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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently joined this forum and posted a thread about getting a new pocket gun. Basically, I have several pocket guns in various calibers, but the only one's I really like for pocket carry are my S&W bodyguard, which I have given up on, due to reliability issues, and my Kel-tec p32, which I don't care for the caliber.

I had numerous people on the thread tell me to just stick with Kel-tec if it's 100% reliable and shoots straight, which it does. I have to be honest, the little 32 will shoot a 6 inch group at 20 feet while rapid firing because of the low recoil. The Crimson trace on the kel-tec beats the hell out of the bodyguard in regards to accuracy when letting it rip with one hand like I probably would in a defense situation if I feared for my life.


My biggest problem with the the p32 is the caliber. It's not so much that I don't believe it's not an effective man-stopper. It's more the cost and availability of good defense ammo. I will admit that I feel more confident carrying Federal HST or Speer gold dots in a 380 than ball in the 32.

There is a very good thread on this forum right now that basically says caliber doesn't really matter. I'm sure there is SOME truth to that, but as someone that is a life long hunter, I can attest that a bigger gun with equal shot placement kills an animal faster. The old 30-06 does a number on a buck that my 257 Roberts just simply won't. I would have to think that the 380 causes significantly more trauma when compared to the 32. Add to this, that there are much better ammo choices in 380.

A poster did point out a new round by Underwood that looks impressive, but most people will say that hot European ball is the way to go in 32acp. The only HP that is said to consistently expand in 32 are gold dots, but the typically penetrate about half of what a ball round will.

Ball ammo in 32acp has certainly taken a lot of people out in wars and on the streets, so there is no doubt it's a lethal round, but is it the most effective round available for 32acp in 2017?
 

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I've got a P32, and it's the gun I carry when I absolutely can't carry anything larger. I consider it an "eye socket" gun, useful for little more than deterrent purposes past contact distances. Given that, ammo choice is not high science, and I favor anything warm that functions 100% in my gun. At this moment, it's loaded with Fiocchi FMJ which is marginally hotter than domestic fodder. The spare mag is full of Winchester Silvertip, because I have a couple of boxes of it, it's accurate, and it functions reliably. Realistically, I hope to be 100+ yards away from the threat by the time I'm reloading.
 

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Before divorce separated me from some old guns I had. I had an old Mauser in 32 ACP, I'd love to have that now just for those occasions something bigger couldn't be carried. Winchester Silver tips...yep
 
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Did you mean "hard ball"? These predictive typing touch keyboards are killing out splelding. Lol

You mentioned if .32 is a "man stopper". .32 is an anemic, unreliable fight stopper. If caliber didn't matter, I'd carry a .177 CO2 pistol. There are lots of pistols that are easy to pocket in .38, 9mm, and even reliable. 380 if you just don't have the desire to to train up to those calibers.


Btw- I had to goo back and fix "I'd". It came out "oiled"!?! Haha
 

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Any given cartridge has a given level of power. It can propel a specific, heavy-for-cartridge bullet up to a certain velocity, or a lighter bullet at a higher velocity.

A so-called "service cartridge" (9mm, .40, .45 ACP, .38 Special, .357 mag, etc.) has sufficient bullet weight/velocity to overpenetrate a human torso, if no bullet expansion or fragmentation occurs. This is both dangerous to bystanders and wasteful of the energy that could otherwise have been expended within the designated target. A well-designed hollowpoint in these service cartridges reduces the overpenetration risk, but still offers adequate penetration for most defensive scenarios.

The "pocket pistol" cartridges (.22LR, .25 ACP, .32 ACP and .380 ACP) offer significantly less overall power from a short-barreled handgun. Even a non-expanding FMJ or solid lead bullet is less likely to overpenetrate a human torso. An expanding (or fragmenting) round is at risk of not penetrating sufficiently to serve its purpose. At pocket pistol velocities, of course, some hollowpoints may well fail to expand, anyway, and will then perform similarly to FMJ rounds.

My personal opinion (resulting from 50+ years of handgunning) is that small pocket pistols are more reliable with FMJ RN rounds than with JHPs. My own choice for the pocket pistols would a quality FMJ load. This would take advantage of the increased functional reliability, with little or no reduction of "stopping power" (marginal for these rounds, anyway).

I say that "would be" my choice, as I prefer to carry a compact sidearm using a fairly potent service cartridge, and leave the pocket pistol cartridges to others.
 

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I am one of those that feels that if you are going to carry a mousegun go with FMJ, preferably flat point. I carry Browning 95gr FMJ flat point (think semi-wadcutter profile) in my LCP. In the mouseguns my prioties are reliability and adequate penetration in that order. You ought to try a LCP. Many on this forum carry them. Mine has been 100% reliable even w/ hollowpoints although I don't carry them. With your .32 you may also want to check out Fiocchi FMJ it tends to be "hotter" than most US ammo. Good luck!
 

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About the only caliber I carry with FMJ is 45acp but most of the my 45 has some kind of hole in the front. You may want to look at some You Tube videos and I am sure you will
someone has done a bunch of testing on 32 acp. If you do decide to carry ball ammo I am sure in will put additional holes in a bad guy. Nobody I know wants additional holes in their body. I would rather have a 32 with FMJ then nothing at all. If you got it carry it.
 

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Well, I don't think a 32 is just going to bounce off someone like some would have you believe.

And while it is less powerful, and on the low end of what we generally like, it's your ability to use it, and tactics that even things up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Did you mean "hard ball"? These predictive typing touch keyboards are killing out splelding. Lol

You mentioned if .32 is a "man stopper". .32 is an anemic, unreliable fight stopper. If caliber didn't matter, I'd carry a .177 CO2 pistol. There are lots of pistols that are easy to pocket in .38, 9mm, and even reliable. 380 if you just don't have the desire to to train up to those calibers.


Btw- I had to goo back and fix "I'd". It came out "oiled"!?! Haha
No, meant "hot" ball ammo.

Most European ammo in 32acp is a little hotter than the domestic flavor. I currently carry Sellier and Bellot 73 grain FMJ. It averages about 900fps through my Chronograph, which is much better than the Winchester white box they occasionally sell at the store around here. I also spoon the rounds, which causes them to tumble when the hit something.

32acp actually has a better track record for stopping than standard pressure 38 special in a lot of studies. I would imagine that the reason has to do more with the guns that shoot these rounds than the rounds themselves. Most of those 38 special statistics undoubtedly came from snubbi revolvers, which suffer from poor ballistic performance, due to the barrel length. They are also inherently inaccurate guns in the hands of the untrained as well as being a more attractive option. The old single action 32 pocket pistols that used to be common years ago are far more accurate than a snubbi revolver in the hands of a street thug. Even the worst of the worst like an old Raven 32 will shoot circles around a snubbi being fired double action. I think this is why the 32 doesn't look so bad on paper in these statistics. This study has the Winchester silver-tips in 32, 380, and 38 special recorded as:

380ACP 68% one shot stop

32acp 64% one shot stop

38 special 60% one shot stop

Here is a link
Handgun Ammunition Stopping Power Update | Hendon Publishing

Then you got a data set that produced these numbers, which show handgun caliber to be a poor indicator of stopping power.
https://www.ammoland.com/2015/01/handgun-caliber-doesnt-matter/#axzz4qmQRVn9w

As far as the "training up" thing goes, I work in a office that requires business casual work attire. My choices are between a new 380 and my current 32 without taking the chance of someone saying something. This isn't the movies where I can pack my model 29 44mag on me without anyone eventually noticing.
 

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I run hollowpoints in my pocket guns because maybe they'll expand and cause greater damage but if they don't expand, they'll function like a fmj anyway. The hollow points I use have all been reliable in my particular pocket pistols.

By the way, if you like your P32 but want to move up in caliber with a similar size pistol, you could consider the P3AT.
 

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Internet gun forum consensus is all handgun calibers are ineffective and all handgun calibers are equal for self-defense. Then we have endless discussions on how to make little calibers act like big calibers.

If a .32 ACP is all you can handle, then use Buffalo Bore hard-cast lead 75 grain +P ammo.

https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=31
 

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@cc125 the .32 isn't a one shot stop. That data doesn't provide any useable data. You want to know that the round will reliably penetrate the target, then reliably expand to damage as much tissue as possible. The .32 does this very poorly. But if it's all you can shoot, then look for penetration first and expansion second. Remember, mass maintains momentum. Go heavy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
@cc125 the .32 isn't a one shot stop. That data doesn't provide any useable data. You want to know that the round will reliably penetrate the target, then reliably expand to damage as much tissue as possible. The .32 does this very poorly. But if it's all you can shoot, then look for penetration first and expansion second. Remember, mass maintains momentum. Go heavy.

No handgun will fill flatten somebody without a CNS hit. Anyone that says otherwise doesn't hunt. If you shoot a buck with a 12 gauge slug right in the breadbox, they will still go on a death run 9/10 times. This means if the deer had the ability to shoot back at you, it just might. In your typical up close and personal gun fight which typically only lasts a few seconds, I don't think caliber matters as much in regards to instantly stopping a fight. I think where caliber starts to really matter is in a more drawn out situation that involves cover or a threat is unarmed but "on you" where having someone bleed out faster is going to make a world of difference. Obviously, someone is going to bleed out faster with quality HP ammo in a modern service caliber than with ball ammo out of a mouse gun. I think this is where quality HP 380 ammo really shines over ball 32acp ammo. I'm just not sure that I buy the notion of HP 32acp ammo being more effective than ball 32acp ammo.
 

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I like Fiacchi ammo in my .380s. In fact they are all I use, both ball and JHP. Performance vs price point is very good and they feed very reliably. Had I a .32 I wouldn't hesitate to buy their ammo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I like Fiacchi ammo in my .380s. In fact they are all I use, both ball and JHP. Performance vs price point is very good and they feed very reliably. Had I a .32 I wouldn't hesitate to buy their ammo.
I shoot fiocchi through my 32 for practice ammo. The S&B is just a hair hotter, which is why I go with it for carry ammo. I currently do not have a rim lock kit, so if I do decide to go with anything but ball, I would have to buy one to feel comfortable carrying it. I've been told that it's almost impossible to rim lock a Kel-tec, but for a few bucks it's worth the piece of mind in knowing that it can't happen.

I've used Fiocchi 9mm defense ammo, and the stuff was pretty impressive for the price point as you have pointed out.
 
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