TFB Round Table: 25 Auto … Assassin’s Special? Or Lethargic Cartridge?

    25 auto

    Welcome back to another edition of the TFB Round Table sponsored by Ammunition To Go! For those who are first joining us, this is a multi-part series where TFB discusses the characteristics of great ammunition for specific applications. This could vary from big game hunting, plinking, precision rifle matches, small game hunting, or even pistol competitions. Chances are there is someone here at TFB who can offer you advice on buying the right round for your task at hand. This week we return on TFB Round Table to take a look at yet another less common cartridge chambered in handguns that had significantly more popularity back in the day, and has fallen out of favor due to better designed rounds being available today. Let’s see what was the tremendous allure and mystique behind the 25 Auto cartridge!


    For those who might not be aware of the origin of 25 Auto and where it all began, the only background knowledge we might have or be able to intuit comes from cinema. The 25 Auto round is always depicted as a vest pocket pistol that ultra-slick assassins or agents carry while donning 3-piece suits in a very smooth “cloak and dagger” type of way. It makes you want to believe that it is a round only meant for the James Bond type. While 25 Auto has been sported in quite a few pocket pistols throughout its life, it definitely is not your preferred round in a gunfight. AmmoToGo goes on to further explain how 25 Auto got its start:

    John Browning designed 25 ACP ammo, or 25 automatic colt pistol, to work with his Fabrique Nationale 1906 pistol. This small, but well made pistol was designed to maximize the concealment potential of a pistol.

    25 Auto is a 6.35x16mm round designed to be used in early blowback pistols lacking a breech locking mechanism. The 25 ACP cartridge is small, and generally lightly loaded. It’s size makes the caliber fairly easy to control but it is still powerful enough to penetrate the required 12 inches of ballistic gel test the FBI utilizes to determine the lethality of a round.

    25 ACP is one of the smallest centerfire calibers there is, and for quite some time was the smallest center fire round available.

    25 Auto

    Speer Gold Dot 25 Auto 35 Grain Jacketed Hollow-Point (JHP) Ammunition

    TFB ROUND TABLE: 25 auto … WHY?

    If you are wondering why you might want to own a 25 Auto, we actually have more points to prove it is a lethargic cartridge than an assassin’s special. For one, what has always been thought to be one of the weakest rounds imaginable, .22 Long Rifle, actually has more OOOMF than 25 Auto. Hornady goes on to explain this in their “Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading: 10th Edition:”

    The 25 Automatic is popular as a self-defense weapon because of its small size. Its power, though, is similar to but slightly less than that of the 22 Rimfire.

    Your next thought might be well, I could totally reload some better ammo and make it into what it was always meant to be. Unfortunately, you would be wrong again. The 25 Auto cartridge is very difficult to reload because of its size and leaves a lot to be desired. Once again, Hornady chimes in with some blunt knowledge bombs:

    Handloading the 25 Automatic is not particularly rewarding. The cases and bullets are small and powder charges are minuscule. Use caution since a double charge may not be noticeable until fired!

    So, if 25 Auto is weak and it sucks to reload, why even bother? … To answer that question, I will supply you with the weakest argument possible (almost as weak as the round itself, BAZINGA!) that many people still elect to choose and agree with: because it is different and fun to collect those old guns. How many firearms do you own that have 100% pragmatic motives for being in your gun safe? Probably not many. How many guns or peculiar rounds do you have simply because they are weird, cool, and you want to be different? Quite a few I would be willing to wager.

    In my humble opinion, vest pocket pistols are cool. They are cute, old, somewhat rare, and moderately cheap when found used. Every gun you own does not need to be able to take down a grizzly bear. Some you own “just because” and that is the best explanation you have. So, let your freak flag fly and collect and shoot all the 25 Autos you want if it trips your trigger.

    As always, thank you for reading TFB! Be safe out there, have fun while shooting, and we will see you next time for the TFB Round Table brought to you by Ammunition to Go! Also, let us know what you think in the comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.


    TFB Round Table

    PMC Bronze 25 Auto 50 Grain FMJ

    25 auto

    The 25 ACP has got some merits worth considering for self-defense. Its centerfire design does indeed make it more reliable than the comparable 22 LR, and its extremely small size enables its proponents to carry weapons that can easily be concealed in a pocket, purse, or probably even under a wristwatch. (Do not attempt this.) While the existence of countless better calibers may have effectively obsoleted the 25 ACP, that doesn’t mean it isn’t still very much fun to shoot. If you’ve the peashooter that can handle this round from PMC’s Bronze line of ammunition, you’ll certainly get good use out of it.

    This 25 ACP cartridge sports a 50 grain projectile, the most common weight for its caliber when it was introduced around the turn of the century. The bullet’s full metal jacket is concentric enough to give it straight flight, and also hard enough to prevent your mouse gun’s bore from quickly accumulating accuracy depleting residue. Its South Korean manufacturer gave this round a responsive Boxer primer, as well as a uniform brass casing which will behave its very best in a semi-automatic. It’s a cost-effective bundle that’ll keep you content at the range. Just don’t shoot a bear with it unless you only want to get its attention.

    Fiocchi 25 Auto 35 Grain XTP Hollow Point

    25 auto

    This is 25 Auto Fiocchi 35gr XTP Hollow Point Ammo.  Fiocchi has created this new, high performance line with the goal of producing the best possible defense and hunting pistol ammunition. We have chosen the XTP bullet due to its exceptional characteristics of controlled expansion and downrange performance. This bullet design has been specifically engineered to provide trouble free, completely reliable feeding and smooth chamber extraction in semi-automatics. Fiocchi has balanced these fine components with reliable powders to obtain the perfect ballistic equilibrium. Brass cased, boxer primed, non-magnetic and non-corrosive. This ammo comes packed in 50 round boxes.

    Speer Gold Dot 25 Auto 35 Grain JHP

    25 auto

    This cartridge by Speer features a Gold Dot projectile, the same bullet preferred by countless law enforcement professionals throughout the country. While you’re unlikely to spot a cop carrying a 25 Auto, at least as their primary weapon, this little round’s performance for self-defense is benefited greatly by its 35 grain Gold Dot projectile.

    The Gold Dot’s jacket is applied to its core via Speer’s electrochemical Uni-Cor process. As the jacket is created one single molecule at a time, it is thoroughly concentric to promote accurate flight, and as it’s furthermore virtually inseparable from its core the Gold Dot exhibits excellent weight retention. The Gold Dot’s hollow point nose cavity is formed over the course of a two stage process in order to ensure that it expands to the optimal width and at the optimal rate during penetration.

    This round’s bullet isn’t the sole source of its reliability. Its CCI primer is very responsive, and its brass casing is nickel plated to protect it from corrosion and facilitate feeding and ejection in your semi-automatic everyday carry.

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