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Old November 10, 2020, 07:21 PM   #1
HistoryJunky
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Opinions of the Kel-Tec P32

What are your opinions on this gun? I am considering getting one for a backup gun because of its light weight, and probably greater shootability than a small .380.

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Old November 10, 2020, 07:49 PM   #2
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Opinions of the Kel-Tec P32

I carry one every day as my edc. It is not going to win any beauty contests. It’s been reliable, easily concealed, and if it’s lost or confiscated I’m not out a lot of money. Before this I carried a .32 NAA Guardian, basically the same size but heavier with a heavy and long throw DAO trigger. Before that I had a .32 PPK, heavier, harder to pocket, and more expensive. Before that I tried a SIG 938 but don’t trust SA in condition 1 next to my naughty bits, recoil was hard to manage, and it too was expensive to lose. Everything else I’ve tried needs a belt or shoulder holster and the wardrobe adjustments that accompany them.

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Old November 10, 2020, 07:54 PM   #3
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I have one of the .380 versions. Its reliable and easy to shoot (for its size). Its not my EDC pistol, but for a specialty carry pistol it works
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Old November 10, 2020, 08:47 PM   #4
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if you can get a Kel-tec P32 for $200 or less jump on it.
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Old November 10, 2020, 09:24 PM   #5
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Big fan of the 32 ACP as a BUG or when nothing else can be concealed.

I had 3 P32's at one time. Traded one for a P3AT. Still have a 1st Gen and 2nd Gen P32. All three pocket pistols have Crimson Traces on them. It helps with shot placement for such a tiny gun and mild cartridge. I like the fact that it has one more round than a P3AT or LCP.

Don't shoot these little guys too much, tho. It's one of those carry a lot shot little guns. Also, gotta be careful with the mag release. It's plastic and the mag is steel. It will wear eventually and your mag will not be sitting flush which can lead to feeding problems.
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Old November 10, 2020, 10:37 PM   #6
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Thanks for the insight guys. I haven't ever seen one for sale locally. Actually I haven't ever seen any Kel Tecs available in my area.

I was going to go with a .32 over a 380 because it would be easy enough in the recoil department that I would actually practice with it.

Anyone know if anyone makes a replacement metal mag catch/release for it?

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Old November 11, 2020, 09:04 AM   #7
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I have one I have carried for nearly 20 yrs. I got the hard chrome slide for the humidity that arrives in KY in the summer time. I did the fluff and buff and carry a JHP in the chamber and FMJ for the remainder of the magazine to avoid rim lock. I have worn out a Desantis pocket holster on this piece.
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Old November 11, 2020, 09:08 AM   #8
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I've had mine, an early version, for years. Perfect for carry when you're not carrying a gun. I tried the P3AT and didn't like it; too much recoil, not enough ammo. After a couple of teething pains mine has been very reliable.

"Anyone know if anyone makes a replacement metal mag catch/release for it?"

Nope. Not much in aftermarket at all for any KelTecs.
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Old November 11, 2020, 09:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Anyone know if anyone makes a replacement metal mag catch/release for it?
These guys make aftermarket stuff for the Kel-Tecs and their clones.

https://twisted.industries/product/p...num-mag-catch/

I have one in the 2nd Gen P32 and had one in the P32 I sold. Honestly, more trouble than it's worth, unless you plan on shooting a lot with the little guy or slapping mags into place.

One way to extend the life of the mag catch:

Release - press and hold mag baseplate in place while slowly releasing catch
Load - press and hold mag catch then slowly load mag to lock in place

BTW, these P32's are probably one of the most reliable pistols I've run across next to Glocks.
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Old November 11, 2020, 10:18 AM   #10
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P32 is a good tiny little gun. So light, 7+1, easy shooting. Happy with mine, I also follow Onward Illusion's advice above. Reliable.
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Old November 11, 2020, 10:45 AM   #11
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OK! I'm in...

Back in 2009 when I went to get my CWP I didn't really own a small pocket gun other than a North American Arms I'd carried for 15 years and a Ruger Speed 6! I was thinking .380 caliber for a pocket gun but, but There Was NO .380 Ammo to be FOUND Anywhere. Taking the CWP Class the Instructor pulled out 5 Kel-Tec's out of his pockets. He'd been to the Factory and was sold on the Cheap Pistols. So I backed down to the .32 acp. I ended up buying 3 total from memory. Since I was in the HVAC business I chose a Stainless Slide P32 because a Blued gun would turn into RUST. Over the years going to the range I'd shoot the P32 and Never Blow The Dust Bunnies Out or anything. Pull it out of my pocket and BANG, BANG... It Never Failed to Fire and Cycle. I carry it in my right pocket with a Gerber Tool. It looks like Hell after 10+ years but it's one of the most dependable guns I've ever owned. (Look, I know a .32 acp is not a 44 Mag but well placed shots Win.)
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Old November 11, 2020, 11:29 AM   #12
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I don't own a Kel-Tec P32, but I do own a Ruger LCP, which is essentially a derivative of the Kel-Tec P3AT, which is in turn a scaled up P32, and I love it.

It's an extremely small, extremely lightweight pistol that I carry with me everywhere I go, even inside my own home because it's just so easy to carry. The P32 is even smaller and lighter yet than the P3AT/LCP, meaning it should be even easier to carry.

I honestly think that the rise of JHPs in popularity is what caused .32 ACP to tank in popularity, because with FMJ it penetrates more than adequately for self-defense, but up until recently nobody has been able to successfully engineer a .32 ACP JHP that penetrates deeply, hence it's decline in popularity in a time when JHPs are considered the standard for self-defense.
Much like it's bigger brother, the .32 ACP seems to be adequate for self-defense, provided that you stick exclusively to JHPs that use the Hornady XTP bullet design, that way you'll get a fairly consistent 12" of penetration in Ballistics Gel, which if the FBI is to be believed, translates to adequate penetration to stop a determined attacker with proper shot placement.

Lucky Gunner has performed extensive Ballistics Gel tests on .32 ACP which shows XTPs get adequate performance out of a P32 with XTP bullets, so that's good enough for me.
https://www.luckygunner.com/labs/poc...results/#32ACP
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Old November 11, 2020, 02:17 PM   #13
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My family carries P32s. Great little guns. While there is/was a hard chromed slide version available, I don't think the P32 has ever been offered with a stainless slide.

The ridiculous "FBI standard" of 12" penetration is for duty guns for law enforcement. That penetration standard helps ensure a bullet can pass through an outstretched arm and still reach vital areas. People carried and effectively used pocket guns successfully for many years before this "standard" came about, and in my opinion the standard is entirely misunderstood-and misused with defense guns.

If you pocket carry ANY gun-NEVER carry anything else in that pocket with the gun.
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Old November 11, 2020, 02:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill DeShivs View Post
My family carries P32s. Great little guns. While there is/was a hard chromed slide version available, I don't think the P32 has ever been offered with a stainless slide.

The ridiculous "FBI standard" of 12" penetration is for duty guns for law enforcement. That penetration standard helps ensure a bullet can pass through an outstretched arm and still reach vital areas. People carried and effectively used pocket guns successfully for many years before this "standard" came about, and in my opinion the standard is entirely misunderstood-and misused with defense guns.

If you pocket carry ANY gun-NEVER carry anything else in that pocket with the gun.
while I agree with how this is misunderstood my the general public and thus misapplied, even from a P32 FMJ reaches that 12" minimum. just saying that for the ill-informed.
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Old November 11, 2020, 03:33 PM   #15
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Quote:
The ridiculous "FBI standard" of 12" penetration is for duty guns for law enforcement. That penetration standard helps ensure a bullet can pass through an outstretched arm and still reach vital areas. People carried and effectively used pocket guns successfully for many years before this "standard" came about, and in my opinion the standard is entirely misunderstood-and misused with defense guns.
Personally, I follow the FBI Standard simply because I want my firearm to be as certain as possible to stop a determined attacker.
Attackers tend to have their arms up in front of their chest regardless of whether they're throwing punches or wielding a weapon, so I want what I'm carrying to have enough penetration to reach their vitals after passing through their forearm.

If you think that's an unlikely scenario or that choosing ammo for self-defense that meats minimum FBI/IWBA Specifications, then that's your prerogative and I won't criticize you for it. Heck, the likelihood of any law-abiding citizen ever having to do more than draw a weapon to deter an attacker is pretty darn low to begin with, but it makes me feel safer knowing that my pistol absolutely can stop a determined attacker so long as my aim is true.

Besides, 12" of penetration isn't exactly a tall order. Ever a .22LR fired from a pistol will penetrate deeper than that with solid bullets, but when it comes to small caliber, lower power self-defense cartridges like .32 ACP and .380 ACP, JHP penetration can be sketchy. Yes, folks have successfully defended themselves for over a century using little .25 ACP pistols, but back then most folks used FMJ, so penetration wasn't an issue. Nowadays everyone uses JHP, so I just felt the need to point out that you might not get deep enough penetration to stop a determined attacker with just any .32 ACP JHP ammo.

Also, when folks ask for advice regarding self-defense, I take it very seriously, so I would rather suggest something that offers optimal effectiveness within the set parameters of the person who asked rather than simply tell them, "Meh, just use whatever, it'll probably work out just fine." I want better reassurance than that when it comes to my personal safety in a potential life or death scenario, and I'm pretty sure the TC does as well.
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Old November 11, 2020, 04:03 PM   #16
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Opinions of the Kel-Tec P32

If you ever have an issue with the mag release, which I doubt unless you spend your life practicing mag swaps, Kel-Tec will replace it, possibly for free. I bought an early Gen 1 in an auction, and I had trouble with the mag binding inside the mag well. I sent it to KT, expecting a bill for the service and they charged me nothing, they even paid the return shipping.


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Old November 11, 2020, 07:28 PM   #17
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The P32 may just be the best little auto Keltec makes. It’s a great pistol if you can find one.
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Old November 11, 2020, 07:55 PM   #18
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You all are saying very good things about the P32. Finding one I guess will be the hard part. Pretty much all the gun stores in my area are sold out of everything.

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Old November 11, 2020, 08:14 PM   #19
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Stick with fmj ammo. Hollow points can result in rim lock with the semi rimmed 32acp.
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Old November 11, 2020, 08:17 PM   #20
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HP's probably won't expand from the short barrel anyway.
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Old November 11, 2020, 08:36 PM   #21
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I used to own one. Great gun, but 32 acp isn’t much of a caliber.

The CW380 is about the same size and shoots a much better caliber and much more shootable.
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Old November 11, 2020, 09:23 PM   #22
Forte S+W
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Quote:
HP's probably won't expand from the short barrel anyway.
The ones I mentioned do.

Quote:
I used to own one. Great gun, but 32 acp isn’t much of a caliber.

The CW380 is about the same size and shoots a much better caliber and much more shootable.
.380 ACP factually isn't all that much of a better performer than .32 ACP, and I honestly trust Kel-Tec more than Kahr because Kel-Tec doesn't ask if you've fired 250+ rounds through your gun before they'll let you send it in for service if you get a bad egg.
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Old November 11, 2020, 11:37 PM   #23
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I’ve carried a P32 off and on for years, always loved it. The Fiocchi FMJ ammo has always ran flawless in it.
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Old November 12, 2020, 12:25 AM   #24
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I have owned 4 P32s, from back in the day when Kel-tec seemed like the only company making affordable light carry guns. I don’t own any now.

The Ruger LCP in my book beats any small Kel-tec in build quality and reliability, and the .380 is a better cartridge for defense. No question the LCP has taken a ton of sales from Kel-tec over the years.

That said, the P32 is the best Kel-tec in my experience. As you guessed, it’s much easier and more comfortable to shoot than any .380 near its size, and I found it accurate even when fired fast, which you can do because of a decent trigger and light recoil.

Also, the .32 cartridge doesn’t stress the skimpy Kel-tec construction that much, and reliability improved with the second model fixing the extractor, so I think the P32 is more reliable and durable than the other Kel-tec models . Even so, None of the four P32s I owned was really reliable enough for me to carry, with even the best one finicky about what ammo it would feed reliably, even using only fmjs.

The P32 has its fans, Bill DeShivs being one of the biggest. It’s not a huge risk at normal prices, but don’t expect perfection.

P.S. Rimlock occurs at the rear of the cartridges in the magazine because of the semi-rimmed design of the .32. You have to watch that you don’t override the rim of the cartridge below when loading each round into the mag. Like loading a .22lr semiauto. A drawback of this caliber. Not sure why rimlock is affected by fmj v. jhp. The fmj should feed more reliably and penetrate better.

Last edited by Mosin44az; November 12, 2020 at 12:37 AM.
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Old November 12, 2020, 09:34 AM   #25
Capt.Mike
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Hard Chrome instead of Stainless is Correct. (I said Stainless)

Again I've Carried mine for 10 or 11 years Every Day with 2 or 3 other things in my pockets, crawled probable 500 yards in attics and crawl spaces SAFELY. I did file the Mag Release Button Down because my Mag was constantly popping out.

I also understand the .32acp is Not a Man Killar Round and I Never Had Any Respect for a .25 Auto until a friend of mine was killed in a Gas Station (by a Jealous Husband). 6 Rounds and he was DOA. Yes, in a showdown I'd probably grab a .22LR but look at the Stats on reliability. HP's in small calibers, No I'd take Ball.
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