Kel-Tec P32PK 32 ACP
Its hard to believe that the P32PK weighed in at just 7 ounces. This is a locked-breech semiautomatic with a flush-fitting seven-round magazine. Measuring just 0.8 inches wide, the P32PK was flat enough and light enough to be carried without detectionit could even be dropped naked into a pocket. But we think choosing one of the sheath-like holsters that protect its mechanism from lint or the trigger from loose objects such as coins is a better idea. There are even holsters, such as those from grahamholsters.com, that disguise its profile as a wallet.
The PK suffix stood for Parkerized, which is the black, glare-killing finish found on the top end. The P32PK is Kel-Tecs medium-priced model. Fit with a blue steel slide, the P32 sells for a suggested retail price of $318. Topped with a stainless steel slide, the price was $377. All three guns are the same size, not quite big enough to fill the open hand of an average sized man. With the magazine in place, the base pad completed the front of the grip, measuring only about 1.3 inches from the bottom of the trigger guard. This meant gripping the P32 only required the middle and ring fingers. The sides of the narrow 0.7-inch grip were covered with checkering cleanly molded into the polymer.
The 1.8-inch-long backstrap featured vertical lines and a brief palm swell. The magazine release was found at the lower rear corner of the trigger guard on the left side. It operated in the traditional pushbutton manner. Inside the body of the grip was an aluminum sub-frame containing the trigger mechanism and the frame rails. The top of the slide offered enough of a front sight blade to be indexed through the sighting notch at the rear of the slide.
Aside from its small size and light weight, several other characteristics are worth mentioning. We liked the way the magazine clearly showed how many rounds were loaded. The extractor was mounted externally. Double-action ignition was driven by a hammer that stayed nearly out of sight. The trigger would drive back the hammer only after movement of the slide, denying second-strike capability. The pistol was kept narrow by the absence of levers such as a slide release. Locking back the slide was possible only with an empty magazine in place. Removing the top end required the use of a case rim to pry the slide stop pin from the left side of the frame. The owners manual showed someone using the rim of a live round. Call us careful, but we used a spent shell.
From the 7-yard line, our tightest groups (measuring about 0.75 inches on average) were produced with the Winchester Silvertip HP hollowpoints. Second were the American Eagle total metal jackets, followed by the Gold Dot ammunition. From the 15-yard bench the difference in accuracy we achieved shooting these three loads did not seem as pronounced. We concluded that a careful marksman should be able to print five-shot groups that measure about 2.25 inches across with the P32PK.
After our benchrest session we went about hammering targets from close range. Our average elapsed time for emptying the seven-round magazine was 2.24 seconds. The average elapsed time between shots was just less than 0.20 seconds. Fully half of our shots landed inside the desired circle. Another 30 percent were grouped high and to the right. We also saw some shots spread out high and low, mostly to the right. Our wild shots during the action test were likely the result of not working the long trigger consistently in an even manner. In some instances we might also have been applying too much grip upon the little gun or simply trying too hard to go fast.