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32 ACP Ammunition Background & Details

An accurate, low recoiling cartridge, the compact .32 ACP fits well in small handguns designed for personal defense. Though certainly not the most powerful cartridge available, it has gained significant popularity among Americans practicing concealed carry. A typical round of .32 ACP ammo fires a light 60-73 grain bullet at a muzzle velocity of around 1,000 feet per second. With modern jacketed hollow point loads, this configuration can produce significant expansion.

Although designed in 1899 by an American (the legendary John Browning), the .32 ACP cartridge was more widely used in Europe (under the metric name of 7.65mm Browning) than the US for most of its history. The .32 Auto has been used in civilian, law enforcement, and even military settings. Notable handguns chambered in .32 ACP include the classic Walther PPK (the sidearm of the fictional spy James Bond as well as many real-life European police officers), the Heckler & Koch HK 4, and more recently the Kel-Tec P-32 and Beretta Tomcat. A variant of the CZ VZ 61 Skorpion chambered in .32 ACP was also used by the Czech military as a personal weapon for tank crews and other non-infantry personnel.

Since this caliber is primarily used for target shooting or defense rather than sporting purposes, most available .32 ACP ammo will be of the full metal jacket (FMJ) or jacketed hollow point (JHP) varieties. High quality defensive offerings from Hornady, Speer, and other manufacturers make the cartridge a better choice for CCW than it ever has been.