The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: The Semi-automatic Forum

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

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old April 22, 2010, 06:35 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: January 25, 2005
Location: Mississippi/Texas
Posts: 2,503
.32 vs. .380

I'm about to buy a carry piece and am curious about opinions of the 32acp vs 380. I am of the opinion that the .32 is just as good as the .380 given the tiny platforms they are fired from. the 32 is smaller and lighter and every ounce counts. Carying in the South, MS,LA,AL, it's hot and summertime carry dictates a very small pistol, especially if you wear your shirt tucked in and clothes that fit. I am looking very closely at the Kel-Tec p32 and would like to hear reasons why I should get a 380 instead or if you approve of the .32.
"Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress, but I repeat myself." Mark Twain
publius is offline  
Old April 22, 2010, 06:52 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: January 23, 2008
Posts: 713
the more common question is .380 vs 9mm
as far as the .32, don't know of a lot of available defense loads. the .380 can be loaded up to +p (buffalo bore) and get performance close to a .38spl.
the new .380's are pretty darn small and easy to carry. I have a sig p238 in my back pocket right now.
just my 2 c
dreamweaver is offline  
Old April 22, 2010, 06:55 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: July 5, 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 5,719
Depends on the platform for me. I much preferred my .32 Seecamp over my .380 Seecamp (the .380 Seecamp recoil was too much for me). However I prefer my Ruger LCP over the Kel-tec P32 I had.
"Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul."
hoytinak is offline  
Old April 22, 2010, 07:01 PM   #4
Gary L. Griffiths
Senior Member
Join Date: April 7, 2000
Location: AZ, WA
Posts: 1,412
Back when I carried a "pocket pistol" -- a Mauser HSc, I opted for .32 ACP under the theory that there wasn't that much difference in stopping power between the two, considering the FMJ loads that were the only things available back then. I opted for the extra round of .32 ACP.

I recently "upgraded" (if that's the word) from my Kel-Tec P-32 to a Ruger LCP, which I carry loaded with Cor-Bon DPXs. My primary reason was Ruger reliability combined with the Crimson Trace laser available for the LCP.

While there have been vast improvements in the effectiveness of both .32 and .380 ACP rounds in recent years, IMHO the Cor-Bon DPX and the Hornady Critical Defense loads in .380 are considerably more effective than the best available .32 loads. The recoil is noticeably greater with the .380, indicating that the punch on the other end would be similarly more powerful.

As far as concealability is concerned, the Ruger LCP is only slightly larger and heavier than the Kel-Tec P-32. If you can carry and conceal a P-32, you can carry and conceal an LCP. If you can't conceal anything that large, your best bet is the NAA Mini-Revolver in .22 LR or .22 Mag.
Violence is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and valorous feeling which believes that nothing is worth violence is much worse. Those who have nothing for which they are willing to fight; nothing they care about more than their own personal safety; are miserable creatures who have no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of those better than themselves. Gary L. Griffiths, Chief Instructor, Advanced Force Tactics, Inc. (Paraphrasing John Stuart Mill)
Gary L. Griffiths is offline  
Old April 22, 2010, 07:14 PM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: August 17, 2009
Location: milwaukee
Posts: 128
If I was shot with either one Center-of-Mass, it would be the most awful, heartbreaking feeling in the world. That being said, I still went with .380 even though I wouldn't feel undergunned with either one of them.
Furminator is offline  
Old April 22, 2010, 07:20 PM   #6
Doc Intrepid
Senior Member
Join Date: May 22, 2009
Location: Washington State
Posts: 888
Might sound like self-evident input, but...

With either round, neither of which are ballistically impressive, controlling accurate follow-on shots is likely to be pretty important in a gunfight.

I fired a friend's Walther .32 ACP and was amazed at it's inherent accuracy - it just felt good in my hand. I own a Beretta 3032 and find it quite accurate - for me, not saying it would necessarily feel that way to you.

If it's possible it would be beneficial if you could fire the pistols you're considering before you buy one, to compare them and see which one seems to work most effectively for you - which one feels best in your grip, etc.

The feel of the gun and it's recoil, and how inherently accurate you are with whichever platform you select, seems to me to be every bit as important as which of those two rounds you select. Out of the very short barrels on these pistols I suspect that where you can hit with multiple shots rapidly is going to be as or more important than what you hit with.

Treat everyone you meet with dignity and respect....but have a plan to kill them just in case.
Doc Intrepid is offline  
Old April 22, 2010, 09:11 PM   #7
Deaf Smith
Senior Member
Join Date: October 31, 2000
Location: Texican!
Posts: 4,453
The .380 is a bit ahead of the .32, but not enough for me to loose sleep over.
“To you who call yourselves ‘men of peace,’ I say, you are not safe without men of action by your side” Thucydides
Deaf Smith is offline  
Old April 22, 2010, 09:37 PM   #8
michael t
Senior Member
Join Date: May 17, 2004
Location: Out back Ky
Posts: 4,044
I carry both calibers in my KelTec's Just depends on which one I feel like that day
Their some difference but I bet BG won't know what caliber you shooting.

Look at this link he test the Kel Tec in 380 and 32 will give you some idea

Their is no offical 32+P or 380+P thats hype.
Certified Armed Infidel Colt Defender ,Colt Mustang ,Dan Wesson CBOB, PPK/S, American Classic 1911,Bersa Thunder 380
http://bersachat.comHome of Bersa
michael t is offline  
Old April 22, 2010, 09:48 PM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: December 22, 2004
Posts: 1,978
Grab yourself a Ruger LCP and dont look back, I'm really really liking mine. Super easy to carry in a pocket holster, or a Desantis pop-up IWB.
Practice with it - it does kick and will take some effort to get comfortable and quick shots off.
Dashunde is offline  
Old April 22, 2010, 09:58 PM   #10
Senior Member
Join Date: March 18, 2009
Posts: 871
I had a Kel-Tec 32.
Federal HS 65 gr. @ 804 F.P.S. = 93# KE

Kel-Tec P3AT
Federal HS 90 gr. @ 845 F.P.S. = 143# KE

Based on my actual chrono results from comparable pistols using very comparable ammo, we could make a generalization and say the 380 is about 50% more powerful when compared "apples to apples".

Given that the 380 is really a marginal defensive caliber I would not want to rely on something with approximately 50% less power, especially when offered in about the same size package.
CDW4ME is offline  
Old April 22, 2010, 09:58 PM   #11
Onward Allusion
Senior Member
Join Date: November 17, 2009
Location: IN
Posts: 2,352
I voted .32 - mine is the P32. I require an extremely light-weight pistol and the KT P32 fits the bill. When I can, I carry larger and heavier (both weight & caliber), but if it's between the P32 & P3AT, I go for the .32 because I get 1 extra round in a pistol with little to no recoil.

.32 vs. .380
"You haven't lived until you've died." - various
People . . . not a big fan . . .

Last edited by Onward Allusion; April 22, 2010 at 10:06 PM.
Onward Allusion is offline  
Old April 22, 2010, 10:13 PM   #12
Senior Member
Join Date: September 17, 2009
Posts: 220
Of the .32s and .380s, I've shot the following:

Kel-Tec P32
Bersa Thunder 380
AMT Backup 380
Taurus TCP P738

Here are my thoughts:

The Kel-Tec and Taurus are a lot of fun to shoot. The Bersa is too big to be a pocket gun, and it's a little rougher. The AMT Backup is one ugly piece of metal, but it'll get the job done.

Now dealing with recoil: The P32 was pleasant to shoot. I also found the Taurus TCP to be pleasant to shoot with Winchester White Box - I could put a couple hundred rounds through it without discomfort. However, I put a couple of mags of Federal Hydra-Shoks through the TCP, and there was a big difference. It was getting uncomfortable.

The Bersa was pleasant to shoot as well. The AMT makes a good paperweight.
Spammy_H is offline  
Old April 22, 2010, 10:51 PM   #13
Junior member
Join Date: November 25, 2002
Location: In my own little weird world in Anchorage, Alaska
Posts: 14,172
I carry a Seecamp .32 and dont feel unarmed under normal circs. Mini .380s suck to shoot.

Wildsodoesthe.32butheyAlaska TM
Wildalaska is offline  
Old April 23, 2010, 12:13 AM   #14
Senior Member
Join Date: December 24, 2006
Posts: 1,903
Not much of a contest. The .380 is a much better carry option than the .32ACP.
NWCP is offline  
Old April 23, 2010, 12:31 AM   #15
Senior Member
Join Date: September 6, 2007
Location: Dixie
Posts: 2,538
Although comparable loads, I prefer the .32 with less recoil. For a deep concealment pocket pistol, the Seecamp 32 is tough to beat.
Proud NDN
"The American Idle"
Vote 'Pro-Choice' on 2nd Amendment issues!!!
Chesster is offline  
Old April 23, 2010, 06:52 AM   #16
Senior Member
Join Date: April 12, 2006
Location: NKY
Posts: 11,947
With the small platforms that the .380 is available in (LCP, Keltec), to me it doesn't make sense to carry a .32 based on saving an ounce or two.

As mentioned above, most of these arguements center around why carry a .380 when you can carry a 9mm but I digress...

As far as SD rounds go, the .380 gives you a lot more options than a .32. I feel confident carrying hollow points in a .380 but I tend to stick with FMJ for a .32.
"He who laughs last, laughs dead." Homer Simpson
Kreyzhorse is offline  
Old April 23, 2010, 07:09 AM   #17
Join Date: August 23, 2007
Location: South Florida
Posts: 41
No question-.380 all the way-P3at is tiny and packs a punch.
worth is offline  
Old April 23, 2010, 07:14 AM   #18
Senior Member
Join Date: February 27, 2008
Location: midwest
Posts: 4,162
I have a Seecamp 32 and have had it for years 100% reliable and loaded with fiocchi 60gr SJHP (I've chronoed them from it at 1000fps) I feel it's a great option in my carry rotation. I wouldnt think of trading it for the little extra a 380 MIGHT give ya. However if I was buying something in that catagory today I'd be hard pressed not to get a LCP.
rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6
originally posted my Mike Irwin
My handguns are are for one purpose only, though...
The starter gun on the "Fat man's mad dash tactical retreat."
mavracer is online now  
Old April 23, 2010, 09:12 AM   #19
SSgt Facebreaker
Senior Member
Join Date: February 3, 2010
Location: Utah
Posts: 100
In my area of the country, I would pick .380 simply based on ammo price and availability; some places charge as much or more for twenty rounds of .32 HPs as they do for premium .45 ACP Hps.
SSgt Facebreaker is offline  
Old April 23, 2010, 09:49 AM   #20
Senior Member
Join Date: March 29, 2007
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 1,391
Every round from a pocket caliber is going to be a compromise (yes, some more than others), but mainlyas long as you are comfortable with it and can shoot it effectively. It's easier for me to buy .32 locally than .380
How could you have a slogan like "freedom is slavery" when the concept of freedom has been abolished?
w_houle is offline  
Old April 23, 2010, 09:58 AM   #21
Cooter Brown
Join Date: March 17, 2010
Posts: 16

I have one of these strapped to my ankle every day and never know it's there. Awesome quality and shoots great.
Cooter Brown is offline  
Old April 23, 2010, 10:37 AM   #22
Senior Member
Join Date: February 12, 2010
Posts: 316
32 - 380

You might try googling
mouse guns comparison chart

The nice thing on the chart is that, per note #2 at the bottom of the chart, they attempt to list the weight of the weapons with
Empty mag
Loaded Mag.
Apparently some of the advertised weights for pocket guns accurate if you typically carrry a weapon without ammo or even without a magazine inserted.
I would not carry without a magazine full of bullets, but that's just me.

The chart claims a .32 Ket-Tel being within an ounce of a 380 Kel-tec (assuming those bullet things are counted) and size is virtually identical.

BTW: That's some great work putting that chart together.
cwok is offline  
Old April 23, 2010, 01:14 PM   #23
Senior Member
Join Date: July 9, 2004
Posts: 5,159
If you fire a P32 and a P3AT/LCP back to back you will note what a previous poster said:
The recoil is noticeably greater with the .380, indicating that the punch on the other end would be similarly more powerful.
After doing exactly that, I ditched the .32. I consider the .380 round "marginal" and by this measure, the .32 is "distinctly sub-marginal".

Note--I am not saying that a .32 cannot be lethal. A pellet gun can be lethal. But I'm not trusting my life to either one...
orionengnr is offline  
Old April 23, 2010, 01:19 PM   #24
Senior Member
Join Date: January 25, 2005
Location: Mississippi/Texas
Posts: 2,503
I am glad to hear that the Corbon DPX are working well in the .380. Ruger is most likely what I would get in the 380, for some reason I am just drawn to the .32. If it were an inept caliber Wild wouldn't be carrying it with his unlimited access to guns and the climate he lives in. I appreciate all the input. I'll let everyone know when I make the wrong choice, whichever it is.
"Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress, but I repeat myself." Mark Twain

Last edited by publius; April 23, 2010 at 01:31 PM.
publius is offline  
Old April 23, 2010, 05:01 PM   #25
Senior Member
Join Date: February 22, 2008
Location: The Woodlands, Texas
Posts: 2,271
I voted .380acp. When I can get a .380 pistol that's the same overall size as a .32 pistol, I will take the .380.
Texas, the only State to Have Ever Kicked Another Country's Butt
ElectricHellfire is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:12 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2017 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.10898 seconds with 11 queries