.32 ACP Ammo.
The classic and still most popular loading in the .32 ACP is the 71 grain hardball. These loads typically run about 900 fps and penetrate in excess of 18 inches of gelatin. This means the tiny FMJ bullet will almost certainly exit, even on a torso shot. However, the exit energy after 12 inches often percent gelatin is just 23 ft-lbs. The U.S. Army has stated 58 ft-lbs of energy is necessary to produce a casualty.
The stopping power from these 71 grain FMJ loads is surprisingly high compared to the JHPs, semi-exotic JHPs and exotic frangible loads. The Fuller Index for the hardball ammo is between 45 and 46 percent 1-shot stops. The actual results from 156 shootings with the 71 grain FMJ is 49 percent 1-shot stops. The .32 ACP is the only caliber where hardball seems to work as well as hollowpoints!
The first of the high performance .32 ACP hollowpoints, and still clearly the best, is the Winchester 60-grain Silvertip. This .32 ACP bullet is the only Silvertip in the Winchester line to use a pure aluminum jacket. The Seecamp auto pistol is specifically designed around the overall length, feed profile and exterior ballistics of the 60-grain Silvertip.
The incredible, 66 percent 1-shot stop success of the .32 ACP Silvertip remains just that, incredible, controversial and arguable. For this reason, and for an apples-to-apples comparison with other .32 ACP loads, the stopping power of the 60-grain Silvertip listed in the table is based on the Fuller Index. The Silvertip should be closer to 45 percent effective. Very few .32 ACP hollowpoints expand after heavy clothes. The ones that get plugged up and do NOT expand penetrate like hardball. In this case, the non-expanding bullet with the most muzzle energy is the best defensive choice. Ironically, the 60-grain Silvertip is the conventional JHP with the most energy. Even more ironic, the 71 grain FMJ hardball has more muzzle energy than the Silvertip. All of this helps to explain the relative success of hardball, but doesn't really explain the success of the Silvertip.
The popularity of the Seecamp and the recent release of the Beretta Tomcat led to the introduction of the Federal 65 grain Hydra-Shok and the CCI-Speer 60-grain Gold Dot. The Hydra-Shok is the bullet with a post in the center of the hollowpoint cavity. The Gold Dot is the internally pre-stressed hollowpoint with a pure copper, electroplated jacket. Both these loads expand well in bare gelatin. The Hydra-Shok produces slightly deeper penetration than the Silvertip and Gold Dot. The HydraShok and the Gold Dot have a Fuller Index between 40 and 45 percent.
The new MagSafe company produces a 36 grain Defender, their X-load, which has a velocity of 1215 fps. The new load has less energy than their old 50 grain load, but still saturates the first 7 inches of gelatin with number 4 birdshot. The new MagSafe load has a Fuller Index of 45 percent. In the .32 ACP the frangibles have the highest Fuller Index in the caliber, but the margin of superiority is not as high as in other calibers.
The Glaser Safety Slug is the original frangible bullet, dating back to the 1960s. The Glaser in .32 ACP was introduced in 1983 as a flatpoint. The roundnose version came in 1987. The .32 ACP is only available with a Blue Safety Slug. The Blue version fires a plastic tipped jacket filled with compressed number 12 birdshot. Upon impact, the 55 grain Glaser saturates the first 5 inches of gelatin with number 12 birdshot. This load has a Fuller Index of 48 percent. With just 5 inches of penetration, the 32ACP
Recently, Cor-Bon has entered the frangible ammo market with their BeeSafe ammo. The .32 ACP 52 grain BeeSafe has a payload of compressed number 6 birdshot inside an aluminum jacket. Importantly, the BeeSafe payload is capped with a 23 grain, .25 caliber, number 3 buckshot pellet to assure deep penetration. Upon impact, this load fragments slightly and the pellets disperse an inch or so away from the main bullet path. However, the buckshot pellet and jacket reach over 10 inches deep. The result is a Fuller Index of 49 percent, among the best in the caliber.
One of the more recent .32 ACP hollowpoints is the Hornady 60-grain XTP-HP The XTP generally expands less and penetrates more compared to other bullets. In the .25 ACP, .32 ACP and .380 ACP calibers, this is a distinct advantage. Police ammo experts expect a minimum penetration in gelatin somewhere between 9 and 12 inches. The 60-grain XTP meets this criteria for defensive ammo. In fact, the Hornady XTP is the only conventional hollowpoint that penetrates more than 9 inches of gelatin. This Hornady load has a Fuller Index of 41 percent which is a little low for a .32 ACP hollowpoint. However, the 10 inches of penetration sets this load apart. The newest hollowpoint in the .32 ACP caliber is the Triton 60-grain Quik-Shok Introduced at the 2000 SHOT Show, this is an XTP-style bullet with a pre-stressed core designed to break into three pieces upon impact, even after heavy clothes. The 968 fps .32 ACP 60-grain Quik-Shok uses the QS1 design. The QS1 has longitudinal cuts which start in the center of the lead cor e and go almost to the outside diameter of the core. The result is a uniform spilt into three 16 grain frags. In comparison, a .24 caliber number 4 buckshot pellets weighs 21 grains. Each of the large Quik-Shok frags penetrates 9 inches of gelatin in a separate wound path. The Quik-Shok load is one of the best self-defensive choices in this sub-mouse caliber.
As a manstopper, the .32 ACP caliber is much less effective than the .380 ACP and .38 Special. Practice with the .32 ACP pistol until you can achieve a frontal, upper torso shot placement every time. With the .32 ACP the Force is NOT with you.