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Thread: The .32 S&W Long as a man-stopper

  1. #41
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9.3X62AL View Post
    I'm no Facklerite. If Doctor Death's idea of an effective self-defense round is the 9 x 19 with a 147 grain JHP @ 950 FPS.......he spends too much time in front of a computer and too little in E.R.s and morgues.

    Yep. Me either.

    Dr Fackler's work comes down to one thing where he talks of a man being shot twice at point plank range in the torso with a shotgun. The attacker never dropped his gun and he turned and walked until he hit an entry door that prevented him from leaving until he eventually slumped down and died. Said he couldn't explain it.

    Well I can. First mistake was the defender shooting at the wrong body part because he trusted his shotgun. Then the defender stopped at two shots when he should have launched three. If he was out at two, he should have fed him the gun. It's just that simple.

    And no handgun has the stopping power of a 12 ga. So you need to be prepared and not simply educated. Odds are for hunting, NOT self preservation. And just because a guy does eventually end up in the morgue, doesn't mean that he wasn't able to send you there too.

    Self defense isn't a gun, it isn't a caliber, it ain't a load, it's an attitude. The willingness to use a gun to places and enough times with the desire to survive.

    That's my point. That's why that 32 will work. That's why any gun you have can save you because you aren't trying for a power level or a wound channel, you are going for God's guarantee, NOT Dr Fackler's opinion.

    Research like Dr Fackler's is valuable if kept in perspective but it can also give the inexperienced a false sense of security that will get people killed.
    Last edited by Bass Ackward; 12-30-2010 at 08:28 AM.
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  2. #42
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    To follow up on Bass's post above- this argument is another case of "clothes make the man" or "he with the most toys wins". Gear, no matter how tacticool or expensive or big in caliber is not a replacement for attitude. Carry what you want, trust your instincts and stay away from trouble spots.

  3. #43
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    Maybe the trend of smaller calibers in modern miltaries is purely economical. Less lead equals less cost.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty Boolit View Post
    Maybe the trend of smaller calibers in modern miltaries is purely economical. Less lead equals less cost.
    Bean counters are everywhere. Sometimes administrative thinking on subjects like caliber/platform selection by using services or police departments is indiscernable. Few better examples of that trait exist than Imperial Russia's adoption in 1895 of the Nagant revolver in 7.62 x 38R. What a contraption, in a ludicrous system, with a lukewarm cartridge.

    Bass hit on a fine thought. Attitude is EVERYTHING. 31 caliber bullets that go K5 are a lot better than 45s into the background.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty Boolit View Post
    Maybe the trend of smaller calibers in modern miltaries is purely economical. Less lead equals less cost.
    I've long held the opinion that a lot of that is supply chain driven. You can transport a lot more .223 in a given cargo plane than .308...

  6. #46
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    Foreign militaries NEVER took pistols seriously. They were and are badges of office more
    than weapons. Taking what the European armies did with handguns at all seriously is to
    waste your time. If they used them at all it was for shooting prisoners and wounded,
    in the head at close range.

    I support most of what Al has said, and my personal CCW choices overlap somewhat. .45 ACP
    LW Commander most of the time, a PF9 Keltech 9mm when I just can't quite conceal the
    Commander, and the Keltech P3AT for the times when I "can't conceal a gun at all".

    230 Gold dots, 124 Gold dots and 95 gr Gold Dots.

    I think the .380 JHPs loaded today are FAR ahead of any of the .32s, and I sincerely hope
    that I never have to use the .380 for serious social work. I am, however, firmly convinced
    that it will be well ahead of my Swiss Army knife.

    I especially like the point of "marking" fleeing felons with a .32 or .38. Excellent point.

    Bret is right, too. Avoid places where you think you may need a gun if you can.

    Bill
    Last edited by MtGun44; 12-31-2010 at 12:32 AM.
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  7. #47
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    I've been collecting pop bottles and milk jugs to do a little more comparing with. After I get my granddaughters & grandson back home after new years, I plan to do a bit more testing. I'll find out how far the hot loaded .32 Long will penetrate into water, and compare it with the 380, and perhaps the old Keith load for the 38 Spl that roughly duplicates the .357 with 358429 - a real favorite of mine. It'll be a few days though, so wait for it, but don't hold your breath.
    Last edited by Molly; 12-31-2010 at 10:30 PM.
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    Molly

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  8. #48
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    Just some observations from being required to attend a few social functions.
    .25 acp to upper thigh, subject ticked off, worried his soon to be ex wife almost hit his junk. The smacking around stopped.
    Several 12 ga. to the head (self inflicted) effective.
    22 RF ( most self inflicted ) generaly effective. Hollow points may not penatrate the skull but generaly will knock the person out.
    I worked one shooting involving a 45 acp to the torso. Pt lived.
    A few shootings with 9mm. one died
    Deer hunting accident, gun dropped from stand, firing on impact with ground. 12 ga slug penetrated the buttock, through abd. stopping in shoulder, pt lived.
    357 125grn HP range 2 ft one round to sternum, deflected, found in abd. 2nd round glanced off 6th rib between sternum and nipple exited hitting the bicep, lodging aginst the bone.
    The only stopping hit that I would count on is the hip/pelvis area. There is heavy mass of bone and muscle to transfur energy, and I never heard of a broken hip being able to walk. There is a lot of empty space in the head with a small area of incapation, Take out the legs and at least they are immobile. I helped work one where a 38 spl through the temple had no real effect other than intence pain.
    Just some strange things from 30 + years in EMS, my guess it does not matter what they are hit with, but where they are hit and how many times.
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  9. #49
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    Jan. 1977 a man with an autoloading rifle pointed it at a fellow officer. He immediately took 7 torso hits from two .357 mags 4 supervel rounds (not mine) and 3 158gr. R/P JHP's all from a range of about 10'. He didn't even blink, managed to point the rifle at my chest before collapsing dead on the floor. His rifle was empty or both of us wouldn't be here today. After a long talk with the medical examiner, he informed me that without a direct hit to the spinal column or brain box an immediately incapacitating shot was not guaranteed by any caliber handgun. The ME was Werner Spitz, he wrote the book on forensic pathology.

    Any handgun is better than a sharp stick, me.......I carried a .45 from that day forward. I am a student of Jeff Cooper. 25 yrs. policing in the Detroit Metropolitan area has convinced me that the large caliber is much more likely to stop someone quickly.

  10. #50
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    .32 will work fine, stick .32 into bad guys ear and pull trigger, should drop him 99% of the time!

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRT Farmer View Post
    Just some observations from being required to attend a few social functions.
    .25 acp to upper thigh, subject ticked off, worried his soon to be ex wife almost hit his junk. The smacking around stopped.
    Several 12 ga. to the head (self inflicted) effective.
    22 RF ( most self inflicted ) generaly effective. Hollow points may not penatrate the skull but generaly will knock the person out.
    I worked one shooting involving a 45 acp to the torso. Pt lived.
    A few shootings with 9mm. one died
    Deer hunting accident, gun dropped from stand, firing on impact with ground. 12 ga slug penetrated the buttock, through abd. stopping in shoulder, pt lived.
    357 125grn HP range 2 ft one round to sternum, deflected, found in abd. 2nd round glanced off 6th rib between sternum and nipple exited hitting the bicep, lodging aginst the bone.
    The only stopping hit that I would count on is the hip/pelvis area. There is heavy mass of bone and muscle to transfur energy, and I never heard of a broken hip being able to walk. There is a lot of empty space in the head with a small area of incapation, Take out the legs and at least they are immobile. I helped work one where a 38 spl through the temple had no real effect other than intence pain.
    Just some strange things from 30 + years in EMS, my guess it does not matter what they are hit with, but where they are hit and how many times.
    Thanks Farmer, I particularly value input from actual experiences, and your contribution sure fills that bill.

    A couple of notes, if I may. I once read a similar commentary from an intern in a big city hospital ER. I was struck with his note that if someone came in who'd been shot with a 9mm, the staff could generally save them. If they'd been shot with a 38 special, they generally couldn't. He then commented that he carried the .38 special.

    And while I recognize that any caliber will produce ocassional failures that are hard to understand, I have to scratch my head when people who advocate loads like the 125g 357 you reported on, but sneer at a .312 bullet only 5 or 10 grains lighter at about the same speed, but having better sectional density (read: better penetration) due to a meager (0.357 - 0.312 =) 0.045 inch diameter difference. I can see that the larger slug could average better stopping power than the .32, but I don't see that the difference is likely to be as large as some folks seem to think.

    Thanks too, for the comment that wounds to the head from the .22 LR are generally effective via knockouts. I've still got a lot of Big Bore mentality, and will have to think on that one. I do not doubt your word, but I suppose I lack confidence in myself to be calm and cool enough to aim for the forehead when TSHTF and someone is threatening or actively trying to harm me or mine.
    Regards,

    Molly

    "The remedy for evil men is not the abrogation of the rights of law abiding citizens. The remedy for evil men is the gallows." Thomas Jefferson

  12. #52
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    A most interesting thread, with very interesting comments. If I were on the receiving end, of being shot, would think that even a BB gun would cause damage (could put an eye out) and that would sure be painful. Dirt farmers comments point out a number of things, the most improtant being that there are just no positives regarding this issue.
    Recall a group of deer poachers who were caught who jacklighted deer using 22's, and was told, but can't varify that they were shorts. Think that the little 32 would be a lot of fun, and if it were all I had for defense, it would of course be adequate. That said, I like my bedside 357, and my side by side 20g. cyl & cyl, and 1 oz loads of #7 1/2 Shot. This has made for some good reading however, and like most of the things on this forum that are written, there is something to learn from those who write their thoughts.
    1Shirt!
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  13. #53
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    Good point, Molly--concerning the 357 x 125 vs. the 327 Federal. My own thoughts are......I'd rather not be shot at with EITHER ONE! Or, better yet--NONE OF THE ABOVE!

    What is "best".......very tough question. Lotta choices out there, and many more good ones than 30 years ago thanks to advances in bullet technology and the addition of the 40 S&W. But I agree with with Dr. Spitz wholeheartedly, that reliable handgun stopping ability is elusive as h--l, like trying to nail Jello to a wall.

    I am greatly influenced by both Cooper and Hatcher, so there are my prejudices out front. As far as "calculations" are concerned, I favor Hatcher's Index over the others. All of these formulae rely on the "squaring" of some ballistic function (velocity, bullet weight, or bullet diameter) to arrive at a finding. Hatcher's IRSP squares the element (bullet diameter) that is actually "squared" naturally, and not artifically/on faith. Thus, it strikes me as a more reliable constant. The Index also provides for bullet shape function to some degree. In my experience in dealing with hundreds of GSW cases as an investigating officer, Hatcher's Index and its predictions track fairly well with street realities, but by no means would I call the formula conclusive or scientifically reliable.

    I view Hatcher Scale in the same context as a long-range weather forecast--it provides guidelines for how to pack for a trip, but won't always keep you dry in a cloudburst. Caliber choice.......same story. Bring the raincoat, but seek shelter whenever possible.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Molly View Post
    Dr. Martin Fackler (President of the International Wound Ballistics Assoc.) has long championed permanent cavity volume as the only reliable indicator of 'stopping power'. He has stated (words to the effect) that the temporary wound cavity so often dramaticly photographed is without value in incapacitation unless it infringes the heart or central nervous system. He has also said that expanding bullets waste a lot of energy in generating the expansion that produce the temporary wound cavity. I suspect a lot of people here will disagree with that.
    Most assuredly................. It seems like he doesn't get out in the real world. I use the 32 ACP extensively and have hollow point molds for it. The difference in "effect" on hitting an animal is astounding. I presume the good doctor would like the energy lost to be used in full penetration so it can be "wasted" in the hillside behind the human or animal. I much prefer it wasted in the animal.

  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by 45 2.1 View Post
    Most assuredly................. It seems like he doesn't get out in the real world. I use the 32 ACP extensively and have hollow point molds for it. The difference in "effect" on hitting an animal is astounding. I presume the good doctor would like the energy lost to be used in full penetration so it can be "wasted" in the hillside behind the human or animal. I much prefer it wasted in the animal.
    +1 to 45-2.1's statement, concerning the 32 ACP or S&W Long. The 71 FMJ or 98 LRN aren't real decisive on jackrabbits, but a Truncated Cone or SWC really changes the game. I haven't used HPs very much in either caliber, apart from some 60 grain Gold Dots @ 1000 FPS from my Walther PP. DEVASTATING on little critters. Even the old Silvertips @ 875-900 FPS from the PP did a lot better than the ball ammo. I would imagine a cast HP would be at least as good as the Gold Dots.

    Terminal ballistics remains a lot more art than science, though we have a better handle on it now than 30 yards ago. That does NOT mean we have it "handled"--but we are a few baby-steps closer to that goal.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  16. #56
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    Things to consider, And remember, 1, I ditched my notes when HIPPA came in, as they could have been considered Pt records. 2 the second part is as told to me by another officer.
    I again almost all self inflicted so the range was close. The only stopper from my obersverations is a shot load. People regularly kill them selves with anything, some are amazingly enterprising, but most use motor vehicles. I only had one scene where the subject didnot move from the place they were when they used small shot, and #9s are not unusual to be used but IIRC, the range was 4s to 9s. the exception was 00 buck to the head, contact on the chin. Nasty and groady, but not fatal.
    The other was an officer who I shot with who worked in the combat zone in Baltimore, He told me they used #9s for entry, always fatal, never kill the people in the next room.
    As for my carry, the PPK 380 is the most common with Gold Dot. House gun is a 870 deer gun with 4 buck after a high brass 6.
    As Molly stated above, the presence of a fire arm and the determination to use it is generaly more effective than the size of the bore.
    Officers who regularly tick off bad guys by serving them warrents do seem to prefur the 45acp with light weight hollow points. My 1911 or Sig 220 are noticable most of the time, although they are carried.
    To the point, will a 32 stop an attack, in my guess, yes if the shot is put into a heavy joint. I have helped x-ray pts with slugs in the head who were still combative. The comments on head shots, unless you can hit a walnut and know where the top of the brain stem is, and can make the shot repetabley, pick a big heavy target area, then the caliber will not much matter.
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  17. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bass Ackward View Post
    Dr Fackler's work comes down to one thing where he talks of a man being shot twice at point plank range in the torso with a shotgun. The attacker never dropped his gun and he turned and walked until he hit an entry door that prevented him from leaving until he eventually slumped down and died. Said he couldn't explain it.
    Perhaps that was bird shot? Maybe even if it was something heavier, it may have been from a longer barrel and had no chance to spread at all? You know for sure that it was 12ga?

    Quote Originally Posted by MtGun44 View Post
    I think the .380 JHPs loaded today are FAR ahead of any of the .32s, and I sincerely hope that I never have to use the .380 for serious social work. I am, however, firmly convinced that it will be well ahead of my Swiss Army knife.
    From what I researched when looking for a BUG, that's right on the money. HPs in 32ACP is not a prudent route. It's an FN boolit gun, and the only thing I'd recommend for 32ACP is the BulletBore FN, unless you cast your own. Last I checked, Hornaday's Critical Defense for .380ACP is the best thing going for .380ACP by a significant margin. It was really hard to come by during "the great scare" a little while ago, as was the LCP.
    Last edited by Dannix; 01-01-2011 at 03:49 PM. Reason: typo

  18. #58
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    My fear with the little rounds is that they won't penetrate enough with expanding bullets. In the Miami shootout in the '80s didn't a Silvertip (from a .357 if I remember right) stop just short of the heart? You read about bullets that penetrate lots of gelatin being stopped in 2.5-3" in a shoulder. What if you hit the guy's hand or arm that is shooting at you?

    So expansion is great if you get a clear path into the ribcage, but when I see these bullet failures I think, "hardball probably would have killed that guy". You only know after the fact if the extra penetration was wasted. There is a fellow on several of the internet forums named Eric and he has a signature line to his posts that goes something like: "Placement is king. Penetration is queen, and everything else is how many angels can dance on the head of a pin." That always struck me as a smart way of looking at gunfights.
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  19. #59
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    This post is not only a ripoff from some recent correspondence, but is slightly off topic as well: Has nothing to do with the .32 Long, but it does bear on stopping power, and I thought it would interest folks here too.

    Here goes: You know, there is another option that could be worth considering. An arrow does its worst damage via penetration too, and it really excells at penetration. So much so that no practical armor was ever devised to protect a soldier against an arrow strike. Anything heavy enough to stop an arrow was too heavy to walk around with.

    But they DID come up with a way to sharply reduce the damage from an arrow: A simple heavy silk undershirt. The silk was so strong that the arrow point simply couldn't pierce it. The silk was pulled into the wound along with the arrow, but it quickly stopped the arrow after an inch or two of penetration. Wrapped around the edges of the arrowhead too, and stopped the cutting action. The result was a very sore soldier, but one that lived to fight another day instead of bleeding to death in a few minutes.

    That is historical fact, and I see no reason that the basic idea couldn't be put to use today. Buy a genuine silk scarf for the lady in your life, and get a couple more for yourself. Use safety pins to attach them to the inside of your undershirt. For that matter, you should be able to come up with a bit of Kevlar cloth today, to serve the same purpose. Wouldn't be as good as a Kevlar vest, but wouldn't be as expensive or hot to wear either. Wouldn't hurt, and might help a lot! Ought to be fairly decent protection against knife thrusts too.
    Last edited by Molly; 01-01-2011 at 03:23 PM.
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  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by piedmont View Post
    "Placement is king. Penetration is queen, and everything else is how many angels can dance on the head of a pin."
    Amen!
    Last edited by Molly; 01-01-2011 at 05:54 PM.
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    Molly

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check