The Kel-Tec P32 is one of the original small pocket guns. The guns are a little rough around the edges, like most Kel-Tec guns. Really it breaks down to the fit and finish could be a little better, the trigger could be better, and a little more attention could be paid to the sights put on their guns. But for the price (most under $300) they are a great deal. Some people report feeding and malfunction issues with different Kel-Tecs, but I haven’t found any of those problems with the guns I’ve owned and shot.
The P32 was designed and released in the late 90’s. The first one I saw I called it a credit card gun, because it’s almost that size. I bought my first one in 2003 shortly after. This gun was truly innovative for the time in that it used a delayed blowback design. All the other “pocket guns” of the day where direct blow back and required more slide mass and spring weight to make the gun function, and created a far bigger and heavier gun. The P32 just shrunk down a Browning delayed blow back design so it would fit into a tiny gun.
Kel-Tec then devised a preset hammer to fit into the small frame. It’s classified as a double-action only, but really when the gun cycles it half cocks the firing mechanism. This way it’s a double action gun with a lighter trigger pull. The company lists the pull weight of 5lbs, but the sample we have at Sparks Firearms consistently measures at 6 to 7lbs. Which isn’t bad at all for a double action only gun (especially since all the Glocks we have measure between 7 and 7.5lbs). The issue with the trigger is the feel. Because it’s not smooth at all and feels really ruff it feels substantially harder then it is.
The sights on both generations of guns are almost non-existent. They are so small that I can’t really see or use them on the newest generation guns. I have two of the first generation guns and like the sights a lot better. I use to win bets with my little gun on how far out at the range I could make hits on a man sized target. I knew I would win because I can make hits out to 15 yards, which was the max range at the local indoor range I use to go to. The old sights where a notch with a dot for the front sight and a post with a notch for a rear sight where really much easier to use then the current more traditional looking sights (new sights pictured above). Below is a picture of the old sights from a review by the DD-B Blog (check it out if you want to learn more).
The size of the gun is its greatest asset. It’s tiny. It’s a little smaller then a Ruger LCP or a Kahr P380. It will fit anywhere. I use to carry one in my back pocket and not worry about it. A couple people I knew use to carry one in the coin pocket of their jeans.
Yes, a Ruger or Kahr will fit in the same place but the .380 ACP round kicks a lot in these tinny guns. The P32 with only a .32 ACP shoots really nicely in this size gun. I use to practice with mine a lot and actually enjoyed mastering the little gun. As you can see in the pictures it’s quite a bit smaller then a 9mm round but not that much smaller then a .380. The issue for the round right now is that it’s not very popular and there are not a lot of companies interested in working on terminal ballistics from a .32 Auto. A .32 is a pretty light and small round, but if you can get the penetration out of it, it could work really well as a self defense round… maybe. I’d like to see someone try.
One of the other things I really loved about this gun when it first came out was the amount of extra stuff you could get for it from Kel-Tec. I know they are up selling their product, but it’s nice to have extra stuff. Kel-Tec still sells lot of stuff for these guns (their store is here).
I still have extras that I bought directly from them, including: extra magazines, magazine extensions, and a pocket clip. After 10 years they still work fine. The pocket clip is kind of flimsy and I have caught it on things and bent it many times. I never lost the gun, but had to bend back the clip so it would stick correctly on my pocket still.
The extended 10 round magazines are awesome. For me it gives me enough room to put enough fingers on the gun to hold onto it, but still fits in a pocket. I carried a P32 for about 3 years with a 10-round magazine in it without any problems.
The one-round extension caused me some issues and I don’t really like it, but it worked. Getting rounds out of the magazine was the biggest problem, and I found that if I hit one just right the rounds would “lip lock” and not want to come out of the magazine. I never had that happen when I was shooting but it did happen to some magazines I left loaded bumping around in my range bag. So I never carried those for self defense.
These guns are a great way to get you into self defense carry. It’s something you can carry and actually practice with and not want to wear a glove. I like mine. I now have two and am in the process of convincing my wife to carry one. Come by the store and check one out or order a P32 of your own from our web site.
Prepare for the worst… and hope for the best,