As the title says – Big, Little, or in the Middle – or let’s start a Caliber War!! – let’s talk a look at .22 rim fire – .25 acp – .32 acp – .32 naa – .38 spl – and 9 mm – and more!! A note before we get started – we are looking from the platform size of a “mouse” gun or “pocket” gun size – think concealment in a pair of shorts – t shirt – flip-flops – 95 degrees – Hell’s Bells – in the winter I have carried two full size Glock brand Glocks ( model 21 -.45 acp ) and a Snub Nose .38 Special in my pocket !! – and no one the wiser -Think itty bitty here folks!
22 Rimfire – the only issue I have with .22 is ignition reliability – the way they are produced there is a chance that the primer compound won’t be equally distributed through the rim of the cartridge. No primer compound under the firing pin strike – no bang – no bang = bad! North American Arms produces a line of “mini” revolvers that are almost works of art. Very high quality – reliable – concealable in a pocket – but – you are still stuck with .22 rim fire reliability issues. Not a lot of sight radius – and you lose quite a bit of velocity with such a short barrel – but it does beat the hell out a sharp stick!
22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire – a longer case – a little more powder and velocity over 22 Long Rifle – the performance difference really shines in a rifle – in a micro pistol – not so much . . .
25 acp – anemic performance – on par with .22 ( .22 fired out of a short barrel ) – but ignition reliability is as good as any other center fire cartridge. The big thing is the lack of decent pistols. I don’t know a lot of people that would find a decent Baby Browning – spend 4 to 6 hundred or more on it – then carry it. Decent ones are collectible and if not used/abused will increase in value. Astra pistols are out there , but are not really inexpensive anymore – and are starting to become collectible in their own right. The other thing is the technological advancements companies like Hornady and others have applied to other calibers – .25 has kinda sorta fallen by the wayside.
You have Phoenix Arms offerings out there around the $100 price point . . .
And an FN Baby Browning for $795 – decent price points for either pistol – Are you out of your mind Bruce??? 7 to 8 hundred bucks?? You. are. nuts. – Well . . . no not really – both are incredibly well made – no longer produced – and here is the reason they are kinda pricey – they are sought after buy collectors!! And to put this in perspective – I am enamored with the FN – sweeeet little pistol . . . MUST RESIST – MUST RESIST – MUST. . .
.32acp – a level of performance that is an improvement over the .25 – but still on the bottom of the performance scale most people look at for a self defense cartridge. KelTech does make a very concealable pistol chambered for .32 that is far better in your pocket than a larger pistol left in the car or at home. Beretta makes a real sweetheart and North American Arms has a real solid performer – and there are a lot more out there – especially in the used market.
32NAA – A collaboration between North American Arms and Corbon Ammunition – takes .32 caliber to a mind boggling level of performance – they took a .380 acp cartridge and bottle necked it down to .32 caliber. Some information HERE from WIKI . . .
Several manufacturers offered “conversion barrels” for their pistols – it never really caught on – ammo is still available and NAA is still making pistols chambered for the cartridge – I have a Guardian and it performs very well – a little pricey to shoot at about 90 cents a round but damn does it perform . . . another advantage is the shape of the cartridge makes a failure to feed almost unheard of . . .
Very easy to conceal in a pocket with a sleeve type holster . . .
.32 Rimmed cartridge – an interesting family – .32 S&W – .32 S&W Long – .32 H&R Magnum – .327 Federal Magnum . . . You can shoot any of these in a pistol chambered in .327 Federal – as the power level increases the cartridge length increases – so you can’t put a higher pressure round in a pistol not built for it – like what was done with the .38 Special and the .357 Magnum – as with anything else – nothing is free – .32 rimmed family is no different – every step up is an increase in muzzle blast/flash – recoil – good follow up shots etc. – the small pistols in this clambering are SMALL – look at the H&R Model 732 in the middle picture below – it is chambered in .32 S&W Long and is very comfortable to shoot and follow up shots are easy to put on target – I would hesitate to shoot .327 Federal out of something that size and weight – assuming it is safe to do so / no kaboom etc. – think that there might be a review coming up on that particular piece ???
.32 H&R Magnum from Charter Arms
H&R Model 732 chambered in .32 S&W Long
Ruger LCR chambered in .327 Federal
.380acp – with the modern advancements in bullet technology the “little” .380 has come of age so to speak. Coupled with a tremendous market demand for smaller more concealable pistols the firearms industry has truly stepped up with advancements in design and engineering that gives someone many excellent choices in a caliber that most everyone agrees is the minimum to consider for self defense use. I actually get a giggle out of the majority of “gun writers” – they proclaim that the advancements in bullet technology makes the .380 into damn near a death ray – but then they peddle the latest – greatest – fire breathing super double magnum – with a 43 round magazine – it’s almost like their revenue stream depends on their next proclamation . . . Oh wait a minute – it does – hmmm . . .
I am not going to list any .380’s here – there are simply to many to choose from – sizes range from itty bitty revolvers – yes Taurus makes a revolver chambered in .380 ( using moon clip to hold the rounds ) to tiny semi-automatics – and right on up in size to virtually full size pistols – but chambered in .380 not 9mm or .45 acp – let me drop a couple of pictures in here as well as a link to Gallery of Guns search page for .380 acp – they list MANY for sale – and that’s just Davidson’s – there are many other distributors out there – Go here for .380 listings on Gun Genie . . .
Itty Bitty KelTec P-3AT – it is small and a real bitch to shoot – recoil is abusive and the sights are – well they might as well not even be on the damn thing – I have one so that folks thinking about buying one can shoot it and holler “No way in Hell” when it goes bang – yeah I know – the things I do to entertain myself – Hell I even warn them multiple times before they shoot it! – Fun Stuff!!
Armscor/Rock Island Armory M1911-A1 GI Standard CS Baby ROCK – just slightly smaller than a commander sized 1911 – not a “mouse” gun by any stretch . . . I have shot several of these – soft shooters and 1911 style ergonomics – great little piece – but it sure don’t fit in any pocket I have . . .
We will look at .38 special and larger in Part 2 – and try to come to some kind of conclusion – or just argue incessantly about “it” for the next 6 months – LOL!!
Have Fun! – Run the Gun! – and remember – stay tuned for part 2 AND Fish Heads are Cheap!!