.32 Auto sufficient for self-defense?

Discussion in 'General Weapons Discussion' started by TomKat, Aug 27, 2006.

  1. TomKat

    TomKat Yellow Belt

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    Hi guys,

    I thought I'd get some opinions on the usefullness of the .32 Auto cartridge for self-defense purposes. I own a Beretta 3032 Tomcat, which is a small, lightweight, "pocket pistol" in the .32 auto caliber. I have it loaded with hollow point ammunition. It's a very nice little pistol. I love it. I have heard many say that this caliber is not sufficient for self-defense, because it lacks any stopping power. But come on, would they want to get shot by it? I know I wouldn't. :)

    I also own some other weapons, including a .45 auto, which is very well known for its stopping power. I have personally never been in a gunfight nor have I witnessed any real gunfights. I hallucinate that the people who claim the .32 is insufficient are referring to extreme circumstances. For instance, a drug crazed meth head is pretty often immune to pain. But in my opinion, any bullet is deadly because anything that penetrates the human body is bound to hit a vital organ. And we all know what happens from there.

    This has been a big debate. What do you all think?
     
  2. Blotan Hunka

    Blotan Hunka Master Black Belt

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    Wouldnt be my first choice, but its better than nothing. Yeah any bullet can be fatal, but the question is how long do you want it to take to be so? Dead 10 miniutes down the road after he kills you first isnt so good.
     
  3. TomKat

    TomKat Yellow Belt

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    I see what you mean Hunka. Makes sense. If you shoot an evil criminal attacker & it only injures him, not instantly stops him, he may be able to grab his own gun and shoot back or grab a shank & come after you. Especially if he is a crazed maniac.

    I suppose the best use of the .32 would be as a backup pistol, maybe for the ankle holster. That way, if you run out of ammo with your sidearm, you could draw it.
     
  4. Blotan Hunka

    Blotan Hunka Master Black Belt

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    Thats where I would place it...either as a backup to a larger caliber weapon or as a "better than nothing weapon" for those times when carrying a full size pistol isnt possible.
     
  5. SFC JeffJ

    SFC JeffJ Grandmaster

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    A .32 is better than nothing, the first law of gunfighting and all that. If you must carry such a mousegun, make sure your groups are nice and tight, and get used to dumping lots of rounds all at once would be my advice.

    Jeff
     
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  6. AzQkr

    AzQkr Orange Belt

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    But in my opinion, any bullet is deadly because anything that penetrates the human body is bound to hit a vital organ.

    Any bullet is deadly? The fatality rate after getting shot with handgun bullets proves differently over generations with all calibers. Conversely, the survival rate is high with handgun rounds.

    Where the 32 is insufficent is in it's ability to penetrate dep enough to get to vital organs which can shut people down quicker than the same bullet lodging only into muscle tissue.

    The Tomcat is a nice small package, reliable and pretty accurate. If I were to carry a subcaliber in 32/380, I'd choose ball ammo to get the most penetration I could from the minimal energy it has available at the muzzle.

    Brownie
     
  7. SFC JeffJ

    SFC JeffJ Grandmaster

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    I'm with you on the Tomcat. The Seecamp might the "in" .32, but it is way to small for me to shoot comfortably.
     
  8. Jonathan Randall

    Jonathan Randall Senior Master

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    That's great advice, IMO. Keep firing until they're down and don't expect such a small handgun to be effective at distance or against a fastly charging in target.

    It is true that small calibers can kill - I've heard some assassins favor the .22 for headshots. However; those are ambush attacks not Self-Defence and trying for a headshot with a mousegun against a quickly moving target who's armed as well is chancy at best, IMO. Still, I'd rather have a .32 in my hand than nothing and were one pointed at me, I'd definitely give up my wallet or car keys to it.
     
  9. Grenadier

    Grenadier Administrator Staff Member

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    It's better than a .25 ACP. With the best hollowpoint loads, you might even get it into the lower end of .380 ACP class, but that's as far as it's going to go, and even then, it's very marginal.

    I think a lot of folks simply got used to the old James Bond statements, that the 7.65 mm Browning (aka .32 ACP) was like a brick through a plate glass window.

    In my opinion, I'd recommend seeing if your Tomcat can feed the Winchester Silvertip, which is still one of the best .32 ACP defensive loads. Even back then, it still had a reasonable chance of expansion, and with the bullet design improvements, I see no reason to think that it hasn't gotten even better.

    Most companies simply don't bother making defensive loads, and many folks still believe that hardball (FMJ) ammo in this caliber is the best.
     
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  10. TomKat

    TomKat Yellow Belt

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    True. Not only that, but I have found that ball ammo generally feeds better than hollow points, and is less likely to hang up on you.
     
  11. Drac

    Drac Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'm with the others on that, I think its a little too small..I carry a .380 Sig..
     
  12. Andy Moynihan

    Andy Moynihan Senior Master

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    Smallest caliber i'm comfortable with is 9mm.

    That being said, a .380 or .32, if nothing else can be carried, satisfies Rule Number One of a gunfight. *shrug*
     
  13. arnisandyz

    arnisandyz Master Black Belt

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    +1 better than nothing.

    personally, 9mm is as low as I'll go.
     
  14. SFC JeffJ

    SFC JeffJ Grandmaster

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    Hell, if I could figure out a way to carry my Marlin .45-70, I'd feel a lot better, but 9mm is as low as I'll go as well.

    To paraphrase Clint Smith, a handgun is something you use to fight your way back to the rifle or shotgun you should have had with you in the first place.

    Jeff
     
  15. arnisandyz

    arnisandyz Master Black Belt

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    There are other reasons for the 9mm over the 380 besides raw ballistics. There is plenty of ammunition available for the 9mm and most of the factory target shootin variety is much cheaper than the 380 ammo Reloading cuts costs even more. I just loaded 1000 rounds of 9mm target ammo and it was around $60 total. That means I can shoot alot more and get better with my carry gun.

    As far as mouse calibers and the 25 or 32 auto (muzzle energy 120-180)...I'd rather have a 22 magnum (muzzle energy 300-360) if I had no choice. Somthing like this...http://www.impactguns.com/store/SS-51203.html

    This wouldn't be a primary gun, but if I felt compelled to carry a backup to the backup...

    Here are some good mousegun links.
    http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot26.htm
    http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot27.htm
     
  16. modarnis

    modarnis Purple Belt

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    Yup!!
     
  17. Tanki

    Tanki White Belt

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    I own CZ 83, quite an accurate pistol. I tested it's penetrating power using FMJs on a 1972 model BMW door with a window lowered. The bullet almost entered through the outer panel, broke the window and hit a screw that prevented it from getting into the car. I did a similar test with a window closed and the bullet went through the door.

    Now when we talk about human tissue, it all depends on the shot placement. And the grouping which is quite difficult with all pistols because real life self defence incidents involve a moving target and shooting under stress. However, capacity plays a major role too. I dont think a CZ 83 with 15+1 cannot stop a threat.
     
  18. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

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    Better than nothing but with the new pocket size 9 mms you would be better off making a switch.
     
  19. wingerjim

    wingerjim Green Belt

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    Hi TomKat, I have chosen to carry a 9mm the majority of the time, though I also have a .40 and a 10mm I occasional carry. thought the 10mm is primarily my home defense weapon. I personally do not think a .32 Auto is enough of a gun nor even a .380, though several companies are now making .380 that is ballistically comparable to standard 9mm ammo. To me it all depends on what you think you typically may need a gun for given where you live and where you go. For me I live in a relatively safe are and almost am never in an unsafe environment, so the most likely thing I may face is an armed robbery most likely when I am in a store or gas station. Having said that, the bad guy could and likely would be under the influence of something, so the point is stopping the threat as quickly as possible is the main objective and the more firepower the better. Though I am a big person, it is easier for me to conceal a large gun that average or smaller folks, but 9mm come in some very small packages these days and with the 9mm+ P ammo out these it is approaching the .40 caliber ballistics in a small package that is still manageable from a recoil standpoint.
     
  20. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Old thread, but I'll opine.

    Rule 1: The best gun is the gun you have with you.
    Rule 2: Shot placement is important.

    With regard to Rule #1 - that means you carry ALWAYS. The Imp of the Perverse insists that the day you are too lazy to strap on your gat, that is the day you get ganked.

    Rule #1 means you learn your weapon as you know yourself. Loading, unloading, drawing, pointing (not aiming obviously), firing, clearing malfunctions, all must be second nature to the point where you can do them with your eyes closed. If you don't spend at least as much time on the bench practicing to fire as you do actually firing, you're a knucklehead who is auditioning to become a chalk outline.

    Rule #2 means learn to shoot straight (and safely at the range), dammit. Most of you can't. I know because I've seen you at the range. You're a bunch of yahoos with too much ego, too much 'tactical gear', and too much gun. Sure, you can shoot fairly well on a bench rest, with optical sights, laser pointers, and multi-thousand dollar wonder-nines in your tactical gloves. You want to learn to shoot? Ten thousand rounds downrange, please. With your actual carry weapon. Get busy. And stop waving that firearm around when you get a stovepipe, will ya? Bench it, step back, and signal the range officer. Turn around one more time in the lane with that gat in your hand, and you will measure your length on the ground, I swear to dog.

    For those who insist on realism in training, I have a great deal for ya. Won't cost much. It just sucks, is all.

    First, practice at an outdoor range. When it is raining, when it is snowing, high winds, cold temps, you name it. Second, have a buddy throw dirt in your eyes before you step up to the line. You get 10 seconds to get your vision back and drop the hammer on your first round. Third, well back from the line, have your buddy give you a mighty open-hand slap across the face as hard as he can. You get the same 10 seconds to get 'er done at the firing line.

    Practice weak hand shooting. Practice pulling the trigger with other than your 'trigger finger'. Try shooting at night. Try doing calisthenics until you're breathing like a freight train and sweating heavily and then crank off a few rounds. If you have open range to practice safely on, try shooting while walking, shooting while running. Try not to off yourself.123
     
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