Kel-Tec .32 v. .380

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by BountyHunter, Oct 9, 2006.

  1. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter New Member

    Dec 27, 2005
    A buddy and I were looking at Kel-Tecs the other day and the gunsmith at the shop was telling my bud that generally the .380 cartridge (not necessarily the Kel-Tec pistol itself) was the most prone to malfunction which was why he carries the .32 version...and that with todays ammo there is not much difference between the .32 and the .380.

    Any random thoughts on this?
  2. Shooter45

    Shooter45 *Administrator* Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2001
    Here at TFF
    I'll take a .380 over a .32 anyday.


    BIGBOOMER New Member

    Sep 19, 2006
    The Great Northwest
    Me too! The 380 is considerably more powerful (95gr vs 71gr at the same velocity), and has a larger cross-sectional are to boot. The 380 is marginal as a defense caliber, IMHO, and the 32 is, well...better'n nothin'. :)
    Best regards, BIGBOOMER
  4. DWARREN123

    DWARREN123 New Member

    Aug 23, 2003
    I like the .380 better and I like my Bersa Thunder Duo Tone.
  5. Pat Hurley

    Pat Hurley Former Guest

    Sep 30, 2006
    Naples, Florida
    I may be going out on a limb here but I think your gunsmith needs an intervention. He needs to put the crack pipe down, sober up, and get into to rehab before he's Baker Acted.

    There's a STARK difference in the ballistics of a .32 and a .380!! The .32 isn't even close. The .380 is faster and carries far more energy on target than does the .32.

    As to the jamming comparison - purely anecdotal. He probably worked on a bunch of Walther PPK/S's (made by S&W now - and total junk) that week and concluded that .380's are trouble. Not so.

    Find a new gunsmith - AND STEP ON IT!!!!!!

    Pat Hurley
  6. polishshooter

    polishshooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    Now MAYBE he was referring to just the Kel-tec, (Maybe he had more of the .32s in stock and wanted to "move" them?:p ) but I did have a guy at the last show who has been dealing them (the .32s) for a while and SWEARS by them, but even though he carries the new .380, he DOES warn people they malfunction more than the .32s...just the Kel-Tecs ...from HIS Personal experience anyway...he thinks the more POWERFUL round is not suited for such a small. light package, and it may have something to do with kind of "limpwristing" it becasue it's tough to hold tightly with big hands....just his guess....

    I'm thinking of buying a .32 KT for my wife, and EVERYBODY seems to be buying the .380 so prices for the .32 seem to be coming down a little, plus there are more used ones now from the guys trading for the .380....

    While YES the .380 is more powerful, I think you are paying for the small package, and the .32 is still a little smaller than the .380 KT....but the guy is not thinking on the power thing, MAYBE new .32acp rounds with improved bullets and new powder ARE better, and are ALMOST as good as a low end .380 WAS, but using that logic, wouldn't the SAME improvements now make the "new" .380's BETTER too????????:cool: (but I'm not so sure there HAS been any "noticeable' improvement in EITHER, just "claims....")

    The Kel-Tec .32 is NOT that much bigger and is usually a little LIGHTER than any .25 auto, and while all things being equal I'd like a .380 over a .32, I'd ALSO for the tiny package rather have the .32acp than the fact, for anything SMALLER than the .32 I think I would go for a .22LR;) , if I could find a little one that functioned well, and PRACTICE more with the cheaper rounds....until I could get head shots at 10 feet GUARANTEED....

    There's a niche for the .32 though....IMHO....
  7. Pat Hurley

    Pat Hurley Former Guest

    Sep 30, 2006
    Naples, Florida
    Cor Bon .380 Power Ball Ammo makes the most powerful.32 look like bb's.

    I own a Kel-Tec .380 and shoot it at the range about once per month. I can put about four clips through before my shooting hand say's "ENOUGH!" Lot of pow! for such a small gun, but in close quarters (10 yards or less) it will take most anybody down and will be acceptably accurate.

    I wear mine on my ankle and often forget it's there.

    But, bottom line, I'd bet my life on a .380 (especially Cor Bon ammo) - never on a .32 though.

    Pat Hurley
  8. I have a very well broken in .380 S&W PPK/S that's never had any malfunction of any kind.
  9. Pat Hurley

    Pat Hurley Former Guest

    Sep 30, 2006
    Naples, Florida
    You're in a minority, my friend. I'd buy a lottery ticket with that kind of luck. ;)

    The Interarms version of the PPK/S is much sought after and whose price is constantly on the rise, largely because of the quality problems and undesirable cosmetic changes that Smith added (beavertail) to the classic Walther design.

    PPK/S's are known for finicky feeding. Hollow Points often get hung up on the ramp at some point which is why FMJ, Glaser, and Power Ball ammo are so popular with PPK/S owners.

    May the Force be with you!
  10. I would trust my life on a .380 anyday
    BTW a .380 is basically a baby 9mm
  11. Pat Hurley

    Pat Hurley Former Guest

    Sep 30, 2006
    Naples, Florida

    Preach it, Brother!!
  12. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter New Member

    Dec 27, 2005
    Thanks guys, all of the above is what I was thinkin’. After my eyes uncrossed from the remark that the .380 cartridge malfunctions (I have never seen a cartridge DESIGN malfunction, it’s usually the pistol design) I was thinkin’ that they were trying to move a stock of .32s. And the guy was wearing a Kel-Tec .32 on his hip in a HOLSTER!

    The dang holster was bigger than the gun! :eek:

    At least they have a good range…that was our first time there and that’s what we were there for in the first place. I like indoor ranges for pistol plinkin’…don’t have to wait for the line to cease fire or walk down range, can just hit the toggle switch and the target comes to you.

    This is getting me back to plinkin’ again…I’m going out the back door tomorrow and runnin’ a hunnerd rounds or so through my Wilson tuned .45 Colt Officers Model. I was having some stove piping problems with it but think I fixed it a few years ago by playing around with the recoil spring calibration pack from Wolff and messing with different ammo than they made us carry at work.

    It’s nice to live in the country.
  13. Hammerdown

    Hammerdown New Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Hello Bounty Hunter

    You are correct that it has to be design of a Pistol over ammo malfunctions and the facts are that Kel-Tec has had many Jamming issues with their .380 Pistol. The dealer that was wearing the P-32 had it because they function flawlessly and do Not have the problems of the .380 Kel-Tec pistol, and actually was just trying to stear you right, and make sure you would be pleased with the Purchase of a new pistol offered by Kel-Tec, That is the real reason he was wearing one because they work, and besides if he was trying to sell off inventory the .380 Is more money I believe. I learned of this Ammo feeding issue after buying a P-32 from a local gun dealer who sells all caliber's of Kel-Tecs. He shared with me that the .380 Caliber in this pistol had several bad reports of unreliable feeding and owners were not pleased. He also knew I would not be pleased with this problem and suggested the P-32 over the .380 Pistol. Some that bought the .380 polished the feed ramp and it worked out better, but others were not able to over come the feeding issues plagued by this caliber and Pistol combination, and have either complained, sent them back for warranty work to Kel-Tec or simply sold them off to not buy another Kel-Tec deeming all Kel-Tecs to be Junk because of this issue, which is not at all true. I commend Kel-Tec as they are a great company that carries a full lifetime warranty on any of their products and will replace or repair any Pistol of theirs whether you bought it used or New, wating to please all their customers for repeat business in the future. I personally have owned both caliber's spoke of here being the .32 ACP and the .380 and see little differences other than stoughter recoil from the .380. It is based as a 9MM short and has a heavy bullet for the amount of powder involved in it's short case to classify it as a high Powered round. The .32 ACP is a small round with a much lighter projectile, which when compared to the .380 has little differences, but can be a touch more accurate to me as the Bullet does not have the extra weight of the .380, nor the recoil. I will provide a link for non believers of this at the end of this response to a site that performed a terminal velocity test on both caliber's as well as a link to the Popular Kel-Tec forum where many tell of the feeding issues and Jamming problems in the .380 Caliber. In viewing the fact that several reported the Jamming issue of this Kel-Tec in .380 caliber, being consumers and dealers that sell them, I decided to go with the P-32 and have no ill feelings of it. I have fired plenty of factory ammo and never had a problem cycling with it. This adds peace of mind to me, should I ever NEED it I want to Know it will NOT Jam and never has. I also carry this smaller profile Pistol in my pocket and it hides well compared to the larger .380 Pistol Kel-Tec offers. I noticed while firing factory loaded ammo, that this caliber tends to shoot about 2" Low at the 15 Yard line, and the factory sights are horrible. I over came that issue as well by hand loading some Hollow point Hornady 85 Grain bullets and they too were a little hotter than any factory 71 Grain ammo offered making this round very comparable to the .380 Ballistics now. I have read before that Hollow points tend to stove pipe, and also saw in the Kel-Tec forum where you can install a piece of Piano wire in the magazine to prevent this problem, but when I hand loaded the ammo I fire set the A.O.L. at the same specs. as factory hard ball ammo and have never had a issue with loading or stovepiping to date. I like the fact that this caliber is not offensive to fire and report and recoil is mild and enjoyable. I guess it boils down to what you want in caliber's and I go for the Pistol that is Known NOT to jam even though it is in.32ACP. Here is those Terminal velocity Links I spoke of earlier to see the results of these caliber's as well. Check out these Links and make a decission from there what would be best to purchase, but keep in mind much more can be gained if you hand load your self than what the factory offers. I know the Little P-32 .32 ACP was perfect for me, and if hand Loaded correctly can surpass the .380 ACP. without feeding issues. Regards, Hammerdown

    LIKTOSHOOT Advanced Senior Member

    Apr 26, 2001
    If they just made it in 9x18 Mak..............:D

  15. Personally, I rather like high-quality .380 autos for some uses, and even the .32 under certain specialized circumstances. Like most, I would rather pack something a bit more powerful than either, but if really deep concealment is called for under the circumstances, I will carry either my Sig P-230 in .380 or my Beretta Tomcat in .32 ACP.

    Quite frankly, I do not like, and will never again purchase, a Kel-Tec product of any sort, size, shape, or description. I have one, a P-11 in .380, and it is positively the WORST handgun it has ever been my displeasure to own. The trigger pull on this pistol is so heavy that I can't hit a bull in the butt at 10 paces with it. It recoils far too heavily for such a small round and actually hurts my hand to fire it more than two or three times. Save up your pennies and buy a good .380 if you have need of one. The old Sig P-230 or the new model P-232 are excellent double action, all steel pistols that will get the job done with absolute reliability if called upon.
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