Sponsored By:

Lipsey’s Exclusive S&W Model 432 Ultimate Carry

Smith & Wesson invented the .32 self-contained metallic cartridge and a revolver to shoot it in 1861. The gun, the Model 2 had a tip-up frame and chambered the .32 Long Rimfire. Next came single action, then double action hinged frame revolvers that used the .32 S&W centerfire ammunition. 1896 saw the introduction of the first S&W Hand Ejector revolver with a swing-out cylinder, it was chambered for the .32 S&W Long cartridge. This cartridge was superbly accurate, but left something to be desired in the stopping power department. Another old-line gun manufacturer, Harrington & Richardson teamed with Federal Cartridge Co. in 1984 to produce a new cartridge called the .32 H&R Magnum for a line of their revolvers. It had a case lengthened to prevent its use in .32 Long revolvers and was loaded with a 95 gr. lead flat-pointed bullet and an 85 gr. JHP bullet. It promised .38 Special performance with less recoil. In April 2004, S&W introduced a J-frame revolver chambering the .32 H&R Magnum, that was designated the Model 432PD. It used the J-frame, Airweight Centennial platform that has the hammer concealed within the frame. I did a T&E on this revolver for COMBAT HANDGUNS magazine in 2005. It was discontinued in 2006.

The S&W 432UC is an off-shoot of the S&W Model 432PD that was made form 2004-2006

Enter the Lipsey’s S&W Model 432UC

             At the 2024 SHOT Show I visited the Lipsey’s booth as I’d heard about a Lipsey’s Exclusive S&W J-frame that was debuting. I talked with Jason Cloessner, Sr. VP and Product Development Manager at Lipsey’s. He advised that these new revolvers had been over a year in development with S&W and took me to the display. There I saw was four of the S&W concealed hammer revolvers, two with a silver finish and two with a black nitride finish. There was a 5-shot .38 Special +P version and a 6-shot model in .32 H&R Magnum. The .38 Specials were the Models 442 (black) and the Model 642 (silver) then there was the .32 Magnum Model 432 (black) and Model 632 (silver). The black revolvers have VZ G10 320 high horn grips that are cut even with the bottom of the grip frame for better concealment. They’re a “black/black cherry” color, having black and dull red swirls. The silver versions have the same type grips, but with a gray and white swirl pattern. There’s some light texturing to give them a secure hold. The left-side grip panel is relieved for speedloader use. All four of these revolvers are designated Ultimate Carry (UC).

Smith and Wesson Lipsey’s Exclusive Model 432 Ultimate Carry     

  According to the Lipsey’s website, these UC J-Frames have a lightweight aluminum frame, combined with an aluminum barrel sleeve, that has an integral ejector rod shroud, and on top a slight ramp for the pinned XS Tritium front sight with green ring. Inside the sleeve is a stainless steel 1.875” barrel. The front edge of the cylinder is beveled and the charge holes are chamfered for faster loading. Dovetailed into the top-strap of the frame is a black serrated U-notch rear sight. A small set-screw in the top of the sight notch can be loosened and the sight moved laterally for windage adjustment. The action geometry and springs are optimized to give the UC’s a smoother trigger pull. Titanium pins are used in the action and are readily seen on the black nitride models. The 0.25” wide trigger is smooth-faced with rounded edges. The finishes on these J-Frames have been upgraded with an “Endurance Package” for improved performance and durability. All four versions weigh only 16 oz. empty. I decided to try out the Model 432UC as I like the black oxide finish. I’ve used Airweight J-Frame .38 Specials extensively, but haven’t shot a J-Frame in .32 H&R Magnum in almost 20 years; plus, I have a predilection for six-shooters. When the gun arrived, I looked it over and was satisfied with overall fit and finish.

Mated to the aluminum frame is an aluminum barrel sleeve, with an integral ejector rod shroud, and ramp atop the barrel for the front sight; note the stainless steel 1.875” barrel

Here you can see the VZ G10 “High Horn” boot grips; they are lightly textured and provide a firm hold; the Model 432UC has a 6-shot cylinder with chamfered charge holes

This photo shows the excellent sights on the Model 432UC; the rear sight is set in a dovetail, has a U-notch, and is serrated; the XS front sight has a tritium insert and green circle

Gearing Up for the Range

            I decided to use as many brands/types of .32 H&R Magnum cartridges I lay my hands on. Black Hills sent me some Cowboy Action Shooting cartridges with a 90 gr. LFP bullet and my ammo locker produced some “Red Box” 85 gr. JHP loads. Doubletap supplied their 60 gr. solid copper HP, plus a new DT Snakeshot load. This cartridge contains 110 pieces of #9 shot over a 40 gr. hard-cast lead wadcutter bullet. The shot is secured within the case by a copper gas-check crimped into place. Velocity for this 95 gr. payload should be about 800 FPS in a 2” barrel. I also had some vintage Federal cartridges; the 95 gr. lead bullet load and the 85 gr. JHP. Hornady provided their Critical Defense rounds that have an 80 gr. FTX bullet; the hollow nose is capped with a red polymer tip. Lastly, an outfit new to me, called Lost River Ammunition Co., shipped me their 100 gr. wadcutter load; it has a poly-coated lead bullet. It has a factory velocity listed as 850 FPS from a 2” barrel.

 Five different brands with differing bullet configurations were used during the accuracy portion of the T&E on the Model 432UC.

           I’d seen a new holster on Facebook from Simply Rugged Holsters called the “Boomer” for us Old-School revolver guys. It’s similar to their Silver Dollar Pancake OWB holster, but forward of the gun bucket is a built-in pouch for either a round speedloader or a flat speed-strip. This model is only made for 2-3” barrel wheelguns and is a high-ride, open-top design. It has two 1.75” wide belt slots and comes in black, tan or oxblood. There’s a list of extra cost options, but I asked owner Rob Leahy to get me a plain, black-colored model for a speedloader. Rob Leahy told me that this is Simply Rugged’s 20th Anniversary. I paired the holster with a couple of HKS Model 32J speedloaders.

The Wind and the Range

            Oh, if gun writers could control the weather! My range day started chilly with a wind from the northwest that gusted up to 30 MPH at times. It blew over things and ripped targets from my portable stand. I assembled my Oehler Model 35P chronograph to measure bullet velocity of the .32 H&R Magnum ammo from the sixguns short 1.875” barrel. The Sky Screens only blew over once. You can see the resulting information in the accompanying cartridge performance table.

         The best 5-shot group produced by the Model 432UC was made at a distance of 30 feet, using Lost River Ammunition 100 gr. wadcutter cartridges; it measured 2.44”.  

            To evaluate the gun/ammo accuracy potential, I shot the Model 432UC from a rudimentary bench, using a sandbag rest. As this snub-barrel revolver has a short sight radius and a DAO trigger, I elected to shoot at 30 feet. Per Jason, the sights on the .32 Magnum UC are factory set for 85 gr. and 100 gr. bullets at 15 yards. I used a large paper sheet that has five 7.5” oval bullseyes with an orange center aiming center. My sight picture had the big XS front sight in the middle of the red oval. For the most part, point of aim point of impact was good. Impacts with the DoubleTap 60 gr. bullets was about 5 inches low and I held high on the targets. Three 5-shot groups were shot with each load. The wind was definitely detrimental to accuracy! My best 5-shot group at 2.44” was made with the Lost River 100 gr. wadcutter load. You can see the other results in the performance table. I didn’t try to chronograph that Doubletap Snakeshot load for fear of blowing up a Sky Screen. I used a Birchwood Casey Shoot-N-C B-27 Center shot at 10 feet with a center point of aim. The round made a uniform 8-8.75” shot pattern, and the 40 gr. lead disk hit about 9 o’clock, 3.25” from the center. The copper gas-check struck 2.25” above the X about 12:30 o’clock. This round has some possibilities for close-range defensive use.

 The pattern on this target was made using the Doubletap Snakeshot cartridge; it carries 110 #9 birdshot and a 40 gr. lead disk, all held in place with a copper gas-check.

          For a practical shooting exercise, I put on my Simply Rugged Holster, loaded the S&W Model 432UC and my speedloaders and put up a realistic “bad guy” target. I used the Black Hills “cowboy cartridges,” and shot a 30-round combat course. The Simply Rugged holster was concealed under a hunting vest and the extra speedloader was in the right vest pocket. My protocol for all the stages, is to draw the revolver from the holster, take a step right or left, then after the shooting, do a 360° assessment, then taking my time to re-holster. Reloading was performed as needed. Shooting began at 3 yards; six shots were fired point-shoulder using the strong-hand only, then six more shots, using the support hand only. For the next stage at 7 yards, I used an isosceles stance, with a two-handed hold, and a flash sight picture; six shots were fired 2x2x2. I remained at 7 yards and performed a failure/body armor drill using the same stance. Two shots were fired center-mass and 1 to the head; then there was a second repetition. Backing up to 12 yards, I used an impromptu barricade and shot 2 rounds, aimed- fire, left-side barricade, 2 right-side barricade, and 2 shots kneeling, right-side barricade. The “bad guy” target had faint lines designating scoring zones, and of a possible 150, I scored 127.

For the practical shooting portion of the T&E, a “Boomer” combination holster and speedloader pouch made by Simply Rugged Holsters was used; the speedloader is from HKS

Wrapping Things Up

            I was most impressed with the sights on the Lipsey’s S&W Model 432UC, they are quick to acquire for fast-action combat shooting. IMHO they don’t make the optimal sight picture for precise paper punching. I also liked VZ G10 grips, they filled my medium-sized hand, allowing splendid control for rapid repeat shots, plus they soaked up recoil, and minimized muzzle flip. I had no issues kicking out the empty cases given the revolvers tiny ejector rod. The exception was with the Federal 85 gr. JHP loads. Every fired case showed pressure signs. I had two split cases, flattened primers, and one spent primer fell out when I swung open the cylinder. I had to shove some of the stuck cases out with a small screw driver. This drives home a point for anyone packing a gun for defensive purposes – don’t use cartridges in your carry gun that you haven’t tried at the range first! The Simply Rugged holster worked famously and I had no trouble accessing the speedloader from the built-in pouch. It is perfectly fit for concealed carry. Likewise, the HKS speedloaders had no issues, other than the fact that I’m out of practice with these devices.

Posing with the “bad guy” target and the Model 432UC, the author shows the 127/150 score he made on the combat course; most of the shots went into the “boiler room.”  

I estimated the trigger pull weight of the Model 432UC at approximately 12–13-pounds. It was not conducive to slow-fire bullseye shooting. None of the group averages were less than 3 inches and a few groups went over 4 inches. In retrospect, I should have done the accuracy testing at 21 feet. I’m sure the trigger pull will improve as the action breaks in. I really liked my test guns light weight, and having a six- shot cylinder. I wish S&W would redesign that cylinder release latch on these small guns. Even with the fairly mild recoil from most of these loads, I was still starting to get “J-frame Thumb” from the sharp edges on the bottom of the latch. Lastly, I felt the UC had good natural pointing qualities, and with the low recoil of the .32 H&R Magnum loads, it was easy to control. I believe the new Lipsey’s Exclusive S&W Ultimate Carry J-Frames might inspire ammunition producers to invest in more load development for the .32 H&R Magnum cartridge.

Lipsey’s S&W Model 432UP Specifications 

MECHANISM:              Double action only revolver

CALIBER:                      .32 H&R Magnum (also .32 S&W Long & .32 S&W)

CAPACITY:                   6 cartridges

BARREL:                      1.875”

OA LENGTH:                6.31”

EMPTY WEIGHT:         16 oz.

SIGHTS:                        XS tritium front sight, serrated U-notch rear sight

FINISH:                         Black nitride

STOCKS:                       VZ G120 UC High Horn Boot Grip

MSRP:                          $759.00

Lipsey’s S&W Model 432UP Performance

Cartridge Ave. Velocity Best Group Ave. Group Muzzle Energy
Black Hills 85 gr. JHP 933 FPS 3.08” 3.21” 164 FPME
Black Hills 90 gr. LFP 847 FPS 2.58” 3.19” 143 FPME
Doubletap 60 gr. DT-HP 1047 FPS 2.91” 3.51” 146 FPME
Federal 95 gr. LFP 864 FPS 2.57” 3.39” 157 FPME
Federal 85 gr. JHP 913 FPS 3.58” 3.65” 157 FPME
Hornady Critical Defense 80 gr. FTX 941 FPS 3.28” 3.43” 157 FPME
Lost River 100 gr. Poly-coated WC 796 FPS 2.44” 3.03” 141 FPME

NOTE:  Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity in feet per second 10 ft. from the muzzle by an Oehler Model 35P chronograph, FPME (Foot Pounds Muzzle Energy) and accuracy in inches for three 5-shot groups at 30 feet.

For more information or to locate a dealer near you visit www.lipseys.com/dealerfinder