Kel-Tec .32 v. .380

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

  1. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter New Member

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    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

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    I'll take a .380 over a .32 anyday.
  3. BIGBOOMER

    BIGBOOMER New Member

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    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

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    I like the .380 better and I like my Bersa Thunder Duo Tone.
  5. Pat Hurley

    Pat Hurley Former Guest

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    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 Active Member

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    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 .25acp...in 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

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    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. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    Depends on Uncle Sam's whim every 3 yrs.
    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

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    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. southernshooter

    southernshooter New Member

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    I would trust my life on a .380 anyday
    BTW a .380 is basically a baby 9mm
  11. Pat Hurley

    Pat Hurley Former Guest

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    Preach it, Brother!!
  12. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter New Member

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    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

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    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
    http://stevespages.com/page8f32acp.html
    http://stevespages.com/page8f380acp.html
    http://www.ktog.org/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi
  14. LIKTOSHOOT

    LIKTOSHOOT Advanced Senior Member

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    If they just made it in 9x18 Mak..............:D


    LTS
  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.
  16. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter New Member

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    Now that makes a lot more sense than what I was understanding the guy to be saying.

    I'm looking for something for a jeans front pocket when it's 105 out. My .40 AMT Back Up is a bit too heavy and my TPH is only a .22, but it works everytime with anything I feed it...regular round nose, stingers, yellow jackets, mixed rounds in the clip, what ever.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2006
  17. Hammerdown

    Hammerdown New Member

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    Hello
    I can not speak for the Beretta Tom Cat as I have not owned one, and would not comment on it unless I have given one a chance while owning and firing it. Chances are I would never buy one as well with the high retail price they have on them compared to a Kel-Tec in the same caliber as well. I have how ever owned a Beretta Model 21 that was the worse pistol I have ever owned accuracy wise. It had a heavy trigger pull as a double action pistol as well, But one must expect this if it is Not a target pistol or single action style. It also weighed almost 5 Full ounces more than my Kel-Tec P-32 and was simply a .22 caliber. I have a friend with the Bretta Tom cat you speak of. He paid over $475.00 for his as it is stainless. He has also fired my Kel-Tec and agreed he couldnt see spending another $200.00 for a Pistol of the same caliber that weighed more and was larger than the P-32 so after he fired mine he Purchased one, and gave his Tom Cat to his son as he likes the Lighter Polymer frame idea for daily carry over the heavy Stainless pistol. He jogs in the morning with short's and commented how nice it was to carry an 11 OZ Pistol in his waist band and not even know he had it compared to the heavier larger Tom Cat he gave away. Neither one of us use ours as frequent range shooting pistols so the recoil is not an issue, and besides the .32 ACP is much more mellow than the 380 in a Pistol weighing 11 OZ. In summing this up, I feel the Kel-Tec P-32 is an excellent choice for those that want to carry one in their jeans pocket and could care less about pretty finishes or high dollar add ons. That is not what a Kel-Tec is designed for. They are for a last effort back up gun, and do the job nicely, without the Burden of High cost to the consumer. I wouldn't suggest any Kel-Tec Pistols in the .380 Caliber as stated above, as this was a problem pistol, but would Highly reccommend a P-32 for a guy that is looking for slim flat pocket profile, reliable feeding, and a price for way less than $300.00 with a full lifetime warranty, which is NOT offered by many other manufactures of pistols unless you are the original owner, and bought it new. Besides long term wear due to the fact that Kel-Tecs are the Lighter Polymer frame is NOT an issue, since they Replace one if it wears out or malfunctions no matter how many owners have had it and I doubt Berretta would do that, even though the prices are much higher, for a pistol that does the same thing. Regards, Hammerdown
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2006
  18. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter New Member

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    I thought the P-11 was a nine.

    Sorry, my mistake. ;)
  19. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    BINGO, LTS:p :p :p :cool:

    I guess the MAIN reason I wouldn't buy any .380 is I AM spoiled by the more powerful 9x18 round fired from my MORE accurate and reliable Makarov, with it's better sights plus the soft Pearce grips, plus 9x18 ammo is much cheaper currently than the 9x17 (.380) for practicing...and the Makarov is small enough to conceal on me when I'm wearing anything but speedos...:eek:


    I like and will buy eventually the .32 KT for the SMALLER size, reliability, and of COURSE :cool: for my WIFE:p (even though whenever she was with ME it would be in MY backpocket, NOT her purse!:p)


    THAT is probably the main reason I like the .32 Kel Tec, stick it in your back pocket or hang it on a thong around your neck under your TShirt and you HAVE it, rather than having to hide any holsters too....



    But while we are on the subject of Kel-Tec, even though this is not a rifle forum, has anybody had any experience woith the Kel Tec "Sport Utility" .223 rifle? I've handled a few, both the SUR with the folding stock, and the earlier fixed stock version with the extra mag stowage in the stock, and they INTRIQUE me.....but I wonder if they WORK???? Accuracy/dependability wise? I FIGURE they won't be tack drivers, but for an inexpensive mouse gun plinker, they look like they could be FUN!
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2006
  20. Hammerdown

    Hammerdown New Member

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    Re: Kel-Tec .32 Color Change Personal effects

    Hello Bounty Hunter
    No problem.The P-11 Placed a dark cloud so to speak over Kel-Tec because it was a Jammer. Kind of reminds me of The Chevy Vega back when they were made, they came out of the showroom Pushing Oil and smoking, But that did not mean ALL Chevy's were Junk just that model.;)



    Howdy Polishshooter
    A Kel-Tec P-32 is a wise choice for you and your wife.My wife Loves her's and can shoot it well and groups decent with it. I bought Her's first and the seller told me he could NOT carry a white Gun. He said he felt like a SISSY with it, so I swapped him a-J-model .38 S&W Caliber revolver and he gave me enough Boot to make the Kel-Tec a GIFT. I had Nothing in her's and read how you can change the color of the Polymer frame by simply stripping it and dunking it in R.I.T. Clothes dye bought at Wal-Mart for less than $2.00 have your choice of Colors. You simply drop the dye into water on top of the stove bring to a boil, and then drop the frame only in for about 15 Minutes. This will forever change the color of the Kel-Tec frame and the idea came from the Kel-Tec forum as one of the member's did it to his. He further explained it can NOT wear off as the dye fully penetrates the Polymer plastic all the way through. She picked Crimpson Rose for a color and it came out looking "Hot Pink" to me.I have had no experience with the Kel-Tec rifle so can not make an educated evaluation of it, but suspect one of the gun Rags has done a story on it or will in the near future. here is a picture of the P-32 how it started out in White form, then after it's color change and mine is the 1950's looking Chevy Turquoise green colored one. Can't do this to a steel or stainless frame.;) Hammerdown

    "BEFORE"
    [​IMG]



    "AFTER"
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
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