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Is the .32ACP Underrated?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by The_Shootist, Jan 9, 2005.

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  1. The_Shootist

    The_Shootist Member

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    I see alot of .32 bashing going on, but am wondering if this cartridge isn't underrated? I don't think I'd like to get hit with 6-7 rounds of this COM.

    Yeah, I'll concede it doen't have the punch of a .45 or even of a 9mm. But really, in the small concealable packages this round comes in (Tomcat/Guardian/P-32/Seecamp) is it really that non-lethal, when trading power for the ability to carry the round "everywhere".

    I mean, didn't the German Police carry this as a sidearm into the '80's? I thought this round was the personal SD choice of John Browning.

    I don't think I'd like to hold off 3-5 gangstas with G19's, but in a low threat environment (ie daylight, suburban, low crime area) is it really all that bad?
     
  2. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    The absolute best round in the world is the one in the gun you are holding at the moment of truth....
    The .32ACP is an anemic round, but has certainly stamped PAID to many criminal accounts over the years. Shot placement is the key, anyway! I carried a CZ70 .32 every so often years ago, and it put that little pill where I wanted it to go, using HydraShok, and I didn't feel too bad. I carry a 9mm now, but if life forced me to go back to that little CZ70, I wouldn't fret too very much.....
     
  3. Erich

    Erich Member

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    I've worked on cases in which people were killed by .32 acps. The one I remember specifically involved four to the chest (and one to the arm), eventually puncturing the aorta. (I can't remember details about the other case or cases.)

    Although I had a KT P-32 (as well as many old surplus .32s over the years, I personally would not carry one, and do not feel the round is underrated. It can kill, but it's not the sort of thing I'd want to rely upon, particularly when an effective 9x19 is not much more difficult to carry. The .32 is an accurate round, however, but it's expensive enough and difficult enough to secure that most folks won't practice with it as much as they would need. If you're going to use a .32 acp, I'd advise FMJ to ensure adequate penetration. Expanding that teensy round isn't going to help much, and - given the miserable energy the thing generates - you want as much penetration as possible.
     
  4. Rem700

    Rem700 Member

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    Nope!
    Why not atleast try a Kahr PM9.
     
  5. Glock19Fan

    Glock19Fan Member

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    Personally, I dont think the .32 caliber cartridges are very bad for self defense, given good shot placement. My only problem is the risk of rimlock.
     
  6. ChuckB

    ChuckB Member

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    Since most hollow point .32's won't expand much out of a mini-barrel, why not just carry FMJ? Then you won't have to worry about rimlock.

    Chuck
     
  7. nordaim

    nordaim Member

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    As others have said, shot placement matters. From what I have seen and read, the .32ACP is just fine as a small "touch" gun, being used in the ranges which most gun fights occur. "Stopping power" and "energy transfer" do not matter, as they are just jargon, you need to do damage to the organs, blood vessels (veins, arteries), and/or nervous system in order to drop an attacker. Shoot often, shoot well, and you should be fine.

    It doesn't matter what you are carrying (.22lr - .500 S&W), if you cannot place your shots, they do not matter, you know?
     
  8. mpthole

    mpthole Member

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    What would be some gun models to look at that are chambered in .32 ACP?
     
  9. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    I have been shooting .32 acp guns for twenty years now and can state with authority that it is NOT my first choice as a defensive handgun cartridge even though I carry a Kel-Tec P32 fairly regularly because it is small and light and I really don't feel that at those moments my chances of getting into a gunfight are at the red zone.

    I those cases the .32 acp is better than nothing and certainly way ahead of the .25 acp.

    I happen to enjoy playing with the pistols that were made for this cartridge rather than having a love affair with the cartridge itself.

    The .32 acp is tricky to reload, proper powder selection, taper crimping, and careful weighing of each charge is neccessary to realize true accuracy.
    I have made fun plinking loads using 00 buckshot swaged to .310 over a 2 grain charge of a very common pistol powder and nine rounds fired downrange look just like a shotgun pattern at all practical ranges.
    Thing is,unlike a shotgun charge, all the pellets don't hit the target at once.

    As a small game cartridge, especially for killing critters that get into outbuildings in the middle of the night it works extremely well.
    One FMJ bullet usually kills with a relatively light report and little muzzle flash.

    I normally use one of my Walther PP pistols for this clandestine activity.
     
  10. McCall911

    McCall911 Member

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    I was reading an older version of "Cartridges of the World" by Frank Barnes and recall a load that he developed using 100-grain Speer .30-caliber Plinker bullets. Makes me wonder why such a load hasn't been offered commercially. if it was "all that."
     
  11. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    The .32 ACP (7.62mm Browning) is an adequate cartridge for the purpose intended. For many years it was a standard among the world’s intelligence agencies, and to a degree still is. I knew a British S.A.S. officer that particularly like the cartridge in combination with the Colt model M (1903 Pocket Model) – the strong point being reliability. He was however, a fantastic marksman, even under stress. He strongly advocated bullet placement over cartridge design, caliber or power. He had considerable experience that wasn’t learned behind a desk, and I still respect his opinions.

    Now the next question is, “are you satisfied with ‘adequate?’ If the answer is “yes†then you’ve answered your own question. If its “no†you need to look further.
     
  12. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    This sort of argument gets made a lot. It doesn't work. Nobody is going to volunteer to be shot with it because it isn't as powerful as bigger cailbers (offer by a Kel Tec owner defending his caliber to let someone volunteer) and sure enough, nobody would like to get hit with 6-7 rounds. Actually, that's 6 or 7. I don't think you can actually get partialy rounds between 6 and 7.

    You gotta like the logic orientation of the statement. Say you use the .32 acp for defense. Just where in your world are you assuming that you are going to get a chance to fire off 6 or 7 rounds that hit your bad guy? What makes you think you will get a chance to fire more than once? Maybe you do get to fire more than once and while shot #4 is going into your attacker and you are starting to pull the trigger for shot #5, your attacker unleashes everything he has without aimng you get hit in the chest by one .45 acp round? What then? Would it have not been a lot nicer that if you had so much time to unload ammo into a bad guy that you unloaded ammo that was more detrimental than a .32 acp and maybe then the bad guy would not have a chance to kill you with a random shot?

    Look, I don't want to get hit by a .25 acp at 100 yards, but that doesn't mean I think it would be a good defense round.
     
  13. jojo

    jojo Member

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    I support the .32 acp, in the with proper placement, it will be fine.

    On the same toked you make a good argument Double Naught Spy. I dont want to get hit with one either :uhoh:

    jojo
     
  14. U.F.O.

    U.F.O. Member

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    I use the strategy that anything .380 caliber or smaller is only used in BUGs. (back up guns) Anything 9mm or larger is used as primary carry weapon or BUG. That said, I won't use a small caliber BUG unless I have a larger primary weapon already on board. If my 25 rounds of .45 ACP wasn't enough or if my gun jams and the threat is still there my Kel-Tec P-3AT comes out of the pocket. For me it's a last hope weapon. My feeling is if gets to the point where I'm shooting .22, .25, .32 or .380 caliber ammunition in an attempt to save my life.....something has gone terribly wrong.

    U.F.O.
     
  15. Alan Fud

    Alan Fud Member

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    The .32ACP is better than a .25ACP but I would only carry one when I'm "not carrying" -- the minimum that I feel comfortable with is either a .38special or a 9mm (.380ACP might be MARGINAL).
     
  16. chaim

    chaim Member

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    I've pretty much decided to steer clear of the .32acp. Sure it might work, but I'd prefer more size and more power (to me 9mm is the minimum for best results, .380acp bare minimum).

    For me, I don't see the point these days. In the price range of the guns you mention, you can go a tad bigger and heavier than the NAA Guardian and get a Guardian in .380. You can go about the same size and weight and get a Kahr PM9 in 9mm. For those on a Kel-tec budget, pay $10-20 more, and put up with an almost indistinguishable weight and size gain, and get the .380acp P-3AT instead of the .32acp P-32.

    There are cases where it makes sense to go smaller. To get a 9mm or .40 the size of a Bersa .380 you have to just about double the price and that isn't in everyone's budget. While there is a 9mm v. 40S&W debate, the differences (if you grant that they are there) aren't that great and you should buy what you like and can best control in that range. 9mm or .40 v. .45acp is a different enough animal that I don't see an either/or situation (.45acp is usually in either a larger gun or you are looking at single stack .45s v. double stack 9s and 40s). However, there are several guns in .380 and 9mm that are similar in size and price to the .32acp guns so unless you absolutely are in love with the platform I wouldn't go that way.
     
  17. Sodbuster

    Sodbuster Member

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    Walther chambers their PPK/S in 32, but I have no idea how it functions.
     
  18. wally

    wally Member

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    If you think of sub-calibers (.25ACP, .32ACP, .380) as single shot shot guns than that fire serially, they are no more underrated than a 2-3/4" 20ga single shot loaded with 0, 00, or 000 buckshot would be if you do your part.

    Practice should be: draw, empty the gun as quickly as possible, then check the "pattern" on the target and decide how well you'd hit with your single shot shotgun.

    Ammo costs of .32ACP is IMHO absurd for what you get.

    --wally.
     
  19. Gunnutz13

    Gunnutz13 Member

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    Is the .32acp underrated...

    No...just underpowered. But seriously Ladies and Germs...as a self defense round, it can be deadly...as can a .22lr, 25acp... you get the idea. Don't own any 32's, but I have a couple of .380's that I have carried CCW when I wanted a small, lightweight, easy to conceal package...but I feel better served carrying my 45. Wouldn't use it for shootin target, but as "belly gun" ammo...it can serve the purpose.

    :evil:
     
  20. McCall911

    McCall911 Member

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    Quote: <<<I have made fun plinking loads using 00 buckshot swaged to .310 over a 2 grain charge of a very common pistol powder and nine rounds fired downrange look just like a shotgun pattern at all practical ranges.>>>

    Whew! I thought I was the only one who recognized the similarity between the .32 ACP and double-aught buckshot! :D
     
  21. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    Yeah! the whole load costs about three cents to make up.
    Shoot a .32 for as cheap as a .22.
    The load will cycle in a couple of my pistols, Walther and an FN 1910/22, but the accuracy is less than awe inspiring.
     
  22. papaone

    papaone Member

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    In some situations, yes.

    I lived in areas where PCP (Angel Dust) was used alot by some criminals. The police left the smaller calibers and went to the .45 ACP. This was several years ago. The smaller calibers would not stop those on this drug, so with the smaller calibers, they shot them 8-12 times before they would go down. This was a big problem if the perp was black (no racial slur intended) as the NAACP would get involved and there was hell to pay. The .45ACP 200gr Speer "flying ashtray" required less rounds to put a man down. :rolleyes:
     
  23. denfoote

    denfoote Member

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    Actually, I'm not sure when they made the final switch. But, it was earlier than the 80's. The event that spelled doom for the Walther PP (32acp) was the killing of Israeli athletes during the 1972 Munich Olympics. The Deutschen realized that the 7.65mm round they had clung to since the twenties did not cut it against the 9mm, especially in a full auto platform.

    The set out to change their sidearm, pronto!! The result was the Walther P5, Sig P6 (225), and the much vaunted HK P7.

    In the mean time, they resurrected the old Walther P38. They changed the name to P1 for political purposes, though. ;)
     
  24. Felonious Monk

    Felonious Monk Member

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  25. Gary A

    Gary A Member

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    Wally wrote, "If you think of sub-calibers (.25ACP, .32ACP, .380) as single shot shot guns than that fire serially, they are no more underrated than a 2-3/4" 20ga single shot loaded with 0, 00, or 000 buckshot would be if you do your part". I partially agree with the caveat that I believe the buckshot has a substantially higher muzzle velocity than the sub-calibers, especially from short-barreled pocket autos. Also, I think some believe that multiple projectiles all hitting at approximately the same time might have more effect than the same hitting serially. Still, I have heard the same kind of argument used for a .22 or .25 likening a magazine of either of those to multiple stabbings with an ice pick. (Not an enticing thought, but it puts those mini-calibers in a different light also.)
     
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