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Old 06-15-2019, 01:10 PM
Bobcat In The Woods Bobcat In The Woods is offline
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Default 32 Caliber is The Best for CCW (For Me[For Now])



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Afternoon all.

Now that I have your attention, there are a few things I want to get out of the way.
1) I didn't get rid of my 9mm, and my full size Beretta is still my SHTF/fun at the range/OWB gun. I personally believe 9mm is the best SHTF handgun caliber, not anything 32.
2) I'm not going to claim that my choice to switch my EDC to 32 caliber handguns is a good choice for everyone.
3) 32acp is not "just as good" as any standard carry caliber (22lr/25acp being excepted).

Okay, now with that taken care of, here's the deal:

I have a new job that is less than friendly with carrying a firearm. There's no direct policy saying you can't, but it is pretty heavily frowned on. It's also fairly physical. Those, coupled with it being summer, kind of rule out my Beretta 92 as an EDC.
My original plan had been to just grab an LCP for pocket carry and be done with it - until the last 24 hours.

My girlfriend is not a gun person. She's not anti-gun: she enjoys going to the range and watching me shoot, or to the gunshop to drool over expensive 1911s, she just doesn't care to shoot herself.
But last night while I was over at her place after dinner, I happened to be scrolling through my phone, and a picture of a Charter Arms Undercoverette in purple came up. Her immediate response was "Oo, I might shoot that one." Which was music to my ears.
So we had a bit of a discussion about guns and calibers and CCW, and watched some Lucky Gunner videos, and decided that I'm going to buy one for her in the next couple months, in 32 H&R Magnum.

But why the 32 over the 38? Well, part of why she doesn't want to shoot much is recoil. She's recoil-shy. So 38 Special, even with lightly loaded wadcutters is kind of stiff in a lightweight revolver.

By comparison, 32 H&R is pretty tame, and can also shoot 32 S&W long/short, and 32 ACP (I'm going to come back to this last point in a minute) for lighter recoil practice. Also, the 32 holds 6 instead of 5 rounds, which for someone who frankly isn't going to practice a lot with their gun, nor is likely to carry a reload, could come in handy.

Now, how does this change my carry options? Well, I had the opportunity to shoot an LCP this morning, and the experience was...not what I'd hoped. I liked the size and feel of the gun, but by the end of the first magazine it wasn't fun anymore. Call me a sissy, but 380 was too much cartridge in that little thing for me. I want to practice with it a lot, and get some semblance of proficiency. I wouldn't be able to do that with the LCP.

So I like the size/weight and feel of the LCP, but not the caliber. Well, Kel-Tec has a solution in the shape of the P32, which is virtually identical, but in 32ACP. It also carries 1 more round than the LCP, and has a last round hold open (I like that). And the frosting on the cake, I can just bring 32ACP to the range for plinking, trigger control/sight picture work, etc. This is helpful because 32ACP is a lot cheaper around here than 32 S&W or 32 H&R ($17/50 vs $30/50 and $24/20).

The Caliber Wars crowd is going to chime in now, talking about ballistics jello, underpowered cartridges, "what-ifs," etc. And here's my answer to them: I don't care. We can have a discussion on tactics and power ratings later. Right now, the 32 in my pocket is infinitely better than the 9mm under lock and key in my truck.

So there we go. For me, at this point in time, 32 caliber pistols make a lot of sense.
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Old 06-15-2019, 01:38 PM
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The pistol you have with you is way better than the one in the car, which is better than the one at home.

A 32 ACP with good bullets could work if you can place them in good spots. 32 S&W is like throwing rocks IMHO.
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Old 06-15-2019, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Bobcat In The Woods View Post
I have a new job that is less than friendly with carrying a firearm. There's no direct policy saying you can't, but it is pretty heavily frowned on. It's also fairly physical. Those, coupled with it being summer, kind of rule out my Beretta 92 as an EDC.
It sounds like we work in similar circumstances. Our company does have a no firearms policy, as did most other places Ive ever worked. I think thats more the lawyers covering everyone's ass type thing, but whatever. We work in a number of places that tend to restrict that sort of thing too. Our work is usually, hard, physical work, outdoors, for 10-12 hours on a short day.

Due to the NPE thing, I normally wear my Glock 26 with a reload in my Smart Carry while actually working, and leave my 17 in the car. If the weather is cooler, and Im wearing a sweatshirt and/or bibs, then Ill often just wear the 17 AIWB.

I used to carry my Seecamp as the BUG, until I realized I could carry the 26 with its reload, in the same type holster, with no problem. That was the last time I carried the Seecamp.

Everyone needs to do what they are most comfortable with doing. I just think a lot of people dont understand, that they dont have to go to a minimalist gun, simply because they cant carry as they normally would, for a larger gun.

We have so many more choices these days, in both guns and gear, that a reasonable and realistic compromise, should not be any problem.
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Old 06-15-2019, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Bobcat In The Woods View Post
Afternoon all.

So there we go. For me, at this point in time, 32 caliber pistols make a lot of sense.
Sounds good to me. IMO the gun must fit the shooter. Sounds to me like you touched all the bases to be considered.
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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.
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Old 06-16-2019, 01:30 PM
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So I like the size/weight and feel of the LCP, but not the caliber. Well, Kel-Tec has a solution in the shape of the P32, which is virtually identical, but in 32ACP. It also carries 1 more round than the LCP, and has a last round hold open (I like that). And the frosting on the cake, I can just bring 32ACP to the range for plinking, trigger control/sight picture work, etc. This is helpful because 32ACP is a lot cheaper around here than 32 S&W or 32 H&R ($17/50 vs $30/50 and $24/20).
I have already tried the 32acp in a revolver thing. You can do that if you don't expect much in the way of accuracy. But it will go bang and make noise. But so will firecrackers and they are even cheaper.

If you want a 32 caliber revolver then plan on shooting ammo designed to fit in it. Not some sloppy fitting too short case with an undersized bullet. If you want your girlfriend to have fun shooting and get the thrill of shooting and hitting the target then plan on buying the correct ammunition for the gun.

I shoot a lot of 32 and if I bought factory ammo it would be pricey. But I cast most of the bullets I shoot and reload my own ammo. I can shoot for about the price of 22lr ammo.
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Old 06-16-2019, 05:38 PM
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The .32 caliber historically has been very popular! I believe that there is/was a reason for that!

Yes it’s not as impressive as the larger ones, but it saw a lot of folks through a time exponentially more dangerous than today!

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Old 06-16-2019, 02:55 PM
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Get what ever she has confidence in and can shoot accurately. Better to be carried, with one in the chamber and hit your mark, than sitting in the center consul in the car.
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Old 06-16-2019, 09:10 PM
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the .32 gets underestimated.. greatly.. it gets lumped into the same category as 22 and 25 erroneously.. the 32 can do out of a pistol what it takes those two a full on rifle to achieve.. fact is, the 32acp is comparable to the .380acp and there is a reason for this

we started out with .32acp guns, .32acp has a CIP pressure of 23,000 (20,500 for saami and why US ammo is weaker, and likely to blame for some of the bad rep). when 380 was designed though, it was designed to utilize existing 32acp guns and was designed on one.. this meant that the .380ACP had to meet some of the limitations of a .32acp gun, meaning the same amount of blowback forces as .32acp by reducing pressure to compensate for the greater surface area at the bottom of the inside of the case, but also making it rimless, so that the .380 would share roughly the same rim diameter as the .32 meaning they didnt really need new extractors or a larger breech section milled out for the cartridge, nor a larger magwell

so, proper spec 32acp ammo is pretty close to the capabilities of .32, and far, FAR above and beyond anything a .25 could hope to achieve.. and consider this.. consider you can get bullet weights similar to a .380 at roughly the same 1,050fps velocity, the 32acp carrying that weight in a smaller diameter projectile is going to translate into penetrating as well, if not a little better

but another thing i like about .32acp though is the collectable factor of it.. there is so much variety in .32 cal guns from the first half of the 20th century, most of it still affordable, most .380 options are civilian only options, and usually from the later half.. it was just never as popular as the 32 until fairly recently
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Old 06-16-2019, 09:15 PM
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I'm a 32ACP fan, have numerous pistols in the caliber.
That said, if it's a J-frame sized weapon, I'd want a 327Fed or 38spl.

You know what's incredibly easy to carry? A KelTec P32. Cheap too.
I carry one in scrubs... think about that.
Plus, I get 8 rounds vs. 6? in a revolver.
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Old 06-16-2019, 09:55 PM
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i wish there were better modern carry options for a .32 than a crummy keltec though
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Old 06-17-2019, 05:30 AM
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Double Post!

SD
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Old 06-17-2019, 05:31 AM
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Originally Posted by justin22885 View Post
i wish there were better modern carry options for a .32 than a crummy keltec though
Seecamp, Beretta Tomcat, Walther PP/PPK ect!

SD
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Old 06-17-2019, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by SheepDog68 View Post
Seecamp, Beretta Tomcat, Walther PP/PPK ect!

SD

I can't think of a better 32 then the Beretta Tomcat. Get an inox widebody, and it's the last 32 you'll ever buy. If the ammo was cheaper, and I could find a Tomcat for a good price, I'd snap it up in a heartbeat.
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Old 06-17-2019, 07:35 AM
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and I could find a Tomcat
You could have stopped there. I haven't seen a new or used one for sale in a very long time.
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Old 06-17-2019, 08:23 AM
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Bobcat, I applaud your choice of gun. The .32 is a great caliber in spite of what the gun shop guru's and the sheep that follow them think. In fact, the most popular gun among the O.S.S. personal that got dropped into Nazi occupied France was the Browning designed Colt pocket model in .32acp.

Growing up in an inner city less than good neighborhood, there was a lot of guns on the street. Small .25's, .32's, and the ubiquitous .22 RG revolvers were common. They all killed or seriously wounded people. My friend Al was killed by a teenage punk with a Raven .25 auto. One shot right in the chest at arms length and that was it. My friend Eli was shot in the stomach with a .22 revolver and lived, but he was down on the pavement in agony. Getting shot by ANYTHING is very bad and maybe fatal. A .32 will do just fine. Don't get caught up in the caliber wars, most people have never been shot or even seen someone shot and just parrot off what they read on the internet or here from the idiots at the local gun shop.

As for the Ruger LCP, yes its a bit snappy, but the addition of a Hogue grip sleeve does wonders at taming it down a bit. Our daughter has one, and at first I didn't like it, but after two boxes through it after the addition of the grip sleeve I actually began to like it. Not enough to buy one, but the daughter loves it and it's her carry gun. My own preferences the NAA .22 mini revolver as a "get off me" gun. Look at the video from the president Reagon shooting and keep in mind Hinckly used a 39.95 RG .22 revolver. Nobody shot was up and doing the Walter Houston Jig because it was only a .22.

You've made a great choice!

Pay no attention to the keyboard commando's who have never shot anyone in their life or been present at a real shooting. If you ever have to use that gun, it will be at arms length, if that. Almost all assaults take place at bad breath range.
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Old 06-17-2019, 10:34 AM
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I can't think of a better 32 then the Beretta Tomcat. Get an inox widebody, and it's the last 32 you'll ever buy. If the ammo was cheaper, and I could find a Tomcat for a good price, I'd snap it up in a heartbeat.
Beretta Tomcat in either the original blued version or the wider, heavy-slide INOX version WILL FAIL eventually when shooting Euro-CIP ammunition. I shot two of them to destruction. Frame cracks through thin section above trigger pivot and also at hinge pin. My original blued version failed before it reached 1000 rounds. The INOX version Beretta USA replaced it with went about 2000 rounds before the frame cracked. See the photo.

My deep cover backup now is original model Ruger LCP, DAO. I don't care for the LCPII with its Glock-style trigger, because I am an old wheelegun guy and want a DA pull like I am used to. Shot the heck out of my first one right away. After 1000 round shakedown with no bobbles, I bought a second one as New York Reload. DOn't use LCP as a primary carry, but as backup, low profile "Church Gun" and summertime walking down the beach bathing suit and flip-flops gun.

Better .380 pistol for carry is the SIG P230. Back in the 1980s these were a popular choice for SWAT, etc. to carry as backup under body armor. FBI-HRT, SAS, DEA and US Marshalls all had them. Shot one at Quantico instructor had, ended up with 3 of them! Most accurate .380 I have ever owned, a wee bit lighter and very slightly smaller than a Walther PP. P230 is more reliable than the Walther. IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP if you have a German former police Walther PP replace the safety NOW before it fails!

I love my P230s. Again not as primary carry, but when on travel if companions are a carrying .380 rather than .38/.357, when in Rome do like the Romans do. I also have a P230 chambered in .32 ACP for the same reason. The .32 ACP P230 gets over 1200 fps with S-B steel-core PS Ball from its 10cm barrel and 1000 fps with 90-grain Hornady XTP .309" with 3 grains of AutoComp. No difference in energy than .380 ACP.

I don't know for a fact, but heard from retired DEA who has them that the later P232 with its MIM parts is a less reliable in heavy use than the original P230. The older models can be found on GunBroker used for $300-400. Original SIG mags are pricey, but the Pro-Mags work OK in my two .380s. The .32 ACP version requires SIG mags, for which I have five bought in Germany when I was last there.
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Old 06-18-2019, 04:41 PM
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i wish there were better modern carry options for a .32 than a crummy keltec though
Mine's been 100%. It's not a target gun by any means, but goes bang every time. There are ten round mags too, and I usually carry one as a reload.

The real limiter is the sights. They're rudimentary, at best. But IMHO, it's a belly gun, as in, I stick in the BG's belly (or his ear...) and pull the trigger till the threat goes away.
It'd also work fine for covering fire while I unass the AO if there was a mass shooting event or something. Being able to return fire turns a shooting gallery into a two way range. Big difference.

If you want something almost as small and better quality, I have a Seecamp in 32ACP too. It's heavier, and wider, but very nice quality. My Beretta Tomcat is another great option for the caliber, but again, a little larger and heavier.
The KT makes great sense for me to carry as it's tiny and really light. Perfect for scrubs.

I also have a Kahr CM9 for a small 9mm option. Shoots like a much larger gun. A CM380 is really tiny too, want to get one but I have no real need for it, like that's ever stopped me...
(Not sure if I remember correctly, but maybe you had a bad Kahr experienence?).
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Old 06-18-2019, 05:00 PM
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the 32 you may be able to get away with a lighter frame, im not sure how id feel about the reliability of them being recoil operated like the kel tec.. i'd have to look into the beretta or the seecamp as alternatives, but if i was going to carry a .32 i'd likely end up doing so with a CZ70
The Kel-Tec is not a fixed barrel that is recoil operated. It has the same short recoil Browning design lock up as most of the larger guns like a Glock and 1911.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kel-Tec_P-32

The Kel-Tec 32 I owned was a very nice soft shooting gun. The only reason I sold it was because I didn't like the two tone look with the silver slide and black frame. I wish I hadn't done that.

The Walther/Manhurin PP I own is heavier than the Kel-Tec by 15 oz and is a blow back design but is a ***** cat to shoot because of the extra weight. A nice, flat easy to carry gun.
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Old 06-18-2019, 05:12 PM
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The later post-1960 manufacture steel-frame Colt Detective Special or Police Positive in .32 Colt New Police and the post-1957 S&W Models 30 and 31 will stand up to high volume use of heavier loads, approaching .32 H&R Magnum levels, whereas the alloy-frame Cobra or Agent, old S&W Hand Ejectors and prewar Colts will not.
Nice post Outpost75. I have three S&W 32 long revolvers. All new made guns. I have two model 30-1 with a 2" and a 3" barrels and a model 31-1 with a 4" barrel. The model 31 was the gun I tried shooting 32acp in and it was a total waste of ammunition. I couldn't hit a damn thing with it. So I bought dies brass and bullets and never tried 32acp again.

With proper fitting ammo its a real pleasure to shoot. And since my guns are newer I load them up closer to their potential in power. I am getting 850fps from the 2" barrel with a 94gr lead bullet. And I am still not quite up to some of the published loads I have seen for these guns. But thats good enough. Even Speer shows over 1,000fps with a 60gr bullet intended for the 32acp from a 32 long S&W revolver.

32 Long factory loads are kept at wimp loads for the really old, weak top breaks designed for BP loads that are still floating around. To really get the most from a 32 long you need to hand load.
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