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Old November 7, 2010, 08:59 AM   #76
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One of the silent but deadly ones might be effective in clearing a room, but I prefer something more substantial. I vote on the larger diameter .380. In fact, I would rather have a mid/lg frame .357, lg. cap. 9mm, .40, or a .45 when the shtf. But when I cannot conceal one readily enough, such in hot summer atire, I carry a light weight five shot .38 revolver or the LCP. In fact most of the time in the LCP is still in my pants pocket in addition to what ever else that I am carrying. I've never shot a .32 but heard they kick less than a .380. If that is true the .32 may be a good choice if you have issues with recoil due to arthritis etc. Carry what ever you have or can afford, it will still at least give you a chance when some a-hole tries to end you day.
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Old November 7, 2010, 04:09 PM   #77
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I used to have a P32, and shot a P3AT(.380) side-by-side on several shoots.
That little .32 surprised me on a few occasions during "ballistics-testing"haha. The .32 would do the job with several quick, well placed shots. Even one well placed shot. But, the 'well placement' could be tricky with any mouse-gun being the barrel length you're working with.
If either of the 2, .32 or .380, were my primary carry weapon. I would carry a spare mag or 2, and practice til the cows come home. Then keep practicing. And keep 'em well lubed always.
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Old November 2, 2011, 05:41 PM   #78
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I though this thread was .380 vs .32...

I though this thread was .380 vs .32... Why bring .38 or .38 Special into it? we might as well start bringing up 9mm. Its neck diameter is .38 of an inch, right?
Now back to the topic. I'd pick 380 ACP over .32 any time of day and night. Here are the reasons:

#1 Price and availability. 380 is less expensive and more available. Just check your local Walmart if you're desperate for ammo.

#2 Wider selection of ammo. More types of HP and FMJ ammo.

#3 Wider selection of guns chambered for 380

#4 I own Sig P238 and there is nothing more reliable and pleasant to shoot from 9mm-sub semi-auto

Now example: Sig P238 with loaded mag weights the same as Beretta Tomcat 3032, and Tomcat is not as reliable, not as pleasant to shoot and has more recoil.

I am aware that this Thread is rather old but I still wanted to make a reply...
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Old November 2, 2011, 05:55 PM   #79
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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
It was the Win. Silvertip that elevated the .32 Auto to a respectable level and got the most out of it that it had to offer. All Seacamps were built to feed the Silvertip. And, I believe, the Glaser. Nothing else.

I believe todays ammo gives the .380 the edge. One of Farnum's acquaintances was highly impressed with his new BG380 that fed everything he put in it. John feels that DPX would be the best ammo choice.

In .32's and .380's, I think ammo choice is critical.
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Old November 2, 2011, 07:56 PM   #80
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The biggest advantage of the 32 used to be that smaller/more concealable guns could be chambered in it. But advances in materials have destroyed that advantage. The 380 has more power so from that standpoint it is better.

But if you like 32 go for it.
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Old November 2, 2011, 09:46 PM   #81
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The P32 can take a 10 round magazine, I'd take 10 32's before 6 380's any day of the week. The 32 has a much better record than its size gives it credit.
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Old November 3, 2011, 03:09 AM   #82
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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.
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Old November 3, 2011, 08:31 AM   #83
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Personal experience: Slight edge in performance to the .380. But .380 has more recoil (especially in today's super light pocket guns) and all things being equal, the .32 guns seems to have an edge in reliability of feeding. With the ".45 is the best" culture, the bigger .380 is usally preferred since it is "bigger".
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Old September 8, 2012, 08:55 AM   #84
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.380 vs .32

For a pocket gun I'll take a .32 because the small .380's are much more snappy on recoil. I want something I can shoot 3 or 4 shots easily at close range.

Bersa Thunder .32
Bersa Thunder .380
Ruger SR9c 9mm

All for carry IWB
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Old September 9, 2012, 05:59 PM   #85
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The main advantage of a 32 is that the pistol and ammo load is so light compared to a 380 or 9mm lightweight.

A Keltec 32 with 8 rounds weighs about half as much as a steel 380 loaded with 7. (As I recall).

A 32 is absolutely positively a pocket pistol. (If you like Walther PPK's by all means select a 380). But in a polymer frame pistol the 32 is the "Reference Standard," for a pocket pistol.

I would only use FMJ in a 32.

(Its like elephant hunting, penetration and shot placement is everything).

And yes, I have hunted elephant.

In the 380 there are at least three decent 380 expanding bullets. But that is way less choice than you have in larger calibers.

I carry a 380 with 90 grain Gold Dot but that does not mean I dont respect a 32 Keltec. I have some LE freinds that ALWAYS have one on them. And a waist band in larger caliber off duty as well.

Think of the 32 as a key fob for your car keys.

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Old September 12, 2012, 01:49 AM   #86
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The 32 is usually about 1/3rd more accurate than a 380, holds more rounds, feeds better and kicks less. In the 1930s the Italian armed services spent a bundle trying to determine which was the better round. The results from the Navy and the Air Force prove conclusively that the 32 was better. The results from the Army prove conclusively that the 380 was better. The question will never be answered but both have proved equally useful. I prefer the 32, but would use either depending on reliability of ammo supply and weapon.
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Old September 12, 2012, 04:41 PM   #87
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Citing a report from the 1930's?!

Given advances in computer-aided design and manufacturing, simulation testing, bullet designs and firearm powders -- applied to both munitions and firearms -- I don't see how a study from the 1930's could possibly be relevant today, but it is an interesting historical reference.

Several people have commented and I think its inescapably true that shot placement is the most critical factor regardless of caliber, but given good combat accuracy the larger the caliber the better. I personally carry .380, 9mm and .45 depending on threat level, climate and social situations. I'm trying to get good training and to practice responsibly so that whatever caliber I'm using I'll employ it wisely and effectively. I hope I never have occasion to use a defensive firearm but if I do also hope that training and practice will make the difference.

Last edited by usabilityfirst; September 12, 2012 at 04:54 PM. Reason: more bloviating
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Old September 12, 2012, 05:35 PM   #88
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.380 ACP and .32 ACP? Stopping Power?

Since there is no concensus as to how to measure or express "stopping power", any comparison of a cartridge's "stopping power" to another is just debating in a vacuum.

Is the .380 better than the .32? Depends on what you hit, how determined your assailant is, and all sorts of other stuff.

Reminds me of the "How many licks to the center of a Tootsie-Roll lollipop? commercial- the world may never know.
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Old September 12, 2012, 08:09 PM   #89
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Caliber is about 10% of the overall equation. Having a reliable gun, and knowing how to shoot it is the other 90%.
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Old September 14, 2012, 06:30 PM   #90
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I carry a 45 on my hip and a 32 in my pocket pretty much every day. I had a small 380 but it went away and the 32 stayed. With a +1 mag extension, a side mount laser and some small modifications to the trigger guard I feel that the chromed Keltec P32 is the perfect pocket pistol. I have never had a failure, I can unload 3-4 shots with it one handed in 2 seconds or less (something I could not do with the micro 380's), and it weighs next to nothing. Whether or not I ever use the laser in a self defense situation is immaterial to me. It is fun to play with at the range and it breaks up the outline in a pocket.

If there were no Keltec, I would sport a Seecamp in the pocket. Matter of fact I still plan to get one some day down the road.

The 32 is quiet, more controllable and I feel it performs well enough with 73 grain FMJ. To each their own. However, I encourage you to try to rapidly shoot your pocket pistol one handed at a short distance and keep the shots on target. With someone nearly or possibly on top of you, it may be exactly what you have to do.
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Old September 14, 2012, 06:33 PM   #91
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Bill, I absolutely agree with you sir.
I do not love the bright sword for it's sharpness, nor the arrow for it's swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.
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