6 of the Best .32 ACP Pistols to Buy and Collect

Colt 1903 best 32 ACP pistols

RF for TTAG

Believe it or not, there are still a few .32 ACP pistols still being made and ammunition for, them too. The .32 ACP was once one of the most popular concealed carry and law enforcement rounds sold, though it’s inadequacies have been laid bare in the modern era.

I wouldn’t suggest .32 ACP semi-auto pistol for concealed carry, and neither would most experts, if you had any choice in the matter. A .32 pistol will work in a pinch, of course, but so will .22 LR, though you probably don’t want to rely on that. Shot placement, as always, matters most, but the evidence has been in for some time that .380 ACP is generally considered the bare minimum for a self-defense gun if you can’t carry a 9mm.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a market for guns chambered in 7.62mm Browning. Not only are they small and light recoiling, there are some seriously collectible (and cool!) guns in this chambering. For the collector and enthusiast (and the carrier, too), there are some great guns out there.

Here are six .32 ACP pistols that are well worth a look.

Primus inter pares among .32 ACP pistols is and always will be the Colt Model 1903, a single-action semi-automatic pistol with a shrouded hammer. Originally called the Pocket Hammerless, it was designed by John Moses Browning during his tenure at Colt.

It was a very popular carry pistol in the early 20th century in the US and elsewhere, as it found global adoption for civilians, police and military officers. (Al Capone, John Dillinger, and both Bonnie and Clyde were fans.)

If you can’t afford a collectible original Colt 1903, US Armament Corp. began manufacturing them under license a few years ago, so you can actually buy a new one, though it will cost you. MSRP starts at $1275.

Of course, if you want to get deep into collecting, there are a couple of fantastic German models to keep an eye out for.

Walther PPK-L

Michael Sullivan [CC0], from Wikimedia Commons

First, of course, is the Walther PP, PPK and PPK/S, models designed to meet requirements for import and sale in the United States under the Gun Control Act of 1968.

The Walther PP pistol series was first offered in .32 ACP (labeled 7.65mm Kurz) and issued in this chambering to numerous police officers and later to military personnel as well as the Nazi high command. (Hitler killed himself with one, which is a pretty good reason to own one.)

The PPK was also famously the concealed carry pistol of choice of James Bond. These days, Walther prefers to sell them chambered in .380 and .22 LR, but vintage models can be found in .32 ACP as well.

BlaqueandBlue at English Wikipedia, from Wikimedia Commons

A related design is the SIG SAUER P230 and P232, which are basically PPK clones though they are slightly larger for better control. SIG made them mostly for plainclothes police, but it did gain some traction in the US concealed carry market.

Just like the PPK, the two-tone stainless finish P230 and .380 P232 are hammer-fired DA/SA subcompact. But unlike the PPK, they have SIG’s de-cocking lever on the grip instead of Walther’s slide-mounted de-cocking safety. Models in .32 ACP are more rare, but since the P232 was in production until 2014, you shouldn’t have trouble sourcing one.

Best 32 acp pistols

Costas-1963 [CC0], from Wikimedia Commons

Another model to Czech out is the CZ 83, which was offered in .32 ACP. The CZ 50 and CZ 70 (also .32 ACP pistols) are somewhat common on the surplus market as well, but the 83 is the better buy. First, it uses a double-stack magazine (15+1 of .32 ACP!) and was in production until 2012, so you can get one in pretty decent condition. It has Walther PPK design elements, such as the fixed barrel and blowback operation, but has CZ’s control scheme of a manual safety rather than a decocker.

Beretta Cheetah best 32 acp pistols

Jan Hrdonka from Wikimedia Commons

The Beretta 81FS is still in very much in production, marketed as the Cheetah, though .380 models are easier to find that .32 ACP/7.62mm. The 81 is a double-stack compact, though a single-stack with thinner grip (the 82) can be found on the used market. It holds 12+1 of .32, with Beretta’s operating system.

It’s basically a ⅞ scale 92FS, replete with the open-top barrel and slide-mounted ambi de-cocking safeties. The Beretta 3032 Tomcat can also be had in this chambering if you prefer a topo pistola.

Of course, some people just want a light weight .32 caliber pistol that goes “bang” and don’t care about history or collectibility. If that’s you, Kel-Tec still makes the P-32 pocket pistol, a polymer-framed internal-hammer double action only mouse guns that holds 7+1 rounds of .32 ACP. The Kel-Tec P-32 has reduced pull weight of under 6 lbs, a decent trigger and a tiny 2.7-inch barrel length. MSRP is an affordable $325, but you’ll find them at retail for a song.

Any other .32 ACP pistols you feel should be added to the list? Sound off in the comments!

comments

  1. avatar Al says:

    Others to be added to the list would be:
    Mauser hsc
    Sauer 38h
    FN Browning 1910/1922
    CZ 27
    FN Browning 1900
    Spanish Ruby (eibar)
    Beretta 1935
    CZ 50&70
    Zastava cz70

    1. avatar A. Daniels says:

      I’d also add the H&K HK4, H&K P7K3, the Browning Model 1955 (Browning USA’s FN1910), the Remington Model 51 (the Pedersen-designed one, manufactured during the inter-war period), the Ortgies, and the FÉG 7.65mm AP-MBP (Hungary’s version of the PPK with an aluminum-titanium alloy frame).

      For NFA items, the original Welrod and the Škorpion vz. 61 are very, very cool.

  2. avatar The Rookie says:

    I have the Beretta 81 and the Kel-Tec P32. Love them both. I also have the CZ-70, which is as close as I’ll probably get to a .32 version of the Walther PP/PPK (Land O’Goshen, those things are hard to find and expensive when you do!) Would love to have a Colt Pocket Hammerless. 7.65×17 FTW.

    BTW, don’t forget the Seecamp. Superb little .32.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      I second the Seecamp.

      1. avatar Joe Bhe says:

        Agreed. Should have been in Top 6.

        1. avatar Quasimofo says:

          How the Seecamp didn’t make it on this list is a mystery.

    2. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      Rookie, not sure I’d bet my life on a Kel-Tec. Never owned one but several friends have. All had problems. The .380 Jimmy carried had the mainspring break, not on the range, but while carrying it. The scary thing is he didn’t know it until he went to the range again with his daughter. He replaced the mainspring. The same thing happened again. He tossed it in a drawer and bought a S&W 642. Casey, Noel and others have had similar experiences.

      1. avatar RGP says:

        Logically, Thuggy Boo Boo would love an unreliable Kel Tec for safety reasons because he’s mostly going to be stuffing it down his pants or using it for show and tell.

      2. avatar former water walker says:

        My used Keltec PF9 never malfunctioned but hurt like he!! to shoot even with a Handall Jr. Wildly inaccurate too(my similar sized Taurus 709 is great). The P32 feels like a toy but it’d work in a deep conceal. No plans on accquiring a 32 but who know’s…

      3. avatar Mike says:

        I have a Kel Tec 32, and Keltec 9mm. They have been 100% reliable. Sold the 9mm, The 32 lives in the safe.
        It is small and light, kicks hard.
        I don’t carry it, I have plenty of 9mm Glocks.

        Semi auto Scorpion in 32 should make a comeback, with brace.
        Non NFA Welrod in 32 would be cool

      4. avatar The Rookie says:

        Gadsden,

        Fair point. I’m not generally a fan of KT products, but the P32 impressed the heck out of me when I reviewed it for TTAG (it’s linked in the article, but I’ll post it below). It’s not my EDC, but I do trust it enough for pocket carry for quick runs to the store, gas station and other “no excuses for not carrying” situations.

        https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/gun-review-kel-tec-p32-32-acp-semi-automatic-pistol/

        1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          Rookie, but why? When there are so many more reliable, and powerful, handguns that carry just as well in a pocket.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “When there are so many more reliable, and powerful, handguns that carry just as well in a pocket.”

          If S&W come up with a pocket version of their “Bone Crusher” .500 revolver, I may have to draw down some savings, despite the Colonel’s $500 annual firearms budget.

  3. avatar Whoreson bugger says:

    Make sure to read up on .32 rim lock before you go in whole hog on this caliber. It’s a pain in the neck to fix. There are some good hacks online for the Kel-Tec magazines. Never mix different length cartridges in a magazine, stay away from the shorter cartridges, even if they are more powerful for concealed carry, they can cause a rim lock. Ask me how I know….

    1. avatar The Rookie says:

      I had that very problem in my P32 with Underwood Extreme Cavitators. Rounds chambered fine, but when they rimlocked in the mag I couldn’t get them unstuck without disassembling the magazine.

      I still keep a Cavitator in the pipe of my P32, but the mag is strictly FMJ. Preferably Fiocchi.

    2. avatar Not Larry from Texas says:

      I been carrying a P32 as my off duty carry, never had a problem with rimlock or reliability. Though this isn’t something u will go out and fire a 100 rounds with.

  4. avatar AlanInFL says:

    I guess there is no love for the Seecamp 32

  5. avatar Geoff "Ammo. LOTS of ammo..." PR says:

    “Another model to Czech out is…”

    *snicker*… 🙂

    1. avatar Durrrr says:

      Yes, the above comment is really stupid. But what you have to understand that Geoff the Goof has never known the pleasures of a woman.

  6. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Only .32 ACP I ever owned was a Beretta Tomcat. Never fired it. The idea of carrying a .32 was so alien to me I just sold the thing. Did own a Pocket Hammerless too. 1908 in .380. Martial markings. Mint. Stole it for $400. Strictly investment. Never carried/shot. Traded it to a friend for my first 03A3. Let me see, pistol in weak caliber, or rifle in strong caliber? No brainer.

    1. avatar Torn says:

      Good thing you never fired it, worked on one a couple weeks ago and of course test fired it. Good lord! I’ve fired .45’s that didn’t kick as bad. That little tiny thing kicked like a damn Mule!

      1. avatar jwm says:

        My biggest complaint with the Tomcat was the trigger pull. Horrible.

        1. avatar Specialist38 says:

          Compared to the DA on my PP, its buttery soft.

        2. avatar jwm says:

          It could just be the one that I had. My pp was better. My effing Sigma was better. And that was a whole nother system. My Makarov was better.

  7. avatar Jim says:

    1900, 1910, and 1922 Brownings
    1907 Savage

  8. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    Before this China flue BS hit, I was going to buy the Beretta 81FS. The European import surplus guns are very cheap. Price wise.

    1. avatar RidgeRunner says:

      Yes, i bought a Cheetah in .32 last winter on Classic, police trade-in, super solid pistol, very reliable, in excellent condition, functions flawlessly. I don’t carry it but i like having it and shoot it fairly often. Wouldn’t hesitate to let a loved one use it for self defense. I imagine they still have them, I may buy another.

  9. avatar Sam I Am says:

    A .32 might be the right step-up from my .22 Neos plinker. But none of the listed pistols looks as futuristic.

  10. avatar JustMeHere says:

    32 ACP CAN be a viable Self-Defense round. Yes, many/most factory HP/JHP loads under penetrate as per FBI recommendations. But an SD concealed carry gun isn’t supposed to pull the duties and FBI agent would want from their sidearm. It is meant to allow the defendee to break the dangerous situation and leave. In that, even non expanding FMJ AND slightly under penetrating HPs are more than sufficient.

    AND, if we look at rounds, like Underwood’s Xtreme Defender, you get FBI penetration depths AND large wound cavities, making it more than capable.

    Because, for some of us older people, with Arthritis, Carpel Tunnel and other kick averse maladies, 380 ACP, PARTICULARLY in small pocket/mouse guns can be too much. I don’t mean for the actual SD situation, as that is do what it takes to survive. But, we should all train, regularly with every gun we carry. That takes rounds down range, and THAT is where that kick and these maladies come into play.

    Even your own article bears out that the Underwood loads are good SD rounds, and these are the old cavitator bullet, not the new, improved defender bullet, that fixes the rare feed issues of the older shape.

    https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/ammo-review-lehigh-underwood-make-32-acp-great/

  11. avatar Kenn Mikos says:

    Can’t believe no one’s mentioned the absolute most fun .32 pistol ever…

    https://cdn0.thetruthaboutguns.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/IMG_5911-e1514406361459-513×513.jpg

    Yes, even the non-NFA version is a hell of a good time. If you’re not a purist, there’s an adapter to mount an FS1913 brace (and even if you are it doesn’t require any permanent modifications), and if you don’t mind spending $200 for a permission slip, it’s very easy to SBR with the original wire stock.

    Don’t take my word for it, TTAG thinks so too:
    https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/gun-review-czech-small-arms-sa-vz-61-pistol-threaded-barrel/

  12. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

    Aren’t most of us laying in supplies for SHFT rather than collecting things less useful for that? Since Feb, I consider ‘will I likely really benefit this?’ on every purchase I make. I gave up on a .50BMG for that reason. It was just too low on the list. I hope I get to it and back to collecting guns someday though.

    1. avatar Kenn Mikos says:

      Nah, if I need more than I currently have for SHTF, S will have well and truly HTF and no amount of small-arms ammo will be sufficient. Now’s the time to pick up the fun things that were previously hard to find, but now aren’t moving because people are only buying things that are useful for SHTF purposes.

      1. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

        I am trying to stock up on things like prescriptions (beyond 90days supply). I already have solar and wind power enough to run the house, more than a year’s worth of food, improved my door frames, doors an locks, cameras lights etc. One almost certainly can’t likely survive the worst case scenario but you can up to some point approaching it. I am trying to push closer to that point and consider that my spending priority for at least a few more months. “But that’s me, I am an aggressive gambler – “Mr. Vegas””.

  13. avatar jwm says:

    I’ve had the 1903 Colt and the Walther pp. For shooting I preferred the Colt. I’m pretty sure the Walther was a safer carry gun. Mine was a West German police surplus model for less than 2 bills. Fun gun to play with.

    Let us not forget that guns can be fun and recreational. They don’t all have to be combat kit.

  14. avatar LazrBeam says:

    I’ve never seen a .32 ACP CZ83. Mine, and all of the other 83’s that I’ve handled, is a .380.
    It uses the same mags as the CZ82 which is 9mm Mak.

    1. avatar Someone says:

      They are out there. In a different century on a different continent I carried one for five years.

  15. avatar Colt Magnum says:

    I really enjoy shooting my grandfather’s 1903 Colt. I take it out and shoot it about once a year. Beautiful pistol. It was manufactured in 1921.

  16. avatar Parnell says:

    I cannot believe you ignored the Beretta Tomcat. I’ll take it over the p-32 any day as a bug.

    1. avatar Theguywiththegun says:

      Go to skouke, lern to reed. J/k, But it’s in there.

    2. avatar Torn says:

      Kicks like a mule though!

  17. avatar Craig in IA says:

    I bought a North American Arms Seecamp clone when they first came out, along with Win Silver Tips to use in it. It came with a cordura belt bag/holster for “discreet” carry, like no one would know wth it was…It’s still sitting in the “holster” on my reloading bench and been there for years, though I don’t remember why. Certainly a dozen other guns I’d grab first if I was in the basement, along with my carry piece.

    I thought the little NAA would be a good carry gun when my Colt Officer’s ACP was too big. Man, that was a long time ago. The Colt is so much heavier than my current Sig P365. The Officer’s ACP seems like it weighs a ton. And I’ll bet the little NAA weighs as much as my P365, seems to. They are/were(?) very well machined and finished.

  18. avatar Jim Carbonnow says:

    “hoober” and “best” do not belong in the same sentence. They are mutually exclusive.

  19. avatar jgplol says:

    Ive shot a couple of hundred rds thru my p-32 with not problems also have a feg in 32 its better to have a 32 with ammo than a nine or 45 and cant find ammo for it

  20. avatar Specialist38 says:

    I have a PP and a Beretta 81. Great pistols – lots of fun.

    Are they my go-to for defense? No, but few people will line up to be shot by one.

    I have a little ammo for them- just in case. Pretty quiet if you had to shoot indoors.

    With the current climate, 32 acp is some of the only ammo I see online. New shooters may do well to find a Beretta 81 and hunt some extra mags.

    I will get a Stainless Tomcat if I can pounce quick enough when I see them for 350.

    Would love for Beretta to make a poly frame Tomcat with 10+ rounds. It would replace my LCP.

  21. avatar Glenn says:

    I carry the NAA Guardian as a backup. Nice little pocket gun and shoots well although it can be a bit painful to shoot. Also have an exc Beretta 81 Cheetah in 32 acp. I bought from Classic Firearms for about 225.00 last year. Exc nice shooting little pistol!

  22. avatar GS650G says:

    Bad, Bad , Leroy Brown had fun with his.

    1. avatar Kevin says:

      Yep, and the razor in his shoe as well.

    2. avatar The Rookie says:

      I approve of this thread. Jim Croce was awesome.

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        9/20-73 is robert n. elliott day.

      2. avatar Sam I Am says:

        Oh yes, wait a minute Mister Po-leasman
        Wait Mister Po-leasman

        Please Mister Po-leasman, look and see
        (Oh yeah)
        If there’s a warrant in your bag for me
        (Please, Please Mister Po-leasman)
        Why’s it takin’ such a long time
        (Oh yeah)
        To get caught for that crime of mine

        There must be some word today
        From DA so far away
        Please Mister Po-leasman, look and see
        If there’s a warrant, a warrant for me

        I’ve been standin’ here waitin’ Mister Po-leasman
        So patiently
        For just a cop, or just a SWAT Team
        Sayin’ I been oh so mean.

        So many days you passed me by
        An’ I kept saying, “Come an’ try”.
        You didn’t stop to make me in
        Or try to drag into hail again.
        (Mister Po-leasman)
        Mister Po-leasman, look and see

        (Oh yeah)
        If there’s a warrant in your bag for me
        (Please, Please Mister Po-leasman)

  23. have a Walther PP in 32acp. has good weight, 8 plus one, and really flat. very controllable, and I dont share the concerns that many have about caliber, as it was said , shot placement is king .I did have one rimlock problem once but I just pay more attention when loading and tap the mags . used in close, I have no concerns about it being able to stop someone. I do usually carry a 38 snub, but this gun comes out , gets carried. and with its low recoil I know I can place my shots. and I dont have to worry about it going through 3 of everything that is in front of it. now if you will excuse me, I am going back on you tube to watch more Garbage videos, because I never get tired of hearing them , and never get tired of hearing and seeing Shirley Manson.good day everyone.

  24. avatar Markarov says:

    Just a quick observation. Shouldn’t it be 7.65, not 7.62, as the author states in the article?

    1. avatar Someone says:

      Yes. Yes, it should. But if that was the worst mistake mr. Hoober posted on this site…. [waves hand].

  25. avatar Phil Warner says:

    Inherited from my father
    Savage Model 1915, 32 caliber

  26. avatar Oopsie Poopsie says:

    The Beretta 81 has a frame mounted safety and is not a de-cocker.

  27. avatar possum says:

    Yes the “powers that be” want you to arm yourselves with sub caliber armn’s. The push was made with the 5.56, and the 9mm. The author should think about some stuff before promoting the disarming of America. Old Slow Joe aint getting my vote but a 12 gauge with both barrels going off at once is a gut blowing, heads off, broke my finger Killer. So he’s right on that, only not how to use it

  28. avatar TheEmperorCodsaculus says:

    I have the Beretta 81 in .32 and .380. Also a Ortgies in .32.

  29. avatar busybeef says:

    No Tomcat?

  30. avatar Don Bay says:

    There’s also the Beretta Model 90. Another copy of the Walther PP design. Beretta used an alloy frame and added slide release. It’s got beautiful lines, it might even predates the Sig P230 seires. To me, the sig’s are more like copies of the Beretta model 90. Cheers.

  31. avatar Jeffrey says:

    I love how people that have never owned a p32 always feel the need to put down the little pistol. I’ll put in the necessary disclaimer that everybody deems necessary when talking about owning a “lowly” Keltec pistol. I guess they feel that you’re a noob if you own a Keltec so need to prove your manhood by claiming to own others. Yes I have many other more expensive handguns and long guns. I either own or have owned multiple guns in almost every caliber under .500. And guess what pistol gets the most carry time? Yes, the little Keltec p-32.

    And let me tell you why. Using fmj it is flawless in decades of use. I have a gen 1 from around 1999-2000. I just replace springs every few years. I’ve had many .380s and no matter what any of them say, they’re all heavier, and have way more recoil and at least one less round than the p32. And ballistically, a 32acp fmj will penetrate as good or better than a 380 defensive round and will tumble in the target. And fmj does not tend to rimlock. I’ve never had it happen in many years of carry.

    The Keltec p32 is sooooo light. You literally do not know it is there. I can carry it in my gym shorts when walking my dogs and don’t even feel it then. It’s also a very natural pointer. The gen 1 with the angled slide actually has quite usable sights. And with the lack of recoil, follow up shots are waaay easier than 380 or a pocket 9..

    Are there more powerful, better guns? Yes, and I own many. But I’m not going out to start ww3. I just want something on me that if someone is trying to harm me, I can pull out, and create separation from that situation. I am confident that my p32 will accomplish that. I can honestly say after many years, it’s my favorite little pistol to carry.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email