.32 ACP
7.65 mm Browning rounds. Left: standard FMJ. Right: military FMJ with nickel coating.
Type Pistol
Place of originUSA
Production history
DesignerJohn Browning
ManufacturerFabrique Nationale
Case typeSemi-rimmed, straight
Bullet diameter.3011 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Neck diameter.3365 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Base diameter.337 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Rim diameter.358 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Rim thickness.045 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Case length.680 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Overall length.984 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Ballistic performance
Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy
65 gr (Script error g) JHP 925 ft/s (Bad rounding hereScript error m/s) 123 ft·lbf (Bad rounding hereScript error J)
71 gr (Script error g) FMJ 900 ft/s (Bad rounding hereScript error m/s) 128 ft·lbf (Bad rounding hereScript error J)
Test barrel length: 4 in
Source(s): Federal Cartridge[1]

.32 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol), also known as the .32 Automatic is a centerfire pistol cartridge. It is a semi-rimmed, straight-walled cartridge developed by firearms designer John Browning, initially for use in the FN M1900 semi-automatic pistol. It was introduced in 1899 by Fabrique Nationale, and is also known as the 7.65×17mm Browning SR or 7.65 mm Browning.[2]


John Browning engineered a number of modern semi-automatic pistol mechanisms and cartridges. As his first pistol cartridge, the .32 ACP needed a straight wall for reliable blowback operation as well as a small rim for reliable feeding from a box magazine. The cartridge headspaces on the rim.[3] The cartridge was a success and was adopted by dozens of countries and countless governmental agencies.

The .32 ACP cartridge was chambered in a variety of popular blowback automatic pistols of the day, including the Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless, the Savage Model 1907 Automatic Pistol, and the Browning Model 1910 Automatic Pistol. Adolf Hitler was believed to have committed suicide with his personal .32 ACP Walther PPK,[4] by pressing it against his right temple and pulling the trigger while simultaneously biting down on a cyanide capsule.


The .32 ACP was designed for blowback semi-automatic pistols which lacked a breech locking mechanism. The relatively low power and light bullet of the cartridge allowed Browning to incorporate a practical blowback mechanism in a small pocket-size pistol. It is still used today primarily in compact, inexpensive pistols. Cartridges in .32 ACP are also sometimes used in caliber conversion sleeves, also known as supplemental chambers, for providing an alternative pistol caliber carbine function in .30-caliber hunting rifles.


The .32 ACP is compact and light, but short ranged, having marginal stopping power.[5] Weapons chambered in it are often valued for their compactness and light weight relative to larger caliber pistols, particularly for concealed carry use. It offers more velocity and energy than the .32 S&W, which was a popular round for pocket defensive revolvers at the time of the .32 ACP's development. Although of lighter bullet weight, the .32 ACP also compares favorably to the .32 S&W Long in performance.

Although the .32 ACP is capable of killing small game, most handguns chambered for this round utilize fixed sights and are designed for use against human-sized targets at fairly close range, which greatly limits their utility as hunting handguns.

The .32 ACP is one of the most common calibers used in veterinary "humane killers", such as the Greener Humane Killer. The relatively low power is not a concern with a muzzle-contact shot to the skull. As a result the round has been found to be perfectly adequate for the purpose, even where fully grown horses and bulls are concerned.

In Europe, where the round is commonly known as the 7.65 mm Browning, the .32 ACP has always been more widely accepted than it has in America, having a long history of use by civilians and police/security forces, along with limited issue by the military forces of some European nations.[2]

Today the cartridge increased in popularity due to modern compact concealed carry pistols chambered for it, such as the Kel-Tec P-32, Beretta Tomcat, Seecamp LWS 32 and North American Arms Guardian .32 This increase in popularity has led many ammunition manufacturers to develop new loads for the cartridge which have better performance.


  • 32 Auto (typical designation in America)
  • 7.65 mm Browning (typical designation in Europe)
  • 32 Browning Auto
  • 7.65×17mm
  • 7.65×17mm Browning SR (SR = Semi-Rimmed)
  • 7.65 Walther

Prominent firearms chambered in .32 ACPEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. Federal Cartridge Co. ballistics page
  2. 2.0 2.1 Script error
  3. Wilson, R. K. Textbook of Automatic Pistols, p.254. Plantersville, SC: Small Arms Technical Publishing Company, 1943.
  4. A.E. Hartink, The Complete Encyclopedia of Pistols and Revolvers, page 368 ISBN 978-90-366-1510-5
  5. Script error

External linksEdit

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