Small Caliber Revolver

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There are lots of 32 options, both in single and double action. Ruger makes the LCR, SP101, GP100 and the single seven in 327 Federal. Charter Arms makes the undercoverette snubby and the professional 3 inch seven shot in 32 HR Magnum, Smith and Wesson will make runs as will Taurus in 327 Fed and 32 HR plus the used market is full of them. The 327 Federal is heads and tails more powerful than both 38 Special and 380 ACP, not sure why those get trotted out as better all the time, plus you can shoot 32SW and 32 Longs as well as 32 Magnum and if it’s a 327 you can do all four, if it’s a single action you can go ahead and load 32ACP as well. 32 HR Mag is a sweet spot in a carry revolver plus it’ll be J framed size with one extra round.
"Spot On" 32 mag has every bit the power of a 38. In particular the self defense rounds on the market now. Her concealed carry is not going to lend itself to a person going forward to nullify a threat. Rather to be, a license to carrying a tool to extract herself and/or others from life threatening danger. Confidence with that tool is a good direction to point her. With all of the advise given. Some good, some not so good. You can decide for yourselves what works for you. But I would consider a 32 mag for her comfort.
 
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In discussions like this, it's easy to get caught up in what's better for various uses not pertinent to the OP's stated purpose, or what I like specifically, or some other rabbit trail. So, a couple questions for the OP to consider: Are size and weight top considerations (small, lightweight carry gun)? Will you and your wife be practicing with it much? Is cost and availability of ammo much of a consideration? Is recoil a concern for defense ammo as well as practice ammo? Is report a big concern also? Some small calibers can actually be louder in a handgun, such as 22 Magnum.

Personally I think that 327 Magnum is a great option if cost and availability of ammo are not a consideration, and moving up to a more potent round (with more recoil and report) is desired potential. One extra round in the cylinder is a nice advantage.

357 Magnum is a great option if you don't mind a little larger/heavier gun, because you can shoot light 38's, and have the potential to eventually move to a significantly more potent round, with significantly more recoil and report.

My suggestion for 38 Special is simply that it's a good basic round, with cheap ammo available with very low recoil. Guns and ammo are available everywhere. Hard to go wrong with a lightweight .38, but other options can be great too, depending on what you want.

The 327 Federal is heads and tails more powerful than both 38 Special and 380 ACP, not sure why those get trotted out as better all the time
Simply because the OP specifically asked for a low-recoil option, not a more powerful one.
 

Wombat of Doom

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"Consider the 32acp."

It also can be shot in the .327 Fed and .32 H&R revolvers. I consider it a plinking round and maybe for small game, but not for defense. Most .32ACP ammo you see on the market is either FMJ, or the velocity is so low that it might as well be FMJ.
I would use the European FMJ. Or some of the other rounds designed for penetration. It's a special case in that most of the data I have seen indicates that you can get decent terminal performance if you go for penetration. You just pick the correct ammo for the task. Overpenetration is not the concern here. The lehigh bullets sure get some interesting gel results.

And it was a very used police and issued sidearm. Most of my sidearms from the great war are chambered in it. Some of my WWII sidearms are chambered in it. It racked up a lot of global uses before the internet decided it was insufficient.

It is also very easy to get proficient at. In fact I don't hesitate to carry a .32acp. It is real easy to get a lot of lead downrange and accurate enough at sd distances.

For a new shooter, it is a lot better than a .22 without much more recoil. Reliability, it is intrinsically a better design as a centerfire.

I enjoy my .454 casull. I am not recoil sensitive, but I own one handgun that hurts to shoot. It is my .38 special lcr. Lightweight guns often are somewhat uncomfortable to shoot. You have to have proficiency and that comes with thousands of rounds. Which is why I would reccomend a low recoil cartridge.
 
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I've followed this thread with interest, mostly because I've been interested in .32 cal revolvers for a few years now. My reasons are different that the OPs (sorry for the thread drift billdotcom). I like the caliber. I passed up a good deal on a vintage S&W model 31 in .32 S&W Long, and wished I'd have bought it.

I realize that the .32 Long is pretty anemic in power, but my purpose is not self-defense. I just like vintage guns in classic calibers, and happen to have a big bag of brass that I could load up. One of these days I'll find a good one at a fair price, when I have money to spend, just have to wait for all the planets to line up. :)
 

SavageGerbil

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@billdotcom

I was thinking about this again. You said that you have to coach your wife a good deal when you're out shooting, how's her marksmanship? I know people preach revolvers for newbies, but when it comes to hitting what you're shooting at, a pocket revolver really just isn't a beginner's tool. I hate to get off the .32 revolver recommendation, though if you go that route, the 327 magnum is the one to get (shoots damn near every 32 caliber round you're likely to find)

You might consider the upper size range of the carry .380 pistols. The Smith and Wesson EZ380, the Walther PK380, maybe the Glock 42. Not punishing to shoot, the S&W EZ can be racked with your pinky, but more importantly..they're far easier for a novice to hit what they're aiming at. As for reliability, do the maintenance for her if she's not inclined to do it herself, and you're unlikely to run into any problems. Clean and lube it once or twice a month just to be safe, and you're good to go.
 
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" if it’s a single action you can go ahead and load 32ACP as well"

I don't know why it has to be single action? I shot .32ACP out of my SP101 just fine, no problems with extraction either (not that I remember, anyway :rolleyes: )

The problem with .327 defense loads is the muzzle blast more than the recoil. The working pressure for .327 is way up there, 10000 psi over .357 Mag pressure. That's why I like making defense rounds using fast powders. Velocity is down some but it's much easier and more fun to shoot. With the high pressure available in the .327 you have that option.
 
I think Sporting Systems in Vancouver had a couple of 32-20 revolvers last time I looked. I have a New Army Colt in that caliber which I really like. Good walk about gun. Good for Grouse in Washington. Ammo is not horrid to find (Sportsmans Warehouse has it, but not cheap). Very accurate, mild recoil.
There are snubby versions out there.
20191031_150630.jpg
 
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BTW the bullet I use is the Hornady 100gr XTP, which is advertised to work from 750fps to 1550fps. The middle of that range is 1150. With 5.0gr of Titegroup I am getting around 1230fps (4" barrel). So I think it is a good useful defense load while being very pleasant to shoot, and not very much recoil either in my SP101. There is an 85gr XTP for people wanting even less recoil.
 
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I have no experience with them, but Taurus offers a 16 ounce revolver in .380 auto. Loads with moon clips.
 

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