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View Poll Results: 32ACP vs. 380ACP
32 45 20.64%
380 173 79.36%
Voters: 218. You may not vote on this poll

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Old April 23, 2010, 06:59 PM   #26
ttheel
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.380. Pretty much can get one as small as most 32's and with more power it is an easy decision.
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Old March 8, 2013, 03:38 PM   #27
cluznar
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.32 vs .380

I have both a Bersa Thunder .380 and a Thunder .32 and find them both good guns. The .380 definitely has more recoil but with my Hornady Critical Defense carry ammo the recoil is light. For the .32 I use only FMJ either 71 or 73gr and the recoil is light. Both will do the job at 30 feet or closer.

There is a video on the net where a guy shoots thru 4 layers of Denim with a Bersa .32 using FMJ and after going thru the denim it penetrates 11 1/2 inches in ballistic gel. I consider that very good.

Also the .32 holds 10 rounds and my .380 holds 7

Unfortunately Bersa has stopped importing the .32 but they sell them overseas. Shame because it's a nice gun, great for people who are recoil sensitive and women.
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Old March 19, 2013, 09:36 PM   #28
SteveBonning
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I have many .32 ACP's in my collection as I like those pocket pistols; the advantage with .32's is that I can carry 4-5 guns concealed, so it's quantity vs quality.....
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Old March 19, 2013, 10:36 PM   #29
JimmyR
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I carry .32s, but...

I can't argue with the logic that the .380 is a better round overall. For a CARRY piece, I would go with at least a 380 or micro 9. Data shows that the .32 is just not as powerful. Now, I admit, I will often carry just a .32 ACP pistol (either my CZ-70 or my Beretta Tomcat) as a primary, but that is for my 5 minute drive to work and it stays in my car, and that is not very often. My 32's tend to be BUGs. I carry 9mms as primary guns, since I have not yet found a reason to add a 380 to my collection.
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Old March 20, 2013, 12:41 AM   #30
volkstrm
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Well as far as sub-caliber gun's go what about the 9mm Makarov?(9x18) Power wise its in between the 380acp & the 9mm. Closer to the 9mm. I don't know why they just don't make more new guns chambered in 9x18? The ammo makers would surely make more loads for it. C.D. already does. When I carry a bug I will carry my Makarov in FMJ with a hot military load in it. And I can tell you it has a good punch to it. There it also the very good CZ,83 put its not to small. If not my mak's then it my North American Arms in 380acp with FMJ hot loads. I like the weight of it when shooting hot loads & the reliability also. I always use FMJ when using a sub-caliber because I want to penetrate as far as that caliber will let me not just go in 3-5 inch & stop. After all its a under powered caliber to start with.As for as the 32acp round go's I don't think it will penetrate much at all with any load you can find. IMO. Thats my take on the sub-caliber 32,380,& the 9mm( makarov,9x18 that I added to this) thing. IMHO.
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Old March 20, 2013, 01:33 AM   #31
biohazurd
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I own and carry both. A walther ppk .32 and a keltec p32. as well as my lcp, beretta 84,Bersa thunder and naa guardian. In a extremely light pistol IE LCP/KTP32, the .32 is my preference. As I shoot with accuracy with less time between rounds. But if the gun has a weight of 12 oz or more i figure why not the .380, Or 9x19 for that matter. I say they both have their uses in my cc lineup.
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Old March 20, 2013, 02:48 AM   #32
psyfly
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If the contest is simply over the round, then .380 for sure.

However, my NAA Guardian .32 drops right in my pocket and disappears. My P3AT; not so much.

More important, the Guardian comes right out of my pocket without drama.

The P3AT; not so much.

I note that the .32 goes with me pretty much always whether or not I'm carrying anything else.

The P3At stays in the desk drawer. It's not, however, for sale .

Will
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Old March 20, 2013, 07:11 AM   #33
Yung.gunr
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Real quick. Not only do I feel the .380 to be the better round, there are also many more options as far as guns and ammo. This way you can really dial in what you are most comfortable with.
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Old March 20, 2013, 08:02 AM   #34
Skans
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There are 9mm's small enough for pocket carry. If I stretch my mind a little, I can understand why some people carry .380. But, my mind snaps trying to stretch to think why someone would carry .32, given the advances in technology. How much smaller is a .32 than a Boberg 9mm? And, is this tiny bit of size or weight difference useful?
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Old March 20, 2013, 10:06 AM   #35
psyfly
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Hmmm...

Let's see:

Boberg 9mm: 3.3" x 4.2" x 0.96", 17.5 oz. MSRP $ 1,349.00

NAA Guardian: 3.53" x 4.75" x 0.93", 13.5 oz. MSRP $ 405.00

Oh, I already have a Guardian.

But I'd gladly trade it for a Boberg, if you've got one .

The technology has ourstripped my ability to take advantage of it.

At least 'til my oilwell comes in...

BTW, my Pm9 will fit in my pocket but won't hide there.

W
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Old March 20, 2013, 12:14 PM   #36
deadcoyote
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I will just say I'm not anti .32 or .380 if you want a really small pistol, better than no gun at all. I would just point out that the Keltec P3AT and the P32 have the same dimensions but the .380 is 6+1 and the .32 is 7+1. With that specific gun I would go for the .380 model as it is a better round and you're only giving up one round.
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Old March 20, 2013, 01:51 PM   #37
Bill DeShivs
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The Keltec P32 is not the same size as the P3AT. It is smaller and lighter.
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Old March 20, 2013, 02:22 PM   #38
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so many platforms are blowback designs I have yet to enjoy shooting a 380. I hope I have better luck with 32
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Old March 20, 2013, 09:29 PM   #39
jrothWA
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How about a historical footnote?

The OSS in WWII were given the choice of the >32ACP or the .380ACP in the Colt Model M.

The majority choose the .32ACP due to lo-recoil and better accuracy.

Personally, I'll take either especially if its' in a Mauser HSc, Colt Model M or Walther PPK. I love the classics.
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Old March 20, 2013, 10:36 PM   #40
LockedBreech
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.32 vs. .380

.380 is a marginal caliber, and for some reason that often gets it confused with being a weak caliber. That's not what marginal means. It means, quite literally, at the margins of being an acceptable defense-grade caliber. Many, including myself, find it comfortably on the "acceptable" part of that balance.

While certainly no powerhouse, I trust the .380 to perform roughly at or slightly below standard pressure .38 Special, and that's a round that has ended a lot of stories.

My LCP, to me, is easily handled and very mechanically accurate, and a gun suited wonderfully for it's purpose. .380 for me over .32. All the way.
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Old March 21, 2013, 05:39 AM   #41
thedudeabides
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Is there a "neither?"

I have lived in the deep south and Florida (no Florida isn't the deep south) for over 20 years and have only carried a pocket gun for about a year.

Why have something that is a PITA to shoot, barely accurate at best, and little to no stopping power?

I just learned how to dress around carrying a 45 G30. It's not that hard.
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Old March 21, 2013, 10:52 AM   #42
LockedBreech
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.32 vs. .380

Can yu honestly say your G30 works with absolutely every outfit and leaves the house with you 100% of the time? If so, kudos at your carry skill. For me, that is the core of my love for my LCP. I'm pretty decent with it, and I'm pretty sure I could conceal the darn thing in swim trunks.

I like not needing to change my preferred fashion or lifestyle to work around my gun.

It really is different strokes, I think. How much you're willing to live around your gun. For example, there are people CCing full-size Glocks and Beretta 92s. No idea how that leaves the house with them every day.

Also, re: accuracy, the LCP is extremely mechanically accurate, it just takes a lot of practice. With patience, curiosity, and lots of range time I have made some amazing shots with Elsie, including a few 40-50 yard shots.
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Old March 21, 2013, 04:06 PM   #43
-Xero-
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I have a 32 ACP NAA Guardian. It's a knock-off of the Seacamp, slightly larger, but not by much.

It's heavier than the Kel-Tec 32 ACP, by quite a margin. Kel-Tec is breech-lock, NAA is blow-back. Seems the Kel-Tec carries one more round. That said, it felt like a water pistol to me.

Having owned both, I went with the Guardian. "It's the gun I carry when I'm not armed."

Winston Churchill's favorite gun was a Colt semi-auto in 32 ACP. Winston Churchill wasn't in a lot of gun battles.

My advice would be this -- If you're opting for a .32 ACP, or even a .380 ACP because of the summer clothes you wear in the Deep South, I'd give some serious consideration to re-thinking your wardrobe.

I thought about the NAA mini revolver, 22 LR, maybe 22 mag. -- but not for very long.

Personally wouldn't want to get shot with any of these calibers, but I think the reasonable line drawn in calibers is just slightly above .380 ACP / 9mm Mak. I have a Makarov, and some HOT imported Mak ammo. I can't for the life of me figure why any nation it its right mind would think this is a sufficient caliber for its police or armed forces.

Lot's of stylish shirt options you don't need to tuck in.

9 mm polymer semi-auto.
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Old March 22, 2013, 12:09 PM   #44
RC20
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Its really a statistical thing for performance. 380 out does 32.

On the other hand, they just sentenced a clown who shot fired 10 rounds of 22 in a classroom and two of them died. I doubt he was a good shot (I have not done an analysis as I am not detached enough for it right now)

Upshot (pun) is that 22, 25 and 32 can be lethal.

380 is considered the minimum lethal round and its questionable.

You have to weight that in with how well you shoot a gun, a well shot 32 is going to be far more lethal than a badly shot 380.

Tough choice but I would buy only a 380 that felt good and learn to shoot it rather than pick a 32.

If you have a 32 you shoot well then I would stick with it, but for a new gun choice I would fine the best fit 380 and learn to shoot it well.

Best is one of the small 9mms
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Old March 22, 2013, 02:52 PM   #45
JasonJ
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For me, Its the 32acp. But I have my very personal and specific reasons. I have a severe hand/wrist injury that makes me very recoil sensitive shooting strong-side. So my Options are to shoot a larger gun that absorbs and redirects recoil better, or shoot a light hitting round in a tiny package.

My primary carry is a Bersa Thunder 9UC, it is ergonomically orgasmic for my hand and is very easy to shoot, even with hot 9mm loads... my BUG, and everyday deep concealment (with me 100% except in the shower or where legally prohibited) is a Kel-Tec P32.

The ease of shooting a P32 and the quick, easy and accurate follow up shots is a legitimate advantage. This as opposed to a sharp shooting .380 whose patterns end up looking like buckshot from 50yds away.

That being said, dollar for donuts and pound for pound, the .380 is a superior round IF it can be fired reliably and accurately from a similar size platform (this applies when comparing it with the 32 or similar rounds only).

If one of the uber tiny pocket 9s wasn't going to work for you, by all means, go with a .380, and if like me, the .380 in that size gun gives you issues that would compromise your ability to defend yourself accurately, then the 32acp is a viable option.

The idea is and always has been shot placement above caliber.. unless we are talking WMDs.... that's different. Keep in mind that modern ballistic technology has really brought eh .380 up to par almost with the 9mm, and likewise, that same ballistic tech is just now starting to bring the 32acp up to where the .380 USED to be.. which brings it to a marginal but mostly acceptable status as an easy shooting, deeply concealed defensive caliber.

This all of course IMHO, YMMV, etc, etc, ad nausium
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Old March 22, 2013, 05:58 PM   #46
BigD_in_FL
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Most 32 and 380s from the same maker are right at the same size, so get the better cartridge - the 380
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Old March 22, 2013, 06:04 PM   #47
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I believe that the .380 has a slight edge over the .32 in terms of penetration so I voted .380.
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Old March 22, 2013, 07:48 PM   #48
dsk
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Perhaps it would be useful to make a comparison between two identical models. The Kel-Tec P32 holds seven rounds as opposed to the P3AT's six, and the recoil is noticeably less. In the P3AT's favor is the fact that the .380 doesn't suffer from rimlock like the .32 does, so you can carry JHP ammo if you feel it actually does any good out of a short-barreled mousegun. .32ACP hollow points have a shorter OAL than FMJ, and when the shorter cartridges shift around inside the mag they can lock their rims together and cause a critical malfunction. So you must use FMJ if you carry a .32, or else find a way to put a spacer in your mags to prevent the rounds from shifting. However, given the fact that few .32 or .380 JHP rounds expand from such short barrels you're really looking at FMJ with either one, so the difference in stopping power is negligible. The .32ACP offers one more round, one more chance to save your bacon, and with the lower recoil you can deliver them with greater speed and accuracy.

So as you can see, it's really a toss-up.
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Old March 22, 2013, 08:58 PM   #49
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Man, I can't believe this zombie got revived.

I keep on going back to the P-32 even having purchased and carried for a short while the P3AT, PF9, Guardian 380, Guardian 32, and most recently the LC9.

The reason is that the delayed blowback of a P-32 (and P3AT) makes recoil much softer for a follow-up. It also has one more round than a P3AT, LCP, or Guardian and is smaller and lighter than all five guns I've tested carrying.

As for ballistics, meh - most handgun calibers can be iffy. I rather have a pistol that I always carry than one that I need to dress around or leave at home. Serious here...I carry my P-32 from the time I get up to the time I go to bed. Besides, I avoid the 3 S's and I have heavier equipment in my car and at home, should the situation require. So, I'm comfortable with "just" a 32ACP.
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Old March 23, 2013, 01:47 PM   #50
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Maybe what we need is a high capacity 22!
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