Home Main Category Personal Defense

Can anyone explain the new popularity of the .32?

Gene LGene L Senior MemberPosts: 12,746 Senior Member
I've got two .32 apc, a 1910 FN and a PPK (68 vintage.)  I was entirely surprised to find on the Walther forum that the .32 is WAY more popular than the .380.  And the new tiny guns like the Keltec .32 is quite popular as a carry gun...perhaps the smallest  auto now produced, and from all reports, very reliable.

My question is why is this happening?  Is it because the improvements of the .32 cartridge?  For my PPK, is it because Americans usually went for the .380?

I got both guns for what I consider a deal because they were .32s.  Which is why I bought them. My circle of friends were surprised that the .32s (generally) were bringing more than the .380s.  Now, I haven't seen a pre-ban PPK or priced one in .380, but the ones who collect them (ideally, pre war) want the .32 over the .380.  I have no idea why.  I've got a PPK 380 and a PPK/s Interarms, and they're fine guns but have a little bite to them.
Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.


  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 7,928 Senior Member
    CC guns chambered for 9mm are now the size of yesterday's 380's. A gun in hand is better than two at home. Frequenting internet gun forums may not be the pass-time of the average gun consumer.

    32's are cool baby B)
  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 7,642 Senior Member
    Actually was not aware of the resurgence.  It does have a cool old-school factor and I guess in a Walther type gun it would be an easy shooter.  I need to do some research on this.
  • sakodudesakodude Senior Member Posts: 4,748 Senior Member
    Can’t speak to the ACP but I have always found the 32 S&W long and the 32 H&R mag to be a great deal of fun and accurate to shoot. 
    The H&R has a modest following as a defensive cartridge. Wouldn’t be my first choice but if it’s what you’ve got...
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Miami, FL almost in the USA ;)Posts: 6,992 Senior Member
    Personal opinion...  it's a cheap way to own a pocket gun that is friendly to shoot, low recoil and handy.  Few people really understand external ballistics and study the effects of rounds, therefore, if it goes bang , is loud and fires a bullet it must be effective.  .32 ACP's are less expensive than their counterparts ( except for the ammo ).  I believe a large number of people buy guns and ammo, load them and never shoot them.


    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 12,746 Senior Member
    "Like a brick through a plate glass window"  Q said...that was after Bond was required to surrender his weirdly modified Beretta .25 after he had a problem with drawing it from a "chamois" shoulder holster.    Flemming was advised to adopt the Centennial S&W by Geoffrey Boothroyd who was a Scot firearms expert back in the 50s, but Fleming apparently ignored or forgot his advice and armed Bond with a PPK in .32.  Not an awful choice considering the times and the flatness/concealabiliity of the flat PPK and the times.  I don't know why I tote it, since I have a number of better weapons.  Perhaps I'm just a fanboy.  That notwithstanding, there seems to be a lot of increased interesting lately of tiny guns like the Keltec.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,772 Senior Member
    edited September 2019 #7
    I don't really know why the small guns are gaining popularity but here's my guess...

    They appeal to the closet gun owning crowd. Those folks who don't want to be known as gun owners but, at some level, understand a gun for personal protection has merit.
    The Walther crowd is in it for the nostalgia and understand the collectors value of the guns (non-closet gun owners). Others just want something that looks like a Walther -- S&W 99 comes to mind. And then the crowd above (the "I'm not really a gun person but I have a gun") They're small, easy to hide, deniable to those "Afraid of all guns" friends they might have and most of all -- they're comforting.

    I don't know the real reasons but that's my guess.

    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 12,746 Senior Member
    Pretty good guess, I think.  I'm in the Walther camp, sort-of,  not a collector as I can't afford to be, got one.  My FN, which has a great trigger, is very pleasant to shoot but the sights are impossible.  I'm wary of carrying it because I'm not sure I trust it on a loaded chamber.  The safety works just fine, though.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • BAMAAKBAMAAK Senior Member Posts: 4,484 Senior Member
    Aim surplus has Beretta model 81s for 169.00.  Can't say I didn't think about it.
    "He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm."

    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and politician
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 12,746 Senior Member
    Not any more, Bama.  They've increased in price. Good guns. Too big for me; I'm surprised they were used as LEO guns, but that's Italy.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 9,692 Senior Member
    Given the blowback action of all of the old pocket guns, they're simply more pleasant to shoot in .32 than .380.  Indeed, as the .32 came first, most of them were designed for it, then had the blueprints tweaked for .380 - kind of a 1908 version of cramming the .40 S&W into 9mm platforms.

    Another reason, I think, might be an improved understanding of terminal ballistics.  It's not that the .32 has improved - it's that we messed up the original and are realizing the mistake.  Any of the sub-9mm pocket rounds will typically deliver insufficient penetration when you hollowpoint them and start ask them to expand.  When you're looking at acceptable penetration with both a .312" diameter FMJ and a .356" diameter FMJ, there's not much difference to get excited over.  Go with what's easier to shoot.

    Now, given that most of the new .380's on the market are locked-breech RECOIL operated guns that are MUCH less snappy, there is THAT argument to be made, but in blowbacks like the Walther and Colt 1903/1908, .32 is less spanky to the hand.

    The .32 might have a future in taking the new engineering and either making it even smaller or bumping up the capacity.  Only challenge I see in double stacking it might be the rimmed case.

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
Sign In or Register to comment.
Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Guns & Ammo stories delivered right to your inbox every week.