An engineering exercise for .32 & .380 pistols.

This is a discussion on An engineering exercise for .32 & .380 pistols. within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; For the past year Buffalo Bore has been producing +P loads for the .32 ACP and .380 ACP pistols. the ballistics for their Hardcast bullet ...

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Thread: An engineering exercise for .32 & .380 pistols.

  1. #1
    Member Array gunfan's Avatar
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    An engineering exercise for .32 & .380 pistols.

    For the past year Buffalo Bore has been producing +P loads for the .32 ACP and .380 ACP pistols. the ballistics for their Hardcast bullet loads are as follows:

    .32 ACP (+p): a 77-grain hardcast @ 1150 fps/220fpe

    .380 ACP (+P): a 100-grain hardcast @ 1150 fps/293 fpe

    I propose that either Kel-Tec or Ruger could produce slightly longer barrel/slide pistols in these respective calibers (much as the europeans did during the early 20th century.) these polymer-framed pistols could still retain their "blowback" actions, but would STILL weigh less than their earlier counterparts. The longer slides barrels would produce reasonably higher velocities (with the high-performance ammunition) yet still be light enough for better hip-holster carry.

    An example of this could be seen as a 4.5" barrel on a .32 ACP using the aforementioned ammunition would likely produce 1175 fps/236 fpe. A .380 of similar proportions would likely generate 1175 fps/306 fpe.

    With a single-stack magazine, these pistols could be flat enough for concealed carry; a double-column magazine could still be concealed, but would be well suited to packing in a hip holster. Up to 19 rounds of "extra spicy" .380 or 21 rounds of the +P .32 loads wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility.

    Isn't modern ballistic technology wonderful?

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    Member Array adroitus's Avatar
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    That would be pretty cool. Modern ammo makes mouse guns roar.

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    Once you get into that size, couldn't you just go to a 9mm?
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    Senior Member Array Katana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TX-JB View Post
    Once you get into that size, couldn't you just go to a 9mm?
    Exactly what I was thinking. If you're going to make one that large, wouldn't most people choose a larger caliber?
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    You then get into the "locked breech" pistols (which are heavier.) The simplicity of the blowback pistols were well-known in longer barreled handguns. Beretta produced a 4.5 barreled .380 during the 1950's. The modern polymer-framed pistols would reduce the weight, yet permit the use of modern, high-powered ammunition.

    Before you mention it, Kel-Tec produces the PF9 with a 3.1" barrel. You are, however, sacrificing performance with the shorter barrel. The straight, blowback 32's and .380's could possibly launch these hardcast bullets at 1200 fps. The .32 would generate 246 fpe and the .380 would churn out 319 fpe! Those are darned healthy figures for "little" blowback pieces. These are not being touted as "deep concealment" pieces, though they could be used as such.

    Remember: the Ruger LCP and Kel-Tec are already rated for +P ammunition. These pistols would simply be a "back to the future" approach to the earlier european pistols. If desired, you could even stake adjustable sights upon them.

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    Bear in mind that there is a large segment of the population that doesn't care for the recoil of the 9mm (as light as it may seem to most of the board members.) The longer barrels (and relatively high capacities) of these pistols will permit the "recoil sensitive" segment of the shooting population to repeatedly "burn off" a long string of these smaller caliber cartridge in rapid succession with impunity. This will increase the likelihood of hits on the agressor and facilitate the victim's escape.

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    Senior Member Array rhinokrk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunfan View Post
    For the past year Buffalo Bore has been producing +P loads for the .32 ACP and .380 ACP pistols. the ballistics for their Hardcast bullet loads are as follows:

    .32 ACP (+p): a 77-grain hardcast @ 1150 fps/220fpe

    .380 ACP (+P): a 100-grain hardcast @ 1150 fps/293 fpe

    I propose that either Kel-Tec or Ruger could produce slightly longer barrel/slide pistols in these respective calibers (much as the europeans did during the early 20th century.) these polymer-framed pistols could still retain their "blowback" actions, but would STILL weigh less than their earlier counterparts. The longer slides barrels would produce reasonably higher velocities (with the high-performance ammunition) yet still be light enough for better hip-holster carry.

    An example of this could be seen as a 4.5" barrel on a .32 ACP using the aforementioned ammunition would likely produce 1175 fps/236 fpe. A .380 of similar proportions would likely generate 1175 fps/306 fpe.

    With a single-stack magazine, these pistols could be flat enough for concealed carry; a double-column magazine could still be concealed, but would be well suited to packing in a hip holster. Up to 19 rounds of "extra spicy" .380 or 21 rounds of the +P .32 loads wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility.

    Isn't modern ballistic technology wonderful?
    Both pistols are a locked breech design. I'll keep my P3AT just as is, thank you.
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    Distinguished Member Array ripley16's Avatar
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    I propose that either Kel-Tec or Ruger could produce slightly longer barrel/slide pistols in these respective calibers (much as the europeans did during the early 20th century.) these polymer-framed pistols could still retain their "blowback" actions
    I see a couple flaws in your plan;

    * Both of the pistols you are re-engineering are already locked breech actions, they are not blowback.

    * As already mentioned, the recoil would be greatly increased. Why not go to the 9mm

    * The main reason people buy these guns is their small size and weight...which you just increased to 9mm size and weight. Bigger is bad.

    * The NAA Guardian already has a souped-up .32 caliber pistol in the .32NAA.

    When people buy a pocket gun, they do so with the realization that it's strickly a defensive gun. One doesn't expect to fight armies or hunt moose with it. They have limits and that's a fact. Changing the good qualities of a gun to make it something else lessens the desirability of that gun IMO.

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    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunfan View Post
    Remember: the Ruger LCP and Kel-Tec are already rated for +P ammunition. These pistols would simply be a "back to the future" approach to the earlier european pistols. If desired, you could even stake adjustable sights upon them.


    I too am a fan of the .380 caliber. I think it's highly under rated, but to each his own I say. Great post on the possibilities for the rounds mentioned and I hope the research and manufacturing to add to the punch continues. It's nice to have such a small and easy to conceal pocket rocket available to the folks that just don't want to tote around a chunk all day without a huge compromise to SD.

    One thing I did notice in the post that I'm fairly certain of though. The Ruger LCP isn't rated for +p ammo per the manual. I wish it was, but all the info I've come across say's no. JFYI

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    Distinguished Member Array ripley16's Avatar
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    The Ruger LCP isn't rated for +p ammo per the manual. I wish it was, but all the info I've come across say's no. JFYI
    The LCP manual does say NO +P. No ambiguity there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ripley16 View Post
    I see a couple flaws in your plan;

    * Both of the pistols you are re-engineering are already locked breech actions, they are not blowback.

    * As already mentioned, the recoil would be greatly increased. Why not go to the 9mm

    Bigger is bad.

    When people buy a pocket gun, they do so with the realization that it's strickly a defensive gun. One doesn't expect to fight armies or hunt moose with it. They have limits and that's a fact. Changing the good qualities of a gun to make it something else lessens the desirability of that gun IMO.
    Beretta built the same sized handguns during the 1950's. they were NOT sold as "pocket guns" but were engineered for holster guns for the European police and for civilian consumption. With the increased perfromace ammunition, it is a concept worth revisiting.

    A lighweight holster-sized autoloader with .32 ACP perfromance running up into the .32 H&R Magnum ranges and the .380 ACP that has power reaching well into 9 X 18 Makarov territory should sell quite well.

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    Distinguished Member Array ripley16's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunfan View Post
    Beretta built the same sized handguns during the 1950's. they were NOT sold as "pocket guns" but were engineered for holster guns for the European police and for civilian consumption.

    A lighweight holster-sized autoloader with .32 ACP perfromance running up into the .32 H&R Magnum ranges and the .380 ACP that has power reaching well into 9 X 18 Makarov territory should sell quite well.
    The two pistols you mentioned are definitely marketed as pocket pistols. There are already many pistols available for the .32 or .380acp enthusiast that are "holster' type guns, I own a number of them. I just disagree with the concept of turning a pocket gun into a duty weapon. They are two different animals and should not mate, as the offsdpring adds nothing to the gene pool that doesn't already exist in better form.

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    Senior Member Array Landric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunfan View Post
    Remember: the Ruger LCP and Kel-Tec are already rated for +P ammunition. These pistols would simply be a "back to the future" approach to the earlier european pistols. If desired, you could even stake adjustable sights upon them.
    There is no standard for +P ammunition in either .32 ACP or .380 ACP, IIRC the only official +P cartridges are .38 Special, 9x19mm, .45 ACP, and .257 Roberts. Anything else marked +P is either a marketing ploy of some kind, possibly wildly overpressure, or both.

    No matter how fast you push a 77 grain bullet, its still a 77 grain bullet. It might penetrate enough, it might do the job, or it might not. The same, of course, goes for anything, everything just seems to get less sure the lighter and smaller the bullet.

    The reason mouse guns exist is they are small, light, and easy to carry. Bumping the size up of the gun makes them makes less sense, since the same number of 9x19 or .380 cartridges will fit in a magaine, they both shoot .355 bullets and the 9x19 is only 2mm longer than the .380. The reason the 9x19 offers such a performance boost is higher pressure and longer OAL, allowing for heavier bullets. If one increases the size of the gun, one might as well go with the 9x19mm.

    Perhaps there is a nitch market for flat polymer pistols with service barrels, but if there is, there is no reason not to chamber said guns in 9x19.
    -Landric

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    Unless you are an undercover cop or a lifeguard you need to carry at least
    a J frame or a compact 9mm.

    If you want a mousegun as a BUG , fine - in that case it just has to go bang
    and be able to punch holes in eyes, eardrums, and foreheads.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ripley16 View Post
    The two pistols you mentioned are definitely marketed as pocket pistols. There are already many pistols available for the .32 or .380acp enthusiast that are "holster' type guns, I own a number of them. I just disagree with the concept of turning a pocket gun into a duty weapon. They are two different animals and should not mate, as the offsdpring adds nothing to the gene pool that doesn't already exist in better form.
    If this is/was the case, why were these pistols made in less than "pocket friendly" barrel lengths? If the cartridges mentioned didn't provided enhanced perfomance in longer barrels, why were they manufactured? This alone brings your theory into question.

    If these pistols didn't fulfill their intended role, why did they sell well until the enaction of the 1968 Gun Control Act? This also raises the question, "Why are pistols of this type (in excellent condition) still commanding premium prices"?

    Take a long, hard look at ballistics by the inch. Then bump up the velocities for the Buffalo Bore offerings. After that, you can deride my proposition all you wish.

    Don Quixote, mount your steed!

    P.S. According to my calculations, a Walther PPK/S will get the 1150 fps/ 293 fpe figures. A 4.00" barreled Beretta "Cheetah" will gain approximately another 37 fps (1187 fps) and generate a minimum of 312 fpe. Such an increase over most American .380 loads is quite substansial!

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