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Author Topic: 32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings  (Read 1033 times)

rolltide

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32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings
« on: April 20, 2003, 09:01:19 PM »
There is a lot of posturing, opining, and down right prognosticating both in print and around the water cooler about the "minimum" caliber for personal protection. Most if not all say that the 380 or the 38 special is the very smallest effective cartridge for self defense. It seems if you want to cut to the chase, you have to look to documented shooting to compare them and not test data like penetration tests, energy comparisons, and weight/velocity tables. The 32 is comparable in stopping power and is more carryable and more shootable than the 380 or 38 snub nose. That all adds up to the 32 being the minmum caliber and maybe a better choice than a 380 or a 38 snubby. What do you think?  

   

   

   .32 ACP Caliber:  

   One Shot Stopping Success: 50-66% (Actual)  

   Recommended Cartridges:  

   Winchester "Silvertip" JHP 60 grains 63%  

   Winchester FMJ 71 grains 50%  

   FROM ANOTHER ACTUAL SHOOTING SOURCE  

   Winchester Silver Tip JHP 60 grains 66%  

   Speer Gold dot JHP 60 grains 60%  

   Federal Hydra Shok JHP 65 grains 59%  

   

   380 ACP Caliber: (9 mm Short, 9 x 17 mm, 9 mm Kurz)  

   One Shot Stopping Success: 51-70% (Actual)  

   Recommended Cartridges:  

   Cor-Bon +P JHP 90 grains 70%  

   Federal "Hydra-Shok" JHP 90 grains 69%  

   Federal JHP 90 grains 69%  

   Winchester "Silvertip" JHP 85grains 61%  

   CCI JHP 88grains 58%  

   Remington JHP 88grains 57%  

   

   .38 Special Caliber: 2-inch Barrel  

   One Shot Stopping Success: 49-67% (Actual)  

   Recommended Cartridges:  

   Winchester +P LHP 158grains 67%  

   Federal +P LHP 158grains 67%  

   Federal +P JHP 125grains 65%  

   Remington +P LHP 158grains 65%  

   CCI +P JHP 125grains 64%  

   

   ********* Note that the numbers for the 38 spcl from a 4" barrel are much better*******

   

   For my money, a small 32 that is always in my pocket and that has stopping power comparable to bigger 380s and 38 snubbies (which must be holstered most of the time) is the way to go. Of course when I can carry a holstered gun, I certainly want something bigger than a 32, but it will also be bigger than a 380 or 38 snubby since they are really in the same category as the 32.  

   

   The 32 also has less recoil for faster follow-up shots and less muzzle blast for women and others  that may be a little gun shy. The loaded mags are also small enough that you can carry 2 extra in addition to one in the gun easily. I can even put 4 ten round mags for my 32 Guardian in my weak side back pocket and easily access them one at a time.  Of course I hope I never need 47 rounds of anything in a gunfight, but it is nice to know I could carry a 32 in my front pocket and 4 mags in my back pocket in a pair of dress slacks without a coat and have noone know that I am even armed (which is an important consideration in my profession.)

   

   Unless you want to go to a 4" +P 38 special or a +P 9mm, you cannot significantly improve on the 32.   And like I said before, if I were going for that size gun I would not settle for a 38 or 9mm, I would go to a 357, 40s&w, or 45acp.  The larger guns I actually own and carry for defense are a 357 and a compact 45acp.

   

   Why would anyone choose a 380 or snubnose 38 special which is much more cumbersome(i.e much    more likely to be left at home or in the car) for such modest increases (and in some cases losses)in stopping power?  

   

   RollTide

ricart

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32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2003, 10:34:12 PM »
THe "perfect" caliber for defense will be debated as long as there are guns.  Without a doubt, a .22 short is better than throwing rocks, at least usually.  Every so often, some self proclaimed gun guru, comes up with a new book on what to carry and their findings are treated as the Holy Bible of shootings. I seldom read or quote these findings. I have seen my share of shootings ranging from being the first cop on the scene to the full investigations.  I have seen a man die from a .22 short in the back and a man live with a .45 round to the head.   I have watched autopies and the only thing I can say for certain, is when a bullet enters a body, nothing is certain, regardless of caliber.  As for as I am concerned, a shooting is the luck of the draw, no pun intended.  You may drop the bad guy with a single shot from a .22 short or watch him walk away with 5 .32 Sp rounds in him.  (actual cases).  While I do not feel I want to rely on rim fires, I do not knock what anyone carries, my line of thinking is carry what you can always have with you, what you feel the most comfortable with, and, what you can hit with.

ricart

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32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2003, 10:41:43 PM »
Sorry, that should have read, walked away with 5 .38 SP (not .32) rounds in him.  The guy had tried to rob a grocery store, an off duty LEO hit him with five rounds from his J-frame S&W, the would be robber turned and walked away while the LEO was reloaading.  The guy as armed, the LEO was lucky, the bad guy might have shot the LEO while he was reloading.   The bad guy died, but much later.

rolltide

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32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2003, 04:08:02 AM »
Ricart,

   I think most gun writers are afraid to admit the truth of what you just said.  I really appreciate LEO like yourself who are willing to give us "civilians" the benefit of your experience.  One thing pops into my mind about the guy that just walked away after 5 38sp hits (Of course my mind can only handle one thing at a time anyway.  That is what my wife says and she is always right. Right?)  Oh well, back to the one thing.  It seems as though if a person has any concern for his own life, every shot he takes must increase the impulse "Hey I've been shot and I could die, I better go try and get some medical help."  I know there are unfortunately a lot of people that HAVE NO CONCERN FOR THEIR OWN LIFE, and unfortunately LEO must run into a lot of those.  I have a good friend who is a retired homicide detective who also participated in a lot of drug task force work early in his career.  He says some of those guys went armed to the teeth and put the word out that they would never be taken alive.  He said after one confrontation with a drug dealer/homicide suspect armed with a 9mm with several 30rd mags, he finally switched to a Glock instead of his 357 wheel gun simply to increase the number of times he could shoot back.  The event you related seemed to also emphasize the ability to put a lot of rounds on target and a quick reload (even though I know most shootings are short lived affairs.)

   

   By the way, I did not intend to put down the 380 or the 38spcl, or the people who choose them.  I am just curious as to the rationales for carrying the larger, heavier recoiling guns when the 32 seems to be roughly equivalent.  One that pops into my mind is that the 38spcl can be fired while still in a coat pocket.  This could be quite an advantage.  I also wonder why the 32 acp does not get more respect when the numbers seem to put it in the same category with the oft touted "minimum" calibers (380 and 38 spcl.)

   

   I whole heartedly agree with your line of thinking.

GeorgeH

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32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2003, 04:13:49 AM »
About four times a year, I teach a CCW class. The session that gets the most interest from most of the students is the one where we discusses handgun selection.

   

   My standard line is that the best gun is the one that you will actually carry as opposed to the one that you want to carry, but leave at home.

   

   Most of the people who take the class, never even handled a pistol, let alone shoot one, but some are extremely well qualified (former Army special forces, Marine Force Recon, etc).

   

   So my recommendation is to buy your "BUG" or "always" gun first. There is less peer presure about BUGS than primary handguns. Once you have a BUG, you use that to get into the habit of carring all of the time. Once they get into the habit of carring, they also have the time to more carefully select their primary handgun. To make a wise purchase based on their needs and not on the needs or opinion of others.  

billinpittsburg

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32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2003, 08:25:06 AM »
While I might be more comfortable with some calibers than with others, the minimum caliber for self-defense is ultimately the biggest one you can carry at the time in question.  There is no reason to carry anything smaller, and a bigger one that gets left in the car or at home won't do you any good.

GeorgeH

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32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2003, 04:17:08 PM »
Hi Bill:

   

   Good point, yet the debate goes on.

cjishere2

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32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2003, 08:06:59 PM »
That's what sells guns.

coperhead

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32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2003, 10:19:24 PM »
Rolltide,

   I purchased a Guardian .32ACP about a month ago as a back-up gun.It offers me total concealment and is a pleasure to carry, just what a back-up gun should do. AS much as I like the .32ACP, I just won't let myself consider it as a primary caliber.I don't consider the .380ACP and the .38spl primary calibers for me either.

   

   My choice is a compact .45ACP and the .32ACP as back up.I sometimes carry the .32ACP as a primary,when I just can't conceal the .45ACP.

rolltide

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32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2003, 12:35:40 AM »
George & Bill,

   Well said.

   

   Coperhead,

   That is basically what I do as well, but most of the time the 45 is just out of the question for me to carry for several reasons.   There are much better options than the 32 and those better options should certainly be used whenever possible.  I recognize the limitations of the 32 compared to the "major" calibers.  

   

    The major point of my post is that the 32 is often lumped into the mouse gun category when it actually belongs in the 38 snubnose category which many police and civilians alike carried as primaries for many decades and which many carry as primaries today, and many who carry 38 snubbies may actually be better served by a gun like the 32 Guardian.

GeorgeH

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32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2003, 03:24:39 PM »
My first mouse gun was a Seecamp 25. I was never comfortable carring the 25. But I never felt unarmed with a 32.  

   

   I've become a big fan of pocket guns simply because I know that it allows me to be armed when I would otherwise not be. Because a pocket gun has become my "always" gun, I've become more serious about pocket guns in general.

rolltide

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32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2003, 07:08:32 PM »
George,

   My journey with pocket guns is very similar except I used a NAA 22mag after my Bauer 25 and my 32 Guardian.  The only time I felt substantially armed with the little 25 was when I was carrying the original solid brass PPS sharp hollow points that were later outlawed because they would defeat the body armor worn by LEO.

GeorgeH

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32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2003, 09:34:36 PM »
Hi Rolltide:

   

   I never liked PPS ammo. They made a frangible round that I thought was guaranteed never to work. God, that ammo brings back memories. When did they go out of business--87-88? I still see some of their stuff at gun shows. I always wondered if they ever resumed production?

rolltide

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32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2003, 10:05:44 PM »
I don't recall much about the frangible round, but I am over 40 now and I wake up in a new world every morning.  (Actually my memory is no worse than it used to be, I just have an excuse for it the older I get.)  I did like the solid brass hollow point rounds that were very light and very fast.  You have got to admit that any company who can get ANY 25acp round to pierce body armor deserves an honorable mention or footnote or something.  I always thought that I would have to aim for the head with the 25acp in order to stop a lethal attack, but half the time they just glance off the skull.  That solid brass hollow point with a sharp edge and huge hole would certainly bite and penetrate on a head shot which made it the only round I actually had confidence in for the 25acp, even if I was able to hit the head.

   

   I noticed that Goldenloki's gel test on 32acp included a PPS 32acp round.  It looked like the solid copper round that they started making after the solid brass ones were outlawed.  It made me wonder if they were still in business of if Goldenloki just picked up some old stuff at a gun show.  Maybe if he is reading this, he could fill us in.  I am pretty sure I was still seeing PPS stuff in gun shops up unitl '90 or so.

GeorgeH

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32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2003, 05:18:44 AM »
Hi Rolltide:

   

   PPS was around when I first started to evaluate Magsafe. I asked Joe Zambone about it and he told me that he was never able to get the stuff to fragment. Back then (about 12 years ago) I had no understanding about jello testing. My concern was to see if the ammo punched through stuff--like doors and sheet metal. I used plastic water jugs as a back stop. Discovered that if you kept the tops off (actually cut off the tops) of the jugs, ducted taped them tightly, and shot from top to bottom, they lasted for as many as 4 shots. A side benefit was that you could recover fired shots to see what happened to them. PPS frangible ammo just didn't seem to work.

   

   I never tried the brass hollow points. But the frangible stuff really made a very poor impression on me as to PPS. I thought it was a great idea poorly executed.

bruh44

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32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings
« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2003, 02:26:05 PM »
Try 9mm. I just got my new Kahr PM9. This is one bad gun. Accuracy is on par with Glock, and it fits in my pocket pretty well. It is expensive, but i think me and my family are worth it.

captb

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32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings
« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2003, 03:39:51 PM »
I want a Kahr PM9.

   

   What did you pay, and what area of the country?

GeorgeH

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32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings
« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2003, 05:36:36 PM »
Hi Capt:

   

   Randy's Hunting Center in Bad Axe has one for about $550 (+ or -), I didn't know anyone was interested, if I had, I would have paid greater attention.

mikej

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32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings
« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2003, 10:02:13 PM »
I do agree with you Rolltide that the .32 is definitely in a class above the .22 or .25, by exactly how much I don't know. My Guardian .32 is in my pocket at all times wherever it is legal to carry it. I also believe that if you can carry a larger caliber in your pocket then definitely do so. It may be a very slight margin of an extra edge but if you need a gun you need every advantage you can get. I am currently looking at getting the Guardian .380 as a step up in power, as slight as that may be. I am also a big proponent of pocket carry for the average person that can't carry a larger gun. My rationale is that if you are alert to your surroundings, as you should be, and detect that something is amiss and trouble might be coming your way it is very convenient to put your hand in your pocket and on your gun. This really isn't the case with ankle carry, belly bands or any other means where you have to make it obvious that you are "doing" something. You need to be able to get to your gun quickly and discreetly should the need arise. Mike

tacman

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32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings
« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2003, 11:34:30 AM »
The difference between the 2" .38 and the 4".38 in actual shootings is so much that they each behave as though they were different calibers.

   

   And so is the difference between a .32 or .380 when fired through a Walther PP sized gun as when it is fired through a "G" sized gun.  

   

   The .32 JHP is a heck of a good round out of a PP, but don't be misled into believing that that the same round will provide similar results in your G-32, P32. In fact, JHP on target performance out of "G" sized guns is very similar to FMJ, yet FMJ is generally more reliable.

   

   I predict that the "one shot stop" Stats will begin to show a decline in the .32 and .380 calibers due to the popularity of the "G" sized guns.  

   

   Yea, but try sticking a PP, Browning, Beretta or Sig .380 in your pocket!

GeorgeH

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32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings
« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2003, 07:26:17 PM »
Put a large gun in your pocket and next thing you will here is your wife say: "Is that a gun in your pocket or are you happy to see me."

   

   With my wife, having a small pistol gun in your pocket would be much safer.

oldgranpa

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32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings
« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2003, 08:02:11 PM »
Interesting this old subject should keep coming up. Tried every which way to carry my short barrel, plastic frame 9mm semi-auto, fully loaded too heavy caused my pants to sag no matter where I tried it, in pocket, IWB, fanny pack on belt, etc. So if I'm on a trip in the car, the 9mm stays in a pouch on the seat.  

   When I'm out of the car walking around I carry my little .32 in a soft pocket holster loaded with FMJ, not JHP (see why at www.goldenloki.com) and it just plain disappears in my pocket. No bulge, no sag, no print. And it's accurate POI/POA 'cause it's so light and easy to shoot. My choice. Like my youngest granddaughter says:

   whatever, duh!

   og

shooterjb

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32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings
« Reply #22 on: September 05, 2003, 05:35:01 AM »
Hi Tacman,

   

   I don't know whether anybody said anything or not yet, but it is good to see you back.

   

   I have been continuing to have good luck with my Kahr PM9 which gives me an average chronographed velocity of 1246 fps with Corbon 115 grain JHP +P rounds, which I favor and carry. I recently picked up some 90 grain JHP Corbon 9mm +P rounds and have to test them.

   

   Hi OG,

   

   If you are having trouble carrying your small, wasn't it a Keltec, 9mm in an inside the waistband holster, there is something wrong. I have carried the largest automatics, such as a Para-Ordnance P-14 and a Glock Model 21, in good IWB holsters without any problem.

oldgranpa

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32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings
« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2003, 10:38:14 AM »
Hi shooter,

   You are correct, the IWB is fine, comfortable to drive in and no sag when walking around. I love it at the shooting range. The problem is, I am getting old, and hardly ever wear my shirt out. So on a trip if I stop for gas or a rest stop to get out of the car, there it is, not concealed anymore. So I have to fumble to take it off and put it under the seat. Or if I decide to leave it on I pull one side of my shirt out to cover it. That really looks stupid and very obvious to anyone familiar with CCW. So I just leave it on the carseat in an open pouch and carry the little .32 in my pocket walking around. Someone, maybe over at graham's, maybe it was you, said that a pocket or mouse gun is to help you get to a bigger gun anyhow. And the 9mm is there on the seat if I need to get to it.

   Oh well, can't have everything.

   Cheers!

   og

tacman

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32 vs 380 vs 38 spcl in Actual Shootings
« Reply #24 on: September 05, 2003, 08:21:27 PM »
Thanks Shooterjb. Long time no post. I should've  taken the time to re-register when we went to the new forum, but I was lazy.....  

 

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