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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife recently has been asking about guns and particularly about a concealed carry pistol. I am considering getting her an old Walther PP in 32ACP. I had a WWII Nazi example in the past, it it was a fine weapon.

Now it stands to reason that no one would want to be shot by so much as a 22 but is the 32 ACP effective enough for a potential self defense scenario?
 

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but is the 32 ACP effective enough for a potential self defense scenario?
That would depend on the guy on the receiving end. A 100lb skinny kid in a t-shirt possibly, unless he was on meth or something. A 250lb muscled up gang banger probably not. There was an item in the news the other day that a relatively large badguy took 12 hits (9mm or bigger) from a cop at bad breath range, several in the vital area, before he went down. Your call, but my opinion is to carry the biggest caliber with the most jhp bullets, you can handle. You can't predict what your attacker can absorb before he rips your head off. And there might be more than one at a time.

I'd much prefer to be prepared to shoot a coyote with a grizzly gun, than a grizzly with a coyote gun.
 

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My wife recently has been asking about guns and particularly about a concealed carry pistol. I am considering getting her an old Walther PP in 32ACP. I had a WWII Nazi example in the past, it it was a fine weapon.

Now it stands to reason that no one would want to be shot by so much as a 22 but is the 32 ACP effective enough for a potential self defense scenario?
Doyle's comment below is accurate. I will add one caveat. If you get a small .380, it could be a nightmare for her to shoot. Is she's small, has small hands, or recoil sensitive, I wouldn't go with the 380. If she can handle the 380, I would suggest one of the small 9mm. Can she rack the slide reliably? There are very few circumstances I would suggest a light .38 special revolver because of their recoil too. I would suggest you get her to shoot several different types of guns and calibers and see what fits her the best before you decide on buying anything. If you can't borrow one or go shooting with friends, you could always rent a couple of different pistols/handguns for her to try out.
 

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Morte
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My wife recently has been asking about guns and particularly about a concealed carry pistol. I am considering getting her an old Walther PP in 32ACP. I had a WWII Nazi example in the past, it it was a fine weapon.

Now it stands to reason that no one would want to be shot by so much as a 22 but is the 32 ACP effective enough for a potential self defense scenario?
If you are close to the SW part of the state, I’ve got a PP and PPK/s in 32 she can shoot to see how she does with it before buying one.

Also have access to one in .380
 

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Walther PP, PPK. PPK/S are quite expensive these days in .32ACP or .380ACP. Much more so than just a few years ago. I have pocket carried a Kel-Tec P32 .32ACP in the past (consensus that I've seen in gun forums seems to be that the P32 is more reliable than the .380 Kel-Tecs -- I never had any failures with mine). If you can find one in the current environment, and you decide on a .32ACP, they may be the smallest and lightest .32ACP carry option. As has been mentioned, if she tolerates the recoil well, and can rack the slide, there are poly .380s that are just slightly larger and heavier than a P32, such as the Ruger LCP, LCP II, LCP Custom, etc.

IMO the Paul Harrell videos (like lazi included above) are generally worth the watch.
 

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As to your choice of pistol, note that the Walther PP or even the PPK and PPK-S are, compared to more recently designed pistols, very large and heavy handguns. This could cause an issue as to her willingness to carry it at all times.
 

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My wife recently has been asking about guns and particularly about a concealed carry pistol. I am considering getting her an old Walther PP in 32ACP. I had a WWII Nazi example in the past, it it was a fine weapon.

Now it stands to reason that no one would want to be shot by so much as a 22 but is the 32 ACP effective enough for a potential self defense scenario?
The short answer is generally speaking yes. The following is for people who want to know why.

I routinely carry .32 ACP guns, most of which have at least a 3.2 to 3.75 inch barrel. Like .380 ACP it is a very barrel length specific cartridge in terms of ballistic potential. Yes, .380 ACP is a more powerful cartridge but when looking at actual wound data on the subject there's a negligible difference in most cases when comparing the two. The biggest issue you'll run into are good JHP designs that expand well. I've found in particular Fiocchi Exterma loads to be both accurate and achieve excellent expansion in as short as 3.2 inch barrels. The Exterma's are loaded with XTP's from Hornady and are loaded hotter than typical American loaded ammo is.

Silvertips, if reliable in the gun have been a close second but finding either right now has been difficult. That said, standard FMJ works quite well in .32 ACP compared to .380 ACP. Even with a 3.5 inch barrel or a 3.75 inch barrel using 71gr FMJ vs your typical 96gr FMJ in .380 even fired from a 2.63 inch barrel has a lot more penetration and the risk of over penetration(if it's a concern) is drastically higher. Then the problem with a lot of .380 ACP JHP's is most are designed to expand now in those shorter 2.63 inch barrel pocket guns and they DO expand quite well but at the cost of very shallow penetration. There are plenty of good loads that would expand in those longer barrels like 3.5 and 3.75 which may be more common in the Walther's but a majority are optimized around shorter barrels.

Now, factoring in ammo like the Lehigh Xtreme Defense/Cavitator rounds in .380 and .32 ACP change the game quite a bit. They both offer excellent penetration and wounding characteristics similar to JHP's but are non expanding rounds. They work best in short barreled guns or your typical "mouse gun" calibers as penetration is often the most important factor with such calibers. When you look at gunfight statistics, while there is no clear and defined average number of shots it takes, when sifting through the data my conclusion and that of many comes out to be about 3-4 shots fired average but with a majority ending in 1 or simply drawing the weapon. There will always be worst case scenarios like the one recently about the cop shooting the guy 12 times or whatever. Or the mythical 350 lb crack head whom I'm positive a majority of us could outrun if we ever met but the point is that things happen in life we can't predict or prepare for entirely.

I do a lot of shooting and testing with .32 ACP and I have ZERO issues of confidence in it's ability to stop somebody. I've seen grown men who got grazed by a .22 LR start screaming and crying like they were going to die. I've known survivors of being shot by 9mm, 12 gauge, and many other things to a point that I could draw an example of nearly anything and make a case for how it's not as effective as people think but those are the rare one offs usually. They don't define the average. I would only agree with people about going with a .380 ACP over a .32 ACP currently because of availability of ammunition. If you already have a lot of .32 ACP laying around or have a good line on it already then that changes things. While .380 ACP isn't a super heavy recoiling round, in guns like a Walter PP/PPK, it feels like shooting a 9mm truly because of the blowback action. .32 ACP has significantly less felt recoil and report, so in the event of shooting without hearing protection it won't damage it as bad.

End of the day it should be whatever she is more comfortable with though. But as I said, in most cases it is plenty adequate. Much like when people used to say things like ".38 Special is obsolete because modern 9mm!" and the response was usually something akin to there are graveyards full of people who would say otherwise. The same can be said about .32 ACP. It has a very long service history as a wartime caliber and a police caliber in Europe. Extensive use in carry guns south of the border and in South America. So, draw from that what you will.
 

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And don’t forget that Bond....James Bond has dispatched many a bad guy with the .32.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Sold me at Bond. I think I’ll just have to have her shoot a few things and see what she likes. Maybe check out some modern options. Will likely bypass Glocks, as I’m not a fan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If you are close to the SW part of the state, I’ve got a PP and PPK/s in 32 she can shoot to see how she does with it before buying one.

Also have access to one in .380
I am in the most north east part of the state or I would take you up on this.
 

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Sold me at Bond. I think I’ll just have to have her shoot a few things and see what she likes. Maybe check out some modern options. Will likely bypass Glocks, as I’m not a fan.
Yes but its not your gun its hers she may like the Glocks.
 

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Doyle's comment below is accurate. I will add one caveat. If you get a small .380, it could be a nightmare for her to shoot. Is she's small, has small hands, or recoil sensitive, I wouldn't go with the 380. If she can handle the 380, I would suggest one of the small 9mm. Can she rack the slide reliably? There are very few circumstances I would suggest a light .38 special revolver because of their recoil too. I would suggest you get her to shoot several different types of guns and calibers and see what fits her the best before you decide on buying anything. If you can't borrow one or go shooting with friends, you could always rent a couple of different pistols/handguns for her to try out.
I agree 100% with this. Having taught a LOT of NRA Basic handgun courses, the content above is always part of the "sermons" given during the class. .380 ACP and 9mm in a small pistol are both "snappy" and small-statured persons, especially those who will not be training on a frequent basis, might get recoil shy. Same goes for a small-frame revolver. The .32ACP is a milder cartridge and while not my idea of first choice for defense, if she can manage and hit with it better than one of the aforementioned calibers it would be a better choice - at least she'd have a better theoretical chance of hitting the target in a place that would thwart an attack. The old adage "as much gun as she can handle" would apply, so I definitely second the idea of trying out several before you make a purchase.
 

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My wife recently has been asking about guns and particularly about a concealed carry pistol. I am considering getting her an old Walther PP in 32ACP. I had a WWII Nazi example in the past, it it was a fine weapon.

Now it stands to reason that no one would want to be shot by so much as a 22 but is the 32 ACP effective enough for a potential self defense scenario?
simple answer, no. hopped up on drugs it wont stop a threat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Figured I would close the loop on where we ended up. We looked at a bunch of different handguns. Had some friends bring over their guns and their wives guns. The wife turned out to be a natural and didn’t mind shooting a 9mm. In the end she got a Sig P365X. She likes it and now we are starting training with it. I’m thinking after about 500 rounds she should be fairly comfortable and competent to carry it.
 

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I'll add an addendum since the OP has made his decision. It will be worth your while to read Handgun Stopping Power by Evan Marshall. Real case analyses, caliber, effectiveness, number of hits, location of hits, time to stoppage of threat / death of attacker. Bloviating and gun magazines should not deter one from seeing what has worked in the real world of flesh and blood, especially when that flesh and blood is animated by drugs. Also search for changes in LE tactics / policies for use of deadly force against persons suspected of being so "animated". What first comes to mind is firing at the pelvis, not center of mass, at an assailant wielding an edged weapon (knife, axe, machete, etc.) because destroying the human body's ability to support itself / be mobile (move) eliminates a threat without the post shooting lawsuits based on 'why did he shoot him 10 times he didn't have a gun he only had a kitchen knife?' is thus also avoided. If the aggressor can't move or stand to attack you he won't hurt you or anyone else. Attacker survives (maybe) and public anti-police backlash avoided(maybe).
Best of luck to you and your spouse and may neither of you EVER have to use deadly force in self-defense.
 
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