Manufacturers of “modern” .32s have taken advantage of recent technical developments—they utilize stainless steel, high-tech alloys and polymers in their construction. Considering the distances at which such pistols are likely to be used, many of the guns feature double-action-only (DAO) triggers, with others having traditional DA/SA trigger mechanisms. Included among DAO and DA/SA handguns are the Kel-Tec P-32, the Seecamp LWS-32, the Beretta 3032 Tomcat and the North American Arms 32 Guardian.

Kel-Tec is well known for their line of polymer-frame, sub-compact pistols, and many credit their P-32 as the driving force behind the resurgence of .32 ACP’s popularity. It is a striker-fired, locked-breech design with a polymer frame and a steel slide, and at 6.6 ounces it is the lightest of the .32 pistols I tested. A 10-round extended magazine is available for the P-32 and provides a full-sized grip. Like many polymer-frame pistols, it is not “double-strike” capable, which means in the eventuality of a misfire the slide must be retracted slightly to reset the striker.

The Seecamp LWS-32 pistol is the smallest .32 ACP pistol currently on the market. Made from 100-percent stainless steel, it is a retarded-blowback design. When fired, the cartridge case expands into a recessed ring in the chamber, delaying opening of the breech until the bullet has left the barrel. I received one of the new California Edition pistols with a push-button trigger safety located on top of the DAO trigger. The LWS-32 does not have any sights, but considering the distances it will likely be used at, I don’t see this as a downside. It should be noted that the manufacturer recommends that only Winchester Silvertip ammunition be used.

Beretta’s 3032 Tomcat features an alloy frame and a forged steel slide (stainless is optional), an external hammer, a manual safety and a unique tip-up barrel. It lacks an extractor, relying upon the expanding powder gases to force the spent casing rearward. This means that racking the slide will not remove unspent or defective cartridges. For that reason, it has a tip-up barrel that allows easy and safe loading and unloading. While it has a DA/SA trigger, there is no hammer-drop system, so the hammer must be lowered manually on a loaded chamber, although the thumb safety does enable cocked-and-locked carry.

Featuring 100-percent stainless steel construction, the North American Arms Guardian 32 is blowback-operated and uses a DAO trigger. It can be had with an Integral Locking System that uses a key to immobilize the hammer, to prevent unauthorized firing of the pistol. Like the Kel-Tec, its magazine release is located in the “proper” position and is available with an optional 10-round magazine with a grip adaptor for a full three-finger purchase.

Concealing The Minis

As is quite obvious from their size and intended purpose, most .32 pistols are designed to be carried concealed. In fact, this is one of the main attractions of such mouseguns. And while several of them are small enough to be carried concealed by anyone other than a nudist, we must take two other things into consideration: comfort and ease of access. If you find a pistol uncomfortable to carry, chances are you will leave it home or in the glove box of your car, where it doesn’t do you a whole hell of a lot of good when you’re confronted with an attack.

If you knew a violent confrontation was likely to occur, you would already be carrying a shotgun or an AR carbine, although doing so might be frowned upon by your fellow citizens to say nothing of members of the local constabulary. Which leads us to one of the primary reasons for handguns: they can be carried almost anytime and anywhere, and as the old saying goes, “The best gun is the one you have on you.” Depending upon the climate, your mode of dress or duty, carrying a tiny pistol may be your only practical choice. However, being heeled doesn’t do you any good if you cannot access your handgun and quickly get it into action.

Pages: 1 2
Show Comments