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Old August 6, 2008, 09:25 AM   #1
Anibal
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.380 ACP and .32 ACP Stopping Power.

Does it exist a difference in stopping power between these two calibers? Is the .32 ACP worst than the .380 as a defensive caliber?, or is it almost the same?


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Old August 6, 2008, 09:27 AM   #2
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Neither is optimal. Of the two the .32 has better penetration generally, so that would probably be my pick. I use .38 special in small guns as it is more effective than either of the two calibers you mention.
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Old August 6, 2008, 09:48 AM   #3
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I agree with 45shooter, the .38 special in a small gun is way more effective than those two calibers. You will hear from .380 enthusiasts who dispute this fervently, but the real life tests have shown the .38 special is above the .380 in defensive situations.
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Old August 6, 2008, 10:05 AM   #4
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The question was ...

... about .32 vs .380 and it did not include .38sp, did it?

To answer your question, this is my experience with both of the calibers in question.

Both .32 and .380 penetrate about the same in standard hollow-points with the edge going to .380 as producing a slightly larger wound channel. The problem with both is the lack of reliable expansion of the hollow-point. Now, when you compare solid bullets, the .380 really shines over the .32 both in penetration and wound size. The .380 SFN (solid flat-nose) is gaining in popularity with many who utilize a .380 for self protection. It will generally penetrate twelve to fourteen inches in many standard test and the flat-nose tends to create as much (degrees of) damage as a hollow-point does in the same low performing caliber.

Nothing is a "man stopper" in any pistol caliber although some tend to exhibit a quicker "slowdown" than others if that makes any sense. Shot placement trumps all irrespective of caliber employed.
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Old August 6, 2008, 11:05 AM   #5
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OK, seems like I was mistaken regarding .32 vs. .380; it does seem that .380 offers a small advantage after reading a bit. I had always heard the opposite, but I guess it doesn't matter.

Quote:
... about .32 vs .380 and it did not include .38sp, did it?
No, but many don't realize the advantage .38 offers out of the shorter barrels. .32 and .380 are considered by most to be less than optimal; .38 is considered to be quite a bit more effective than most calibers in small guns.

Since the OP is obviously looking into pocket guns, I thought I'd make sure he was aware of this fact. Kel-tecs and LCP's are not that much smaller than a J-frame, so if you're willing to have just a bit larger gun that's more reliable anyhow, the .38 is a great option.
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Old August 6, 2008, 11:17 AM   #6
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.32 and .380 are considered by most to be less than optimal;
But better than nothing. NO round is a 100% one shot stopper. ANY round can stop, given proper shot placement, which is mandatory with any caliber.

I'd rather shoot the BG in the eye with a .32 than in the arm with a .45 ACP.

Given all that, larger, more powerful rounds are generally more effective.
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Old August 6, 2008, 11:20 AM   #7
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No problem ...

... It's just these type of threads tend to vear off rather quickly into LaLa land without staying on topic.
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Old August 6, 2008, 11:23 AM   #8
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Who makes that .380 SFN in a commercial loading?
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Old August 6, 2008, 11:23 AM   #9
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there is little difference. I have owned 380s in the past and now own 2 32s. I've found that the Fiocchi 60 gr SJHP is an Ideal load for me. it doesn't really expand as the jacket is too thick the exposed lead tip just flattens out creating a wadcutter like profile and still penatrates 16" + in jello.
BTW it's a very hot load as well and chronos 1000 fps from my seecamp Speer and WW STs barely break 800.

As to the 38 yes IMHO it's better but I can carry a seecamp in a speedo LOL:barf:.
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Old August 6, 2008, 11:26 AM   #10
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Golden sabers in the 380 expand EVERYTIME BIG and penetrate deep for a smaller gun. 10 inches in thick meat. Check them out. highly recommended.

http://www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/view...ghlight=mother
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Old August 6, 2008, 11:44 AM   #11
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Winchester ...

... makes a SFN in White Box. Buffalo Bore also offers a hot-tie in SFN. My shooting is with my Seecamps and Sigs and are actual real world results. I have not shot any ammo with Golden Sabers and I used the term "general" to describe my experiences. Other's results will vary and everyone should always do their own testing to satisfaction. Just makes sense.
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Old August 6, 2008, 11:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Who makes that .380 SFN in a commercial loading?
Winchester's .380 FMJ is actually a truncated cone.
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Old August 6, 2008, 11:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
but I can carry a seecamp in a speedo LOL.


The revolver might be able to replace the rolled up sock though
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Old August 6, 2008, 12:12 PM   #14
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That's what I carry most of the time. Col. Cooper says such guns should be used like "eyedroppers." Shot placement is critical, as is an extra mag. Anything worth shooting once with a small pistol is worth shooting 5 or 6 times.
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Old August 6, 2008, 01:07 PM   #15
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I "consider" a .38 Special to be more effective than the small auto calibers. However, I find it easier to get hits with a light auto than I do a short light revolver. My Colt Government Model .380 is a much more shootable gun than my S&W 640. Wish they still made the PPK/L .32.
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Old August 6, 2008, 01:41 PM   #16
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Anything worth shooting once with a small pistol is worth shooting 5 or 6 times.
That's a great point. My main summer carry is a .38 snub but I recently bought a Ruger LCP for pocket carry. The .32 and .380 aren't ideal rounds, but I'd give the edge to the .380 for overall energy. With that said, with the smaller rounds, as noted above, if someone is worth shooting once, they are worth a reload. I always carry a spare mag.
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Old August 6, 2008, 02:41 PM   #17
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All the charts and stats in the World can only give you a vague idea what will actually happen in your particular shooting incident. The target and the circumstance will determine whether or not your chosen round "does" what it's supposed to do...that's one variable that cannot be forecast.....Zebulon
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Old August 6, 2008, 02:47 PM   #18
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As to the 38 yes IMHO it's better but I can carry a seecamp in a speedo LOL
"Is that a pistol in your pocket or are you just glad to see me" - Mae West

The .38 spcl. is definitely a stronger PD round. However, given the size of the super-compact .380s like the Keltec and Ruger, the concealability factor must be weighed into the equation.
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Old August 6, 2008, 03:10 PM   #19
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There is also the variable of gun weight and sharp corners. It's pretty important after your shaking hand misses all 7 shots to be able to chunk the gun at the assailant.
Polymer sucks in a life or death gun throwing battle! I want a heavy and sharp badly finished 38. Preferably rusty.
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Old August 6, 2008, 08:21 PM   #20
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I've had small .38 wheelguns and didn't think they concealed that great in the pocket. In the waist they don't conceal any better that a larger one. So I'm about to take a step down the .380 for summer and more formal attire. Generally I carry an xd45c or sp101 .357 but when it's hot I'd rather have the smaller pistol than be uncomfortable carrying. And from what I've seen the better .380 rounds expand quite nicely.
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Old August 6, 2008, 08:56 PM   #21
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Mouseguns

Consider that the .32 gives an extra shot and kicks a bit less than the .380. At the gunshop where I "work" there are plenty of strong opinions on any subject. There are also a lot of Kel Tec BUGs. As for me, I find the .32 difficult to shoot well, especially with my weak hand only as a BUG, but I find the .380 uncomfortable as well as difficult to shoot well. Some like the extra power of the .380 and don't mind the same level of recoil that I don't care for. I shoot the .32 better than the .380. None of us use FMJ, Cor Bon in the .32, mostly Gold Saber in the .380s. One might still have Gold Dot in his .380, I'm not sure .

As for stopping power, it's been said that if you looked you could find someone who survived a shot with just about any bullet, just like you could find someone who was killed by just about any bullet.
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Old August 9, 2008, 09:56 AM   #22
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Not scientific by any means, but...

Having shot a P3AT and a P-32 back-to-back, I was shocked at the difference in recoil between the two. Given the fact that the frames are identical, that difference tells me that the 380 is significantly more powerful than the 32. (That whole equal-and-opposite reaction thing...)

As a matter of fact, the pitiful recoil of the 32 was enough to convince me, right then and there, that I would never carry that caliber. FWIW, I don't carry a .380 either, but that is more due to the fact tat neither of my P3ATs is/was reliable...

YMMV
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Old August 9, 2008, 10:35 AM   #23
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Some of the hot new loads for the .380 will reliably give both good penetration and nice expansion. The same cannot be said for the .32 with any ammo I know of. With perfect shot placement, either will work, but that is not always possible in the real world. With less than perfect placement, please give me some expansion.

For self defense. I'll go with the ,380 over any 38 Special +P load: 7 (or 13 with a spare mag) rounds beat 5 every time. Since neither is a famous one-shot stopper; more is better!
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Old August 9, 2008, 11:02 AM   #24
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I'll go with the ,380 over any 38 Special +P load: 7 (or 13 with a spare mag) rounds beat 5 every time. Since neither is a famous one-shot stopper; more is better!
Historically the 38 S had a very good track record due to overall poor performance (as measured by 1 shot stops) on all levels of "protection class" rounds. Bullet design advancement has leveled the playing field a great deal and made the results skewed toward the actual K energy delivered.
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Old August 9, 2008, 11:14 AM   #25
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This is like discussing the stopping power comparrisons of .22 short and .22LR. The anwer is neither one is worth much in regards to "stopping" power. At least as it relates to stopping on the quicker side.
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