I had a P32 and it was pleasant to shoot. When the P3AT came out I "upgunned" to it. It was shocking to me how much more recoil the .380 had compared to the .32. Roughly 50 ft. lbs. of energy makes a hugh difference in recoil in these small guns. Up until recent ammo developments I would have said to go with fmj ammo in the .380. When I was younger and worked in the private security field I saw two people shot with .380 fmj ammo. Although years apart both wer hit in the leg and it broke the femur bone and dropped both of them.
Although they survived it was very nasty. Lots of blood and screaming. Bone fragments through the leg and they definately could not stand with this large bone broken. So as is often said shot placement and sufficient penetration are absolutely necessary. Here's where both the .32 and .380 oftn come up short in JHP's. They either expand but don't penetrate or vice versa. If I had to choos I'd take the penetration any day. As someone once said deep holes are better than large craters. But the current ammo has made the .380 better.
The Hornady in either the XTP or the newer Critical Defense will usually penetrate 10"-11" and expand to about .45 caliber. No it is not the 12" the F.B.I. likes. But 10" and .45 caliber means except on someone hugh it will reach vitals and make a decent hole. Plus Hornady rounds are super accurate and reliable. And the point being I'm going to empty the gun into the bad guys face, neck, and chest as fast as I can. Neither is a gun I would choos as a primary weapon. For the most part my P3AT is my warm weather BUG. Or when it is the only thing I can possibly conceal for whatever reason.
And as far as any of the small caliber just making someone mad bull$#%^!Any round made has spectacular successes and failures. Would I want to only have a .22 or .25 for my main carry weapon. No. But sometimes due to physical limitations that's all some people can use. Empty either one into someones vital areas with solids for penetration and it should take the fight out of them. Somtimes a .45 won't stop someone and a .22 will. But it's always better to be armed with something as opposed to nothing. And lots of folks have been stopped and killed by these small calibr guns. better choices out there??? Yes. But the best choic is always the one you can have with you all the time. Sharp stick???? Hell no most of the time. Run a number two sharpend pencil into someones eye or jugular and it may be enough.