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Discussion Starter #1
Many of the .311" bore handguns, (both pistols and revolvers) have ridden in the holsters of a number of LEOs (both in the U.S. and throughout the rest of the world). The .32 S&W Long/colt New Police worked for the NYPD from 1903 on patrol, and in detectives concealment holsters until the mid 1950's. The .32 ACP has acted as a "backup" or "deep concealment" piece effectively in the U.S. and is still a main sidearm in both Western and Eastern Europe, for patrol officers.

IMHO, the reason that the .32 "hangs on" in Europe, is because while the .380 may have more initial power, the .32 penetrates better with ball ammunition. Greater sectional density contributes to this, as well as the fact that European ammunition is loaded to higher pressures and velocities. Don't take my word for it, check the velocities of Sellier and Belloit as well as Privi Partisan against Remington, Winchester (Olin) and Federal. The lone maverick from the "herd" of American ammunition, comes from Buffalo Bore. These perform well in modern handguns but shouldn't be used in handguns from either earlier designs and handguns from the early part of the 20th century due to problems with durability and structural integrity. Aside than this, Buffalo Bore vaunts the .32 ACP into an entirely different range of penetrative power. Breaching the sternum? No problem. Penetrate the skull? That's "piece of cake".

While hearing so much about the .380 being superior in short-barreled "pocket pistols" because of the higher energies produced by the cartridge, if one closely examines the .32 ACP in it's higher-pressure offerings, you just may be in for a surprise!

Scott
 

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I posted a link a while back about 32 caliber pistols. You can find it here: http://www.thektog.org/forum/showthread.php?t=248533.

I agree with you, they often take a bad rap, but they definitely have a place in conceal carry, for small or brittle hands, for some ladies, etc. Overall the Kel-Tec P-32 seems to be hands-down, the winner, in this category.
 

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The .32acp pistols are not significantly smaller than the .380acp pistols (at least not in the KelTec lineup). .380acp ammo is more common and easier to find than .32acp ammo. .380acp is more powerful than .32acp.

If you are chosing a caliber for self defense, I can't come up with a reason to choose .32acp over .380acp, except in the rare case that someone is so recoil sensitive that .380acp is too much for them.

While .32acp may be adequate (I'm saying this for the sake of discussion, not because I necessarily support that assumption), why would one choose it over .380acp given the choice? What BENEFITS does it have over the .380acp?

The same argument could (almost) be said for .380acp vs. 9mm, but the additional factor there is that 9mm handguns are bigger than .380acp handguns.

But I would much rather have a .32acp handgun than no handgun at all!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The ability to conrol your fire in ANY size pistol is a primary issue. A 3.75" barreled .32 ACP shooting Buffalo Bore's 75-grain FNHCL is the ultimate "fighting" .32 ACP load.

Scott
 

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Discussion Starter #5
BTW, both the .32 and 380 leave barrels at about the same velocities. The greater sectional density, coupled with the smaller diameter make the .32 ball ammunition a better penetrator.

Scott
 

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Not to get off topic but I really see no advantage to the BB 75g load over a hot European FMJ like S&B or Fiocchi. Other than making BB money of course. ;)

Check out Golden Loki's gel tests with the BB I sent him. Ya, it penetrates a little better than one and has a little more energy that the other but is that really worth the extra cost and risk or rimlock? Also using the same gel tests, 380 FMJ penetrated deeper than 32acp FMJ. I do remember a test where 32acp did penetrate a car windshield better than a 380 but I can't find it now.

After saying that I have no I have no problem with 32acp as a self defense cartridge. It's not my first choice but I can't pocket carry my 870.
 

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One extra round in a P-32 sized package. Is the .380 that much of an advantage per round that you'd give one up ?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The .32 is a better penetrator than the .380. This is why I favor the 7.65 x 17SR over the 9 x 17. The only chance of you really having problems is with using hollow point ammunition. Hollow point ammunition has no place when shooting either the .32 ACP or the .380! It is akin to putting "speed brakes" on a slow moving projectile! You're counting on penetration to accomplish the task. Do NOT detract from the primary attribute that makes the cartridge effective!

Scott
 

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IMHO, the reason that the .32 "hangs on" in Europe, is because while the .380 may have more initial power, the .32 penetrates better with ball ammunition.
BTW, both the .32 and 380 leave barrels at about the same velocities. The greater sectional density, coupled with the smaller diameter make the .32 ball ammunition a better penetrator.
The .32 is a better penetrator than the .380.
Repeating something over and over doesn’t make it fact.
Supporting evidence would be quite helpful... and evidence supports the contrary.

380 penetration

32 penetration
 

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The .32 is a better penetrator than the .380. This is why I favor the 7.65 x 17SR over the 9 x 17. The only chance of you really having problems is with using hollow point ammunition. Hollow point ammunition has no place when shooting either the .32 ACP or the .380! It is akin to putting "speed brakes" on a slow moving projectile! You're counting on penetration to accomplish the task. Do NOT detract from the primary attribute that makes the cartridge effective!

Scott
This. It is why I have always disliked the .380 as primary carry, especially since in modern times there are lots of 9mm in the same size or smaller packages. As deep cover or backup .380 fmj is great. I have doubts about the best .380 ammo being a 1 shot stopper in any situation (I feel the same about 9 mm also, so I train accordingly)

I always get a chuckle out of the new wonder hp ammo for. 380s, when the specs say a 90 gr projectile at maybe 1000 fps... and expansion (if at all) is to .40-ish caliber. Add in that the hollow point may not play nice with your feed ramp and you are limited in capacity in most guns that fire it, and a j-frame .38 looks a lot better option to me, if its going to be a primary. /ramble...
 

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For 32acp I will agree that round nose FMJ is generally the way to go for several reasons including penetration and preventing rimlock. Flat nose FMJ can cause rimlock so I see no reason to even consider it as a self defense round. There are some good JHP's in 32acp but they do give up penetration for expansion.

In 380 there are several good JHP's that will penetrate well and expand. Take a look at Critical Defense, Cor-bon and Gold Dot in the above link. They all are just at or past 12" of penetration and expanded well. I don't normally like Hydro-shock but they are another good option for a deep penetrating JHP in 380acp. I also think DPX is a great round even though it doesn't hit the 12" mark. If you carry FMJ a 380 will get around 16"+ penetration, that is more than you really want in a pocket gun IMO.

Not to get further off topic but comparing a J-frame to a P32 or P3at is comparing apples and oranges. A PF9 would be a much better comparison.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Rubb: The .380 and .32 have the same case length and about the same velocities. I don't advocate either pre-fragmented ammunition or hollow points in either round. In such small pistols, penetration is your friend; energy transfer isn't. I can't see the point in putting "speed brakes" on such slow rounds. It makes no sense. If you can't breach either the sternum or the skull, you're in deep caca!

I have a friend that worked with the Albuquerque District Attorney's office. While viewing many autopsies, a man with a .380 shot a man from the back seat of a car into the head of the driver. The expended slug barely penetrated the driver's skull an rolled out of his mouth into his lap!

Such performance leads me to believe that penetration is the key with these cartridges.

Scott
 

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...I have a friend that worked with the Albuquerque District Attorney's office. While viewing many autopsies, a man with a .380 shot a man from the back seat of a car into the head of the driver. The expended slug barely penetrated the driver's skull an rolled out of his mouth into his lap!...
That one word tells me that the slug may have penetrated a head rest and still done it's job unless there was more than one shot. Also do you know if it was a FMJ or JHP?

I've see a crime scene photo where a 32acp was shot at point blank range at someone's skull just behind the ear and it didn't penetrate. They fired a second round about an inch away and it penetrated and was fatal. I can't say for sure what type of ammo was used in that incident. Bullets will do strange unpredictable things when they hit a body sometimes.

If FMJ is you choice that fine but don't try to make it sound like the only smart choice for mouse gun ammo.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The FMJ was what was recovered from the man's lap. Just one shot had been fired.

Both the .380 ACP and the .32 ACP have the same case length.

Bragging about bower from these small pistols is akin to bragging about "vast naval experience" between a couple of Midshipmen at The Naval Academy!

Suffice it to say that they are neither cartridges are "powerhouses". Energy transfer isn't worth much unless you can reach the vital organs. Penetrating either the skull or sternum is a must. Without said penetration, the use of a firearm is pointlessly self jeopardizing. When using a .355" bullet I use a 9mm Parabellum in the role of a "mini-gun" autoloader.

Scott
 

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Rubb: The .380 and .32 have the same case length and about the same velocities. I don't advocate either pre-fragmented ammunition or hollow points in either round. In such small pistols, penetration is your friend; energy transfer isn't. I can't see the point in putting "speed brakes" on such slow rounds. It makes no sense. If you can't breach either the sternum or the skull, you're in deep caca!

I have a friend that worked with the Albuquerque District Attorney's office. While viewing many autopsies, a man with a .380 shot a man from the back seat of a car into the head of the driver. The expended slug barely penetrated the driver's skull an rolled out of his mouth into his lap!

Such performance leads me to believe that penetration is the key with these cartridges.

Scott

Scott,

With all due respect....I have no idea why this is addressed to me?
This reply has nothing to do with anything I quoted you on.
I’m not going into a JHP/FMJ debate here...let’s leave that horse alone.
You had stated 3 times that 32 FMJ penetrates better than 380, FMJ vs. FMJ that’s simply not true.
I can only assume with the conviction you have in repeating it over and over you’re comparing 32 FMJ to 380 JHP.
If that is indeed the case, this is a dead horse debate and I’ve wasted my time.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Scott,

With all due respect....I have no idea why this is addressed to me?
This reply has nothing to do with anything I quoted you on.
I’m not going into a JHP/FMJ debate here...let’s leave that horse alone.
You had stated 3 times that 32 FMJ penetrates better than 380, FMJ vs. FMJ that’s simply not true.
I can only assume with the conviction you have in repeating it over and over you’re comparing 32 FMJ to 380 JHP.
If that is indeed the case, this is a dead horse debate and I’ve wasted my time.

Nice talking to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
This works for me.

32 ACP +P Ammo - 75 gr. Hardcast F.N. (1150fps/ M.E. 220 ft. lbs.) - 20 Round Box

The 32 ACP auto inhabits a valuable and useful place in our society as a defensive cartridge, mostly because of the easily concealable, tiny pistols chambered for it. HOWEVER, because of the very limited size of the cartridge, it is plagued with limited power and therefore most of the existing ammo in 32 ACP suffers from not being reliable as a man-stopper. We've studied and examined nearly all available 32 ammo and find it wanting as a reliable means of self defense, especially against a large, drugged up/pain free, determined attacker.

Here's the problem. The current 32 ACP frangible ammo delivers a large amount of surface trauma, but lacks sufficient penetration. For example, if you shot me or another sane man in the face, with modern, frangible 32 ACP ammo, it would blow off a big portion of my cheek. I would undoubtedly fall to the ground in shock and pain, but I would be very much alive and functional if I could get past the pain, as that frangible bullet would have stopped somewhere in my face, never making it to my brain. However, if you shot a drugged up maniac in the face with that same frangible bullet and blew half his cheek off, he would keep right on coming because he is insane and is not thinking like you or I. Plus, he is likely pain free and fear free and won't know that part of his cheek is missing and if he did know, he would not care. So, whatever 32 ACP ammo you shoot him in the face with, had better go through his face and blow his brain stem out the back of his head, because only a CNS (central nervous system) hit with a 32 ACP is going to stop him. Likewise, a torso hit to the sternum needs to penetrate deep enough to blow all the way through his spine in order to shut him down instantly. If you fail to shut him down instantly, you and your loved ones are going to have to find a way to survive while you wait for him to bleed out and pass out. The best chance of survival for you and your loved ones, is to shut down the attacker instantly. So, we've designed this 32 ACP+P load to keep you and yours alive under the worst of scenarios.

This 32 ACP+P ammo will better all American made 32 ACP+P ammo by 110 fps to 150 fps with a heavier bullet than any other American made 32 ACP ammo.

Item 30A/20 is a 75gr. HARD cast bullet with a flat nose. It is traveling over 1,000 fps out of my 3.4 inch Beretta Mod. 70. We've used a flash suppressed powder so that you won't be blinded by your own gunfire in the dark. This is significant as well over 90% of all civilian shootings in America occur in low light when the criminal element is out and about. Also, this flat nosed, nonexpanding, hard cast, bullet will penetrate deeply and will do much more damage than the typical round nosed FMJ bullet. Round nosed bullets tend to slip and slide through living tissue, doing little damage as opposed to a flat nosed bullet. The flat nose not only wounds much more than a round nosed bullet, but it actually keeps the penetration straight and thus deeper. Notice the below velocities from my personal 32 ACP pistols. These are real world guns and thus the speeds are realistic and not the exaggerated speeds you'll see produced from laboratory test barrels. What you see with Buffalo Bore Ammo advertising, is truly what you get in the "real world" where it matters. You can expect 20+ inches of straight line penetration in flesh and bone with this load. If you are worried about over-penetration with this load, DON'T! You chose to carry a tiny under-powered 32 ACP pistol and the trade off is that now you are going to have to stay alive using this pistol and over-penetration will be the least of your worries if you end up needing this gun to save yourself or your family.

A. Berretta Mod. 70, 3 inch bbl.- 1001 fps

B. Kel Tek, 2.5 inch bbl - 910 fps

C. Seecamp, 2 inch bbl. - 856 fps

The above bullet speeds are 110 fps to 150 fps faster than the Winchester 71 gr. FMJ ammo on the American market. Not only is our bullet heavier than any other American made 32 ACP ammo, but it is moving about 15% to 20% faster - with that heavier bullet!
Feeding and function was flawless in the three test pistols listed above.

Scott
 

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If .32acp is a good choice for self defense, wouldn't somebody else in the firearms scene have noticed this? I can't remember ever seeing anyone advocating it as a good choice. It is certainly better than nothing, but wouldn't be my first choice.
 

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Gunfan, why did you copy the complete marketing BS from Buffalo Bore's page? Do they have some valid points, yes, is everything they say true, no.

If you want to pay the extra money for little to no ballistic improvement over Fiocchi or S&B FMJs, that's great. But quit trying to make it sound like that is the only good choice for 32acp self defense ammo.

I've found testing in 380 that resulted in a hard cast BB slug fragmenting when it stuck bone and it penetrated less than a Gold Dot JHP. The test was using pork ribs IIRC and the Gold Dot out preformed the hard cast in every possible way unless you are looking for a round that would fragment when it struck bone.

I've spent too much time beating my head against this thread so with this post I'm done.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Pick up your ball and go home. If that's the typical approach when people disagree, I'm done with this forum.

Goodbye.
 
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