For Conceald Carry; A .22 Mag, .32 ACP or a .38 Special?

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by Rhuga, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. Rhuga

    Rhuga Member

    Oct 25, 2011
    Henderson, Nevada
    I want to really thank you folks for all the patience you have had with me over the last couple of weeks and all the great info you have shared.

    I am waffling between buying a .32 APC and a .38 Special either in a pistol or revolver for concealed carry. The CZ-70 makes a great .32 ACP Auto. EAA, Charter Arms, and Rossi make a great .38 Special revolver with a 2" barrel.

    With .38 Special, 4" barrel revolver I can place 6 shots in a 10 inch diameter pattern at 25 ft, normally. But, with a .22 LR I can put a tighter pattern than that at the same distance of about 4-5 inches. This is at rapid fire.

    So, my thinking is this: maybe with a .32 ACP which is more powerful than the .22 LR that I can perform better with a 32 ACP auto over the .38 Special which is heavier and a little more bulky. Also I had many thoughts about a .22 mag in a nice auto or revolver in a inside the pants holster.
    Do you folks have any ideas?
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
  2. popgun

    popgun New Member

    Sep 21, 2009
    there are not many reliable 22 mag semi auto handguns, but several co. make a revolver in that caliber.

  3. hunter29180

    hunter29180 Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 2011
    Church Hill TN
    for CC recommend the 38 over your other preferances. that being said try one of the 357 with 4 in bbl. you can still load the 38 specials but if you feel the need you can also shoot the 38 special +p's, +p+'s and the 357 mag in the same revolver. course if youe preferance is a semiauto then the choices get smaller.

    it really comes down to what you are comfortable with handling. Me being a old fat fart like anything starting with 4 or larger for primary..but then for back up i am prone to carry a .22 lr or mag. many game wardens carry a .22 or .380 as a back up. in times when a cilvian is their back up person, they have found almost all people can use these with comfort. thats why it became my preferance for a Back up weapon.
  4. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    Jul 28, 2008
    DAV, Deep in the Pineywoods of E. Texas!

    The above link will give you some really good information on the different calibers you have mentioned.

    As far as I'm concerned I will take a .38 over either the .32, or the .22. All three calibers will stop a threat, but the question is when? If a person is threatening my life I want him stopped NOW, not later! We all know that shot placement is everyting, but under stress, and possibily under fire, how well do you really think you can place those shots? Most experts tell us that the .380 is smallest caliber to be considered for SD, and I agree with them.
  5. user

    user Active Member

    Oct 16, 2007
    Northern piedmont of Va. and Middle of Nowhere, We
    Definitely a .38 special, of those choices. 9mm in semiautomatic is pretty much the equivalent. Anything smaller is likely to make your attacker angrier. Anything more powerful is just more flash/bang/recoil. You can get some really nice, used S&W 4" K frame revolvers chambered in .38 from about three hundred bucks, and that would be my suggestion. They're not the smallest and lightest possible, but I've never had a problem with CC'ing them. I do not recommend a gun chambered in .357 unless you really want to shoot .357 - the use of .38's in such a gun will eventually erode the end of the chamber where the plasma shoots out around the end of the .38's case, which is shorter than the .357's case. Not a problem for occasional use, but a steady diet of .38's will eventually damage the cylinder. Much better to get a gun chambered in .38 to begin with.
  6. hogger129

    hogger129 Well-Known Member

    Nov 29, 2009
    Out of all those, I'd go with the .38 Special, but .32 ACP ain't bad.
  7. Chinook

    Chinook New Member

    Aug 19, 2011
    17 pulls, into the propwash...
    Given the usage of the firearm, and ammo you are trying to decide on... I would go as BIG as possible. Chances are good, the threat is not going to be inside of 25 feet, and if you can put a round, or all 6, in a target the size of a saucer, or small plate... You have the threat under control.
  8. 6x6pinz

    6x6pinz New Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Mesa, Az
    need to watch that. The statistics show between 7 to 10 feet for SD engagement.

    but the 38 is the best choice of the three
  9. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2006
    "Likely to make your attacker angrier" is a very irresponsible statement! Smaller calibers are deadly, too.
    I have never seen a .357 cylinder damaged or eroded from shooting .38 Specials-even after thousands of rounds.

    Buy the gun you shoot best.
  10. Clipper

    Clipper Well-Known Member

    Mar 21, 2010
    Amarillo, TX
    I'm with Bill, .38's are not going to hurt your .357! Been there, done that a lot! Yes, there may be a build up in the cylinder, but it is easy to remove, will NEVER "hurt" your gun, easy to remedy.
  11. Boris

    Boris Former Guest

    Oct 1, 2010
  12. aryfrosty

    aryfrosty Member

    Mar 25, 2011
    Huntsville, Alabama
    Mark Twain once was reported to have said..."It ain't the size of the dog in the fight that matters. It's the size of the fight in the dog." I have .22lrs, 22 mags, 32acp, 380acp, .38spl, .357mags, 9mms, .44spls, and ,45acps I will happily carry concealed and depend on. Shot placement matters more and only practice, of course coupled with a good dose of natural ability, will ensure good placement. That presupposes that you have a quality firearm and good ammo. Don't think I'm a total dummy. We're in the "silly season" and 30+ years as an LEO have taught me to anticipate things like that. My CCW for the season is an S&W 669 with one spare 12 rd mag. 147gr Remington hps will help ensure that the desired effect is attained in need.
  13. 3/2 STA SS

    3/2 STA SS Active Member

    Aug 9, 2010
    Tampa Bay Area, FL
    Here in Florida I would feel comfortable with any of those in my front right pocket. My Kel Tec .32 goes everywhere with me and the S&W 642 does as well when I have to wear a jacket.
    I had the mini .22 mag revolver and found it to be more of a toy that a serious weapon.
  14. focusmaniaczx3

    focusmaniaczx3 Member

    Nov 16, 2009
    Hickory, NC
    why hasnt anyone suggested the kel-tec pmr-30? it is a semi-automatic .22 magnum power house that holds 30 rounds in a double stack magazine all bundled up in a handgun that appears to be about the same size as a mid-size glock and maybe smaller. recoil is nearly non-existant and the putdown power is there not to mention that you have 30 freaking rounds to take down your target. im on a waiting list for one right now as it is. kel-tec had some problems with keyholes at first (tumbling bullets) so they recalled the first batch of units and put a tighter twist on the barrel and have not had a hiccup since.
    notice the lack of recoil even under rapid fire.
    and alot of people keep talking about the magazines having such terrible feeding issues especially under rapid fire. i say eat me and watch this VVV
    read up on it if you are interested. the 22magnum being the exception to the rule i wouldnt carry anything smaller than a .38 personally. i actually dont even own a .38 i have a .357 and 9mm as the smallest carry pistols that i own until i get my hands on a pmr-30.
  15. gcalloway

    gcalloway Member

    Sep 26, 2011
    I am a fan of the 38 from the three you suggested, but the first rule in a gunfight is to have a gun. So buy the one you will carry. I myself carry a Ruger LCP for everyday use ut on special occassions when I am out of my office I usually carry a Smith 38 with 2" barrel. Self defense happens at such close range long range practice is just what you do for confidence. Up close and personal you need a weapon that is like an instamatic camera. you just point and shoot.
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