Survivalist Forum - View Single Post - 32 Caliber is The Best for CCW (For Me[For Now])
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Old 06-16-2019, 01:09 PM
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I can sympathize with this decision. When I was looking for a BUG or a deep conceal gun I went through the same line of thought... pocket 380 and call it a day. But beyond feeling a little snappy it could also cause the limp wristing failure to feed malfunction. This is something I experienced in my wife's ccw choice which was a pocket 380 at the time. When I shot it it did fine but she would have a few malfunctions. After doing a bit of research I found that if you dont hold it firm through the recoil then it could be robbed of enough energy that it would not cycle the next round, causing a FTF. She eventually got rid of it and got a Walther PK380..still a 380 but much better grip and ergos. I highly recommend this for people that are recoil sensitive or have trouble racking the slide on an auto loader.
So when it came time to think about a BUG for myself I thought about the 380, but decided to check out a Keltec P-32. It feels very similar to the LCP, but holds one more round (as mentioned by the OP). I liked it enough to buy it for a few reasons.
1. The extra round in the mag vs LCP
2. Less snap due to being slightly smaller caliber
3. Availability of an extended grip 10 round mag.
However, the deciding factor for me to go with the P-32 was the ammo selection.
380 Auto ammo is known for not being reliable in terms of JHP actually expanding. So there is the choice of should I go with more expensive JHP and hope it expands as it should or go with FMJ knowing it will not expand but should have sufficient penetration if placed where it needs to be. Well, that was a bit of a hard decision. With my wife's gun it has a 3.6in barrel and gets 380 rounds to perform better than pocket 380s, but in a really short barrel the results can be poor. So that led me to think about ammo choices in 32 acp. The same principles apply here.. short barrel, reduced velocity and expansion would likely be questionable at best. So I narrowed it down to two ammo choices.
1. Fiocchi JHP
2. Magtech LRN (Lead round nose)

The Fiocchi ammo was light and fast @ around 1100 fps but I think only 60gr. It might expand at that speed but I doubt the penetration would be enough to reliably stop a threat.
So that left the LRN magtech. Less expensive, but with that lead nose it made me think of how lead is rather soft and may very well mushroom a bit when impacting tissue, yet not expand to the point where it slows the projectile enough to stop it short of hitting anything important. Also with the round being a bit underpowered the over penetration risk is probably minimal. I could not find any similar ammo in 380 auto.
So with all things considered I went with a Keltec P-32 as my BUG/deep conceal weapon.
This however comes with a caveat...
I think the ammo choices (with LRN being the winner to me) make the 32acp a decent choice for the application, the platform however was not the best choice. I owned two P-32s. The first was used and a little beat up so I traded for a new one. The new one was great at the range and in my pocket until one day I came home from work and took it out of my pocket only to hear a rattling in the gun. Turned out to be a broken hammer spring (I think). Sent it to get repaired and got it back in about two weeks, but I never trusted it after that.
I'm now still looking for another BUG but think it may just be a 380 due to better manufacturing of the platforms. For what it's worth I also thought the P32 would be good because it was carried in my weak hand front pocket and that hand has been broken a few times so 32 might be easier to shoot too.
OP, the 32 definitely has a spot but make sure it is reliable enough to trust with your life and check it regularly especially if you shoot it a good amount. I don't think they are made as range toys but especially with the 10rd extended mags it can be fun to shoot. YMMV.