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OPINION: What Do You Believe To Be The Best .32 Auto Ever Made?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by SharpsDressedMan, Jun 16, 2013.

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  1. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    I've been scanning gunshows and the internet looking at different .32/ 7.65mm semi autos made though out the last hundred or so years, and just wondered what you might have to say about quality/construction, design, and performance from the little .32's. I currently have a Colt 1903, and German made Walther PPK, and both are fine guns. I have shot or owned a dozen or more, and handled dozens of others. What has come to the forefront of your experiences?
     
  2. ryan3465

    ryan3465 Member

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    The Colt 1903 is a great .32. I really enjoy the NAA automatics in .32 ACP as well.
     
  3. kBob

    kBob Member

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    The Ne Plus Ultra. OK ok a Little Tom......

    Sorry just teasing. I would say whichever one you have with you when you really need one.

    I like the Colts and the FN Brownings (1910 &1922) but your PPk and the PP are nice in their own ways Shoot I even like Spanish "Ruby" steel bricks. Gosh there are a lot of prewar (WWII) eastern European .32s and all can be fun. The Bayard in .32 ACP was as small as most .25s and until recent technology made guns smaller was a hoot just to make folks eyes bug out.

    Just to have, I think if only one .32 ACP was to be allowed I would have to go with a Colt like you already have though.

    -kBob
     
  4. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    The Colt Model 1903 is the most rugged and reliable and the best made, if those are the only criteria. But the Walther PP and PPK are better for carry because of the double action first shot. Other guns are also reliable but most are German and tend to be "gadgety" (over-engineered). Another solid and reliable gun is the Beretta Model 1935 (the M1934 in 7.65).

    Jim
     
  5. Hurryin' Hoosier

    Hurryin' Hoosier Member

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    Beretta Modello 1935.
     
  6. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    Forgot about the 1935 Beretta. That and the Beretta 70 in .32 are both super nice guns, and a few 1935's were made with an alloy frame, making them sweet to carry. You really have to look hard for the lightweight versions.
     
  7. wnycollector

    wnycollector Member

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    +1 on the Beretta 1935. My wife has her grandfather's WWII bring back 1935 and it is a spectacular little pistol.
     
  8. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    I have a 1903 Colt and a Walther PP they are my two favorites. My Seecamp was made like a swiss watch. I also had a Beretta Tomcat that was nice to carry and easy to shoot they have a frame cracking issue though.
    There are many other well made 32s out there I know my CZ82 is a great gun and although I've never even seen a 83 in 32acp, they did make them and I can't imagine it wouldn't be a great gun.
     
  9. Rittmeister

    Rittmeister Member

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    I had a Femaru for a while, chambered in 7.65mm. My grandfather brought it home from France after WWII. He told me that his buddies "wanted a Mauser off a dead German" but he found this pistol, with holster and spare mag, on a windowsill in a deserted village that his unit moved through. However he got it, he gave it to me along with a document certifying it as a war trophy when he and my grandma broke up the house and moved to a retirement community.

    The gun was solid, easy to use/disassemble, and accurate as all-get-out. Sadly it was stolen from my apartment 10 or 11 years ago. I filed a police report but nothing came of it :(
     
  10. wow6599

    wow6599 Member

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    I'll get trashed for saying this, but I think Kel-Tec has the best in their P32.

    For the cartridge, I like the KT weighing in at around .5 lb vs 1.5 lb for say a Colt 1903 or a Beretta 1935.

    Now, if you want a nostalgic firearm, my logic doesn't apply.

    JMHO, and as always, YMMV.
     
  11. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

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    Don't forget the Remington Model 51
     
  12. Archaic

    Archaic Member

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    I love my Kel-Tec and my PPK . . .

    . . . of course they are both .380s

    ;)
     
  13. 788Ham

    788Ham Member

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    Beretta 1935, 7.65. Mine came with a leather flap holster and spare mag also, no German markings on it, or holster. This little pistol shoots like a dream, paid $300 OTD from a pawn shop.
     
  14. rondog

    rondog Member

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    I have a 1914 Mauser Pocket Pistol, and a French MAB Model C, both .32. Ain't making any claims to greatness for either, just thought I'd mention them. The Mauser is a complex little gun, and the MAB is kinda odd too.
     
  15. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    The Beretta Model 90 Roma has got to be one of the sweetest handling and sleekest styled .32 autos ever made.
     
  16. camsdaddy

    camsdaddy Member

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    I liked my P32 as well. For a .32 it was about as good as I could imagine
     
  17. hedrok

    hedrok Member

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    My Seecamp .32 is a constant companion in the spring, summer and early fall. Completely disappears in the pocket of my shorts...in a holster, of course.
    A 1934 Beretta is next...another really reliable pistol.
     
  18. usp9

    usp9 Member

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    My vote would go to the Beretta 81 because it is beautiful, reliable, accurate and has world class ergonomics.

    The Walther PP, also world class, and in the same breath the Sig P230, similar to the PP but lighter and a better grip.

    A honorable mention to the CZ83. If it were more reliable it would be a great one.

    Seecamp because it set the mark for pocket guns.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2013
  19. Mike OTDP

    Mike OTDP Member

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    Everybody else has hit on most of my choices, though I think the Sauer 38h is a nice gun.

    What amazes me is that there are so many good options for a .32 pistol.
     
  20. rodinal220

    rodinal220 Member

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    1907 Dreyse :D
     
  21. golden

    golden Member

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    You named two of the best

    SHARPS,

    You named two of my favorite .32ACP pistols. I real like to shoot the COLT 1903. The all steel construction, slim grips and good ergonomics make this a fun range gun. It will last well past my lifetime. Mine will even shoot hollowpoint without a problem. It is 100% reliable with WINCHESTER Silvertip and FIOCCHI jhp. The downside is that original COLT magazines are very pricey! Over $100.00 each is not unusual.

    The WALTHER PPK on the other hand, is a great carry gun to me and I carry it often. It is just small enough and light enough for pocket carry, but is large enough to shoot well and not kick too bad. Mine has been 100% reliable withut any problems with trigger bite. The trigger could use some work and the sights on my pre-war model are on the small side.

    I also have a BERETTA model 82 for a range and car gun. This is an Israeli police trade in, but in good conditon. I got it for @$200.00. It shoots as well as the .380 caliber models and kicks even less, like a light weight .22lr.
    It has a great trigger, very good sights and a grip that is large enough for very good control, yet the alloy frame makes it light enough to never weigh you down. Finding mags is the only problem with this gun. The only downside is that it is big for a .32ACP.

    My other .32ACP carry gun is a BERETTA Tomcat. I love the tip up barrel feature and the handling. The trigger is good and the sights much better than those on the micro pistols and the gun is just big enough not to have any control issues like the micro pistols.
    Also, it has been very reliable. It is 100% with COR BON Powerball and FIOCCHI jhp. I usuall keep a Hydra Shok round in the chamber though.
    The only down side is the cracking issue that I keep hearing about, but I have not seen it and am on my third Tomcat. The wife took my first one after handling it.

    I know that stopping power is always an issue with this caliber, but I used to carry a S&W J frame or CHARTER ARMS Undercover, both in .38 Special and they were much less concealable than the Tomcat and about the same size as the PPK
    A SIG 232 in .380ACP is my preferred pocket pistol, but you cannot always hide it. Then the PPK. Both are more controllabe for me than the 5 shot .38's with a larger magazine capacity and quicker, easier reload.

    I will try to find a BERETTA model 81 or CZ 83 in .32ACP if I can. They should be interesting.

    Jim
     
  22. MasterSergeantA

    MasterSergeantA Member

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    Vz. 61 Skorpion?
     
  23. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    Why do they need heavy DA triggers when they have manual safeties? I understand DA/SA in a decock only pistol, or DAO in a pistol with no manual safety, but DA/SA with a safety has always seemed superfluous to me.

    Which brings us back to the OP's criteria:
    usp9 mentioned the LWS32 because it set the mark for pocket guns. I see where he's coming because it did inspire direct competitors in the form of the NAA Guardian and Autuaga - now MPA Protector, but I disagree. The LWS pistols inspired competition from a couple of other small, niche market companies.

    I'll argue that anything an LWS32 can do, a KelTec P32 can do just as well in a thinner, lighter, less expensive package. The P32 lead to the P3AT, and those two KelTecs really did set the mark for pocket guns. Those little pistols lead to the almost direct clone in the form of the Ruger LCP, the slightly further tweaked LCP clone Taurus TCP, and the unique S&W Bodyguard 380 that competes with them in the same segment. KelTec did what Seecamp couldn't - they made the industry heavy weights take notice by bringing the pocket gun mainstream.

    The KT P32 is the best pocket / deep concealment .32 Auto that's been made thus far. It may not be the prettiest in terms of fit and finish, but it performs, and the design was revolutionary. It's also a two edged sword: The radically small size and weight of the P32 (particularly for a locked breech pistol) paved the way for its ever so slightly bigger .380 ACP P3AT brother that may have already done to .32 ACP what .32 ACP did to .25 ACP.

    Stepping up in size there's the SIG P230 that's already been mentioned. It's far more controllable than the pocket rockets, but it's still quite thin and light. The ergos and control layout of the P230 are what the PP / PPK should have evolved into had Walther bothered to improve upon them and correct known issues like slide bite. The build quality is also excellent on the P230.

    Going up to the biggest mainstream .32 Autos, the 3/4 scale service pistols as I like to think of them, goes to the Beretta 81 Cheetah. I still think the decock safety is excessive, particularly on a pistol this size because it will almost certainly ride in a belt holster which covers the trigger guard completely when it's carried. Everything else on the 81 is right though. The ergos are great, the safety lever is mounted at the top rear of the frame on a rear edge pivot pin, the sights are good, and the pistol is accurate and reliable. The entire Cheetah series are also very well built, and very nicely fit and finished. The 81 also offers 12 rounds in a very soft shooting package for those who are recoil averse or may have conditions restricting their physical ability to handle recoil.

    Those are the three that rise to the top for me in their respective categories.
     
  24. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Member

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    I might be a little prejudice, but I'd say my Wife's 1903 Colt.:)

    [​IMG]
     
  25. meanmrmustard

    meanmrmustard Member

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    Walther PPK hands down.
     
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