.32 vs .380 for CCW

    View Poll Results: .32 or .380 for pocket gun

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    • .32

      25 18.52%
    • .380

      110 81.48%
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    1. #1
      Member Dynamik1's Avatar
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      .32 vs .380 for CCW

      I was reading a recommendation on pocket guns and the author stated his opinion that 9mm was the best choice for a pocket gun and that .32 was preferable over .380. Now I dont know too much about muzzle velocity, penetration depths etc, but I thought a .380 would be preferable over a .32 for a pocket gun.

      Ring in with your opinion in the poll and leave comments too please.

    2. #2
      Senior Member JeffWard's Avatar
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      Neither...

      9mm minimum

    3. #3
      TerryP
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      You can get a 9MM in almost the same sized pocket pistol as a 380 so the 9MM is what I would choose and that is why I didn't vote for either.

    4. #4
      Member Dynamik1's Avatar
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      Thanks guys. I dont disagree - the new 9mm's are very nice and a first choice for a pocket gun. My question remains about .32 vs .380 as a more effective (between the two) caliber for pocket carry.

    5. #5
      Member Snowman's Avatar
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      I sometimes carry my .380 PPK/S, so I voted .380. For a gun that size, it doesn't make much sense to me to go any lower. Now, I've heard that for some of the smaller guns like the Kel Tec, recoil could be a factor and some prefer the .32 for that reason.

      My $.02

    6. #6
      Senior Member Mike Barham's Avatar
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      I carry a KelTec P3AT as a pocket gun. I don't see how anyone can think a .380 is less effective than a .32. The .380 is bigger, heavier and more powerful. That's like saying a .40 is less effective than a 9mm.

      I do grant that the .380 kicks harder in equivalent guns, but it's not like it's a .44 Magnum or anything.

      I have yet to see a 9mm as thin and light as my P3AT.
      Last edited by Mike Barham; 01-06-2008 at 09:23 PM.
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    7. #7
      Senior Member JeffWard's Avatar
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      The PF9 I'm buying later this week comes close enough...


    8. #8
      Member cupsz71's Avatar
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      At this stage I use/prefer 9mm, but the wife didn't like the "recoil" & my 92FS is a big gun (I'm looking for a smaller CCW).... so I picked her up a BERSA in .380 and she luvs it.

      I shot it last Fri. You definately have got to use a firm grip & it seems fairly acurate to about 5-8yrd. But I found that any further than that, the .380 gets a little "wild" in accuracy downrange.

      I'm attributing that it's probably more the small short/fixed barrel on the BERSA and my grip due to my large paws than the actual caliber drawbacks. But I also never had any illusions it would only be used as a "target" weapon, since we were shooting Winchester 95grn FMJ target rounds.

      The wifey wants it for protection when she gets her CCP, so I picked up some Federal Premium Personal Defense Low Recoil Ammo 90grn JHP, and sofar the .380 seems at this point......to fit the bill.




      AH......good coffee today

    9. #9
      Senior Member Baldy's Avatar
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      I carry the KT-3AT and I have shot it a lot. To me it is the perfect conceal gun. So far as bang for the buck it has it over a .32 anyday of the week. It's what I call a card table gun as you measure it in feet not yards for accuracy. They due recoil with a snap but if your use to the .357 it doesn't take long to get in tune with them.

    10. #10
      Senior Member Mike Barham's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by JeffWard View Post
      The PF9 I'm buying later this week comes close enough...

      I look forward to your report, since there's no way I am blowing $1100 on a Rohrbaugh!
      Employed by Galco Gunleather - www.galcogunleather.com / Veteran OEF VIII

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    11. #11
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      Ballistics data from Guns & Ammo.

      These are at 50 yds, I picked the highest figures.

      Also note that barrel length affects velocity.

      Max FPS Max Ft Lbs
      .32 Auto 934 116
      .380 1,153 207
      9mm Luger 1,110 342

    12. #12
      Member Dynamik1's Avatar
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      Thanks all!
      You confirmed what I THOUGHT to be true - the .380 has better ballistics than the .32.

    13. #13
      TerryP
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      I read what I would characterize as hype about calibers like 22 Mag or 32 ACP and how they are more effective than this or that caliber as they penetrate deeper but frankly I'm always skepitical when the writers advice is contrary to elementary physics. Without getting into the big and slow vrs small and fast debate lets say that big and fast is better than small and fast.

    14. #14
      Banned fivehourfrenzy's Avatar
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      Not really sure how anyone could believe a .32 bullet that weighs less and is going slower can have better terminal ballistics than a .380 bullet that weighs more and is going faster. The dumber-than-average Joe can figure that one out. Hell, if smaller/lighter/slower is better, then I guess a spitwad shot out of a straw will drop someone faster than a .50AE. Good thing my 5th grade teachers didn't think that way or I'd be in jail.


      Spitwads can seriously sting though, lol.

    15. #15
      Senior Member hideit's Avatar
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      if one likes to carry only a pocket pistol (i suggest 380) then is it correct to assume that they are usually not in an environment that they need to have a hip holster (bigger gun)?
      assuming this is correct then if they do run into trouble wouldn't it stand to be true that the distances involved would be less than 5 yards?
      if so then isn't it possible that the 380 is plenty good enough for such short distances?
      near the turn of the century, in the big cities, didn't most 'gentlemen' carry a derringer - even 'cane guns' - in today's technology we can now carry a weapon smaller in size than the derringers and instead of 2 shots we have 7 available!!!

    16. #16
      Senior Member Ram Rod's Avatar
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      It's been years since I had a 380auto, and quite frankly never even looked at a .32 as a SD option. Over the last ten to twelve years, I'd now consider a .380 as a viable alternative again. As for the .32---well, they say something is better than nothing, but if I had to choose, I'd think about going with even the 22lr first. Just my opinion-all ballistics put aside.

    17. #17
      Junior Member toopercentmlk's Avatar
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      An instructor I talk to dailys a .380 PPK and says that he instructs the students planning on carrying .380s to unload at least 4 rounds into the assailant with either hardball or JHPs. This makes sense, I've seen balistics tests for .380 hjps and most have decent expanding qualitys and apparently the Hornady XTP is meant to have a lesser expanstion to aid penetration. The instructor carrys Federal Hydra-shok. I think that's what I'd use in my P230.

    18. #18
      Gunerd
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      Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham View Post
      I carry a KelTec P3AT as a pocket gun. I don't see how anyone can think a .380 is less effective than a .32. The .380 is bigger, heavier and more powerful. That's like saying a .40 is less effective than a 9mm.

      I do grant that the .380 kicks harder in equivalent guns, but it's not like it's a .44 Magnum or anything.

      I have yet to see a 9mm as thin and light as my P3AT.
      Say's it all.

    19. #19
      akr
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      How many guns can you palm like the Seecamp .32 and put several rds in the BG up close while his eyes are still bugged out? The element of surprise reigns supreme.

    20. #20
      Senior Member tekhead1219's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham View Post
      I carry a KelTec P3AT as a pocket gun. I don't see how anyone can think a .380 is less effective than a .32. The .380 is bigger, heavier and more powerful. That's like saying a .40 is less effective than a 9mm.

      I do grant that the .380 kicks harder in equivalent guns, but it's not like it's a .44 Magnum or anything.

      I have yet to see a 9mm as thin and light as my P3AT.
      +1 with Mike Keltec or LCP

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