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Practically Shooting

Seecamp LWS-32, or, Forgive Me Colonel, For I Have Sinned


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“It has been referred to as the pistol that the late Col Jeff Cooper would be forced to carry if he went to [censored]: a double action pistol with no sights, a magazine safety, and chambered in 32 ACP.”


That’s from an Ammoland article on the Seecamp LWS-32 pistol.  As a follower of most of the late Col’s teachings, I’ll go along with that.  The Seecamp is a combination of what I too consider non-“features”.  


But I had to have one because it is so... neat.  

It’s fascinating engineering-wise.  Everything about it is meant to make it small.   Originally designed around a single ammunition loading, it is incapable of shooting (or even loading in the magazine) FMJ RN ammo because it would have to be a tiny bit larger to handle the slightly greater overall cartridge length.  The slide is only as long as needed to cycle and no more.  To reduce size, it was designed without slide rails.  The grip supports only one of my fingers.  Sights?  Nope, that would take up too much space.    


It makes a Kel-Tec P-32 look big.  Ruger LCPs dwarf it.  Even the Walther TPh .22 is bigger.  Most NAA mini-revolvers are longer and wider.   

Seecamp has a page with actual-size photographs of other guns overlaid on theirs that really makes the point. 



Originally made in .25 ACP, the design was soon made to accept .32 without making it any bigger   After several years, they did the same for a .380.   Reports on the .380 make me think it could be too much of a good thing.  Believe it or not, recoil is said to be “brutal”- something you don’t usually hear about the .380.   The trigger guard whacks the outside of the trigger finger under recoil, and the manual even suggests applying a band-aid as a cushion before shooting.   Suggested recoil spring replacement time is 200 rounds but some claim even that is optimistic.

To get them to function while being on the ragged edge of size, they have to make it well.   I keep seeing it called “the Rolex of small guns”, which I think is a stretch, but it IS made very, very well.  The metal finishing is close to flawless, inside and out.  It isn’t the easiest to operate due to the small size, but functions like cycling the action and pressing the trigger through its arc are smoooooth.

In all honesty, though small, I think you are getting a lot of quality for the cost.   There aren’t many regular production guns this nicely made.


Another, admittedly silly, reason I wanted one was because they were so hard to get for so long.  Demand was steady, but production was slow.  Because designer Ludwig and son Larry Seecamp would not compromise quality, I understand the factory was never made up of more than four trusted employees.   For a long time the wait was 1-2 years.  People sold their spots on the list. If you ever saw one for sale, the price was two to three times retail.   It used to tickle me that the Blue Book Of Gun Values would show the MSRP at $325, but used, new in box, at $900.   I witnessed the owner of my local shop sell his right out of his pocket one day.  A customer was badgering him to get one, and when the customer found out he had one of his own, he wouldn’t let up.  Bob finally made the outrageous statement that he would take a thousand dollars cash for it.  And the guy agreed!


So yeah, there is a mystique about something you couldn’t have for so long.  


The Seecamps sold the rights to make the guns in 2013.  Since then, production has increased until it now takes only a few weeks to get one.  


I found a pre-2013 .32, and although I paid twice what I could probably buy a Kel-Tec for, I felt it was a steal after knowing what they brought for so long.  Having to wait only a week for it’s arrival really did make me feel like I stole it.  


So I have it.  Buying a .32 pistol of any kind, let alone a DA with a magazine safety and no sights, is very unlike me.  I sometimes feel like I am sinning when carrying a 9mm, and here I am with a .32.  Not only that, I’m proud of the thing.  How weird.

 Will I ever carry it?   If I do, it will be as a third gun at best.   It’s hard to imagine a time I’d carry one as my only gun, but I suppose anything is possible.  

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I shot it yesterday.   As expected, that experience proved it's a very short range tool.   The closest backstop we have at the club is 50 feet.  I shot three magazines/21 rounds, and used up a good percentage of that backstop. I'd say they went into around 16".  As much as I'd like to blame that on the fact I used a different type of ammo in each magazine, I'd be lying.  


 it's probably a MECHANICALLY accurate gun, but not so much for practical accuracy with the lack of sights, small size, a DA trigger.  It has a bark, too.  I don't think I'd enjoy shooting the .380 version much.


For what it's meant for, it should be fine.   It's a last ditch/minimum profile gun.  

A friend knew I had just got it, and expected I'd bring it.  He had been there a while before he asked me about it.  I had just dropped it in my shirt pocket on the way, but he hadn't noticed it.



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