Penetration comparison .32 vs. .380

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by snyderk2, Nov 21, 2009.

  1. snyderk2

    snyderk2 New Member

    Nov 10, 2006
    I have had a P-3AT for about 3 years now; it is my regular carry gun. Recently I purchased a used Kel Tec .32 1st generation from Gander Mountain for $179.00. It is in very good condition. I decided to do a penetration comparison of the two caliber’s using the same brand of Ammunition. I had on hand Fiocchi FMJ in both .32ACP and .380 ACP.
    Now I will admit that this test is not scientific. It is just a way to have some fun on a Saturday afternoon.

    The testing material was a shoebox filled with TV magazines (the kind that come with the Sunday paper.) They are newsprint about 8 X 11 in size. The shoebox was filled to the top five inches thick. They were dry as I did this test on a moments notice.

    I shot two rounds of each caliber from eight feet. Both guns performed flawlessly, the results are below.

    Ammunition Tested:

    Fiocchi .32 fmj 73gr.
    Shot #1 penetration 3 inches
    Shot #2 penetration 3 inches

    Fiocchi .380 fmj 95 gr.
    Shot #1 penetration 3.25 inches
    Shot #2 penetration 3.28 inches

    Observations: I am somewhat surprised that the .380 only penetrated about a quarter of an inch more than the .32 as the perceived recoil was noticeably greater in the .380. The recovered bullets were not deformed.
  2. lop

    lop Well-Known Member

    May 20, 2008
    I love doing things like this. Yeah, it is not scientific, but it sure is fun. If it is not directly transferable to how the gun will work in a "real world" situation, it does show differances. I've found that in paper, hollow points tend to fill up instead of expand. I actually carry my p3 with hjp and fmj alternating in the mag. Have you tried the milk jug test? fill 'em up w/ water and see how many you can get to leak.
    Check out box o' truth. It is great fun.

    BTW, welcome to KTOG.

  3. Tokamak

    Tokamak New Member

    Apr 28, 2006
    In the interest of playing around:

    Since the difference in depth was .25 inches that means .25' = x% of 3" or x = 3/.25 or 12%.

    Also the bullet is .38-.32 or .06 wider or .06 = x% of .32 or x = .32/.06 =  5% bigger.

    So the .380 drove its 5% bigger bullet 12% deeper into the paper.  

    According to wiki - the .380 has 200 ft lbs of energy the .32 has 123 ft lbs of energy.  So that is an increase of 200-123 = 77 ft lbs. 77 = x% of 123 x = 77/123 = 62% more energy. (that explains the recoil difference).

    If the penetration was linear I would think that the .380 would go 62% deeper or so.  So like 4.86 inches not 3.25.  Im guessing that it takes a lot more energy to push a slighly larger bullet into paper?  

    Any experts out there to explain this?
  4. Valorius

    Valorius Banned

    Oct 4, 2009
    Buffalo bore .380 JHP hits almost 300 ft-lbs....more than double the energy of any .32 round on the market. And it uses a Gold Dot hollow point bullet, which many experts consider to be the best hollow point design of all time.
    Both DT and BB used Gold Dots in their 9mm line of ammo too, but then Speer stopped shipping out new bullets to them, so they're both using the target oriented Montana Gold JHP now, which in the "Box o' truth" tests was a MASSIVE over penetrator due to the extremely limited expansion potential of the Montana Gold bullet.

    Personally, the one time i fired .32 ACP into phone books just so i could let my girlfriend hear the report and feel the recoil so she would feel confident if she ever had to use the pistol (a model 1905 savage), i was completely floored how deeply the standard velocity PMC blazer .32 FMJ rounds penetrated. They blew clean through 2 phone books and dug a 1/4" divit out of a concrete party wall.

    I can only imagine what a full power euro round like Geco would do....or Buffalo Bore FN lead rounds.