I Love .32 ACP Pistols, But Is That Enough Any More?

.32 ACP pocket pistols

Courtesy Dan Baum

By Dan Baum

When I can add to my collection of pre-1930 pistols for $350 or less on Gunbroker, I do so, and I’ve assembled a nice, idiosyncratic collection. Margaret and I just spent four days scouting the place we’ll hunt elk in November, and I brought along a few old .32s to try out.

What I didn’t bring along, since I had so many guns in the bag, was the Model 1917 Smith & Wesson .45 ACP revolver I usually take camping, and that got me thinking.

But first, the testing. The Austro-Hungarian Dreyse 1907 (above left) went bang, smoothly ejected the spent shell and chambered a fresh round. It did not, however, re-cock. The Dreyse is so ugly it’s charming, and has some over-engineered features that were quite revolutionary in 1907. Features like a tip-up frame and a cocking indicator. Still, when when you’re fighting the Eleventh Battle of the Isonzo, and the Italians are attacking (again!) you want more than one shot.

Next up was the Harrington & Richardson .32 Autoloading Pistol (above center) of which only 40,000 were made starting in 1914 because Colt and Savage largely had the market locked up. That, and the pistol is terrifically ugly and doesn’t work.

Mine made an anemic little divot on the primer but didn’t fire. (This, after replacing the firing-pin spring, so something else is afoot.) I’m happy to report that John Browning’s design, the FN 1910 (above right), ran like champ, magazine after magazine.

So come nightfall, I put 1910 beside the sleeping bag where I usually put that big S&W .45, in the unlikely event that the Manson family, or a meth-making crew, or a rabid beast shows up. And looking at that elegant but diminutive pistol, I found myself a little uneasy. Which led me to wonder why.

Have I been so jaded that I consider anything less than a 9mm a “mouse gun?” Have not generations of Europeans, including James Bond, successfully defended themselves with pistols chambered for 7.65 Browning — a.k.a. .32 ACP?

This was the caliber issued to policemen and military officers of just about every nation on the continent in the 20th century — a century known for some pretty efficient bloodletting.

Over here, the .32 ACP was the pocket pistol of choice throughout Prohibition. If the 7.65 is good enough for the Europeans, and the .32 ACP was good enough for the greatest generation, why is it no longer considered powerful enough for us? Are we smarter? Or — dare I ask — are we pussies for thinking we need ever-bigger guns now to defend ourselves?

 

Dan Baum is the author of Gun Guys: A Road Trip.

comments

  1. avatar tk says:

    Well, if “Friends don’t let friends carry a .380 ACP”, then what does that say about a .32 ACP? My exception to anything <9mm is for pocket guns, when dress and environment otherwise preclude something bigger.

    1. avatar Jeremy B says:

      .32 is bigger than .22, and a .22 is better than a sharp stick.

      A tool for every job, says this mechanic. But this mechanics favorite tool is a .40, even the wife’s favorite tool is a 9mm. And there are some fantastic .380 tools out there.

      I suppose it take’s the right mechanic.

      1. avatar JasonM says:

        Most sharp sticks are bigger than a .22. But the .22 has a much better effective range.

        1. avatar Alison says:

          I love my .22! A High Standard Duramatic M101. It’s fun to shoot, reliable, and quite accurate. I grew up shooting that gun and it fits me like a glove. I know that it doesn’t pack much of a punch, but if you know where the sweet spots are on a body you can easily take down any intruder with it. Plus I’m comfortable with it and know how to use it, which gives me the confidence I need to be able to use it if necessary — and I think that’s extremely important.

      2. avatar Saltybeard says:

        .40 doesn’t do anything to bad guys that a 9mm doesn’t already do. That is why .40 is going extinct.

        1. avatar Bubba says:

          .40 makes them do a nice Michael Jackson 360 spin and make a *boop* sound when they hit the deck….which is always a crowd pleaser.

          And my penis is bigger.

        2. avatar Delta795 says:

          21st century metallurgy trumps 20th century (mis)conceptions about the supremacy of caliber.

        3. avatar Ralph says:

          Funny that the .40 is going extinct at a time when 9mm has vanished from stores and the only pistol caliber readily available is the “extinct” .40. Which is pretty much the same situation we faced in 2012 when 9mm was scarce and the “extinct” .40 was abundant.

        4. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          I was just at the range earlier today using my .40 and ringing steel consistently. My #1 range buddy uses a .40 cal exclusively. Most of my gats are 9mm because I prefer it as a consistent platform, but .40 is here to stay.

        5. avatar jwm says:

          Nobody is buying .40. That’s why it’s still on shelves. Even during crisis times its still there. Watch for production of .40 to be replaced by more 9mm.

        6. avatar Dan says:

          40 does better at barrier penetration and thick clothing.

    2. avatar Zach says:

      That’s the philosophy I go with as well. I carry a .40S&W, generally, but sometimes I need my “mouse gun” for one reason or another, and then I slip my Beretta 3032 into my pocket. I only load it with FMJ; I just don’t think HP would expand properly, and with the limited energy I’m going for penetration. I also plan to empty the magazine if I need to shoot (7+1 ought to be enough in a pinch).

      And that’s the thing; this is my “in a pinch” gun. Hell, “in a pinch” I’d be glad to have one of those little NAA .22lr revolvers.

      1. avatar Colin says:

        Same here. I have my PX4 compact in .40 for when it’s feasible to carry; but when it isn’t, the Tomcat disappears.

      2. avatar Martin Buck says:

        That approach is all well and good, buy what if one of the felon’s buddy climbs through the window after him. Are you relying on your bad breath alone to keep him at Bay? Better have another magazine ready loaded, and another if this is truly a social engagement.

        1. avatar Serpent_Vision says:

          Where do you carry concealed that attackers are coming through the window???

      3. avatar Jake the snake says:

        Fiocchi .32 acp loaded with hornady xtp bullets will expand out of a 3032 tomcat in my experience. I carried one for years and did gel testing. I also carry a 21A in .25acp as a backup gun loaded with fiocchi 35 grain xtp. Out of the little gun it is sending that little 35 gt. Xtp at 1100 fps and expands. Its like having a ruger 10-22 with minimags. Also, the 21a with mecgar mags will hold 10 rounds.

    3. avatar frank says:

      WW1 was started after the duke was shot and killed by a .32. Hitler offed himself with a .32. President McKinley left this earth from a .32 shot. Aidios to Mayor Anton Cermak courtesy of a .32. Off duty officer in a store line was told to raise his hands while a robber took the registers cash then proceeded to take customer’s wallets. The cop calmly pointed to his front pocket and said “money’s in here” as he slowly put his hand in his pocket and emptied his tiny, 6 ounce, 8 round, P32 kel tec’s magazine into the thug’s center chest. He shot right thru his pocket because he wasn’t able to draw his .45 auto from his rear belt holster without the thug noticing…. just say’in.

      1. avatar Charles Ray says:

        Gavrilo Princip used a FN Model 1910 380ACP. Sophia died before they reached the hospital(abdominal wound) ,and Franz Ferdinand died about 10 minutes after reaching the hospital(neck shot, nicked his jugular).

        1. avatar Docduracoat says:

          I agree with what you said.
          Two, one shot kills from a .380 started World War One.
          World War I killed millions of people.
          So it could be said that .380 killed millions

      2. avatar Mickey D says:

        I sincerely doubt that 8 shots were fired from a P32 semi auto from inside a pocket. The slide would not function properly. Revolver, yes.

        1. avatar bubba says:

          what he said x 100

        2. avatar Martin Buck says:

          The slide travel of a diminutive .32 calibre auto loader may fit within a generous front pocket worn by a man aware of the limitations of such pocket carry and whose clothing requirements do not include a tight Italian style. I’m sure this has happened more than once in our history.

  2. avatar JR_in_NC says:

    First Rule: Have a gun.

    Might give this a listen to answer your questions:

    http://ballisticradio.com/2013/06/30/ballistic-radio-episode-17-june-30-2013/

    1. avatar notalima says:

      Beat me to it:

      (1) Gun
      (2) Shot placement
      (3) Caliber

      Colonel Cooper I think.

      Doesn’t do you any good if that death ray is sitting in your safe because it is too heavy, uncomfortable, not practiced enough with it (for whatever reason), etc.

      1. avatar Rabbi says:

        Not a lot of value getting a shot in the right place if it’s not powerful enough to be effective. Nothing less than 9mm for me, pocket gun or not. My typical daily load up is an XD45 and two Ruger SP101s

        1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          “Not a lot of value getting a shot in the right place if it’s not powerful enough to be effective. “

          Trollish?

          Your comment is not consistent with real shootings in the real world. “Not powerful enough to be effective” suggests no one is every killed or attack stopped by those calibers that don’t meet your approval?

          Or, do you discount those that successfully defend themselves with “underpowered” calibers? I’ve been to autopsies of “one shot kill” with .22 and “took 6 rounds to kill” from a .357 Sig, for example. There has been LOTS of data published on this topic, and lots of discussions.

          The truest statement is that (a) any pistol round can be effective and (b) any pistol round can fail. The debate is pretty much pointless.

          First Rule: Have a Gun.

        2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          JR_in_NC,

          “The truest statement is that (a) any pistol round can be effective and (b) any pistol round can fail. The debate is pretty much pointless.”

          That statement is absolutely true. A more important question is, “Which caliber/bullet has a higher probability of stopping a determined attacker immediately?” Just about any caliber/bullet can eventually incapacitate or kill someone. That isn’t the desirable characteristic. What is desirable is being able to count on a caliber/bullet to stop a determined attacker immediately.

          And that is where the debate should lie.

        3. avatar Mark N. says:

          Well for that, Uncommon, you need large caliber rifle, say 300 Win Mag or bigger. Maybe a .50 BMG. Handgun bullets suck at killing. Six out of seven people shot with a handgun in the US survive. The majority of deaths are by .22LR; but whether that is because the round ricochets or because of ubiquity of the caliber is not detailed.

        4. avatar Hal says:

          “Which caliber/bullet has a higher probability of stopping a determined attacker immediately?”

          I suspect that none of the auto-loading pistol cartridges are likely to accomplish this unless you’re taking head shots. If you’re looking for this capability you need to start thinking about center fire rifles (or revolvers .357 and up) and even then there are no guarantees. That is why strings of fire are so important. I’m no scientist but I suspect that the difference in terminal ballistics between varying pistol calibers is small enough to make this debate pretty f*cking silly. However, every now and again it’s a slow day at TTAG and the next battle of the caliber wars must be fought if for no other reason than our collective amusement. Which is a pretty damn fine reason acutally, because we all secrelty enjoy blathering about calibers.

          Just carry a gun in a caliber that you can shoot well and that gives you peace of mind. What is way more important than the caliber you carry is to shoot and train often. Work on your physical fitness. Eat right. Take boxing lessons and learn jiujitsu. Run 5Ks. A little yoga two or three days a week doesn’t hurt. Physical fitness combined with tactics, techniques and procedures can, do and will continue to win gun fights.

          Hardware is only half the equation and I am being a little generous at that. A highly trained shooter/fighter with a NAA .22 revolver will probably defeat a mall-ninja with a supressed MK 23. Work on your software.

        5. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          Uncommon, there are several points to make in response to your comment.

          (1) First, I have personally been on-scene and to autopsies of numerous shootings, including homicides and suicides.

          I have also made it a point to study real shootings for over 30 years.

          I have seen, and read about, “instant” kill from .22 LR and failures from larger calibers. I’ve seen failure of .357 Sig and read about contact head shots from .40 S&W failing to kill.

          These are not outliers.

          It can go either way. There simply are too many variables to “control” for to make a statistically meaningful prediction. Which leads to next point.

          (2) Let’s say some caliber is x % ‘effective’ and another is y % effective. Statistical analysis does not equal absolute prediction.

          In a given single shooting case, x can fail or y can succeed.

          You can argue “playing the odds,” but to do that, one has to show statistically significant differences in results, which do not exist in a meaningful way precisely because you cannot “control” (ie, analyze for cross variance and true independence of variables) for everything in a given shooting event.

          The bottom line, it’s a crap shoot. Behind stress, position, perhaps injuries already sustained, psychological effects and other mindset issues, caliber choice is virtually non-existent in terms of self defense.

          That’s why HAVING A GUN is so vastly far more important than any worry over caliber or action type or any of that. This stuff is fun to debate, and we can crack a beer and hash over all the merits of this vs that…fun stuff, I don’t deny. But it really does not correlate with “Successful” vs “Non-Successful” self defense.

          Said another way, in the real world, it simply does not matter because it does not have predictive power.

          So, now, ask me why I carry 9 mm instead of .380 ACP or something smaller. 😉

        6. avatar Paladin says:

          @Hal

          I do not understand why people are so predisposed to assume that revolver cartridges inherently outperform autoloaders. This simply is not true. The .357 magnum you mentioned finds it’s autoloader doppelganger in .357 Sig, which performs nearly identically, launching the same bullets at the same speed, and is outperformed by other cartridges such as the 10mm auto or .460 Rowland. In fact, the .357 doesn’t even always outperform the humble 9mm. A 3″bbl pocket 9 firing +p 115gr loads will actually put out more muzzle energy than a full house 125gr .357 out of a pocket revolver.

        7. avatar Joel says:

          The Rabbi doesn’t approve of my .380ACP pistols? Well, that’s it for me. Cancel my membership. Forget about the building fund. As for the Kol Nidre pledge, not happenin’. Oh, and I’m resigning as President of the Men’s Club too. Not my Rabbi, not my shul.

        8. avatar Hal says:

          Paladin,
          you’ve got me there. I guess .357 was a bad place to start. I was more thinking about some of the stupid big rounds like .454

        9. avatar NJ2AZ says:

          reminds me of the end of Once Upon a Time in the West..

          “Hey Harmonica…when they do you in..pray its someone who knows WHERE to shoot”

        10. avatar Paladin says:

          @Hal, the .454 is without a doubt an impressive round, though most would consider it less than entirely practical for defense against two-legged predators it gives an excellent accounting of itself against the larger four legged types.

          The issue is that the .454 is difficult to control, and there are not so many revolvers chambered in it that could be readily described as concealable (I shudder to think what .454 recoil would feel like in an airweight frame).

          All cartridges are compromises. They have to balance power, velocity, capacity, recoil, size and weight. In order to achieve significant power and velocity from a handgun, cartridges like the .454 sacrifice capacity, recoil, size and weight, all of which are important factors when it comes to determining the effectiveness of a given cartridge for defensive use.

        11. avatar Hal says:

          Paladin,
          I agree completely which is why I carry a Glock 19. I don’t carry revolvers, much less the 454, although some day I do want a S&W R8! Not for carry though, just for funsies.

          I was speaking more hypothetically. I.e. if someone wants the capability to “immediately stop (pfff, LOL)” a threat then large caliber revolvers or center fire rifles are in order.

        12. avatar John Butler says:

          I second the River SP101, as I pocket carry one. Adherents to the Church of the Sainted 9mm like to point out that 110 grain 9mm +P+ from a 3 inch pocket automatic will out preform 125 grain .357 Magnum from a 2 inch revolver. And they are correct.

          The ideal .357 cartridge from a snub nosed revolver is a heavier bullet weight of 158 or 180 grain. The longer bullet sits deeper in the case, reducing case volume. This means that it takes less powder to achieve magnum pressure. While a 125 grain pill will be travelling faster than a 158 grain bullet when it leaves the barrel of a six or four inch gun, they will be travelling at about the the same speed from a 2 1/4 inch barrel. Only a higher percentage of the 158 grain cartridge’s powder will have burned off, reducing muzzle flash and recoil. The heavier bullet .357 will also have significantly higher muzzle energy than either the 9mm +p+ or the 125 grain .357 Magnum. Off the shelf ammo, like Privi Partizan’s 158 grain semi jacketed hollow point runs an average of 1250 fps out of my 2 1/4 inch SP101. That averages out to 548 ftlbs of muzzle energy from a snub nosed pocket revolver, which puts it on par with the hottest 9mm. I learned that o shoot handguns with revolvers, so I tend to shoot them better than the self loaders, especially the plastic pocket guns.

        13. avatar KB Dave says:

          Wait, so you’re saying you typically carry three guns? Why?

        14. avatar notalima says:

          “Just carry a gun in a caliber that you can shoot well and that gives you peace of mind. What is way more important than the caliber you carry is to shoot and train often. Work on your physical fitness. ”

          Excellent words, Hal.

        15. avatar Seleukos says:

          A .32 ACP is just as likely to kill someone as a .45ACP. The only people that say otherwise are tools. Ask any police officer or military man. It’s better anyway to do follow up shots with a lighter round that isn’t recoil heavy. No pistol round is going to drop anyone immediately unless you hit them directly in the heart, neck, or brain.

        16. avatar NB Peterson says:

          Lessee…6 shots from a “major calibre” that is for some hard to control…..hitting shoulders, arms, legs, lower torso… vs 6 shots from a well controlled .32acp..4 into a 2 inch circle around the heart, and the other two into the head… I think I’d prefer the .32… Yes, major calibres should have a better chance of stopping an attacker, but one has to hit the target first…

        17. avatar LarryinTX says:

          one .22 LR thru each kneecap will stop an attack immediately and keep the attacker stationary for application of one thru the eye.

        18. avatar D.J.U. says:

          All I can say is follow the best advise ive ever heard. From Clint at Thunder Ranch.” Shoot them in the crotch”. Most guys just kicking hard in their balls will drop them. Shoot them with a 22lr or 32acp or 380acp in the balls,they’ll stop and drop. Period.

      2. avatar Rabbi says:

        JR_in_NC,

        If you think that I troll, you must be new here.

        All calibers have failed to stop. That does not imply in any way that smaller calibers are as effective as larger ones.

        In the history of gunfights, no one has ever said afterwards that they wished they had a smaller, less effective gun.

        I don’t carry to make it easy on myself, I carry to make it as hard as possible on the bad guy.

        1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          “That does not imply in any way that smaller calibers are as effective as larger ones.”

          Prove they aren’t from real results. Geez, I can’t believe this debate still exists.

          Geezer science is not real science. Data and facts matter. I know you’ve seen the links and the studies and I equally know that excuses continue to be made as to why the data don’t matter and dogmatic emotion does.

          Carry what you want for whatever reasons you want. In the mean time, allow others the same courtesy.

      3. avatar Indiana Tom says:

        Seems reasonable Actually, if you look at pistol rounds in gel fist hand, most hand gun rounds are sort of underwhelming compared to long gun rounds.

        1. avatar Mike says:

          I treated a patient that claimed his 5 GSWs were from a 454 casull. He was discharged the next day, nothing vital was hit.

        2. avatar Ron says:

          Yeah I know a guy that took 7 .50 BMG rounds straight to the chest. After a quick trip to the ER he was out and back to the bar that evening.

    2. avatar tdiinva says:

      @Hal:

      The 10mm is roughly equivalent to a 357 revolver round. The Buffalo Bore 180gr round comes in at 728 ft/lbs of energy.

  3. avatar Scrubula says:

    As far as I see it, the limiting factor of handgun rounds is velocity. We compensate for less velocity with larger caliber rounds.
    .32 ACP has about 200-300 less FPS than 9mm and is smaller. That’s from the charts on wikipedia, so take them for what you will.

  4. avatar Mediocrates says:

    if .22 kills more people than any other round each year, is the .32 ACP too much? 😀

    1. avatar Rabbi says:

      There is a huge difference between a bullet’s ability to kill, and it’s ability to do enough damage to stop the body. You can die from a flesh wound, yet a flesh wound would not stop most violent offenders.

      1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

        And big service calibers have failed to stop violent offenders, too. Many times.

        What’s the real point of hashing over this mess? To get everyone to carry a “Rabbi approved pistol?”

        1. avatar Rabbi says:

          Knowing that larger handgun calibers often fail to stop it only makes sense that smaller calibers have even worse performance. Why hash it again? Because people still carry subpar calibers.

          It NOT about how many people were stopped with subpar calibers, is about how many people were NOT stopped with subpar calibers.

        2. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          “Because people still carry subpar calibers.

          And yet, magically, people every single day successfully defend their lives with “subpar calibers.”

        3. avatar Hal says:

          Rabbi,

          “It NOT about how many people were stopped with subpar calibers, is about how many people were NOT stopped with subpar calibers.”

          Can you actually quantify that statement? I’m not trying to be a dick here; if there’s data out there that can elevate the concept of “stopping power” beyond the theoretical then I would love to see it. To me it seems as un-provable as “number of lives saved by DGUs where no shots were fired.”

          If memory serves you’re a gunfighting instructor. I don’t doubt your experience. You probably have an experienced staff of instructors too. However, between yourself and your other instructors , how many gun fights do you guys have between you? Of those, subtract fights with rifles and leave only those that involved pistols. Now, what is that number and what were the calibers involved? Is that data comprehensive enough to scientifically demonstrate the concept of “stopping power?” Does it even come close? I’m guessing it’s probably just opinion at that point. Beyond the imaginations of 1911 enthusiasts, has anyone even defined what “stopping power” is?

          TTAG is a place where facts matter. Bold claims, conjecture and “bigger = better” pseudoscience only go so far here. As a personal friend to RF and one of the most senior readers here, I am sure you will understand our natural skepticism.

        4. avatar Sammy says:

          Hal,

          If you remain skeptical that a bullet with less mass, less speed and less energy will be just as good at destroying flesh and bone as a larger, more powerful one, no amount of internet posts will help you.

          I remain skeptical that you do enough research to educate yourself.

        5. avatar Hal says:

          Sammy,

          “If you remain skeptical that a bullet with less mass, less speed and less energy will be just as good at destroying flesh and bone as a larger, more powerful one, no amount of internet posts will help you.”

          First off, we’re talking about “stopping power,” not the ability to kill. As others have indicated here, .22 kills splendidly. Second, I am pretty sure that throwing around vague physics terms as if its evidence is exactly what I am talking about. That’s a hypothesis dude. When a comprehensive study about “stopping power” is published, we’ll talk. But even that’s laughably premature because no one has truly defined what stopping power is, or if someone has I’d love to read more about it. It’s just a subjective term that we toss around carelessly, with no specific definition not to mention the metrics by which it can be measured or studied.

          I’m not even saying Rabbi is wrong. I’m just saying that we’re all prattling on about stopping power and making claims that are subjective and anecdotal at best. How about we all just agree that every one of us is full of shit? Because if there were a comprehensive silver bullet study that solved this question then we wouldn’t be having this little chat.

        6. avatar Sammy says:

          Wow, Hal, just wow.

          So you can’t fathom that a smaller, less powerful bullet won’t do less damage to a body and therefore won’t have any less stopping power than a more powerful one until you see a study???? wow….

          Let’s replace the word “bullet” with the word “crack.” So that means that you won’t believe that a smaller, less powerful dose of crack won’t do less damage to the body than a more powerful one until you see a study that “proves” it? You are that unwilling the use the most basic of logic? Well, SOME of us are full of sh*t, I will agree with you there.

          Fights have been stopped and people have been killed with pencils too, but that does not mean that I would choose a pencil as a primary weapon to defend my life.

        7. avatar Hal says:

          Oh Sammy,
          so… no evidence then? Roger, that’s what I thought.

          Guess you missed the part where I clearly stated that I wasn’t saying Rabbi was wrong. I guess you also missed the part where I tried to discuss the difference between hypotheses and facts. I suppose someone who gives a shit will have to explain the difference to you sometime. While they’re at it, considering you implied that I am full of shit for asking for evidence, be sure to have that person teach you what irony is too. Brushing up on reading comprehension wouldn’t hurt either.

          Bottom line, the following two statements are very different:

          “.32 is too small to provide good stopping power, 9mm is a better choice because it is larger, heavier and travels faster.” = unsupported opinion, which is fine until people become too stubborn to admit that it’s just an opinion based on their limited understanding. The point at which it becomes staunchly defended while still not offering any evidence is when it becomes COMPLETE AND UTTER BULLSHIT.

          “I think .32 is too small to provide good stopping power, 9mm is probably a better choice because it is larger, heavier and travels faster.” = good hypothesis based on logic and physics. Define what “stopping power” is and identify criteria by which is can be studied and you’re well on your way to having a f*cking smart conversation about this, as opposed to getting ass hurt because I won’t blindly accept unproven opinions on the internet.

          This THE TRUTH about guns, not opinions and bold claims about guns. Put up or shut up.

      2. avatar Mediocrates says:

        yes. yes, I know. [/facetiousness]

      3. avatar bobmcd says:

        “a flesh wound would not stop most violent offenders”

        Yes, even Arthur, King of the Britons, knew that.

      4. avatar Another Robert says:

        Actually, I seem to recall reading that a “flesh wound” does stop most attackers (ie most attackers stop what they are doing as soon as they realize they have been shot). True or not?

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          I would bet money that is true. But what do I know? I would also bet that if you shoot something at a bad guy and *miss*, he will be headed out at high speed before you can fire again. Usually. It’s that “usually” which causes us to get into caliber wars. Even though everyone knows the best gun on the planet is the one in your hand when you need it.

  5. avatar Dickie J says:

    Because: ‘Murrica!!!

  6. avatar Tim says:

    I’ve heard that the .32 is supposed to penetrate more than the .380. Since we know that shot placement is key when defending yourself with a pistol, wouldn’t that make it a better choice than a .380?

    1. avatar lolinski says:

      Average loads penetrate about 25-30% more. This is because of similar velocities (about 300 m/s) coupled with a smaller caliber (.32 is smaller than .380). It is easier to stab something with a thin stick instead of a thick stick.

      On topic: .32 is enough against people, especially good for silenced use.

      1. avatar Sam Schifo says:

        Well next time I go to the HItman Store I’ll make sure to pick up a .32 auto and a suppressor.

        1. avatar Durk324 says:

          That’s funny.

        2. avatar Dave G. says:

          Durk324:
          You’re too easy to please.

  7. avatar Jeff Dege says:

    When I think of the .32ACP, I think of the scene from Doctor No, where Q is telling Bond he has to swap his .25 Beretta for a .32 Walther. He describes the Walther as an extraordinarily accurate and powerful gun.

    Fleming would have known better. Mouse guns were the preferred tool for assassins because you could palm them as you walked down the street, and even a .25 was adequate when you shoot someone in the eye from arm’s length.

    1. avatar lolinski says:

      Seriously? You are keeping the gun after a murder? You don’t walk away with the gun, you dump it, get rid of it.

      Less evidence the better IMO… then again I don’t do anything illegal (hard to get caught if you haven’t done anything).

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        What’s the point of getting rid of it? Are you thinking somehow that Q won’t rat you out first chance he gets? “Yes! I DO recognize that serial number, that is the .32 I gave to *”BOND”*!!! JAMES Bond!! He must be GUILTY!”

    2. avatar CalAnon says:

      “Delivery like a brick through a plate glass window.” And he wasn’t actually named as Q in that film, he was called “Armorer.” And it wasn’t Major Boothroyd/Q that told him to swap it out, it was M. Armorer (played by Peter Burton, not the more-famous Desmond Llewelyn) did say Bond’s .25ACP Beretta was “nice and light, in a lady’s handbag.”

      Enough with my Bond autism, though –

      For my money, I would indeed carry a .32ACP pistol – a Walther PPK, if I had the option. Not because of Bond or Bond-like fantasies, but because it was indeed highly respected and well-used by Europeans for a long time – and I’m sure you can still find a couple kicking around in some unit/police armories somewhere, still being issued out as needed. Is .32 enough round? If it worked for 50+ years, there’s no reason it should suddenly turn into pillow feathers today. Is .380 enough round? Why not ask Archduke Ferdinand and his wife? They were killed by a .380 FN 1910.

      Even at “card table” distances, .25 is enough round as long as your shot placement is good. So would be .22LR, even. Actually, if you want to talk anemic rounds, .41 Rimfire/.41 Short. It has a muzzle energy of all of 52 foot-pounds, but it was effective enough that it, and derringers that chambered it, were used plenty from the time of its introduction in 1866 to, possibly, as late as the 1960’s if one of my old family friends – a former Chicago cop – is to be believed.

      I’m going to skip over the whole “shoot what you can” arguments. So, really, the “debate” boils down to personal preference. For me, a .32 would be plenty. I wouldn’t feel under-gunned at all, unless I was facing multiple targets (or a single target with an AR-15 or something, perhaps). But, for some people, Self Defense starts a 0.4 and goes up from there – whatever works for them, my only hope is that whenever anyone straps up, it keeps them safe in the end.

      Bonus: Here’s the famous Walther PPK scene in its entirety.

      1. avatar Gerald says:

        Thank you! Always time for a bit of classic film. Interesting that 007 put the Walther in the same holster that he took the Beretta out of, no?

    3. avatar S_J says:

      Real assassins use revolvers if they have to use a gun. A little trickier to conceal, but no casings thrown about. Outside of that it’s hard to argue that a .38 Special while not some “soul-killing” self defense load is definitely more adequate for the job than a .32 or .380 ACP. Worked for plenty of beat cops back in the day.

      1. avatar Lolinski says:

        The gun that Franz Ferdinand was killed with was .32 caliber.

        1. avatar Docduracoat says:

          That is not correct
          It was a .380 caliber Browning 1910, serial number 19074.
          While this model pistol was also available in .32, all 4 bought for the assassins were in .380
          I refer you to the website guns.com published on 6/29/2016

  8. avatar Phil L says:

    In a moment of weakness many years ago, I acquired a Walther PP in .32 ACP – and have never regretted the purchase. I know it isn’t a serious-hitting cartridge, but it’s always a lot of fun to shoot.

    So I’ll be watching to see how this discussion plays out!

    1. My dad’s 1910 is fun as hell. No sights to speak of but no recoil either. Fast little shooter.

    2. avatar UrbanFuturistic says:

      Yeah, I saw a Beretta M1935 and just had to have it. .32 is fun to shoot.

    3. avatar LazrBeam says:

      .32 ACP is fun to shoot. I’ve got a couple of CZ70’s, two Beretta 81’s, two Zastava M70’s, and a Keltec P32…. all are a blast to shoot. I realize we’re talking pistols, but let’s take into consideration .32 revolvers. The .327 Federal Magnum is a badass round. It surpasses the .38 Spl in energy and approaches, if not equals, some 357 Mag loads with less recoil. And, the .32 H&R Mag is on the level of the.38 Spl. .32’s in all of their iterations are just cool.

  9. avatar Tom says:

    Good enough to kill, but not good enough to stop the threat.

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      That pretty well says it all.

    2. avatar Hal says:

      Define, please. And be specific.

      I am pretty sure one shot to the pelvis or head with a .32 will do just fine.

  10. avatar Ralph says:

    Is .32 ACP enough gun? I have to ask — enough gun for what?

    For the typical bad guy who would like to separate victim from money, yeah, probably, if the gun owner can hit what he aims at. For a bear or other wildlife that one might encounter in the ooky, spooky woods — not a chance. That would be like trying to frame a house with a tack hammer.

    1. avatar Rabbi says:

      Ralph has a good point. One element of “stopping” power is psychological. Will the bad guy stop because he does not want to get shot? Then the answer is yes, .32 is fine. If the bad guy wants to make $20 on a robbery, a small caliber would probably be a sufficient deterrent. The bad bad guy wants to kill, a higher caliber is in order. To be “safe”, I always carry large calibers because I’m not very good at reading minds–just ask my wife.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        Rabbi really zeroed-in (pun intended) on the heart of the matter. Any handgun in any caliber can stop an attacker from a psychological standpoint. The real question is whether .32 ACP is just as reliable as any other round to stop a human attacker immediately.

        As for large predators in the woods, .32 ACP is wholly insufficient.

        1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          “The real question is whether .32 ACP is just as reliable as any other round to stop a human attacker immediately.”

          Data that it isn’t?

          A good read:

          http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/alternate-look-handgun-stopping-power

          And good stuff here as well:

          http://ballisticradio.com/2013/06/30/ballistic-radio-episode-17-june-30-2013/

        2. avatar Hal says:

          “The real question is whether .32 ACP is just as reliable as any other round to stop a human attacker immediately.”

          Pray tell, what pistol calibers can be quantifiably proven to reliably stop a human attacker immediately?

        3. avatar Matt in FL says:

          Why, the venerable .45 ACP, of course. All you have to do is shoot it near your assailant and they’ll go down like a freshman on prom night.

        4. avatar waldorff says:

          I’m not screwing around with some wimpy sub-caliber in Bear turf, I’m packin both my Bears. And my Bears are Badder and Bigger than yours. My Bears drink Plutonium laced acid rain water.

      2. avatar Accur81 says:

        I agree with you both. A .32 ACP is better than nothing, but definitely isn’t a powerful gun. For me, self defense handguns are .357, .40, and .45 ACP, although I’d like a Sig 226 9mm just fine. There are tons of decent loads in the 9mm-.45 ACP class than can perform and expand against intermediate barriers and heavy clothing. I don’t consider myself a lucky person, and I don’t want to rely upon the “psychological stop.” One could also be facing multiple opponents, someone with a leather jacket, etc.

        So I’ll say that no, the .32 ACP isn’t enough gun unless you’re after beer cans. Sure, it’s better than nothing, but I’m virtually always carrying something. And when I’m carrying, it’s something a lot more powerful than a .32. YMMV.

    2. avatar OldBenturningingrave says:

      This. My camping/woods gun is a .357 mag loaded with 180 grain round nose flat points. Black bear capable. For carry in “civilization,” different story.

      1. avatar int19h says:

        Same thing here. I always pocket carry, but in the city it’s a Kel-Tec P-32, while on the hike it’s Chiappa Rhino with 180gr Buffalo Bore semi-wadcutters.

    3. avatar Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

      Enough for Cacos, drugged-up gangstas or jihadis?

    4. avatar Chas says:

      enough gun for what?

      A hierarchy of assailants:
      a) would be scared away by the sight of a gun;
      b) would stop due to pain even if only grazed;
      c) may not be sober, would not stop for pain, has to be disabled.
      d) like (c) plus has light body armor;
      e) like (c) plus has military plate armor.

      A mouse gun should be sufficient for (a) and (b). For (c): 9mm? 380? For (d): would the legendary 45 ACP or 10mm handle it? For (e)…?

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Grenades are always good.

  11. avatar Allen says:

    .32 is good if you are attacked by an archduke.

    1. Sure that wasn’t a .380?

    2. avatar Fran says:

      Lol ! Woody ?

      My grand father was wounded after that archiduke was shot by a .32 bullet, wounded at La Marne battle, close to le chemin des Dames, the Ladies path… I still have his 320 British Bulldog

    3. avatar Fran says:

      Lol ! Woody ?

      My grand father was wounded after that archiduke was shot by a .32 bullet, wounded at La Marne battle, close to le chemin des Dames, the Ladies path… I still have his 320 British Bulldog

  12. avatar Rokurota says:

    I have not shot a .32, but when I bought my P3AT, the gun store owner tried to sway me toward the P32. “At close range, the .32 and .380 are about equal, and the .32 is a lot easier to shoot.” Don’t know about that, but the P3AT is not a gentle gun to shoot. (Incidentally, Guns America did a write-up on the P32 just last week: http://www.gunsamerica.com/blog/kel-tec-p-32-enough-gun-range-report )

    So it might be fine for EDC, but in the woods, I’ll take a .357 instead.

    1. avatar Jack says:

      The P-32 locks back on an empty magazine, has little recoil despite the light weight, and allows an extra round of capacity. With a +1 magazine extension, you get 9 rounds total and a more secure grip, with little effect on concealability. That’s a pretty good package.

      1. avatar Not larry from Texas says:

        I carry a P32 as my off duty piatol. I got this batman belt for 12 hours a day and don’t need anything else heavy on my back to remind me how old I am getting.

        1. avatar Not larry from Texas says:

          Pistol **

  13. avatar Frank Masotti says:

    To be the smart a$$ in the room. If it doesn’t start with a 4 it is not enough. 🙂

    1. avatar lolinski says:

      so 9mm is good enough? 9 is much larger than 4.

      1. avatar Rokurota says:

        10mm is out. 1 is smaller than 4.

        1. avatar Bob H says:

          25mm is too small then, as well. Don’t tell the Marines that!

    2. avatar Serpent_Vision says:

      7.65mm should be great, then.

  14. Oh yay! Another caliber war! Is an icepick enough of a shiv?

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      I will have to check with Trotsky about that.

      1. avatar gloomhound says:

        An ice pick is a tad different that an ice axe.

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          It was an ice pick, not an ice axe. Google it.

        2. avatar J.B. says:

          It was an ice axe.

        3. avatar Darkman says:

          It was the butler in the den with a candle stick.

      2. avatar SkorpionFan says:

        Leon Trotsky was killed with an ice axe.

        The pointy “pick side” of the axehead (rather than the wide, flat “adze side” of the axe) was drive more than 2 inches into Trotsky’s skull.
        The murder weapon is now in the International Spy Musuem in Washington, DC.

        Photos of this ice axe:
        https://www.spymuseum.org/exhibition-experiences/about-the-collection/collection-highlights/trotsky-ice-axe/
        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/13/trotsky-ice-axe-murder-mexico-city

      3. avatar SkorpionFan says:

        Leon Trotsky was killed with an ice axe.

        The pointy “pick side” of the axehead (rather than the wide, flat “adze side” of the axe) was drive more than 2 inches into Trotsky’s skull.
        The murder weapon is now in the International Spy Musuem in Washington, DC.

        Photos of this ice axe:
        https://www.spymuseum.org/exhibition-experiences/about-the-collection/collection-highlights/trotsky-ice-axe/

        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/13/trotsky-ice-axe-murder-mexico-city

  15. avatar Missouri Josh says:

    Ya know, my old man has one of these- with a brownish, flat patina- in a coffee can as we speak.

    The plastic handles are barely on, you can spin them 360 degrees (the screws are sticking up).

    On the handles it says “F.A.G.” (bizarre).

    Try to squeeze the trigger and it just pulls freely, doesn’t do anything. It just kind of dangles there.

    And… big finish… the slide doesn’t move. It’s frozen after years of sitting.

    I’ve thought about getting it from him and having it restored/refinished. But I think I’ll just let it sit in that coffee can for the next eternity.

  16. avatar Model 31 says:

    Europeans of past centuries have typically been smaller than beef and corn fed Americans of the 20th century so a .32 would like have been enough for them. No, I’m not volunteering to stand in front of a .32

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      A lot of Americans were pretty skinny too until the 20th Century. During the Civil War, the average soldier was 5’5″ and 135 lbs.

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        Indeed.

        Living here where so many US Army calvary engagements with the Indians occurred from 1864 to 1876 or so, we get lots of facts in historical presentations about “who were the men that rode in the USA Calvary back then?”

        One thing they were not was big. 130lbs, maximum, usually no more than 5’5″ tall.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Army regs limited the entire load of a horse to 200 pounds. Rider, saddle, gear.

        2. avatar Dude says:

          Back before fast food and modern hybridized wheat.

    2. avatar Ron says:

      Exactly. Not only are people physically larger today, but they are fatter.

      A .32 just doesn’t cut it against today’s modern super criminals. You need a round that will plow through all those layers of thicker hide, longer hair, denser bone, and fatter meat. Also, all the drugs and constant electronics use has made them not only dumber but more immune to pain through strength of stupidity. I would say a minimum of 10mm to get good stopping power on these beasts.

      That was a bit tongue and cheek, but in all seriousness you are right. People are bigger today then they were 70+ years ago.

  17. avatar Pulatso says:

    My MIL carries a Walther in .32, because it’s the gun she’s most comfortable shooting. It’s fine for EDC if that’s the gun you’re going to train with and carry every day. That said, I personally would want something a little heftier as a camping gun.

    1. avatar gloomhound says:

      What’s a “MIL?”

      1. avatar Missouri Josh says:

        One of those things we call a “mother-in-law”, I presume, should you be so “fortunate” to have one.

        1. avatar gloomhound says:

          I do but she is a jewel among woman kind, just like her daughter.

      2. avatar Martin B says:

        Like a MILF, but there’s no F’ing around.

        1. avatar Joe Smith says:

          I tried your MIL. She was crusty and unpleasant.

  18. avatar Robert Seddon says:

    WHY is there no PPK Walther in that pile? Mine is a fine handgun that does cycle properly and is accurate at 30 feet. It is even a German made model.
    Robert Seddon

  19. avatar Xanthro says:

    One difference between people during prohibition and now is size. People just weigh a lot more now. A .32 ACP might be sufficient to stop a 130lb adult male, but how many of those are around these days?
    Rounds actually have to penetrate more fat and muscle these days to hit something vital, and size makes a difference in blood loss as well.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Ding ding ding … we have a winner!!! I was going to post the same thing.

      A .32 ACP is probably a fine caliber for a 130 pound male attacker as Xanthro stated. If your attacker is 250+ pounds, not so much. Can .32 ACP eventually incapacitate a large attacker? Sure. That doesn’t do me much good, however, if that 250+ pound attacker has no trouble killing me before bleeding out.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Shoot him 2-3 more times, then unleash your Kung Fu on him!

    2. avatar Another Robert says:

      I kind of like the .32 myself, mainly because of the neat little guns that chamber it. Still wish I had my Zastava Mod. 70 back, even tho it really was pretty superfluous ( I also had an E German Mak and a Polish P-64 at the time). But I appreciate the comment Xanthro, providing some fact-based logic to the discussion. Always kind of wondered why Euro police agencies, even up to a couple of decades ago, considered the .32 perfectly adequate, while US police agencies wouldn’t even think of using it.

    3. avatar J.B. says:

      And if you look at old photos and movies, in addition to being short and light, people were shades of grey, no color. I m wonderIng if that had any effect on penetration.

  20. avatar Alpo says:

    All the standard answers:

    -Better a small gun you actually carry…
    -Shot placement is king…
    -All handgun calibers are already a compromise…
    -Most DGUs involve no actualy shots fired…
    -.22lr kills 2 billion people every year- and that’s just in the U.S….

    -etc.

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      Thank-you. 😉

      I think we need one of those meme posters for the caliber question.

    2. avatar Quaggenbus says:

      No way that last statement is true that 2 billion die from the .22lr each day. However, in my observations in ballistic gelatin I came to certain conclusions. I would prefer to have a higher force transfer bullet while A) dispensing energy and B) penetration, while at the same time remaining user-friendly and have a great safety to be engaged each time before the first shot, and allowing for sufficient fire rate in the event of multiple attackers. While I thought the AK47 great in all ways except accuracy, and the AR-15 in most ways but force transfer (even being very high), I elected the latter for plinking as a matter of personal preference, but thought it pales due to high ammo cost. Luckily, I can buy a conversion kit. If cost weren’t a factor, all things considered, I would’ve acquired a Maadi-Griffin pistol instead, but the govt. banned that, and so the magical debate ended, and a grimmer reality set in, The limitations of accurate calibers by government can not be explained logically.

    3. avatar J.B. says:

      And countless billions more wounded Each day..

      Woooosh!

    4. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Pretty sure you moved a decimal, .22 kills over *20* billion people every year.

  21. avatar Sian says:

    Better question, who needs .32 ACP? We have truly tiny handguns now in .380, and you don’t need to get much larger for real 9mm. What niche does .32 acp fill that isn’t better handled by .380?

    1. avatar lolinski says:

      More ammo per mag, less recoil (especially in small mouseguns) and better penetration (excluding stuff like Buffalo Bore or other hardcast high pressure loads).

    2. avatar Stinkeye says:

      Cool old-timey guns, that’s the .32’s niche.

    3. avatar ArmedAmerican says:

      the real question is why we feel to tell others what’s best for them to do when half the time we don’t even know what’s actually best for ourselves

  22. avatar IllinoisShooter says:

    Its better than a sharp stick… that is for sure.

    First rule? have a gun. if you have a .32 great.

    this from a guy that carries a .45

  23. avatar Hannibal says:

    “Have not generations of Europeans, including James Bond, successfully defended themselves with pistols chambered for 7.65 Browning?”

    Well James Bond is fictional and Europeans seem to prefer to have a rifle to kill one another when possible so… not really.

    Hey a .32 will kill someone if you put it through the right spot (like almost anything). But if you miss a little or want someone on the ground faster I’d find something better unless you need a miniscule conceal gun (in which case you can probably still find something in .380 without sacrificing much)

  24. avatar LJM says:

    An LC9 loaded with 147gr HST’s, one would ask why carry a .32 ACP unless you have a historical pang to do so. But yes, first rule, have a gun. Same could be said for a .22 NAA mini.

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      I have have carried a NAA 22 magnum for years, mostly as a backup gun, and as a primary while in a very small town, mostly in case I again run into a dog that wants a piece of me.
      When I go to town (the big city) I carry a Sig 9mm, but I still have the little magnum in my pocket.

    2. avatar int19h says:

      Because I pocket carry, and all 9mm handguns are still too big/heavy to do it comfortably in casual clothing.

      1. avatar Mark N. says:

        Really? My Kahr CW9 weighs in just under a pound empty, and just a couple of ounces more loaded. The CM9 is an ounce or so less. And both are under an inch thick. A Ruger L9 is somewhere in the same range, as is the Sig P938. How heavy is “too heavy”? I know there are one or two.380s are around 10 ounces (which must be a real “pleasure” to shoot), but is the few ounces all that much more? Nor do I think any of the .380s are any thinner, given that the round is the exact same diameter as the 9.

        1. avatar int19h says:

          Yes, a few ounces do matter a lot when pocket carrying in something other than cargo pants or heavy jeans. Also, I wasn’t referring to .380 specifically, in my opinion .32 ACP is a better choice for this kind of thing (or else just go for one of the super-lightweight 9mm, like Diamondback or Kel-Tec).

          For a weight comparison, an empty Kel-Tec P32 weighs 6.6 oz. A loaded one, close to 10 oz. It’s 0.75″ thick, and this is the true width since it doesn’t have any controls sticking out on the side (no safety or slide release). I could probably tolerate a couple more oz, but going beyond that would mean that I’d have to rethink some of my wardrobe.

          Note that I’m not loath to carrying heavier guns in general – I pocket carry a Chiappa Rhino when hiking, and that thing is somewhere in the ballpark of 25 oz. But I carry that in 5.11 TacLite Pro pants, which have really deep pockets, and which are baggy enough to conceal it even so.

          In any case, this is all very subjective. If you can pocket carry an LC9 comfortably, go for it. If you would rather carry IWB, your options are also considerably wider. Just keep in mind that other people may have different preferences.

  25. avatar Missouri Josh says:

    I’m very pro large caliber, my go to’s are in 40 S&W and 45ACP.

    But that little 380 Glock number has been catching my eye lately. The 42, I believe.

    Supposed to be a sweet little shooter, as far as 380 goes. There just might be some room for that in the safe.

    See, this is my addiction/problem coming into play. Lol

    1. avatar Rokurota says:

      42 starts with 4, so you should be good to go.

      1. avatar Durk324 says:

        That cracks me up.

  26. avatar Allen Scheer says:

    The drive for smaller cartridges is generally fueled by two concerns:

    1) Can’t shoot something more powerful effectively.
    2) Need smaller gun for concealment.

    If #1 is your goal, you really just need to get what you CAN shoot, and deal with the trade offs and limitations. This is why people carry knives instead of broadswords.

    If #2 is your concern, the proliferation of smallish .380ACP and 9mm pistols seems better suited.

    1. avatar Quinton says:

      I have a full frame semi 9mm, 45, and mid .380 that i can tuck in my waist, and yes before you ask I’m licensed to carry. I don’t put nearly enough time at the range but I have learned this. Where my grouping is loose with my larger frame autos I just can’t miss with my Walther PK380. I figure that if I’m pissing myself in the middle of a gunfight at least I know I can put rounds on target with the .380. I figure it’s likely the same for those who carry the 32acp. If you can hit it, great! Skill is better than luck when you’re shooting for that vital 10-inches.

  27. avatar Gun_Chris says:

    My biggest complaint is that the 32ACP is semi-rimmed. I really wish the 35 S&W had won that particular caliber war.

    1. avatar Another Robert says:

      Yup–Had some issues with “rim-lock” in my Zastava, especially with HP rounds

  28. avatar Delmarva Chip says:

    Buckeye Firearms Association posted a study about the effectiveness of different calibers on stopping an attacker. The link is here:

    http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/handgun-stopping-power

    One thing that stood out to me was the “percent of people who were not incapacitated.” The percentage dropped significantly once you moved from .32 (Long & ACP) up to .380 ACP. The number of failures were essentially cut in half.

    So, based on that, I would say that .32 ACP is NOT enough gun.

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      That page is a gold mine of interesting data and ways to look at it.

      Look at the second chart and the metric “% actually incapacitate by one shot.” Compare .32 to .40, for example.

      There’s a LOT going on this data. It’s no easy pick, and why I stick to my “guns” that the first rule is “Have a gun.”

    2. avatar Independent George says:

      Except that he says explicitly:

      I also believe the data for the .25, .32 and .44 magnum should be viewed with suspicion. I simply don’t have enough data (in comparison to the other calibers) to draw an accurate comparison.

  29. avatar Anonymous says:

    The 22LR, 32ACP, and 380ACP are more than enough. Keep in mind however, back when they were mainstream and in popular use the bullets were all “Ball” ammunition (FMJ Ball). With ball ammo 16 inches of penetration is expected for a 22. A 380acp will penetrate 25 inches. With such penetration, and small wound cavity, shot placement is much more critical.

    However, in today’s time of super fancy bullets with rapid expansion, large wound cavity, and predictable penetration, these calibers typically don’t have the energy to meet those requirements. People have accustomed themselves to this type of ammunition that provides so called “stopping power” that doesn’t over-penetrate flying though the bad guy, 8 layers of dry wall, 4 layers of insulation, the neighbors dog, a UPS truck, over a pasture, and embedding itself in a red barn a half mile away.

    When I was young and lived on the farm, the local butcher would come to butcher some cattle for us. He brought with him a small lever action 22LR. One shot took down a 2000 pound bull. I watched him do it with three bulls.

    1. avatar Dave G. says:

      Anonymous:
      There is (or was) a packing house in the Eastern Market area of Detroit that used a .22LR revolver to slaughter cattle on a daily basis. I’ve never been there myself, but I have seen it reported in the media often enough. A .22LR to the brain at close range is apparently very efficient, and it’s cheap too.

      1. avatar Darkman says:

        Killed many a hog/steer on the farm back in the 60’s and 70’s with a 22lr. A well placed shot behind the ear was all it took. Even took out a few deer with a 22lr. When times were tough and putting food on the table was all that mattered. A friend some years ago stopped an intruder in his house with a 22lr with a shot to the upper knee. While caliber size has it’s advantages/disadvantages. Shot placement is King.

      2. avatar Danny Curtis says:

        Wasn’t RFK taken down with a .22?

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Something like 6 or 8 .22 LRs. Not one.

  30. avatar Gregolas says:

    I bought the first Kel-Tec P32 I could get my hands on because it could go places my Colt Officer’s and my Kel-Tec P-11 couldn’t– or as a back up to either.
    However, as soon as the P3AT came out, I sold the P32 to friend who loves the caliber(already had a Tomcat) and carried the P3AT in the same roles as the P32.
    You do what you can with what you have, but having a gun is the most important thing.

  31. avatar KD says:

    SIG 238 daily carry and nobody ever notices where or if I carry. Absolutely minimal recoil and deadly accurate at combat distances. Check out the videos at Shootingthebull410 to see that if your carrying one of the pocket pistols, and your carrying the right ammo, the it makes no difference whether it’s 9 or .380.

  32. avatar former water walker says:

    Is that a serious question? How about ammo availability? .32 is spotty at best. So I guess it’s better than a sharp stick. And I know a lot of people have died from 32. Just nobody shot by James Bond 🙂

  33. avatar Thomas Reed says:

    Doesn’t have a whole lot of punch. But any gun is dangerous. Well maybe not a .25 cal. Still I think I would like to have something with a little more umph. Getting where I don’t like the 9mm that much. Seen too many of them bounce off car windows. A lot of people swear by the .380 auto but I have never been a big fan of the .380 I like my .40 S&W it is accurate, has a lot of stopping power and doen’t beat me up like a .45 does.

  34. avatar VA Pete says:

    How about .32 SW Long? I gave my college-aged daughter a mint SW model 30-1 J-frame from the 70s. The recoil is much more manageable than a .38 special j-frame. She likes it, practices with it, feels confident with it, shoots it accurately, and will not blow her ears out if she needs to use it indoors. No, it won’t take down a bear but I have no worries about it being enough for a 2-legged attacker, especially with the new souped-up Buffalo Bore rounds in the various .32 calibers.

    1. avatar Jack says:

      Nice gift–and a practical caliber for someone who can’t handle a lot of recoil, in my opinion.

    2. avatar Chas says:

      The S&W Model 327 8 Shot Carry Performance Center (uses moon clips) looks sweet for snubbie revolver lovers. The 327 Magnum seems worthy. But the price… (cough!).

      1. avatar Chas says:

        Oops… The S&W in 327 Federal Mag is the Model 632 – Pro Series Carry Comp. That S&W model 327 is a 357 Mag (somewhat confusing…). Also Ruger has their SP101 in this caliber.

        The muzzle energy of the 327 Fed Mag is claimed to be nearly the equal of the 357 SIG, lighter bullet but moving faster.

  35. avatar Gunr says:

    Something like this could be argued forever. The most important thing to consider is that you must be able to handle your weapon with ease and precision, meaning you should be able to fire your gun and hit your target, and handle changing out the empty mag without error.
    With some folks, a 45 will do nicely, other have trouble with a 380. As stated here already, the 32 will kill for sure, but it might take too long, giving your opponent time to put a couple of rounds into you, before he bites the dust.
    I have only owned one 32, a Baretta model 90. Wished I still had it. Too heavy for CC, but I loved the styling.
    I would say the 32 is not adequate for primary carry, but if it all the gun you can handle, then go with it, rather than something that you are scared to shoot. Just practice with it, and learn to handle the gun until it become an extension of your arm!

  36. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    If I were carrying a small pocket gun. the .32 ACP would be on my list of contenders before .25 ACP, certainly.

    There were many nice semi-autos made for .32 ACP 100 years ago. But, as noted above, most of the .32’s of yesteryear were assumed to be fed with FMJ rounds. I’d carry a .32 loaded with FMJ, and I’d practice until I got good enough to call head shots reliably, which is how older gents who used to pack .32’s told me they were taught to deal with the limitations of the .32 many decades ago. The recoil is scant, the report is reduced from higher pressure rounds, so use that to your advantage in a high quality gun and put the rounds where they’re needed.

    As for what I’d be carrying: Colt 1903 Hammerless. There were dozens of .32 ACP pistols made 100 years ago – dozens of makers, dozens of models. The 1903, IMO, is the pick of the litter. The second pistol I’ll eventually own from that era will be a S&W .32 ACP, which is very collectable simply for the low numbers of them made.

    H&R, Savage and others made .32 ACP pistols.

    Once you go off-shore for .32 ACP’s, you’ll find even more makes and models, some quite crude, some nicely finished and detailed. Still, the best finished of the lot and most reliable, IMO, is still the 1903.

    1. avatar lolinski says:

      Have you tried the CZ 83? 15 shots of .32 acp in a compact package. Though the 1903 is definately your style.

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        The one or two I’ve seen were chambered in .380. Never seen one in .32 ACP.

        1. avatar Independent George says:

          The .32 version didn’t get imported to the US in significant numbers before the entire line was discontinued. I have a satin nickel CZ-83 .380 which is decidedly a safe queen – beautiful and tons of fun to shoot, but the ammo is damned expensive. I wanted the .32 since I never meant it to be a defensive gun, but the only ones I could find on Gunbroker were either poor condition, or sold for $900+.

        2. avatar scoutino says:

          I used to carry one for about four years back in Europe. Wanted to buy CZ 75 but they were hard to find at that time (1990’s) and my purchase permit was about to expire… so I bought what was available: CZ 83 in “7.65 browning”. Easy to shoot and not too hard to conceal – no open carry allowed in CZ.

  37. avatar Johannes P says:

    Hey, Dan Baum is back! Cool!

    Nothing wrong with a .32 for social purposes when the threat is likely to be on two legs. It’ll probably work. I wouldn’t buy one in lieu of a .380 simply because .380s can be had in a similar sizes package for pocket carry nowadays. But the .32 will and has worked. Especially if a display is all thats necessary.

    The mistake here was not bringing a gun that had been proven reliable at the range and with which the user had trained. The 1911 doesn’t take up any cargo space when its on your hip!

  38. avatar JWB in Cali says:

    Manson family- yes, they’re really old
    Meth Making Crew- probably
    Rabid Beast (skunk sized)- probably
    Rabid Beast (mountain lion sized)- NO

  39. avatar joe says:

    if i’m going to a crowded area I carry my 25cal since its smaller then a pack of smokes, in normal places my 1911 .45,and at camp my Dan Wesson .357(with a couple shot cartridges for snakes)

  40. avatar Jacob From Upstate NY says:

    Talking of nice 32ACP pistols, there’s the Beretta 1935, I have one that I’ve yet to shoot, but it feels so nice in my hand.

  41. avatar int19h says:

    Given that over 90% of all DGUs don’t involve actually firing said gun, I’d say that anything that is recognizable as the real thing is good enough regardless of the caliber.

  42. avatar gloomhound says:

    “Is .32 ACP Enough Gun?”

    Yes, yes it really is.

  43. avatar David B. says:

    If you are accurate with the .32 ACP then would be preferred over a larger caliber. A gun club I was once a part of during regular weekly competitions stated caliber must be above .32. Those shooting .32’s would always be most accurate.

    As for bullet power, the .32 ACP in 71gr. FMJ and 60gr. HP are purposely downloaded because some .32 ACP’s cannot take the higher pressure. links to http://shilohtv.com/?p=2720 and http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?155089-From-Handloads-com-quot-Experiences-with-a-32-quot show how the .32 ACP can be customized for hunting small game. And the superiority of the 1903 Colt over the Walther PP. 🙂

    As for the first rule of a gunfiight: ‘Have a Gun’

  44. avatar Gray05 says:

    I’m a Glock 20 10mm guy. My only handgun. It’s what I’ll carry when my permit finally comes in. It’s what I have and for how often I can carry, I can’t justify something smaller.

    Now that is clarified…. A gun of any caliber is better than no gun. I’m 5’11”, 175lb and I don’t look threatening or dangerous in any way. I have low odds of winning a hand to hand fight with another grown man. But, even a magazine of .22 dumped in his chest increases those odds by a lot. 15 rounds of 10mm makes me feel warm and fuzzy by comparison. But I’d really rather have my .308.

    If your facing a determined and able attacker that doesn’t have a gun you’re most likely going hand to hand regardless of what caliber your gun is. Just wound him/her as much as possible to make winning the hand to hand part more likely.

    If they have a gun, I’d take easy draw and high capacity over power any day. Two people in a handgun shootout that are both moving and finding/using cover aren’t going to be THAT accurate. Don’t be the one to run out first.

    1. avatar Missouri Josh says:

      I like my “GLOCK” 21, Gray05, but it seems a lot of GLOCK owners, eat, sleep, and breathe for the damned things. To me, they are a lot like a Toyota Camry. It does a lot of things good enough while being very reliable, but looking at them long enough just might put you to sleep.

      I enjoy my M&P 40 just as much a my GLOCK, mushy trigger be damned.

      But ten points for you Sir, just because 10mm is so damned interesting IMHO.

      1. avatar Gray05 says:

        I was raised on anything but Glocks. I got mine just for a modern, quality 10mm.

        I like it. It’s simple to operate and maintain. It’s reportedly reliable. They are ubiquitous so parts and accessories are easy. The trigger was crap until I put a ghost evo connector in it.

        For carry/self defense I don’t know if I could go to anything other than a Glock now. Draw and pull the trigger. That’s it. It’s so simple. And it’s going to fire every time. I’d love to own all sorts of other guns, but I’d have to be convinced to switch to something else for defensive use.

        1. avatar Missouri Josh says:

          The trigger on my Gen 3 21 (45 ACP) feels good and crisp compared to that of my full size M&P 40’s stagey trigger.

          So, in other words, the trigger on the M&P is REALLY sh*tty. Lol

          Thought about the 10mm Glock but I was wondering about finding ammo for it. I have yet to see any 10MM ammo at any of my LGS. But I imagine its a hoot to shoot.

          And yeah, I’m with you on the simplicity and durability of a Glock. Can’t beat it.

      2. avatar Gray05 says:

        My trigger was especially bad. I’ve handled 3 other (newer) Glock 20’s and 29’s and their triggers were actually a lot better. Not perfect but good.

        Ammo isn’t a huge deal. Cabela’s and bass pro stock it in limited selection and quantity. Small shops that carry 10mm guns always have the ammo. I always order online. I can try to buy in bulk and usually get a much better price. I have access to reloading equipment but will soon have access to a REALLY serious reloading set up so it’ll be even less of a concern then.

        http://www.laxammo.com

        My most recent ammo purchase was from lax. Just in case I inspire you to jump on the 10mm wagon soon.

        It’s a lot of fun to shoot, but takes time for a less experienced shooter such as myself. My dad has little issue considering his main side arm was a .44 magnum for years. I really enjoy the action on my G20.

  45. avatar Independent George says:

    When did hollow point ammunition start to become widely used?

    At short range, I think the difference betwen a .32 and a .45 FMJ round are minimal; they’ll both penetrate, but neither will expand, and the difference in wound cavity is minimal.

    In a JHP, though, ShootingTheBull has shown the difficulty in balancing expansion and penetration in a .380; I have to assume the problem is even more pronounced in a .32. Not only is it travelling slower, but there’s significantly less mass to start with, so the tradeoff between expansion and penetration becomes more pronounced. Anything from 115 gr. 9mm and upwards, though, typically has both velocity and mass to do both.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      For self-defense and police use? Since the late 70’s, and in some cartridges, only after the 1990’s.

      There used to be a big popular animus against HP self-defense rounds not that long ago. I remember in several states in the 70’s through late 80’s, any time a police department would talk about converting from ball to HP ammo, there would arise this huge outcry from the congenitally stupid about how cops were “shooting to kill” now that they were going to HP ammo. I guess the presumption was that before HP ammo, the cops were shooting to only annoy, or something.

      The .32 ACP is a relative latecomer to defensive ammo designs. After the 9×19 took the US gun market by storm in the 80’s, lots of older rounds simply fell out of favor pretty quickly. You used to be able to find .32 ACP ammo on shelves very commonly until the late 80’s. Now things are so changed, this past year, I had to tell a gun clerk that, yes, there was such a thing as .32 ACP or “7.65mm Browning.” I also had to inform him of how many pistols used to be made for this caliber, or similar rounds. For example or a slightly hotter .32 round, the Luger pistol (which everyone associates with the 9×19 or “9mm Luger”) was also chambered in 7.65 Luger or 7.65×21.

      Today, many shooters have no idea that the .32 ACP was one of the most popular handgun cartridges of 100 years ago, hands down, adopted by dozens of countries for their police forces, used by Americans in scads of small, compact semi-auto pistols, etc. If there’s one thing I detest about the 9mm cheez-whiz “revolution” in pistols, it is the collective amnesia about everything else in the world before (and after) 9mm cheez-whiz became the obsession of everyone from gun rag writers to gang bangers.

      I recall when I was first shooing .38 Specials and .45 ACP’s in the 70’s – there were no HP “self defense” rounds you could find in gun stores. Gun stores simply didn’t carry them. For hunting in rifle rounds, you could find “soft point” (jacketed, lead core bullets with the nose exposed) in sporting goods/gun stores, but never HP for pistols or revolvers. HP ammo “was for cops” and the implication was “for cops only.” People who cast their own bullets certainly cast HP ammo, but that wasn’t jacketed bullets.

      My grandfather owned a 1903 in .32 ACP. Wonderful little gun. It went elsewhere in the family, but I’ll never forget how smooth, easy pointing and easily cleaned it was. All it was ever fed was FMJ ammo. JMB’s genius was amply evident on the 1903, and you could see foreshadows of the 1905 and 1911 to come. Grandfather carried this gun up and down Wall Street before WWII in his vest pocket. It was simply assumed that most men did – no one talked about it, there were no CCW permits, etc. You just got a small gun and you carried it with well-concealed discretion. .32 ACP’s fit this use at that time.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Agree. I got my first Python in 1968, and had to go to reloading to get JHP, all I could find commercial was cast SWC. I cannot imagine the FBI figures for penetration on .357 SWC. 40 inches?

  46. avatar danthemann5 says:

    I don’t know why people insist on having the “is this enough gun?” debate. I’ve already solved this problem. The question we should be asking is “Do you have enough guns?”

    I carry the following daily:

    – LC9 IWB
    – NAA .22 WMR in my pants pocket
    – S&W .357 in the glovebox of the car
    – XD .40 in the center console
    – 12 ga shotgun in the trunk
    – S&W .44 Magnum in the desk drawer
    – COLT brand 1911 and a Deagle brand Deagle (.50 of course) in my backpack as a backup.
    – I would also carry a .380 LCP in my underwear, but my wife won’t let me borrow hers to try it out for some reason.

    Caliber problem solved!

    1. avatar Missouri Josh says:

      @danthemann- just shot a North American Arms mini revolver 22 this past weekend at the range.

      Only shot two rounds out of it, one was bulls eye, the other was the first outer ring of it.

      Louder then expected and certainly more felt recoil than expected. Neat little piece for sure.

      Also shot a Bersa 380, my first time doing so. Heavy thing. Not nearly as much fun as that mini revolver, though.

      1. avatar Gunr says:

        I’ve got three of these little jewels. My favorite to shoot is the 4″ Earl. I can actually hit something with it at range, like tin cans at 25 yards.
        I carry a short barreled magnum 24/7.

      2. avatar danthemann5 says:

        The NAA is glorious to shoot. I have the Black Widow, which is surprisingly accurate at 7-10 ft with the 2 inch barrel. It is also one of the most fun handguns I own. It’s an extremely well-made machine, it’s tiny, and it makes a big boom. It’s just plain fun, and yes, very loud. I wish I had bought one sooner.

  47. avatar cknarf says:

    Better than nothing, of course. Bullets hurt, it’s a well known fact. Plus, mouse guns are often loud as shit, so maybe they have a psychological effect as well.

    BANG BANG BANG!

    “Oh shit, run away!”

    My Jennings J22 is obnoxious. I always get questions when they notice what the noise is coming from.

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      Have to give you credit for actually admitting you own a Jennings! /sarc

  48. avatar Fug says:

    I would say it is enough gun if you do your part, it has killed plenty of people. Now as for defending yourself, a 9mm with hollowpoints is the way to go here in America where you can get such things.

  49. avatar Eric says:

    I recall reading a report (recent) that stated. Most pistol rounds… one shot landed and the perp has a 80% chance of survival. Two shots landed, regardless of caliber and they had a 80-90% chance of death. So if you have that .357 snub nose and hit once or fail to hit you are better off having a .380 and hit them twice. I know my Bodyguard .380 is easier to hold on target with rapid fire than my fathers LCR .357,

    1. avatar ArmedAmerican says:

      +1
      3 shots center mass minimum regardless of caliber

    2. avatar O3T says:

      “Most pistol rounds… one shot landed and the perp has a 80% chance of survival. Two shots landed, regardless of caliber and they had a 80-90% chance of death.”

      This is my interpretation of this sort of report as well, and, is part of my infatuation with the 32ACP. IMHO It’s effectiveness is JMB’s adroit calculus of size, capacity, accuracy, and controllability when coupled with a second-to-none single action trigger of his Colt 1903. Any adequate description of this quickly becomes an understatement faster than I can punctuate a target. Is bigger is better outweighed by more-faster is better? Methinks it may tip the balance.

  50. avatar MacBeth51 says:

    a .32 in the pocket beats two .45,s on the safe

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      Yeah, Actually, it beats a whole safe load of guns! Well said.

  51. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    “Is .32 ACP enough gun?”

    First, a few questions must answered… When are going to use your gun? Who are shooting? What is there body type and density? How many targets will you have to shoot? What is distance? Anyone on drugs? Anyone drunk? Anyone pissed off? Where on target will your rounds hit? How deep will the round/s penetrate?

    My point being, life has too many unknown variables. Enough is only enough when it’s enough.

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      “Who are you shooting” Unless this is your aggressive neighbor, how would you ever know who you were going to shoot, and what his individual characteristics might be.
      The guy that might rob you tonight might weigh 110, or 310.
      Get the most caliber you can handle well, even if it’s only a 32.

  52. avatar doug says:

    Regarding the last paragraph, I have felt the exact same way about the .38 special. Police carried nothing but 6 shot .38s for almost 100 years but now 20 years removed from the standard issue wheel gun anything other than a high cap semi auto is deemed not enough gun.

  53. avatar Terry says:

    an 1911 cost approximately 40.75 when it came out. Adjusting for inflation thats about a grand. asking why people didn’t own them in the 20’s is like asking why doesn’t everyone own an HK or FN 45.

    http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/5f/9c/ed/5f9cedaf816988544a487af4a7d339bb.jpg

  54. avatar Publius says:

    Nope, nope, nope. I cannot support Dan “I support the privilege of people I approve of to possess specific weapons that I approve of” Baum to write for this site. I’ve read his book and interviews with him and he is extremely condescending towards gun owners (especially ones that aren’t white and wealthy) and he views guns as a privilege for the elite and not a right for all.

  55. avatar J- says:

    General George S. Patton carried a .32 ACP 1903 Colt Pocket Hammerless with ivory grips on himself nearly all the time. He called it his “social pistol.” If it was good enough for Patton, it’s good enough for me.

  56. avatar Pilot4prophet says:

    I have a few .32s. The CZ-50 is a particularly accurate little pistol. It’s a copy of the Walther PP.
    A family of raccoons had moved in and was making a mess out of my shed. One night, I had let out the dog to answer natures call and he surprised them in the open. The whole bunch of them scurried up a dead tree at the edge of the yard.
    I quickly grabbed the CZ and a surefire lite from the coffee table, stood at the corner of the house and shone the light on the tree. Five pairs of little emeralds glowed in the crotch of the tree, some 12-15 feet up. The tree was at least 20 paces from where I stood.
    Bracing the pistol against my other hand holding the light, I lined up the sights on a pair and squeezed off the shot. I heard something fall. I fired five more shots, dropping the rest of the clan, missing only once, with no more of a target than the glowing little eyes.
    That said, my opinion is, for most (not the determined assassin/ninja/methed up) humans, once you start putting holes in them, their primary instinct is to get away from the thing that is putting holes in them, the secondary instinct being finding an emergency room.

  57. avatar Ryan says:

    I think it goes without saying that a .380 is better than a .32, a .25, or a .22. Whether or not the .32 is enough really doesn’t matter, because a KelTec P3-AT (or Ruger LCP etc) is about as small as any practical gun can be, and it fires a cartridge that’s simply bigger and better than any other tiny-gun cartridge. .32 is probably enough in most situations, but you obviously don’t lose anything by going a bit bigger.

  58. avatar TexGal says:

    Watched my uncle drop a board hog with 1 shot from .22 rifle, right between the eyes.
    Never forgot that. If walking my dog and an off leash dog with bad atttude comes along, it will get a hint with my RugerSR .22, if it’s owner shows up with an atitude, may get a hint
    with Ruger SP101 .357 in my fanny pack.
    1st rule: have a gun, 2nd. rule: make sure you are a good shot with whatever caliber you shoot.

  59. avatar Bob Roberts says:

    I love the 32 acp because it has appeared in so many quality handguns over the past century. As a collector the .32s in general have given me a chance to own FN Brownings, Beretta’s, Mausers, and other beautifully crafted pistols that in any other caliber would be out of my price range. Currently I own John Browning’s first auto design, FN’s 1900, the Browning’s handsome 1910, and 3 of the the extremely ugly (but accurate) 1922’s. I picked all up for songs because, well, they are .32’s (and those 1922’s really are ugly) .

    As for stopping power, none of these would probably be my first choice if I carried, but I do think the .32 gets put down too much, especially as it compares to the .380. The .380, another Browning design, has lower sectional density and does not seem to penetrate as well. Does that matter? I suppose so for the theoretical CNS shots. But I do think caliber size, in handguns, is slightly overrated because when we are talking about handgun bullets we are always talking about things that are less than 1/2 an inch in diameter. Does the body react differently to .32 vs .355 or .357? I can’t even picture .03 of an inch without breaking out my calipers.

    But then there are all those “hopped-up” bad guy who feels no pain we constantly read about – it used to be crack heads, now it is meth heads. Bad guys weren’t like that at the turn of the last century. Well maybe, except that the .32 acp was the cartridge of choice in French WWI handguns for trench warfare. Indeed, the “Ruby” was also called a trench sweeper like several other, more respected, weapons.

    Now, I have never been in trench war but I have to believe that the amount of adrenaline involved in going “over the top” or jumping into the enemies trenches for hand-to-hand to the death combat should count for something. We read of men running on legs without feet, so what kind of resistance to pain did those guys have?

    Those who snicker at the idea of French soldiers usually still recognize the toughness of the opposite side. So, what did the Germans do when they decided to rearm and go for a second round in world domination? They adopted two calibers for their official handguns, the 9mm and the .32. The .380 was around and available – I have the .380 barrel for my FN Browning 1910 – but they chose the .32 instead. Now, I don’t know the official reason they picked the .32 over the .380, but it seems reasonable it grew from first hand experience in the trenches. It just might be that because soldiers in winter wore heavy coats over their uniforms they found the .32 had a better chance of penetration than the .380 – this again raises the issue of sectional density.
    Personally I will continue to collect these well-crafted “mouse-guns” and wish to forever stay behind rather than in front of one.

  60. avatar Bob Roberts says:

    Before I get hammered for bad data I checked my own statement about sectional density and realized it isn’t true. Memory did not serve me well. The 32 and the 380 have approximately the same SD.

  61. avatar Tim says:

    My father recently had an accidental discharge with a little .25ACP. Shot himself in the foot (yes, it really happens). The foot is mostly bone. Bullet entered the top of the arch, worm holed it’s way down and exited the tip of his toe. Had it been a .32, I can only imagine his 6 week recovery time and damage done would have been much worse. After seeing what that little mouse round .25 did to his foot, I would not feel inadequately armed with a .32, although I carry a nine most of the time. I have a super cool Sig P230 in .32 but use it mostly for plinking, accurate and zilcho recoil but I have been reluctant to carry it since I have my nines. However, that Buffalo Bore 75gr hard cast flat nose +P may change my thinking on the little .32 as a carry piece.

  62. avatar Quique says:

    Read some study a while back that the .357 was the best caliber for a one shot stop. Smaller calibers have a harder time at performing that requirement and larger calibers over penetrate. .

  63. avatar Robert Van Elsberg says:

    I tested the .32 ACP against the .380 ACP while stationed in Germany in the early 1980s. Hollow point ammo was not available in Germany at that time, so FMJ was the only option. The .32 ACP ammunition was the German-made RWS (I think it was GECO) and the .380 ACP was Winchester-Western white box. The .32 was a Beretta Model 70 and the .380 was the small, compact Llama. The test medium was a stack of old encyclopedia books. I wasn’t trying to test what would happen if the bullets were used in self-defense; only how the compared to each other in penetrating this old stack of books. What I found upon testing was the .32 ACP penetrated about 25% deeper than the .380 ACP and tumbled in the process, widening the damage channel in the process. That caused me to take a second look at the .32 ACP. When I got back from Germany I was at a range in Georgia when myself and two other guys decided to do a penetration test on an old Atlanta phone book (that book was huge–maybe 6 inches or ore thick). The rounds were a Federal HydraShock .45 ACP fired from a 1911-style handgun, a .38 Special 158 grain semi-wadcutter from a 2-inch barrel .38, and an RWS .32 ACP FMJ out of a Walther PP I had acquired. When we fired and then began peeling back the pages we got the following results: The .45 went about half-way through the phone book, the .38 about 1/3rd of the way, and we dug the .32 out of the last 10 pages or so. To make a long story short, the .32 ACP, especially with the hot European FMJ loads such as Sellier &Bellot, GECO and Fioochi, is not a weak defensive load. Penetration to the vitals is guaranteed and as the bullet tumbles (especially when the base has turned forward) does more damage than people assume. Contrary to what is commonly represented, the .32 FMJ does not just slip front-forward through muscle tissue and organs, doing minimal damage. It tumbles and tears its way along its path without having to rely on a hollow point to expand and do damage. More than 60 percent of all handguns made in the 20th Century were chambered in .32 ACP or 7.65mm Browning, as the Europeans refer to it. Various handguns in this caliber served European police forces and Armies. In World War One trench fighters favored .32 ACP pistols along with some pretty imposing fighting knives as they swept through German positions. The need for such handguns basically created the Spanish gun-making industry as companies churned out copies of Browning designs — often referred to as “Rubys”– some with extended grips allowing for high-capacity magazines. Were I going into battle I would prefer my main fighting handgun be a .45 ACP or now since the Army can use hollow point ammunition, a good 9mm or .40. But it would be comforting to know that somewhere on my body I had a hidden .32 ACP loaded with hot European ammo. When the fight gets down to card-table distances, it’s nice to know you can rapidly ventilate your opponent 8 or 9 times if necessary with a bullet that is going to buzz-saw its way to his vitals. And oh yes, my carry gun is an FEG AP-MBP 7.65mm Browning pistol. With 9 on tap and a backup magazine with 8 more rounds, I feel pretty confident that I can protect myself and my family from your typical mugger and other ner-do-wells we might encounter.

  64. avatar Buck johnson says:

    I’ve shot more captured feral pigs than I can count with handguns at my uncle’s ranch in Mexico. I have to be honest, I’ve never noticed a difference in effectiveness between 32acp, 9mm, or 45 acp with ball ammo. My aunt’s little p32 will kill a 300lb pig just the same as my uncle’s 1911 with a well placed shot, and the wound channel looks identical. Reliability and accuracy are all that matters with a defense pistol that is capable of putting a hole threw a human body. A 32acp will put a hole threw a large pig, so I have no doubt it will put a hole threw a man. If that hole goes threw something like the heart, brain, spine…etc. You’re dead. It really is that simple.

  65. avatar Abner Romadonce says:

    Penetration is driven by projectile Energy divided by sectional Area. (This is NOT “sectional density”.) DGU energy is basically muzzle energy. Muzzle energy varies by mass, but also by the square of velocity. Wiki the muzzle energy equation if you don’t know this already. So heavier boolits is good, but faster boolits is better. Now for some common sense: I have two bullets of the same mass traveling at the same speed toward the same target medium, but one is half the diameter (one quarter the sectional area) of the other. Which will penetrate more deeply? Yes. You are correct. The skinnier one. In fact when you run the numbers for typical handgun + ammo combinations, E/A varies over a pretty narrow range from 22LR pocket pistols all the way to 1911s … only about 2:1. Even more interesting, penetration does not track caliber. It doesn’t even track caliber inversely! Run the numbers and you’ll see. The rest of the comments about this subject tend to fall in the “mine is bigger than yours” realm, and as such aren’t worth a [email protected]+ in a whirlwind. Not that it matters but I’m a veteran, NRA life member, NRA-certified pistol instructor, Red Cross-certified 1st Aid w/AED, and work as an engineering scientist on robots and spacecraft servo systems. And yes, a Kel-Tec P-32 (or LWS Seecamp, NAA Guardian, Jimenez JA-32, et cetera) running European 73gr ball ammo (B&S, Fiocchi, RWS Geco, et cetera) is an excellent, concealable pocket carry solution. Avoid the hollow points for 380ACP and below. They don’t expand and they’re not worth the money (except you have no choice with the Seecamp of course).

  66. avatar Tyler says:

    Obviously if we are speaking about just a round, then bigger is better. A round with more mass traveling at a greater velocity will have more kinetic/potential energy, thus transferring more to the target and creating more damage. That is as far as “science” can take you on the road to a ridiculous debate. Anything more then this is purely conjecture due to the fact that millions of unforeseen and uncontrollable variables make it unquantifiable. I have personally witnessed a child pick up a weapon and kill a seasoned warfighter. Skill and control matter very little in comparison to situational luck and response. Carry whatever you want, however always remember it is better to never get into the position in the first place. You could be carrying an m134 and still get killed by a slingshot.

  67. avatar Andy says:

    I worked as a Deputy Sheriff for many years , also worked as an armed Security officer at our county owned hospital , the county morgue was on hospital property also , over the years I have seen a lot of shootings , especially in our town back in the mid 1990’s due to turf wars among the gangs , I have seen guys shot numerous times with a .45 ACP get up and walk around their examination room , I have seen a guy shot in between the eyes with a .45 ACP discharged from the hospital two weeks later still having headaches , I have seen guys shot with .22lr come in DOA , seen where guys get into a close gunfight one gets hit with a .38 Special while the other gets hit with a .40 S&W the guy shot with the .38 dies on the table , the guy shot with the .40 gets discharged two days later with bullets left in him because they are where they won’t cause any damage . I can go on about this but it all boils down to pretty much any caliber you are proficient with will do , shot placement being a key element , I think that if you carry a gun you are comfortable shooting and practice with it that you are a bigger threat to a bad guy . Be prepared and ready . Keep your powder dry .

  68. avatar Charles says:

    Friends don’t let friends carry USA made 32 ACP guns using USA made 32 ACP ammo.
    32 ACP European guns and ammo are MUCH better.

    USA brands of 32 ACP ammo are (and have been) 40% weaker than European brands of 32 ACP. USA brands of 32 ammo have been weak ever since tiny 32 pocket pistols became popular. I think that was back in the 70s or 80s. The full strength ammo could destroy those little guns. So USA ammo makers started making a USA ammo version that has a slightly shorter case (I think 2mm shorter than the old standard) to prevent Euro ammo from going into American pocket pistols. The USA ammo has 40% less muzzle energy (with same wt bullet) than Euro ammo.

    The two best rated (for stopping power) USA brands of 32 are Winchester Silvertip and Federal Hydroshock, but they are weak sisters compared to Fiocchi.

    Muzzle energy with 60 gr HP.
    Silvertip 125 ft/lbs
    Hydrashock 123 ft/lbs
    Fiocchi 205 ft/lbs for their Italian made ammo, which was the only ammo they offered until a few years ago.
    Fiocchi 161 ft/lbs for their USA made ammo. I guess when they started making it in the USA they watered it down to be more similar to other USA ammo. The Fiocchi made in USA is still more powerful than other bbrands of USA made ammo.

    European made ammo is very potent (40% more muzzle energy) than USA ammo. The Euro ammo might destroy a USA made pocket pistol. That’s why USA ammo has a 2mm shorter case to prevent the Euro ammo from fitting.

    For people with 32 ACP guns made in Europe, Argentian (Bersa) or anywhere outside the USA, but European made ammo, if you can get it. All Euro ammo is way hotter than USA ammo. Fiocchi’s “made in Italy” (or anywhere in Europe) ammo is 40% hotter and Fiocchi is the only Euro ammo maker offering hollow points. Also, people with USA guns made in the 1960s or earlier can (and should) use Euro made aammo because those guns are made for that spec ammo. The Euro ammo is made to the original specs that 32 ACP used to be.

    So for the gentleman who wrote the original article. European police (and South American police in many nnations today) used/use 32 ACP with confidence because they are using hotter loaded Euro ammo and have a barrel length of 3.25″ or longer. Typically 3.75″ or longer. Beretta even makes one with a 4″ barrel.

    Euro ammo with: 3.25″ barrel is reasonably potent, 3.5″ barrel is potent, and 3.75″ barrel is quite potent. Especially with hollow point. In Europe (and some South American nations) plain clothes cops carried 32 ACP guns with 3.25″ barrels and plain clothes cops carried 3.75″ barrels. That’s still common in many parts of the world.

    If you have Fiocchi Italian made HP in a gun made to use Euro made ammo (especially if it can use hollow point) you have a potent defense weapon becaue those guns have a barrel of 3.25″+ and use hot ammo. That’s more potent than a 380 IMO because penetration is much better and in my tests Fiocchi Euro made HP consistently expands to 40 caliber or even 45 caliber when shot into a barrel of water.

    If you have a barrel shorter than 3.25″ or use USA made ammo, you should be worried. It’s that combination that ruined the reputation of the 32 in the USA as having poor stopping power.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Hm. I’ve been buying and shooting handguns since the 1960s, and I do not recall ANY period when .32 handguns were the least bit popular in the USA. I think you’ve been imagining things. The only place I’ve seen .32 used was at the National Matches, where serious competitors had 2 identical guns, one .32 and one .45. No wind day, use the .32, high wind use the .45.

  69. avatar Charles says:

    P.S. – So in conclusion, and in response to the original article’s question as to why the 32 isn’t enough now when it used to be, and whether we are smarter today or just pussies…

    As I said in my prior post, the 32 USA made ammo is 40% less potent in it’s ammo than it used to be, and tiny pocket pistols have much shorter barrels than the Browning, Walther, Sig, CZ, Beretta, or Bersa guns. Pocket pistols have either 2″ or 2.5″ barrels, which robs them from having any power. So with a short barrel and ammo that’s already weaker. those little USA pocket 32s have probably 60% to 70% less muzzle energy than the older mid size USA guns, or Euro guns, or Bersa, has with Euro made ammo.

    So the 32 ain’t what it used to be, if you’re using USA guns and ammo.

    And yes we are smarter today in some areas, but dumber in others. For example, who knew (before I posted it) that modern USA 32 stuff is watered down with reduced power?

    And yes we certainly are pussies today compared to the greatest generation.

    1. avatar JW says:

      Of course, when it really counted, the greatest generation used 45acp… and nukes! 🙂

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Which are pretty much the same thing.

  70. avatar ArmedAmerican says:

    The caliber debate is one of the most moronic, imbecilic arguments on the face of the planet today
    When we’re talking about cars, no one gets into some asinine discussion about how my car isnt good enough because it cant do 170MPH like their car can. I dont race so I dont need a car to drive that fast.

    By that same thought process Im not hunting elephants with my carry gun, so I dont need a 155mm Howitzer with exploding armor piercing ammunition.
    What *I NEED* is simply a gun that will do the damned job of stopping an attacker when I need it to stop that attacker.
    This whole caliber debate is utterly and completely absurd and a waste a time because it compares my gun to your gun….not my gun to the bad guy I need to stop.

    I dont need my car to win the Indy 500….and I dont need my gun to blow a rhino apart.
    So please stop with the idiotic comparisons of what your 45 crap gun and its flying ashtray nonsense to my ‘squirt gun’. You all just make yourselves look like idiots when you say this sort of crap.

    (“An armed citizen saves the life of a police officer in Baton Rouge LA”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkUcSsHz3jY

    I was in a debate with an idiot about the 45acp being a ‘manstopper’ and the myth of hydrostatic shock stopping an attacker rather than shot placement.
    The above story shows that the 45acp is NOT the manstopper 45 fans think it is. When it comes down to it shot placement and penetration are the only factors you can rely on.

    Here is more data from a trauma surgeon who deals with gun shot victims.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tku8YI68-JA
    https://youtu.be/tku8YI68-JA?t=1060

    At about 17 minutes he shows that a 40 caliber is not the killing machine 40 caliber fans think it is.

    And what do you know…this guy shot his ass in the leg with the man stopper 45acp and he DIDNT go down and his leg DIDNT explode.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYvAxLX6OzE

    And this guy….well, he was shot a LOT with a 45acp and like Ash from Evil Dead 2, just didnt want to die.

    (“In this free-for-all, the assailant had, in fact, been struck 14 times. Any one of six of these wounds — in the heart, right lung, left lung, liver, diaphragm, and right kidney — could have produced fatal consequences”)
    http://www.policeone.com/police-heroes/articles/6199620-Why-one-cop-carries-145-rounds-of-ammo-on-the-job/

    And heres a hoot for fanboys
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SCCPxyKwXM
    Guess those 40s and 45s aint all that compared to the 9mm.

    (“GA Woman Kills Would Be Rapist With .22 Pistol
    An PhD educator in her 50’s shoots and kills (using a .22 pistol) a man in his 20’s who broke into her home and confronted her with a kitchen knife.
    http://gunssavelives.net/self-defense/video/ga-woman-kills-would-be-rapist/ “)

    Massive penetration from a 22LR pistol
    .22 LR Handgun for Self Defense? CCI Stinger Ammo Test
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbVY4gT5P20

    380handgun.com
    http://380handgun.com

    Heres another video about the lowly 380.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkscBbMGp5k
    Using FMJs the wimpy little round was able to penetrate 19inches of ballistic gel and still burn thru a gallon water jug on the other end.

    380 ACP ammo test: three types of Full Metal Jacket FMJ bullets in ClearBallistics gel
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbSLqdiX_bA

    .

  71. avatar Edward McCoy says:

    A local police officer was shot over the last weekend in Florence, AL (read about it in the Times Daily) at point blank range in the face by an assailant on drugs using a .45 ACP handgun. The officer returned fire and called for back-up. A chase ensued and the assailant ended up shooting and killing himself in a church parking lot moments later.
    The office was flown to a trauma center and treated and released the next day. He showed up for roll call yesterday.
    Point of the story? Handgun calibers suck if your’re trying to kill someone (which is a great thing for the brave cop/victim in question), unless you are a really good shot, or you have time to shoot the person many times. My father who is an internist like me, trained at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, and tells the story of the man who came in to the ER having been shot five times at point blank range by a .45 ACP, only to have the bullets flatten on his skull and not enter the brain cavity. He was treated and released. Talk about thwe benefits of having a thick skull!

  72. avatar Rick in MI says:

    I carry a stainless steel Seecamp 32ACP in my front pocket daily — including days when I wear shorts. While Winchester Silvertip JHP, Speer GoldTip JHP, Federal Hydra Shok HP, and PMC Bronze JHP all work very well, lately I have been experimenting with newly-designed deep-penetrating ammo from Lehigh and also some hotter (+P and otherwise) loads from Underwood using this this new Lehigh bullet. While I would not want to be shot with any .32ACP hollow point, this new Lehigh bullet brings my Seecamp up to the pressure and force of more traditional European .32ACP hardball ammo. BTW, if you’ve never tried a Seecamp, I recommend them highly, and they now are made in .25, .32ACP, and .380. It’s the best mouse gun made!

    Full disclosure, I also own a .45ACP Colt Commander 1911 and a 9mm Sig Sauer SP2022. While these are used to keep my home safe, I feel comfortable keeping my Seecamp beside my bed at night… though a Mossberg 20 gauge and a Marlin 30/30 are also always nearby.

  73. avatar Tanki says:

    I read a lot critisims of 7.65mm a.k.a .32acp and I fired my cz83 using PMP 75grains on a 1972 BMW door at 7yards. The bullet went through that door, passing through a lowed window and got into the seat. My warning to people who under-estimate a 32acp, a bullet is not pill that u develop resistence to. Human tissues are not getting tougher over generations. Bullet placement is what is important. Shooting under stress when attacked is not easy like shooting a target on a range where you are relaxed and too careful about grip, sights alignment e.t.c. Imagine yourself shooting that big caliber gun with high recoiling power under stress it wont be as easy as shooting a 32acp. STOP undermining 32acp it’s equally dangerous, besides gun fight are usually at close ranges where the 32acp can hit efficientl.

  74. avatar Jamie Straight says:

    You are kidding me with all the bs. I have kel tech 32. It’s a bad ass gun. Deadly accurate and awesome to conceal. Don’t listen to the pissing contest bs. Lol have to love the nonsense about one shot kill stats. Dude why the hell would you shoot one time? Why do you need hit nervous system. Someone puts a bullet in your ass it’s not gonna make you think I’m gonna get you now. Your either going to die or try get the hell away. If they are dumb enough continue then keep shooting if haven’t. Same thing about these gun battles everyone imagines. Where the hell you people live that there gun battles? That shit doesn’t happen. Odds are its gonna be some bully that you have no hope of defending self against in fight. That’s when people pull weapon. If your in gun battle then maybe quit gangbanging. I’ve lost one friend to gun. It’s was a damn 22 and throw away gun. He was dead before hit the ground. 32 fine gun. It’s a gun that nice to carry. Pain in the ass to carry large gun and everyone reading know it. Not mention not everyone has that choice. What hell I wear shorts in summer like most people. Get a gun that you’ll carry. Hope the God never need it. If you do the 32 will kill and cripple

  75. avatar Old Mark says:

    Glad I’m not the first one here from 2017 (the future when this thing started…)
    I have owned and carried several .32 ACP pistols since the 1970s, and plan to again soon…an old Bernardelli pistol, with a decent length barrel and loaded with GECO ball ammo.
    I have in the past carried .357 mags, including a Hiway Patrolman, .45 ACPS of several types, and .44 Specials, mostly Century Bulldogs. Lately it’s either my Bulldog, a Smith J frame .38, or a Smith .380 Bodyguard pistol, and occasionally a Beretta M84 .380 (13 rounds)…
    I bought the Bernardelli in a fit of nostalgia, celebrating my 70th birthday…also got 2 old .25’s and a .380 Astra Constable…
    FWIW, I have pulled a gun on someone I thought was a threat on time in my life, and I doubt they ever saw it…they were too busy getting away from my Doberman / Great Dane mix…who was really as sweet as pie, if the pie is 110 pounds…
    Later, dude…

  76. avatar opensky1 says:

    I just came in with an LCP .380 with crimson trace laserguard in my pocket. But I was aware of it all the time – too heavy and my Glock 19 is out of the question. Not so with my Kal Tec P32, which can go everywhere with me, including to the beach in shorts and sandals. I worked in Alaska for 30 years and when in the outdoors I carried a Smith & Wesson 629 in .44 magnum in a shoulder holster. If concerned about bears I also carried a .338 Magnum rifle. I don’t consider carrying guns fun (nor cell phones and all the other junk these days), but while you guys are arguing, I will always have the P32 on me. I am not constantly afraid of a gunfight, but two years ago I almost walked into a killer who had just killed 3 folks and wounded one and he fortunately waved me away with his gun. Had I had a gun I wouldn’t have used it because while I heard the shots and one scream I didn’t know for sure it was him since I didn’t see him do it. But in the extremely rare event it happens again and I see the perp in action, the .32 will “distract” him, I am sure. And may save some lives, and is unobtrusive as my Swiss army knife or the dang cell phone.

  77. avatar Roy Odhner says:

    When it comes to a self-defense shooting that can beat a criminal or civil case, any shooting much past 7-10 yards is gonna be iffy. In that case, I think that a double tap from anything chambered from .22mag to 9×19 is gonna get the job done – assuming you do the research and carry some good self-defense ammo, and put in regular range time to ensure that you are proficient with your weapon of choice. Is a pistol chambered for .32ACP or .380ACP superior to a pistol chambered for .40SW or .45ACP? No, but they are effective for self defense if you do your part. Superior marksmanship and a proper mindset trumps caliber. Would I rather pack a 1911? Yes. Will I do it regularly? No – just too damn big. Will I always pack either my .22wmr mini revolver, G42 or P238, or Makarov? Yes. They’re handy, and I’m confident they’ll get the job done if it comes down to it.

    1. avatar De Facto says:

      Well said sir.

    2. avatar Cloudbuster says:

      The .32 ACP won’t generate enough velocity to expand most hollowpoints, and the few that have been designed to expand at such low velocities have very poor penetration. I stick to FMJ. I just plan to shoot a lot of rounds.

    3. avatar enuf says:

      Thinking about it, I’ve killed rattlesnakes with .22LR, 22.WMR, 9mm Luger, .45LC, 12ga bird shot, 9×18 Makarov.

      Use what you got at the time you need it. Try to hit it where it needs to be hit.

      That’s all really.

  78. avatar Esoteric Inanity says:

    Who’s Margaret?

    1. avatar Geoff "Ammo. Lots of ammo" PR says:

      Dan’s wife at the time (2014)…

      1. avatar Esoteric Inanity says:

        Ah yes very good, that makes more sense now. This one appreciates the clarification. Esoteric Inanity couldn’t get past the vague mention of “Margaret” and her pertinence to the story. Sleep deprivation will do strange things to one’s mind and perceptive capabilities.

        TTAG appears to be as lively and controversial as ever (seems that a few of the slightly unhinged regulars have damn near sent their brains completely a waltzing matilda of late). Was good to see an article touching on less tendentious topics……and then the inevitable caliber wars erupted. Some good info and stories in the comments though.

    2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      Is this the real Esoteric? I don’t recall E.I. using contractions, unless I’m thinking of someone else.

    3. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      Hmm…so what happened to my earlier comment asking about Esoteric’s uncharacteristic use of grammatical contractions? Did my short (and rather vanilla) inquiry about whether this is the real Esoteric somehow offend the TTAG filters?

      1. avatar Esoteric Inanity says:

        Apologies for taking a bit to respond, Esoteric Inanity has been having a very long day, followed by a very long night, then day and finally night again. While this one cannot comment, nor even hazard a guess as to the status of I Haz A Question’s missing comment; Perhaps Esoteric Inanity can offer up some reassurance as to this one’s identity.

        I Haz A Question is indeed quite perceptive in his assessment that Esoteric Inanity tends to avoid contractions and typically two word sentences entirely. However, this isn’t a self imposed rule to add to this one’s shtick or philosophy regarding maieutics (as illeism tends to be). Rather such idiosyncracies run contrary to Esoteric Inanity’s tendency to be laquacious, verbose, superfluous and redundant.

        1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          Ah…now I am confused, as the user above calling him/herself Esoteric Inanity is also misspelling. The correct spelling is loquacious. I only know this because I’ve used the word myself. 🙂

          Teasing, E.I. You are usually such an erudite writer, so your grammatical & spelling errors stick out like sore thumbs when you fumble.

        2. avatar Esoteric Inanity says:

          “Ah…now I am confused, as the user above calling him/herself Esoteric Inanity is also misspelling. The correct spelling is loquacious. I only know this because I’ve used the word myself. 🙂“

          Very good, I Haz A Question has indeed got the best of Esoteric Inanity. Quite right, it is loquacious with an “o”, this one did not take the proper time to proof read. Esoteric Inanity is also impressed, as very few others are familiar with said word nor would be as perceptive to notice the misspelling.

          “Teasing, E.I. You are usually such an erudite writer, so your grammatical & spelling errors stick out like sore thumbs when you fumble.”

          All good friend, this one appreciates the compliment (although erudite may be a stretch when describing Esoteric Inanity’s odd musings). This one tries to use proper gramar and spelling when appropriate, however he is also quite fallible and needs to be reminded on occasion. Being humbled is a necessity in life. Taking constructive criticism is also an art that Esoteric Inanity is still imperfect at and endeavoring to do better. He has learned much from his interactions with other commenters on TTAG. This one appreciates them keeping him on his toes.

  79. avatar kahlil says:

    from what I’ve seen in shops, .32 ACP remains in stock, nobody’s buying it…so there, a reason to get one to feed! 😉

    As someone else on here said as well, I also carry a Px4 (compact) in .40. Love it and really like the caliber. I am considering getting something smaller for when this heavier and thicker gun isn’t as easy or practical to conceal. .32 or .380 remain viable options for me at this time, just haven’t brought myself to do it yet.

  80. avatar Nate in CA says:

    When do we get a lengthened rimless 7.65x23mm? Seriously you could cram about 30 of them in a Glock 17 magazine. Get those little HP slugs over 1200 fps.

  81. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Well….I asked for it.

    But I would have preferred a non-recycled article.

    To the topic of the post….32 is better a sharp stick.

    And…..i do see 32 acp ammo for sale. 13 rounds from my Model 81 would probably get an attacker’s attention.

  82. avatar former water walker says:

    Annnnd I see I’ve been commenting here at least 6 years. I stand by what I said then😏

    1. avatar jwm says:

      We were so young and handsome then. What happened? 🙂

      1. avatar former water walker says:

        Old age sux…remember when that azzhole thought we were the same guy?!?😩😏😕

      2. avatar Geoff "Ammo. Lots of ammo" PR says:

        I really don’t wanna know… 🙁

        (*snicker*)

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Yessir. Me and FWW had our own stalker. Just like you have now. Makes my balls tingle thinking I fucked with somebody so much it caused them to go off the reservation.

        2. avatar former water walker says:

          As I recall casting aspersions on his(?)orientation was the key in it losing it’s bizzare crush on me & jwm😏😏😏😏😏😏

  83. avatar Jimmy Beam says:

    Ruger .357 magnum revolver or a Glock 32 357 Sig.

    Anything less is a waste of time.

  84. avatar GS650G says:

    I wouldn’t care to be shit with a 32 acp and I suspect the graveyards have plenty of people who succumbed to one.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Geez. I didn’t even know guns could have a bowel movement. That’s why I keep coming back to ttag. I learn something new every day.

      1. avatar adverse6 says:

        It’s a process of elimination.

  85. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    A .22 is better than a sharp stick a 32 app beats that, however when it comes to carry for myself nothing smaller than 9 mm gets carried.

  86. avatar Nam62 says:

    I now carry a Ruger LCP .380 ACP & don’t fell I am under gunned.
    Now all the so called experts say the M-1 Carbine is under powered. When I was in Vietnam in 1962 I carried an M-1A2 and never felt I was under gunned!!!! And I would love to have one NOW…..

    1. avatar Nam62 says:

      My fingers and brain were out of sinc, That should be a M-2 Carbine.

  87. avatar J.B. says:

    How about .30 cal. Pistol, it’s narrower than .32acp?
    .30” by what you ask?
    7.62 X25 in My CZ-52
    All you Need to do is step onto the front porch, rack the slide and fire two blasts.
    stop anybody.

  88. avatar Kendahl says:

    The biggest argument against carrying a .32 is that a .380 or a .38 isn’t much bigger. If the .32 is an old, steel gun, it will weigh more than a modern, polymer .380 or .38.

  89. avatar enuf says:

    I used to collect and read old hunting magazines. Old gun magazines. Field & Stream. Outdoor Life. Whatever I could find.

    As a boy I recall reading a hunting story about young fellows in Alaska, turn of an earlier century. They wanted to kill a bear, a very particular brown bear, but had only a single shot .22 bicycle rifle. They thought to set a trap for the bear.

    Scouting the woods and trails they found a large dead tree, still standing. A thick limb went over the trail and a split from a lightning strike had opened the trunk. They spent much time hollowing out the inside of the big tree trunk.

    When they thought themselves ready the smaller of the two boys climbed inside the tree trunk. There was a hole to stick the barrel out. From the overhanging limb they hung a rabbit they had trapped. The second boy went a ways off to another hiding spot to wait and watch.

    Eventually the bear they longed to kill came along, sniffed at the dead rabbit. In mid sniffle, the boy in the tree trunk shot the bear in the ear with the .22.

    The bear was not amused.

    After the bear had finally left the area and the second boy returned to the scene from his hiding place, he found the first boy was very shook up but not really harmed. He was stuck inside the tree trunk, which the bear had knocked over and tore at with his claws. Luckily the boy in the tree had thought to climb up high and jam himself inside, beyond the bear’s reach. Even so, the tree had been toppled.

    The boys had to rethink their plan. The critical part, they figured, was they had the larger boy inside the tree and he could not maneuver the rifle very well. They needed the shorter boy inside the tree.

    The boys righted the fallen tree, what there was of it and tied it in place with ropes they scavenged from fishing boats of their village. Tied it off to other trees and boulders.

    Next, they reconsidered their rifle. Decided it was too big, or more exactly, too long for inside the tree. So they got a hacksaw and cut the barrel down. The story did not say how much. Before their second attempt they went thru several dry runs, added a rope inside for the smaller boy to tie himself up with so he wouldn’t fall out of his wooden fortress.

    Finally they decided they were ready and again baited their trap. This went on for about a week, with no sign of the bear. Other critters would take the bait, but no bear.

    The last night, a large brown bear came along. The bear was suspicious. It walked around the tree, sniffed it a bunch, got it’s snout inside the base but found only a pile of rocks. Eventually the bear took notice of the carcass, and began sniffing at that. The boy hiding in the forest could see the bear was where they needed it, but nothing was happening. He realized the smaller boy must have fallen asleep inside the tree trunk.

    He thought to throw a rock at the tree trunk, but could not throw far enough. The bear was now trying to pull the bait from where it was tied to the heavy branch. He was angry at his younger friend for being asleep. So without thinking he yelled.

    Or maybe he did think. Or maybe it was instinct. Because he did not yell “WAKE UP!” or “BEAR!” or “SHOOT!”. He made his best try at the sound of a wounded rabbit.

    The bear stood up on hind legs and looked at the trees where the wounded rabbit sound came from. In that same moment, a soft pop was heard and the large brown bear fell sideways into the tree trunk, knocking it over and never moving again.

    The second boy, now terrified, ran for the village. He returned with several men carrying their large rifles, ready to shoot a bear they were sure had attacked the younger boy. His excited screams for help weren’t easy to make sense of, but it sounded to them like the bear had run them up the tree and only one escaped alive. The men and boy were fearing a scene of carnage.

    Instead, they arrived to find a small boy sitting on top of a very large and very dead brown bear. Jammed inside one ear was the barrel of a .22 bicycle rifle. The weight of the sideways falling bear had driven the barrel into the head, the brain and killed it instantly. Or the single round of .22 rimfire had killed it, but there it was, deceased.

    I read that sometime in the 1960’s, in an old copy of some magazine, don’t recall which one. Resolved that if ever I had an opportunity to hunt a big brown bear in Alaska, I’d remember the lesson of those creative and brave lads well, with their big dream of a big predator hunt and a small gun … and go in with an elephant rifle and an armored truck!

    For me the moral of their story was “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should”.

    Bigger is better when it comes to shooting anything that can eat you.

  90. avatar GregV says:

    I have a 32 acp Seecamp to back up my primary sidearm at all times. The 32acp has its place.

  91. avatar Anonymous says:

    Dan B,

    We are both dumber and pussies.

  92. avatar Cloudbuster says:

    I think the most fun .32 ACP pistol to own would be a Škorpion vz. 61. I’m going to break down and get myself one of those someday.

  93. avatar M1Lou says:

    I own .32 ACP guns for fun. They are near little pistols and they have almost no recoil. Would I use them as a defensive pistol in the modern era? No, not really. I would carry a .380 at the minimum. I still wouldn’t want to be shot by one. So, buy a .32, shoot it, enjoy it.

  94. avatar Colt Magnum says:

    I cherish my grandfather’s 1903 Colt. Manufactured in 1921, it still shoots anything I feed it. It was my first pistol and it was my carry gun for a couple of years until I got something more powerful. I take it out and shoot it once a year now. I love the lines on the pistol. Beautiful!

  95. avatar Coolbreeze says:

    Whaddya say we ban articles that spawn yet ANOTHER round of caliber wars comments.

  96. avatar Optimistic Engineer says:

    In normal times, I would worry about getting the ammo. In these times, if it came with a hundred rounds of ammo, better than an empty shelf.

    Today we have 380ACP and 9mm small enough for a pocket gun.

  97. avatar Hannibal says:

    “Over here, the .32 ACP was the pocket pistol of choice throughout Prohibition. If the 7.65 is good enough for the Europeans, and the .32 ACP was good enough for the greatest generation, why is it no longer considered powerful enough for us? Are we smarter? Or — dare I ask — are we pussies for thinking we need ever-bigger guns now to defend ourselves?”

    There it is, the dumbest thing I’ve read all week.

  98. avatar LastOfTheOldOnes says:

    CALIBER WARS…..???

    Ever heard of Garrett, and his 45-70 540gr +P Super Hardcast Hammerhead Flat faced bullet?

    A hunter from Florida: “…and without fail all 17 big game animals I’ve taken with your ammo (mostly 420 Hammerheads+Ps, 6 with the 540s) looked pretty much the same; billiard ball sized entry wound, dead straight golf ball size “pipe” of destruction either exiting the far side taking bones, muscle, tissue with it… or twice coming to rest after passing end to end, 3-6 feet of animal from entrance hole…nice!…”

    Hehehehehehehehe…….It’s called Hammerhead for a reason…. 🙂

    (This guy hunts Rhino, Cape Buffalo, Hippo, etc,)

  99. avatar Shawn says:

    I’m waiting for the day when people say .357 magnum and 10mm is too week and people should be carrying ..44 magnum at least and preferably something stronger like .460 S&W magnum.

  100. avatar FormerParatrooper says:

    I carry a Sauer and Suhn M1913 .32 on occasion when a larger weapon is not practical. It is small, fits in the pocket and doesn’t show to a casual observer or even to someone who is looking closely. My grandfather brought it home after his service in WWII. He was an infantryman. It is a nice little handgun, fires accurately and feels good in the hand. As far back as I can remember, he always carried it wherever he went.

    Is it enough gun? It is a gun and a gun is better than no gun if you need it.

  101. avatar DrDKW says:

    During these crazy times, compared to 9mm and .380, .32 ACP is still relatively available and affordable. More potent .32 ACP defense ammo has also been recently developed that could be a game-changer.
    Meanwhile, my compact Beretta 81 has a standard 12 round mag capacity, or up to 15 with the modified Mecgar mag I have or it.

  102. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Really? Who’ would seriously carry a .32 ACP?

  103. avatar Debbie W. says:

    President Trump luvs him some 32 acp. It is actually the caliber on his concealed carry license. Here’s the record!
    https://tinyurl.com/y2j8vcrd
    If Our Glorious Leader President For Life Trump were to shoot someone on 5th Avenue, he would use his gold plated, pearl handled 32!!!

  104. avatar Sam in Ohio says:

    A few points:

    1. Click bait (Fell for it again)
    2. James Bond is a fictional character though I’m sure the author pointed that out to be humorous.
    3. Europeans turned out tons of .32s because they were inexpensive, easily concealable and FN sold a ton of them prior to WWII. The Nazis bought a ton of them too since they needed every pistol they could get their hands on. The point being that .32 pistols were widely available in Europe and ammo was available too. Fast forward to the 70s and 80s and the police pistols in .32 were worn out and largely replaced with larger caliber pistols.

    Is it enough gun? First rule of a gun fight is “have a gun” and even a steel framed .32 has advantages in comfortable concealment. Just like today, most people back in the .32 heyday never cleared leather other than to put on their nightstand next to their watch before bedtime. In that regard, the .32 fit the bill. It was comforting as well as comfortable.

  105. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

    I used to have some nice savage .32s I picked up from pawn shops back in San Antonio. They went back to pawn shops in the early days of my wife and I being together, when struggling really meant struggling, and not merely I can’t seem to not spend money.

    People always miss that for most of the 20th century guns were made of steel. All steel. So to make a gun smaller and lighter, for pocket carry as an example, one had to use a smaller caliber. If you made a gun out of cheap “pot metal” it had to be small caliber to be safe. That is why there were so many mouse guns back in the day. You could carry a .32, .25, or .22 or a full size 1911. And almost all the holsters were leather.
    Now, with advancements in metallurgy and polymer technology we can make a compact, light pistol safely in any caliber you desire. Advancements in materials and bullet design has made almost any premium hollow point of today capable of impressive expansion and energy delivery.

    I love .40. I carried it for many years. I love small caliber antique pistols. I have carried those a lot too. But the current state of technology puts smaller, lighter 9mm and.380 pistols (ballistically identical to 9mm at close range) in my hand that are as effective as anything else below .44 Magnum or 10mm. I can hit my target, and I can do it more than once consistently and quickly. Thus I currently carry 9mm.

    Things may change. One day someone may invent a recoil absorption mechanism that makes a .40 as easy to get subsequent shots with for me. Maybe even 10mm. Maybe I will increase the strength of my arms and hands and that will bring .40 back within the range of good usability for me. Maybe materials and design technology will create a < 9mm projectile as lethal as anything else larger and someone will produce a mid or compact size pistol that holds a ton of them. How may .32s can an engineer fit in a Glock 19 or 1911 size mag well? If they were as effective as anything else, surely someone would find out.

    My wife has the same experience with 9mm that I have with .40. It's just a little too much recoil for consistent follow up shots and a little too painful to be fun to practice with. So we have the .380s mainly for her. But I find myself slipping them into a pocket for staying home or going on short, late excursions and carrying the 9mms for general activity outside the house.

    But I do miss the antique .32s, .25s, and .22s that used to be all over San Antonio pawn shops.

    1. avatar Fred says:

      I agree. I love the old pistols, I have a Galesi in 22 Long, and a pre WWII Italian Navy Beretta 1934 in .380. Thing is, my LCP is lighter than both and smaller than the Beretta. Then along came my Diamondback DB9 Gen 4 – totally reliable, and almost as small as the LCP. I can shoot it well and it disappears in my pocket.

      Why would I carry a smaller caliber, when I can carry 9mm +P in basically the same size package? You can argue that “it has to start with a 4”, but from what I’ve heard, 9mm works with good bullets, and I cannot fathom an argument to carry anything smaller. I love my 1911 Government model, but kinda heavy to carry.

      Bring a gun. But while you’re at it, make sure you’re carrying the biggest caliber your form factor can accommodate. Save the antique mouse guns for veneration and playtime at the range.

  106. avatar kap says:

    22LR is good enough, bullet penetrates the rib cage but does not have enough force too escape the rib cage so it spins around making a mess. Point being missed is that these so called mouse gun uses have been at arm distance, I have seen men hit by more substantial weapons than a pistol survive and get back in the fight so caliber size is hooey in my book. what ever caliber you have on hand is what you use!

  107. avatar andrewinVA says:

    “Or — dare I ask — are we pussies for thinking we need ever-bigger guns now to defend ourselves?”

    No, it’s just that Americans have gotten much fatter, so we need the added penetration of a more potent cartridge.

  108. avatar busybeef says:

    Paul Harrell says, for the size, you can do much better.

  109. avatar adverse6 says:

    If you like your .32 acp, you can keep your .32 acp.

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