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8 Best .32 ACP Handguns [Ultimate Guide]

The venerable .32 ACP may not be the first caliber on many people’s minds when considering a modern defensive round, but for your money, it’s really underrated.

32 ACP Lucky Gunner
Sweet, sweet .32 ACP (Photo: Lucky Gunner)

If you’re interested in .32 ACP and wondering what modern options are available in terms of firearms chambered in this caliber…

You’re in the right place.

Expert

We’re going to look at this often overlooked round and see if it’s still relevant in the modern era.

And we’ll tell you which .32 ACP models are available and ready for you to take home.

So, let’s get to it!

Table of Contents

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Important Background on the .32 ACP

The .32 ACP was developed by one of the forefathers of modern firearm design, John Moses Browning.

Cool hat, bruh.

Originally created in 1899 for the FN 1900 Browning pistol, upon release, it quickly became one of the most popular pistol cartridges, particularly in Europe.

The .32 ACP saw acceptance in various police services in Europe.

And it spurred the development of guns like the Walther PP, a truly prolific sidearm.

Promotional Image for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service of Lazenby with a Walther PPK
Promotional Image for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service of Lazenby with a Walther PPK

Is .32 ACP Still Relevant Today?

Short answer, yes. Feel free to skip down if that’s all you wanted to hear.

Yes

Long answer, also yes, but with exceptions.

In truth, modern calibers like .380 ACP make a little more sense in the context of self-defense.

.380 ACP Round
.380 ACP Round

But .32 ACP actually offers lighter recoil and faster comparative muzzle velocity than the .380.

For my money, it’s the lighter recoil that’s the big thing here.

Truth is, .380 ACP pocket pistols aren’t super fun to shoot. They have a sharp bark and a good bit of felt recoil that can charitably be described as “snappy.”

Sinterfire .380 ACP 75 grain HP Frangibles and a Ruger LCP II. If you like .380 ACP you really should check out Sinterfire’s frangibles
The Ruger is a snappy little gun

Comparatively, the .32 ACP is practically tame. It’s not a terrible choice for new shooters who want to start with a compact carry gun, particularly if they don’t have a surplus of grip strength.

Finally, some truly iconic firearms are chambered in this caliber.

Legendary

That alone means we’re unlikely to see the .32 ACP go anywhere anytime soon.

I’m talking mainly about the Walther PPK and the Colt 1903, the former of which is, of course, James Bond’s (and Sterling Archer’s) weapon of choice.

Sterling Archer Aims His Walther PPK
Sterling Archer aims his Walther PPK

Best .32 ACP Guns

Alright, with all that out of the way, let’s take a look at the best .32 ACP guns regularly found on the market today.

Some of these you may have to source used, but most of them are still in production.

1. Colt Model 1903

The Colt Model 1903, originally called the Pocket Hammerless, was developed by John Browning as a successor to his Model 1900 design.

Colt Model 1903 In Hand Gun Digest
Colt Model 1903 In Hand (Photo: Gun Digest)

In that respect, you can draw a direct line from this to the Colt 1911, making it a cool bit of history.

The 1903 was incredibly popular and was used by Willie Sutton, Al Capone, Bonnie Parker, and a host of other famous outlaws and a number of military and police officers.

If you want one, you can shell out enormous money for an original historical model or shell out slightly less money for a modern model produced under license by the US Armament Corp.

Colt 1903 Disassembled
Colt 1903 Disassembled (Photo: WikiCommons)

It is American-made and features an 8-round magazine. It boasts an overall length of 6.75-inches and a loaded weight of 27-ounces, making it a fairly chunky boi.

But it’s also a piece of history and a cool one to own if you aren’t looking for a defensive option.

899
at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

2. Walther PP

Next, we have the Walther PP, or the Polizeipistole (that’s German for Police Pistol).

The PP was first chambered in .32 ACP and became popular enough to act as the go-to sidearm for a number of military personnel, including the Nazi high command.

Walther PP Lucky Gunner
Walther PP (Photo: Lucky Gunner)

This is the very model that killed Hitler.

Developed by German manufacturer Carl Walther GmbH Sportwaffen in 1929, it offered a simply blowback style action.

Walther PP Gun Digest
Walther PP (Photo: Gun Digest)

What was unique about this design was its implementation of some cool features like an automatic hammer block, combination safety/decocker, and loaded chamber indicator.

It’s a great firearm with a long history, a number of modern clones, and reproductions – a very classy option, in my opinion.

900
at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

The PP spawned a series of pistols under the PP name…which we’re going to talk about next.

3. Walther PPK + PPK/S (And Clones)

Following the Walther PP, we have the PPK and its American-import-friendly PPK/S, as well as its associated clones.

The PPK has a 3.3-inch barrel, a DA/SA trigger, and a 6+1 capacity.

Walther PPK
Walther PPK

Sure, it can’t really compete with the likes of the Sig Sauer P365 or Springfield Hellcat.

But I strongly argue that it’s better looking.

This is a classic gun.

And it’s the weapon of choice for the two greatest spies in all of film and TV, so it’s hard to argue against that.

Sean Connery Carrying the Walther PPK (Again) for Never Say Never Again
Sean Connery Carrying the Walther PPK for Never Say Never Again

It’s also incredibly reliable, recoils like a mouse fart, and has an empty weight of just over 1-pound.

Looking for a very svelte carry option, 90 years after its introduction? The PPK is it.

700
at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Want to learn more about the Walther PPK? Read up on its history in Walther PPK: From James Bond to Today.

4. Sig Sauer P230

Speaking of Walther PPK clones…we have the similar-to-but-legally-distinct-from Sig Sauer P230.

Not to be confused with the Sig Sauer P320, the P230 is essentially just a slightly larger PPK, with a grip-mounted decocking lever as opposed to the slide-mounted decocker/safety on the PPK.

Sig Sauer P230 SL
Sig Sauer P230 SL (Photo: WikiCommons)

Unveiled in 1977, it made its way stateside in the mid-1980s.

The P230 brings a 3.6-inch barrel to an overall length of 6.6-inches. Weight sits at 18.5-ounces.

It’s been out of production since 2014, but I gather they weren’t exactly flying off the shelves.

So there’s still a good number of them around. You can actually still buy them new with relative ease.

808
at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

5. Seecamp LWS .32

If you read our pocket pistols article, you probably encountered the Seecamp name.

Seecamp as a company isn’t really around anymore, but the Seecamp LWS .32 is, and it’s a heck of a little firearm, still in production.

Seecamp LWS 32 ACP
(Photo: Seecamp)

It was a rare firearm back in the day, but production has opened up now, making this a really interesting little guy to own.

A truly miniature pistol, the LWS clocks in at just under 14-ounces fully loaded, with a height of just 3.25-inches and a length of 4-inches, making it a true pocket pistol.

teeny tiny

It has a 6+1 capacity, a heavy trigger pull, and uses a delayed blowback action that’s fairly unique among handguns of this size. Not that there are many of this size.

This is a neat bit of firearms design and a really small option for something like a backup.

At contact distance, this is a good one, especially since you don’t really get sights on this one.

600
at GunPrime

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

6. North American Arms Guardian

For a similar option, the NAA Guardian is a great choice too, and this one comes with sights!

Like the Seecamp, it has a 6+1 capacity and also clocks in around 13.5-ounces, making it easy to carry, if not the easiest, to shoot.

NAA Guardian 32 ACP

This is an *ahem* reimagining of the LWS .32. So, it’s basically the same as the option above, but with an improved trigger and actual sights.

This means you can maybe hit something further away than you could otherwise reach with your outstretched arm.

405
at Kentucky Gun Co.

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

7. Beretta 3032 Tomcat

The 3032 Tomcat is one of the more popular modern .32 ACP guns, and with good reason. It features a great stainless finish, a capacity of 7+1, and it’s as reliable as you could ask a handgun to be.

It uses a tip-up barrel design, meaning you don’t actually have to rack the slide. This makes it a phenomenal option for those without a lot of hand strength.

Beretta 3032 Tomcat Inox
Beretta 3032 Tomcat Inox

If you suffer from a case of arthritis or other joint issues, the Tomcat is a solid option.

The unloaded weight sits at 14.5-ounces, while the overall length is just under 5-inches, making it another great concealed carry option.

Beretta Tomcat action open (Buffalo's Outdoors)
Beretta Tomcat action open (Photo: Buffalo’s Outdoors)

You have an easy-to-use, slide-mounted safety that will feel familiar or most DA/SA pistol owners.

Not to mention, you actually get an adjustable rear notch sight.

That may be a bit optimistic, but, hey, it’s an extra feature you don’t get with any other .32 ACP options out there.

What do you think of the Beretta Tomcat? Give it a rating below!

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Your Rating?

8. KelTec P32

The KelTec P32 is another modern option for those looking for a defensive carry gun…and it’s actually my #1 recommendation for a .32 ACP carry gun for most people.

This little guy beats the PPK in capacity by giving you 7+1 in the standard mag, with 10+1 in the stendo version.

KelTec P32
KelTec P32 (Photo: KelTec)

I’m also going to narrowly rank it higher than the Tomcat above, just because it’s cheaper.

If you hate .32 ACP or want to upgrade later, you’re not out as much money.

It’s a hammer-fired, double-action-only pistol with less than great sights, but a truly excellent street price of around $250…usually.

KelTec P32 Nails
(Photo: KelTec)

It has a short 2.7-inch barrel and a total length of just a hair over 5-inches, so very compact.

Oh, and it weighs 6.6-ounces.That’s not a typo. This thing actually ways under half a pound, unloaded.

This makes it one of the best options for a deep carry.

240
at Sportsman's Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Conclusion

The .32 ACP is an underrated round these days, but that shouldn’t stop you from picking up a gun chambered in this awesome little caliber.

KelTec P32
(Photo: KelTec)

All of the handguns on this list are excellent firearms, fun to own and shoot, and, in general, relatively affordable in the face of the pocket pistol explosion.

Which of these .32 ACP guns is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below! For more tiny pistol action, check out our round-up of the Best Pocket Pistols and Best .380 Pistols.

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7 Leave a Reply

  • Kurt

    My Dad bought a Colt 1903 in 32ACP way back in the 1960s as a concealed carry piece. I inherited it and carried it for many years myself. It is a true classic of design and function. The last time I carried it was when I was walking at night and early mornings in an area that is considered to be marginal. I retired the Colt for a .380 Bersa Thunder Plus for it's much larger capacity about 8 years ago.

    June 20, 2021 10:53 am
  • Jeremy Buchanon

    I think .32 acp for pocket carry is the best choice. If you are just an average person who wants to conceal carry going out at night or traveling, a Kel Tec P32 is a great choice. It is just as easy as carrying a wallet or cell phone. Plus, .32 is easy and fast to shoot with enough power to penetrate.

    June 18, 2021 2:16 pm
  • A .32 too guy

    I have four from the list above: PP, Tomcat, Seecamp, and Keltec. The Keltec with a Crimson Trace laser is my choice for carry. The Tomcat is second, since it is easy to load with the tip up barrel. The Seecamp slide is very difficult for me to retract to load a round, so I don’t carry it. The PP is a fun gun.

    June 13, 2021 4:45 pm
  • Me non de plume

    Keltec by far
    Never had a jam, accurate and easy to carry, you will have it on you when the “real gun” is home
    Aim fir the eyes, more directly the orbit -even if it doesn’t penetrate the brain the bad guy will have a difficult time aiming

    June 3, 2021 7:32 pm
  • John

    Had my experiences with .32 in my younger years. Good round until the time came to use it for real then it wasn't so great.

    June 3, 2021 3:49 pm
  • Fake Name

    Aren’t like half of these guns discontinued?

    June 3, 2021 12:52 pm
  • C dub

    No....just no

    June 3, 2021 11:07 am
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