB flat-tipped FMJ rounds (chamber, and "next-up"), followed by six Fiocchi 73-grain FMJ. Keeping the shorter rounds in only the chamber and the top of the magazine assure no more cases of rimlock. I've had no further issues, and still find this little thing quite a bit of fun to shoot.
     
  12. Striker

    Striker Member

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    I'm partial to a Beretta Tomcat for a .32 ACP in the role you envison.
     
  13. kokapelli

    kokapelli Member

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    The Seecamp is a fine piece of workmanship, but it is a blowback action which produces a great deal of felt recoil and not much fun to shoot.

    Most of the current pocket pistols now are locked breach action that really reduces felt recoil a lot which makes them much more pleasant to shoot when compared to a locked breach action like the Seecamp, NAA Guardian and the Micro Desert Eagle.
     
  14. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    If I had to choose between a 32 and 380 I'd probably get a LCP. I got rid of my LCP and later a Seecamp after buying my Kahr PM9. I found I just don't have any pants that the 9mm won't fit in.
     
  15. chicharrones
    • Contributing Member

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    It is interesting to note in that article the category "% of people who were not incapacitated". Going by that makes the .380 ACP look much better than the .32.

    Yet, I have two guns in .32 ACP. :scrutiny:
     
  16. chicharrones
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    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    My NAA Guardian .32 ACP does feel much like a Ruger LCP .380 ACP in felt recoil when the two are fired side by side.
     
  17. kokapelli

    kokapelli Member

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    I had an NAA guardian and replaced it with a P32 because the felt recoil was so much more noticeable in the NAA and also because the NAA really tore my trigger finger up when firing multiple magazines at the range.

    I also have a Micro Desert Eagle that is a blowback and it is a very punishing pistol to shoot extensively, but I won't sell it because it is utterly reliable with any brand of ammo.

    After going through a bunch of pocket pistols I have ended up with a Sig P238 that IMO is the king of all 380 pocket pistols and I also frequently carry a TCP that IMO is second only to the P238 in pocket pistol shoot ability and has also been completely reliable.

    I did recently finally have the opportunity to shoot a Seecamp 380 and am impressed with it's overall quality, but like other pocket blowbacks it is a punishing pistol to shoot.
     
  18. Ken451

    Ken451 Member

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    I have one of the very early Keltec P32s, back before they started making any other calibers. I don't have much faith in the .32 acp round but it's the only gun I have that fits into a pocket. "They" say that in most cases where a handgun is used for self defense, no shots are fired. If that's true, then most of the time, caliber doesn't matter although a big, bright shinny .45 would probably be more intimidating than the barely visible P32 ;-)

    I probably should carry the P32 more often.
     
  19. threefortyduster

    threefortyduster Member

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    Nothing wrong with either, but if you go to buy an LCP, make sure you can tolerate the trigger. IMO, it's the worst trigger on any of them.

    My wife has a Taurus TCP732 that she loves and I like. I'm pondering getting a 738 for myself (or maybe a 732, just for common ammo). The trigger is smooth, not too heavy, and the gun is accurate. Made in USA helps.
     
  20. jimbo555

    jimbo555 Member

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    Just bought a sig p238,reliable right out of the box,accurate like a much larger handgun.
     
  21. Ehtereon11B

    Ehtereon11B internet infantryman

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    .380 ammo is much easier to find and has better ballistics. Only a few types of .32 handguns like the Seacamp are smaller than a comparable .380 handgun. Most modern .380s like the 238s, LCPs, handle recoil much better than older models like AMT.

    The P3AT is one of the worst pistols I have ever used and I have handled HiPoints with less issue. A friend of mine recently had hers explode using standard pressure ammo giving her third degree burns on her hand and the firing pin lodged in her shoulder. Few months ago I sold mine.

    Out of all the modern .380s I think the P238 is the best on the market since the trigger isn't long and heavy like the LCP, Bodyguard or other DA .380s.
     
  22. JR47

    JR47 Member

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    Really? Ballistics 101 lists the various rounds available. The .32 ACP, in JHP form, runs from 147 ft/lbs to 220 ft/lbs in ammo available today. The .380 ACP runs from less than 200 ft/lbs up to 288 ft/lbs in +P form. Many of these ultra high performers aren't readily available, and quite pricey. Your gun may not shoot them accurately, either.

    So, twice the power? Not hardly.

    For whatever reason, the .32 ACP seems to be more accurate than comparable .380 ACP guns and rounds. It also tends to carry that extra round, as well.

    Pick a gun that you like first. Then, after you are sure that it's what you want, pick a caliber. Shot placement is still king, no matter the caliber.:)
     
  23. browningguy

    browningguy Member

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    My .32's are KelTec and NAA, .380's are S&W, Browning and Bersa. I prefer the KT for a pocket gun, the trigger is much better than the NAA and S&W Bodyguard, and to be honest the .32 is easier to shoot in a mouse size package.
     
  24. 56hawk

    56hawk Member

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    If you pick and choose what ammo you are comparing you can come up with whatever numbers you want. However comparing the two highest rated self defense rounds:

    Federal Hydra-Shok 32ACP 123 ft-lbs, 380ACP 200 ft-lbs
    Speer Gold Dot 32ACP 123 ft-lbs, 380ACP 216 ft-lbs

    That puts the 32ACP at between 62% and 57% of the 380ACP. Close enough to half for me.
     
  25. Ken451

    Ken451 Member

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    "Highly rated" by whom? The selling industry and their magazine flacks?

    If one is going to use a .32 or .380, I would not use hollow points. If they expand, they do not have nearly enough penetration. Expansion takes energy and also impedes penetration.

    Look at the FBI Quantico Report on Wounding Ballistics (google it). It recommends a minimum of 12-14" penetration. Now look at Winchester's site on Ranger ammo penetration
    http://www.winchester.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/flash-SWFs/law_bullit.swf
    If a .380 expands, penetration is less than 8 inches. If it does not expand, they show 15" penetration. Why spend the money for premium ammo if expansion means inadequate penetration?

    My .32 and .380 are loaded with FMJ. YMMV

    Ken
     
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