Good enough for James Bond

And good enough for me. Of course, I’m speaking of the venerable .32 Automatic Colt Pistol cartridge, known in Europe as 7.65mm.

I just watched the film “Dr. No” the other day, I was struck by the scene in which 007 is instructed to turn over his Beretta in favor of the Walther PPK, which in the words of their weapons expert has a “delivery like a brick through a window”. Now, I don’t think that the .32 ACP (or 7.65mm Browning) has quite that delivery; but that’s neither here nor there. For years, it was considered perfectly acceptable as a police cartridge in Europe. Obviously, that time has passed, as everyone in Europe is now carrying various 9mm pistols.

Here in the states, the .32 ACP is currently in the midst of something of a comeback; brought on primarily by teeny little pocket pistols such as the Seecamp and the Kel-Tec P32. I can think of at least a half dozen of my gunnie friends that stick a little Kel-Tec in their pocket when they can’t pack a bigger gun.

The .32 ACP’s most notable impact on history was most likely the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, which as you no doubt know set the whole of Europe to shooting one another. Additionally, it’s been issued in various types of pistols to the German military, the Italian Navy, and (I believe) in the form of a Savage pistol was a sidearm issued to US Army flag officers during World War II.

I have one .32 ACP in my collection, a 1935 Beretta, which was a substitute standard pistol for the Italian Air Force and Navy during WWII. Mine was manufactured in the mid 50’s, so it’s too old to have seen service during the war. While it doesn’t have a “delivery like a brick”, it’s quite accurate if I do my part. As I grew uncomfortable with carrying a .22 (my P22), I have started carrying the Beretta when a bigger gun is impractical. The Beretta is light, accurate, and conceals well under summer clothing.

While I don’t recommend the .32 ACP for your primary weapon, it certainly is better than a pocket full of rock, or a sharp stick. If you’re uncomfortable with such a light caliber but enjoy the light weight and easy concealability of a pocket pistol such as a .32, I’d suggest you look to the derringer type weapons for more hitting power.