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Thread: 32 S&W L vs 380 ACP

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy



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    32 S&W L vs 380 ACP

    Had a length discussion with a gentleman about pocket carry. He only has two options (I know the calibers would not be first picks but he is steadfast). Option #1 is a S&W 30-1 Option #2 is either a Glock 42 or a Sig P238...we discussed and reviewed the Buffalo Bore loads for each caliber. I admittedly prefer revolvers but I value real world input. Thank you very much & take care.

    rick

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    lefty o's Avatar
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    pocket guns tend to be small. learn to shoot whatever you choose well so you can put the bullet where it needs to go.

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    I like the P238 and they seem to be reliable, but I don't have much love for the 380. If the options are limited to those two firearms, the P238 offers a better cartridge choice. The growth of the concealed carry industry has produced much improved 380 ammo. The Hornady Critical Defense stuff seems to do well. And I like the manual safety on the Sig.

    But, an S&W 637 isn't much bigger and likely weighs less than the 30-1, giving 5 shots of 158 grs at @800 fps. If that were a possibility, that would be a better option, in my opinion, for viable pocket carry.

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    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    There are better factory defense loads available for the .380, but if only threatened by transvestites or rabid attack rabbits the .32 is OK
    Last edited by Outpost75; 07-11-2018 at 03:45 PM.
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    I prefer the revolver to the auto. I have a Model 30-1 and it's delightful - notwithstanding the transvestites....

    I have shot the Sig P238 and it is nice. Real nice. I have shot the 30-1 a heap more and would feel more confident with it. Even for trannys.
    You can miss fast & you can miss a lot, but only hits count.

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    Boolit Master Guesser's Avatar
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    My 3" 30-1 with my hand loads, hottened up a bit, would be my choice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Outpost75 View Post
    There are better factory defense loads available for the .380, but if only threatened by transvestites or rabid attack rabbits the .32 is OK
    No warning? That got a double nostril evulsion of hilarity and Diet Coke. Still wiping up my desk.

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    I guess I have to hope for invaders of doubtful gender or of the Sylvilagus genus... my EDC is a little I-frame snub with JHPs from Georgia Arms. And here I was feeling all satisfied and confident. I guess I'll have to drag out my 14 round Para-Ord 45 and wear a big coat to hide it.

    Froggie
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  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPRNY View Post
    No warning? That got a double nostril evulsion of hilarity and Diet Coke. Still wiping up my desk.
    ROTFLMAO!

    Posting a useful reference on the Jimmy Carter terrorist rabbit attack.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...bit-on-a-boat/

    It was August 1979, and President Jimmy Carter was taking some time off before the 1980 campaign began in earnest. He was fishing on a lake near his home in Plains, Ga., when he was attacked by a killer rabbit.

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    The ENEMY is listening.
    HE wants to know what YOU know.
    Keep it to yourself.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    It sounds like he owns a snubby length 30-1 and would be shopping for a G42 or 238. It also sounds like he would be buying ammo and not loading for either caliber.

    I have a snubby I-Frame in 32 SWL and a 4” 30-1. I also have a G42 (bad gun mine is the original frame version but sold to me “new” with 2nd revision parts, it is very unreliable). I’ve carried a Kimber Micro 380 which is very close to the 238 Sig.

    My choice of carrying out of those was not based on caliber but on gun size, smaller the better for pants pocket carry. So the Kimber Micro 380 and an LCP have ridden many hours tucked away in my front jeans pocket. The snubby I-Frame is a bit big to fit there comfortably and drawing it is much slower.

    I put forth the choice of those limited options not be based on caliber but be based on which gun he can carry, operate, shoot and be safe with. The small autos require more hand strength in racking the slide and loading magazines. The 30-1 is much more useable in arthritic hands if that is or will be a consideration. The small autos can wear night sights which is a plus.

    Those choices are definitely on the low powered end of defensive guns, but they can serve in that capacity since it’s dictated by “steadfastness”. In factory ammo, the 380 will have slightly better ballistics. The 30-1 will be easier to load and shoot, and it won’t jam. It can also shoot 32 acp.

    My last thought is stay away from round nose and hollow points in those calibers. Flat nose only. No expansion wanted, only penetration.
    "Time and money don't do you a bit of good until you spend them." - My Dad

  11. #11
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    I have both, either would be a fine choice. The Sig is easier to conceal for me.
    NRA Benefactor Member

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    My 30-1 is a 3in nickle wedge latch gun. It has a jugged barrel from an obstruction from years ago. It wears a pair of mystery wood grips made in the P.I. The gun shoots better than I do. Paid $140 off a buddy quite a few years ago. It really likes the RCBS 32-098 over Bullseye and every time I shoot it I smile. It just works.
    Last edited by EMC45; 07-12-2018 at 08:52 AM.
    You can miss fast & you can miss a lot, but only hits count.

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    Anything you can shoot well is better than a rock. I wouldn't want to be shot at by either one.....
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  14. #14
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    I have an LCP and a early fifties 32 hand ejector. Up close, 7 yards or in, the LCP with 7 rds of 380 fury has a leg up on the old I frame. The I frame is clearly more accurate as the range grows larger. I reload, so my 32's are bit more potent than the garden variety. I could carry either and not feel naked, but would rather carry my Shield 9mm or a J-frame Smith. As time continues to belabor me, I may re-visit the notion as my grip gets weaker and limbs more feeble, but that is where I am at today.
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    Boolit Master Thumbcocker's Avatar
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    Love the Smith .32's but when I worry about concealment it's the LC9s that gets taken along.
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  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by shooting on a shoestring View Post
    I put forth the choice of those limited options not be based on caliber but be based on which gun he can carry, operate, shoot and be safe with. The small autos require more hand strength in racking the slide and loading magazines. The 30-1 is much more useable in arthritic hands if that is or will be a consideration. . .
    Well. . .maybe. . . While what you say of loading mags and racking slides is true, those are things that are done ahead of the time of need, while running a double action trigger in a system with springs beefy enough to be reliable can be a challenge for the physically compromised. Like you say, it comes down to what the user can use. The nice thing about the current crop of compact .380's (Glock 42, Ruger LCP, Sig P238) is that they are locked breech recoil systems, not blowback (Walther PPK, Sig P230/232) and the major plus of this is that they do not require NEARLY as stout a recoil spring.

    Quote Originally Posted by shooting on a shoestring View Post
    My last thought is stay away from round nose and hollow points in those calibers. Flat nose only. No expansion wanted, only penetration.
    Totally agree. Both rounds are below the point of having your cake and eating it too.

    While I too prefer a J-frame to a .380, I prefer it because mine is a .357. The Glock 42 happens to be really light and really flat. It truly is almost a "forgot it was there" gun, so given roughly equal power from the revolver, I expect I'd take the auto in this case.
    WWJMBD?

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  17. #17
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    I have the colt mustang XSP with extended mag.. 8 shots instead of 6. Look for u-tube videos on the hornady XTP 90 grain HP bullet and it’s performance ups the 380 pocket pistol to a serious self defense gun. One can up a 32 S&W long with handloads but I doubt you can pass or come close to the 380 hornady bullet. I carry pocket guns all the time including as small as 22LR and 25 auto knowing I may have to empty the gun at the bad guy and finish him off with his own gun, but at least I have a gun.

  18. #18
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    I do not see anything wrong with carrying a .32 anything for self defense. The 22'sget iffy, but even those rimfires are still useful for self defense too. Most people do not want to get shot. Having to go to the hospital and try to explain to the cops how they got shot doesn't work. The .32's using the more modern .32 H&R magnum or .327 Federal are serious self defense guns. The KelTec P32's are quite fun to shoot too. If you want that .357 magnum effect, the 7.62x25 Tokarev cartridges and guns do it really well. With soft point or hollow point bullets the 7.62x25 is a serious defense round too. But with that said I am quite partial to carrying a little pocket pistol in .380 ACP myself too. Especially in the summer heat out here. But I do have a soft spot for .32's though. I don't know what it is about the .32's that is so attractive.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    If your in the market, may I suggest a SIG 239, recoil is identical, size is same as 238 and more pizzazz than a .380. Just my opinion.
    Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.

    ― Confucius

  20. #20
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    Shot Placement, Shot Placement, Shot Placement, ...

    Years ago I was told the story of a Mexican Bodyguard (I think to the Mexican President? It's been TOO long to be 100% sure I have all details right. Sorry!) Anyways. The (iirc) FBI and he were temporarily off duty as someone else was watching their charges; US Secret Service maybe? So the FBI guys asked him what he carried. He showed them his Colt Woodsman. 22LR. They were sort of snickering under their breath, but asked him how well he shot it, and went to their range. He quickly fired on a few "Bad Guy" targets, 2 rounds each, and they saw no holes. Till they ran the targets back to their position, and saw a neat .22 caliber hole in each targets' eyes. At that point they allowed as how that was a pretty effective way of ruining the bad guys' day. Wish I could be that accurate again, I'd have to practice a LOT more

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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