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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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. 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: 50-63% (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%

For my money, a small 32 that is always in my pocket and that has stopping power comparable to bigger guns 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 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.

Unless you want to go to a 4" +P 38 special or a +P 9mm, you cannot significantly improve on the 32.

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
 

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Statistics can be mis-leading though,
Many of these shootings happened decades
ago, Before things such a PCP and Cocaine
were popular.
A 12 ga. Slug will not stop some of these folks!
If you go strictly by "Statistical 1 shot stops", The .38 Spl.
158 gr. Lead SWCHP has the best record though.

Just FYI, North American Arms ""Defender"
is going to be chambered for 2 new rounds
that may be interesting. (.380 auto necked down to .32
- .32 auto necked down to .25)
Don't know Ballistics yet on them but
Anything beats throwing rocks though.
 

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Guys,
I submit that stopping power is more a study of individual reaction to being struck by a projectile than the projectile itself. Some people take a lot more stopping than others. There is no magic caliber or projectile that will reliably put down an assailant a given percentage of the time. The only known factor is the bigger the hole the faster the blood comes out.
That said; I allways carry a .32 (kel-tec) usually along with a bigger gun. When the .380 Kel tec comes out it will replace the .32 because it makes a bigger hole. Carry whatever you will carry and have with you if and when you need it. A gun-----any gun--is better than no gun at all!
Stay Safe,
Savage
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Good points all !!!

I have a couple of 357 snubbies and I usually carry a compact 45 ACP when I need to carry something that won't fit in my pocket. However, I can put 3 shots on target with my little 32 ACP for every one from the bigger guns. I think that is a significant advantage, especially in light of the number of CLEAN MISSES that happen in actual gun fights even by trained policeman. Like Mr. Sumner implied, I would rather have a 12 ga if I were in real trouble. Even those who favor the 38 snubbies readily admit that recoil and muzzle blast are fierce and take constant practice to effectively master. Of course regular practice is good no matter what you carry, but I have found 38 snubbies the hardest guns to keep on target of almost anything I shoot (including my 445 Supermag).

Mr. Sumner,
Are your 158gr SWCHP stats separated by length of barrel. I have no doubt that many (if not most) 38 rounds are superior to the 32 ACP in 4" or greater barrels, but not in snubbies though.

Savage,
I think you are dead on about the one shot stop stats being more about reaction. That to me is what makes them the most trustworthy. Like you say, noone can predict with 100% certainty how any person will react, but I do think the one shot stops tell us more than any other stats, because the reaction of "stopping" is what we are really after. At least that is my primary concern anyway.

Roll Tide
 

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Guys,
The improvements of late in modern ammo had been pretty much across the board. That is to say that all pistol calibers have been made more efficient than ever before. Still a lot of the ammo claims are just so much hype. First requirement; PENETRATION, second is bullet dia. Everything else is a distant third. Just remember, a small bullet MIGHT expand, but a large one will NEVER shrink! That said----------I'll stick my 6.6oz .32 in my pocket and go to Wal Mart.
Stay Safe,
Savage
 

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i think-just ME THINK--and if i am wrong-well you know the rest of the story--but i have a .380, a .38 , a .40 and will get a .32 in the 6 oz. flavor pretty soon. i carry the .38/.380 interchangable, depending on different factors, without many qualms. the .40 is usually in the truck-if i can get there-thankfully i have never had to try to get there--i want something that will hit-several times, preferable-and if that don't work=oh well i tried-but i betcha it will.
blessings
 

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Stops!

Posters,
Remember one critical point of interest. Stopping of a human, or animal, for that matter only occurs when the central nervous system is rendered non-functioning.

The CNS is the Brain-Spinal cord. With respect to the spinal cord, one must sever it above about C6-7 for death to be immediate. Severing lower than that may leave someone still functional to some degree with their arms. They may still wield a weapon effectively.

Respecting blood loss: it takes a human, or deer, for instance, about 30 seconds with hits to the chest, other than aorta, to loose enough blood for the brain to loose control of the body. Quite a few LEO have been killed in that crucial 30 second time that it takes one to bleed out!

Carry whatever you feel comfortable with, but DO NOT expect anything DRAMATIC to happen if you shoot a bullet into someone from ANY handgun. It probably won't. Some people die stubbornly, just as do some animals. If you do shoot, keep shooting until the threat is neutralized.

Now, carry something, anything that makes you feel comfortable. Be well practiced, learn to take cover, any cover when presented with a shooting situation. Always have a gun when a gunfight breaks out!

Please, carry some sort of a flash light, and learn to use it properly. Most shootings take place in poor lighting. Light makes target identification much more positive, especially in home-bound situations.

Shoot straight, and often,
 

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Star9,
A big (BIG) part of training to defend ones person is awareness. In a lot of instances being aware allows you to avoid the close encounter of the worst kind. Failing avoidance, preparedness comes next. That means if the encounter cannot be avoided you have your chosen means of defense allready in hand. Turn the lights on????? I don't think so!! I'm looking for an advantage, not giving up one. I have done a few "for real" house and building clearings and I'll use the flashlight and employ the tatics of movement, momentary illumination, and take advantage of the cover of darkness whenever I can. You are right about taking a defensive position and waiting for an intruder in your home. In most cases that is the most prudent action.
Stay Safe,
Savage
 

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Star9,
Wow, I'm impressed! You apparently possess abilities that most of us mere mortals can only dream about. Or----could it be that you have little experence in real world situtations????? Man, you're faster that Brian Enos!!! Thanks for the posts, they're very entertaining!!!!!!
Stay Safe,
Savage
 

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Sta-------I mean Franklin.
I don't carry in an IPSC rig. My carry is a Safariland SLS duty holster and a variety of concealment carries ranging from pocket carry, IWB in holsters or belt clips, belly band, or ankle holsters. I don't wear a photo journalist vest or a fanny pack. In fact I don't normally wear a cover garment. That's real world stuff, the kind of carry that's required for everyday carry. When I am not carrying openly I want my weapon truly concealed. I consider that an advantage. From the duty rig or OWB holster I can average 1.5-2 second draw and double taps with COM hits at 5yds or less. This is on the range, not in a high stress situtation, and yes there is a difference! A little eye opener we use is called the Tuller drill.
I'm sure you're familar with it. It goes like this: You stand hands at sides in a natural position--your attacker stands 7yds away, whenever he decides he charges you--you draw and fire before he closes the distance and stabs you with a rubber knife. This is done with a duty rig or from concealment. About 85% die in this drill with a holstered gun.
If I think I might need my gun I'll have it in my hand. Beats a fast draw everytime.
Stay Safe,
Savage
 

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hey savage, maybe they can show us how the real world is partner, these guys are the best! sta, i mean franklin9 please allow us to be shown the way of our mistakes by the gun gods of you and yourself !
 

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I've been shooting IDPA for the last three years. What I can do on the range after "shooter ready" is in no way representive of my street performance when several decisions have to be made in short order. In real life the decision to present your weapon is made far more times than the decision to shoot. In gun games you know you are going to shoot, what you are going to shoot, and in what sequence. I submit that on the street you are constantly receiving stimilus and making multiple decisions in a compressed sureal time frame. The level of force required may change faster that one of your .12sec splits. I can only sumise that you are very impressionable and easily wowed. At some point in time I suspect you will learn that hand speed and high velocity are not the answer to everything. By the way, I always carry a flashlight.
Stay Safe,
Savage
 

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i have to jump in star---sorry to disagree with you--however-and we won't go into the circumstances-those days are gone-east to west if you catch the drift--however,and i digress, when real world hits target pratice i really doubt if you, or any, really will react the same each time, at the same, or best speed, do the same thing all the time, in the same way.
i got to agree with savage--be prepared as best you can--be aware of the circumstances as best you can--don't give the other guy a chance if you can possibly help it--least of all don't count on reation time on your part--it will not be at your best all of the time--the only thing-THE ONLY THING-that counts in a fire fight wheather in the home, in a parking lot, or the bush is wheather you walk out alive---if you are at your best you can still lose-as in dead.
i like savages percentages better than yours.
blessings
 

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Star9/Franklin/whatever you post under next,
I tire of this useless banter. It is obvious to me that you a unreceptive to logic, so I won't bother you with it. I am glad that you have attained a level of proficiency that makes you proud. Everyone should have something to be proud of no matter how meaningless it may be. No matter how many times you change user names you will not be able to conceal your shallow self. This forum is for exchange of information not a pulpit from which to damn any ideas that do not agree with your own. If you are thinking of this as a battle of the minds, then I submit that you sir are unarmed.
Stay Safe,
Savage
 
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