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Kel-Tec P-32, range report

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by MedWheeler, Jun 23, 2011.

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  1. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    Due to the somewhat increasing frequency of occasions in which belt carrying of my PF-9 is not practical, I've decided to get a pocket-carry-capable piece. After much thought, I settled on the KT-P32. Though I considered the P-3AT, I went with this one for the following reason: less snappy (the recoil of my early Grendel P-10, and of my PF-9 push my abilities for quick re-acquisition for follow-up shots), the presence of a slide-lock, and the addition of one round in capacity. Also, in a pinch, my wife, a markedly diminutive lady, could be armed with it.
    Today, I headed to an all-day-pay outdoor range with this gun, my other two carry guns (PF-9 and Bersa Thunder 380), and ammunition. For the P-32, I had only 100 rounds of WWB 71-grain FMJ-FN ammo (the last two WM had in stock.)
    I arrived to find the range closed for a special event, and went instead to an hourly-pay indoor range. Because of the time constraints there, I was now not going to shoot the other guns I also had brought along (two revolvers, and two .22LR autos.)
    Once posted on the line, I loaded up the new KT, and ran a casual-fire session on a silhouette target at a range of 21 feet (7 yards.)
    I found the P-32 to be not entirely without snappish-ness, but it is easily handled. I might have had more issue with it at the outdoor range, as temperatures were well north of ninety degrees,a nd my hands would have been quite sweaty. I could feel the grip on this little scale-tickler wanting to work upward in my hand from time to time.
    About half my shooting was done with one hand. I actually found that to be fairly easy to keep on target, something that I previously had a harder time with on my PF-9. All my rounds were easy to keep in an area suitable for defensive use during offhand fire, about the size of my closed fist if I tried, and the size of my open hand if I didn't.
    I had one case of rimlock. This occurred at probably the 24th round or so (into the fourth magazine.) I've never experienced this before so, of course, the TRB drill didn't work. I removed the magazine, and still could not push the round forward. After manipulating the round downward some, and giving the magazine some firm slaps in my hand, the round was able to be freed. I shot out the rest of the mag, reloaded that round into it, chambered it, and fired it without further issue. The remainder of the session was finished without any other malfunctions.
    I fired a total of 92 rounds, keeping eight left left over for carry use until I can stop back in somewhere and get a more suitable round. I was amazed at how fast I went through them. After searching here for "rimlock", I will likely go with a hot FMJ load such as the Fiocchi, or maybe a S&B one.
    I found the gun to be quite a little delight to shoot, kind of reminding me of my old Jennings J-22 in handling, though I haven't shot that thing in maybe two decades. I had no trouble fully re-setting the trigger (never did on my PF-9, either), even in rapid-fire. I can see this piece being a viable carry option as a pocket-holster gun, and I do already have a PH for it. As with many new Kel-Tec pieces, it has some little burrs and other marks of "unfinishedness" about it, but nothing that hampered function or carry. My PF-9 is much more "finished", but I'm not the original owner of that, so someone may have done a F&B on it before.
    Incidentally, I switched to the PF-9 after shooting the new P-32. The PF-9 is remarkably small but, after spending time with its little sister, it feels like a service weapon, filling my hand and actually showing some heft it was never known to possess before. I also learned during the session that I can actually shoot this thing better than I thought I could. The last two times I shot the 9, I was at the outdoor range, with sweat running into my eyes and all over my hands, and just didn't feel I did as well, coming away with the impression that this is not a "range-time" piece. Not anymore. I really enjoyed it today, even one-handed shooting (something I'd not done before with it.) Rapid-fire, one-handed shooting was even more than just manageable.
    So, that's that. The PF-9 will remain my first carry gun. It has done so since I proofed it more than a year ago when I got it, being on me pretty much any time I am out of bed. But, I am pleased that the P-32 will make an exceptional second option for "shirt-tucked-in" occasions, and maybe even as a BUG or "NY-reload" when the PF-9 is carried, such as during my once-per-week pizza delivery job.
    I will source another magazine for it, though, as that is the fastest way to alleviate a rimlock situation (something I plan to insure doesn't happen again.)
     
  2. FruitCake

    FruitCake Member

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    I have P32 and love it. Had the PF9 and didn't like it all that much to shoot. Might consider a Kahr P9. But I do LOVE my P32.
     
  3. foxmoor

    foxmoor Member

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    I shoot S&B in my P32 and have never had an issue with rimlock. It's an under-rated little shooter - great for pocket carry.

    I have paired my P32 with a Kahr P9 and could not be happier with the combo.

    Kent in MI
     
  4. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Member

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    I have one too, and it does point nice and naturally, and it is surprisingly easy to shoot well.
    Mine doesn't have grip issues with sweaty hands, don't worry too much about that unless you have greasy hands.

    And mine doesn't like the cheapo flat-nose WWB ammo either, you'd want to install a "flyer wire" or the KT HP adapter kit (which I can't seem to find at the moment, I could have sworn they offered such a thing at one point)
    http://www.1bad69.com/keltec/flyerwire.htm
    http://www.ktrange.com/articles/a5/a5.html

    But a hotter euro loading of FMJ is what I use on the rare occasions I need the P32's discretion, I'll take penetration over expansion and if I look carefully at gunshows I can find good ammo at similar prices to what WM charges for WWB.
     
  5. RevolvingGarbage

    RevolvingGarbage Member

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    My friend just bought one for $200 about a month ago. We fired about 60 rounds through it with zero malfunctions.

    Does anyone know of any more ergonomic/aesthetic magazine extensions other than the KT factory offering? Something that looks more like a PPK/S extension?
     
  6. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

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    I've carried my P32 for years; been very reliable. Rimlock usually only happens with shorter JHP rounds, not FMJ. I would only carry a certain round/load after at least 200 trouble-free rounds. I prefer RWS or Prvi Partisan, and I've stocked-up a bit of both.
     
  7. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Member

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    Anything that works for the P-3AT or LCP will work with the P32, and I think some of the Beretta Tomcat mag extensions work too.

    Check out KTOG.org, they would know for sure.
     
  8. toivo

    toivo Member

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    As others have said, it's only shorter rounds that rimlock: hollowpoints or flat-nose. I don't see the magazine adapters on the KT website anymore. I would give them a call and see if they're still available. IIRC, you used to be able to get them for both the 7-round and the 10-round magazines. I bought one for one of my 7-round mags because the flat-nose Winchester White Box stuff seems to be the only kind of .32 I can reliably find in most of the stores around here.
     
  9. orionengnr

    orionengnr Member

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    I had one about five years ago. Never locked open on an empty mag. Bought a new mag, tried a variety of ammo, no change. Contacted K-T, they sent me new springs, new slide stop, no change.

    This was consistent with my three other experiences with K-Ts. F&B, new mags, new springs and parts (always free from K-T), but in the end, still an unreliable firearm.

    I no longer own a K-T, nor will I in the future.

    As far as the .32 cartiridge goes, after firing a P32 and a P3AT back to back, I was rather shocked at the relative lack of power the .32 has (see Newton's Third Law).

    In the interim, I have come to view the 9mm as a minimum, the .380 as marginal, and anything less as unacceptable.

    Those are my conclusions, and I do not expect you to accept them...
     
  10. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    My P32 gets Fiocchi FMJ and gives no trouble after an inital fluff and buff to remove draggy tool marks. I went for a while with a Fiocchi or WW hollowpoint in the chamber and ball in the magazine but concluded that gave no advantage.
     
  11. Jim NE

    Jim NE Member

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    I almost bought a P32 the other day. I really like the P11 I bought recently, but I know they are an acquired taste for some shooters.

    The thing is, before I took the P11 to the range, I tried chambering a few live rounds and ejecting them. I found that some of the 9mm rounds wouldn't chamber, so I took the gun apart and polished smooth the barrel feed ramp, the barrel lug, the chamber rim and other odds and ends. After that, it chambered like a different gun...very reliably. When I took it to the range for the first time a few days later, it worked flawlessly.

    I wonder if that was MedWheelers problem. I like Keltecs, but knowing what I know now, I would never shoot one before polishing it up first.

    Enjoy the P32! Sounds like fun :)
     
  12. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

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    I purchased my P32 as soon as they hit the shelves. Mine has the old style extractor (serial number #013XX), though I've never experienced any extraction issues.
    I've also never experienced rim-lock, though I switched exclusively to FMJ very early on.

    My P32 isn't something I take to the range much, but I do run a box of ammunition though it about once a year. I can't speak much for longevity as mine has a round count of perhaps 700 or so, 90% being of S&B or Fiocchi 73gr FMJ. I'm quite fond of this pistol, as diminutive as it is.

    As for the the performance of .32acp, 7.65 Browning ball ammunition has surprising penetrative capabilities. Though it's obviously best not to compare its ballistics directly to those belonging to the 9mm or .40 S&W, it certainly does shine when compared to other cartridges chambered for pistols of comparable size (mainly .22LR and .25acp).

    I consider my P32 as a "two-to-the-face" pistol and I'm convinced in this regard the P32 will serve as a perfectly capable defensive tool.
     
  13. makarovnik

    makarovnik Member

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    I bought two. I chose it over the P3AT because at the time .32 acp ammo was cheaper and more available. I also like the extra round, last round hold open and low recoil. Trigger goes on forever.
     
  14. pockets

    pockets Member

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    Of the Kel-Tec line; have two P32's (1st & 2nd Gen), two P3AT's, and a PF9....all have been 100% reliable over enough rounds that I have lost count. I only use FMJ in the .32's though...usually S&B or Fiocchi.
    I usually carry a 2nd Gen Kel-Tec P32 more often than any other type/brand.
    .
     
  15. Onward Allusion

    Onward Allusion Member

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    Some thoughts & suggestions...

    - Load the mag very carefully to avoid rimlock. Helps to compare the overall length of various cartridges. There are very slight variations. Avoid having HP in the mag.
    - Load a Buffalo Bore or another "+P" (doesn't really exist for the 32) in the chamber and load the mag with FMJ.
    - Don't believe the S&B numbers. They are fired from a 6 inch barrel whereas most manufacturers use 4" barrels.
    - 10 round mags for the P32 are not ready for prime time. Maybe it's been fixed but as of 6 months ago, none of them worked well for me.
     
  16. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Member

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    Mine work fine with ball ammo of the proper length. I have three of various ages, maybe you bought old stock?
     
  17. verdun59

    verdun59 Member

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    I've had a P32 since they first came out and have never had a problem with it and that's with no F&B. I try to only shoot Fiocchi as it runs very well in it. A soft shooter that will fit in your shirt pocket. Now don't ask me about the P11 I had, had being the operative word.
     
  18. FREERANGETIME!

    FREERANGETIME! Member

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    The lower profile pinkie rests from the Diamondback .380 fit my P3AT mags, it may be worth looking into seeing if they fit the P32 mags, they are similar in profile to the ones on the factory LCP mags. Or you could do like I did and get some of the Pearce extensions and just file and grind on them until you got em how you want em.
     
  19. Quiet

    Quiet Member

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    I've had my 1st gen Kel-Tec P-32 for about 8 years now.

    Over the course of those years, it has had approximately 3000 rounds through it with 4 failure-to-feed stoppages due to problems with a 10 round magazine and 5 failure-to-fire due to trigger reset problems. The failures occurred during the first 500 rounds and Kel-Tec fixed all the problems for free.

    I shot Winchester 60gr "silvertip" JHPs, Winchester 71gr FMJs, Magtech 71gr FMJs, Fiocchi 73gr FMJs, Federal 65gr "hydrashok" JHPs and Federal 71gr FMJs through it. My preferred ammo of choice is the Fiocchi 73gr FMJs.

    It had decent accuracy for being a pocketgun and felt recoil is less than the .380ACP pocketguns.

    I've carried it IWB, ankle, neck chain, cargo pocket and front pocket. I even carried it in a ziplock bag in swim trunks at the pools at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas. It's normally carried in a front pocket in a DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster.

    Overall, I am pleased with the Kel-Tec P-32 in it's role as a pocketgun and I would recommend for anyone looking for a decent pocketgun.
     
  20. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    Orionengnr offered (for whatever reason):

    Then why did you waste our time, and yours, posting them? Actually, you are wrong; I certainly accept them as your conclusions. (I just don't see where anyone asked for them.) If you had a bad experience with a KT firearm, fine. Post that if you want. As you can see by the 16 or so posts above, you are grossly outnumbered. As you admit, neither I nor anyone else here is going to run out and trade in our P-32s for what you recommend.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2011
  21. franco45

    franco45 Member

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    Yup, conclusions are like, oh wait those are opinions. Well maybe some people can't tell the difference between an opinion and a conclusion. I had 2 P32s. I gave one to my nephew and sold the other to a friend. Both were utterly reliable. I guess I learned not to 'limp wrist' a Kel-Tec. I am waiting for number 3 to show up at my FFL. ;)
     
  22. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Member

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    Gees, I limpwristed one of my KT..
    A P40

    As for the P32
    Great gun, one of the Most 'Mosts' for me
    most concealable
    Most rounds
    most shootable
    most liked carry guns

    Once again, these are JUST my opinions.
     
  23. CDW4ME

    CDW4ME Member

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    I had a Kel-Tec 32 a couple of years ago. It worked fine.

    This is what I got in terms of power, average for 5 shots:
    Silvertip 60 gr. @ 839 fps = 94# KE
    Hydra-Shok 65 gr. @ 804 fps = 93# KE

    Using the same chrono, at the same, time Kel-Tec P3AT:
    Gold Dot 90 gr. @ 841 fps = 141# KE
    Hydra-Shok 90 gr. @ 845 fps = 143# KE

    P3AT still rides in pocket, 50% increase in KE just too much to ignore.

    At least now you have an idea of the power (KE) your possibly obtaining if you didn't before.
     
  24. jdh

    jdh Member

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    Fiocchi 60 gr. XTP fills the mag and feeds fine in mine.

    Come on now people. Everybody knows the 32 ACP will pick the bad guy up and throw him back 50 yards from 200 yards away and can cause devastation equal to a small tactical nuke at closer ranges. Just watch any James Bond movie it you need confirmation.
     
  25. Ohioan

    Ohioan Member

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    Round on the ends, HIGH in the middle.. oHIo
    Any one know if Fiocchi makes an EMB. ( expanding mono block) in. 32? That would probably work well. In 9mm it gives good expansion and penetration in a 91 or 92 grain bullet.
     
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