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Keltec P-32 Review

August 22nd, 2013 · 8 Comments

For updates on this article and new comments visit our sister blog at http://www.the22man.com/2016/03/keltec-p-32-review/

I have owned the pistol I am reviewing for about 5 years now and have run hundreds of rounds through it so I can pretty well give you a good idea of the positive and negative points of this handgun. For those that shoot regularly, you might have noticed that for this timeframe I should have shot more rounds through it, well read on my friends, read on.

This pistol is made in the USA, specifically Cocoa Florida, a nice touch since I am a big believer in buying American if it makes sense. http://www.keltecweapons.com/our-guns/pistols/p-32/. The body / lower is a polymer and the upper is made of metal. The polymer keeps the weight down (6.6 ounces unloaded) while the metal keeps the firearm safe.

The gun comes in a number of finishes and mine came with a hard case but and 1 magazine (holding 7 rounds). I purchased two additional 10 round magazines.

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Notice the “hook” on the extended magazine. Watch out! Speed reloading does not work, you will get blood blisters on your hand. The small 7 round magazine is difficult to reload under stress too. You could carry it with the 10 round in the magazine well and the 7 as a backup magazine, however the size if the mag compared to your hand for reload and the new extended size of the gun with the 10 round mag does make a negative difference in my opinion.

IMG_20130822_095447 Kel-Tec_P-32

Keltec makes a number of different firearms, some popular, some not so. All-in-all, I have heard and read very few negative reviews about the quality of their weapons. 1st generations tend to have bugs in them, however, the factory always seems willing to repair or replace them as needed.

It was not my first 32 caliber firearm, I used to own a Beretta 32 with the tip up barrel. It shot 8 inches off at 7 yards. Needless to say, I don’t own that firearm anymore.

Let me start off by saying, the Keltec P-32 is not a good primary gun. The sights suck for anything beyond the body alignment shooting method. They are nothing more than a notch in the rear and a bump out font, an exaggeration? I think not.

KelTecRearSite

I don’t recommend using at more than 7 yards and if you are using it as a primary defensive weapon, you will need more accuracy. By the time you add up the small sites, the long trigger pull and the diminutive size, the Keltec P-32 just is not going to be an accurate weapon under stress.

The trigger pull on the Keltec is long, and so is the reset (where you release the trigger after a shot in order to “reset” it for a follow-up shot). This is an issue for me since this weapon is my backup gun (BUG). My primary CCW handgun has a short trigger pull and reset (Glock). In training, under self-induced stress, I never get the 2nd shot off with the Keltec. This is because I do not reset the trigger fully. I believe this is because I am used to the Glock trigger. When I use another Glock as my BUG, I don’t have this issue.

32 ammo isn’t cheap! Even before our current President was elected the 1st time, 32 auto ammo (there are many different types of 32 ammo, know what you own before you buy) cost more than 9mm. Add in the 2nd election and government induced hysteria over the Connecticut shootings in December and the 32 caliber round just is not an inexpensive round to shoot.

With that said, this weapon fired all types of rounds I ever fed through it, not one malfunction. I have fired everything from several brands of full metal jacket (FMJ) to Winchester Silvertip Hollow Point (my favorite 32 auto round) and Fiocchi JHP – a partially lead hollow core bullet.

The Keltec P-32 is defiantly able to be a pocket gun, it is small, light, extremely easy to conceal. Please do not confuse pocket gun with a gun just dropped into a pocket unprotected. I recommend a covering or holster. There is a belt clip that can be used if you clip the firearm on your waistband. It works since the trigger pull is so long making a negligent discharge very improbable. I have carried in an ankle holster (see review), in a Small of Back (SOB) holster (review coming), in my pocket, and on my waist with the clip.

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That is a BlackHawk! size 2 pocket holster, the strip is textured leather(?) that is supposed to grip in your pocket so when you draw the firearm the holster stays and only the gun comes out. It does not work for me. I have tried dress pants, cargo pants and jeans. It does keep stuff out of the trigger guard area.

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Here the pistol fits nice and snug in a Thompson Gun Leather SOB holster. The belt loops on this holster are extremely tight on a standard 2 inch gun belt.

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The belt / pant clip attaches to the handguns frame via a screw on the slide. This no holster method allows you to put the firearm anywhere the clip will hold it, for me it was on my pants pointing at my groin. The clip was too small to go over my belts so it hid behind the belt. Now I don’t have a belly however this was not an easy draw for me, and even though the trigger pull is long, a bullet in my groin, kahoneys or man hood was not for me. I only carried it this way for about 2 or 3 months before going back to the SOB or pocket holster. I originally carried it on my ankle. See my review of the ankle holster here. http://www.theweeklygeek.com/2012/12/24/fobus-ktp-32-ankle-hostler-review/

The pistols size does make it difficult to shoot. It is past time for everyone to get over “smaller is better” theory for CCW pistols, especially for female shooters. It is about what fits your hand and what you can control. This weapon is small so it really does not fit any hand and because of its size, even with the “low recoil” of the 32, it is not all that controllable, think quick to get back on target for a follow-up shot.

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The .32 acp round does have a hard time breaking through the cranium, and only a head shot is a guaranteed assailant stopper. Many professional trainers consider the .380 acp and 38 special rounds to have the minimum power to penetrate. I don’t live in Texas anymore however when I did, the CCW laws required the weapon to be “greater than 32 caliber”, I believe this was based on the theory mentioned above.

If you use a larger size and caliber Keltec or Kahr as a primary weapon, and are used to the long trigger pull, this gun should be an option for you as a Back-up Gun (BUG). If you are used to the short trigger reset and pull of Springfield XD series, Glock and other such pistols, it probably is not a good BUG for you.

If you would like to download a PDF of this article, you can click here.
Until we meet again, stay safe, practice, practice, practice, and have a virus free week.

Tags: Gun stuff reviews

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 The Weekly Geek // Oct 17, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Just a quick update. Recently I have been carrying this as a BUG (BackUp Gun) in the Blackhawk pocket holster.
    Every evening when I take the firearm out of my pocket the magazine has been released. It is still in the magazine well but not inserted properly.
    If I needed this gun as my BUG I would be in big trouble.
    I don’t remember this happening before but it did happen 5 times in a row.
    No more pocket carry for me!

  • 2 Don russell // Mar 26, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    you can stiffen up the mag release spring, grind off some of its protrusion, and make a proper holster, so that the mag is not released inadvertantly. This issue is not a reason to give up on the very useful pocket carry. It’s a reason to throw away that pos holster and get one that does the JOB. part of the job is protecting the mag release catch.

  • 3 Bob // Jul 30, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    You are wrong about the CCW law in Texas here’s the actual law:

    ” An applicant must be
    able to demonstrate, at a minimum, the degree of
    proficiency that is required to effectively operate a
    handgun of .32 caliber or above. ”

    As you can see .32 caliber is perfectly acceptable.

  • 4 David // Dec 1, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    To make a long story short, the 32 acp does have plenty of power to do the job! !!! I work in a very busy morgue. Part of my work involves removing bullets from the deceased. Always use ball ammo in 380 acp or 32 acp.You need the penetration, hollow points aren’t reliable. Speer Gold Dot and Hornady. Critical Defence are the exception. If i had to bet my life on them i wouldn’t. My carry always has standard velocity ball ammo.
    If you have a CWP you must practise regularly or your fooling yourself. That is just a false sense of security. Always 2 shots minimum CENTER MASS!

  • 5 Bob // Mar 9, 2015 at 11:19 am

    I can fire 2 rounds with the P 32 at 100 yards and walk it in on a silhouette by holding about 3 feet high. The group if you can call it that is never pretty but is there. Only this particular pistol cooperates with me and my opinion of most keltec firearms is not stellar. I had a PF9 which I couldn,t hit the broad side of a barn with at 20 feet! It was so hard left it almost shot sideways , I sold it and haven,t owned a Keltec since . The P32 I gave to my brother for a birthday gift and I may someday buy another one. I wish I could have P32 sights on my 40 cal,s.

  • 6 JB // Apr 15, 2017 at 9:28 am

    I have a really beat up early Gen 2 P-32 that has never had a misfire to date. I usually use Sellier & Bellot FMJ because they are cheap and hot. I find the accuracy from 15 ft (my normal BUG measurement) to be sufficient. I did not buy this gun to go John Wick handgun sniping. I bought it to save my ass if a perp attacks me on the street or in a store. I can walk around in the south Georgia swampland heat with shorts on and this little guy is barely noticeable. You should not be looking for trouble with any CCW, no matter the caliber. Do I feel like I am capable of dropping someone with this gun? Yes. Do I have a range set up in my old farm field to practice regularly? Yes. The bottom line is that if you have good trigger pull and keep the barrel straight you can accurately fire off rounds at a high rate of fire with this gun. I like that.

  • 7 Robert L. Van Elsberg // Sep 7, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    The .32 ACP has more going for it than many people realize. It has remarkable penetration and tends to tumble. Few people know this but more handguns chambered in .32 ACP were produced in the 20th Century than any other caliber. Private citizens carried guns in this caliber along with many police and military units. In fact, the Spanish gun making industry was based upon the French contracting Gabilondo (Llama), Star and Astra to manufacture thousands of pistols in this caliber for issue to the troops. Imagine that–the .32 ACP being a desired handgun in the trenches of World War One. I have a Kel-Tec P32 and a VERY used Llama miniature Colt 1911 design in .32 ACP. The Llama is a hoot to shoot. Very accurate and easy to fire quickly.

  • 8 Stephen B. // Aug 25, 2020 at 9:16 pm

    I also have a p32 and I do carry it when a small pistol is a must. I usually carry a Glock 42 (.380) which is pretty big for a modern 380 pistol but it fits my hands well. Not a fan of small 9mm pistols… Anyways…. I have velocity data. Kel tec p32 fiocchi 73 grain fmj- 844 fps average. Seller and bellot 73 grain fmj- -871 fps average. I carry the fiocchi fmj… As my own gel testing research I haven’t been able to find a hollow point that will penetrate past 8 inches in this caliber… Would rather have penetration than expansion… Vital shots count. I’m not a big fan of the .32 acp but I respect it, it was quite popular until the mid 1970s As for you mentioning the 32 acp having a hard time with bouncing off craniums, I doubt that… Quite silly. But still a good read.

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