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.25 ACP
.25 ACP.jpg
.25 ACP cartridge with scale
Type Pistol
Place of origin United States
Production history
Designer John Browning
Designed 1905
Case type Semi-rimmed, straight
Bullet diameter .251 in (6.4 mm)
Neck diameter .276 in (7.0 mm)
Base diameter .278 in (7.1 mm)
Rim diameter .302 in (7.7 mm)
Rim thickness .027 in (0.69 mm)
Case length .615 in (15.6 mm)
Overall length .91 in (23 mm)
Rifling twist 1:16
Primer type Boxer Small Pistol
Ballistic performance
Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy
35 gr (2 g) Safety [1] 1,100 ft/s (340 m/s) 94 ft·lbf (127 J)
35 gr (2 g) JHP 900 ft/s (270 m/s) 63 ft·lbf (85 J)
45 gr (3 g) JHP 815 ft/s (248 m/s) 66 ft·lbf (89 J)
50 gr (3 g) FMJ 760 ft/s (230 m/s) 65 ft·lbf (88 J)
Test barrel length: 2 in
Source(s): Guns & Ammo Magazine

The .25 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) (6.35x16mmSR) centerfire pistol cartridge is a semi-rimmed, straight-walled pistol cartridge introduced by John Browning in 1905 alongside the Fabrique Nationale model 1905 pistol. In more-recent years, most pistols available in .25 ACP are also available in a more-effective calibre.[1]


The cartridge was designed for early blowback pistols that lacked a breech locking mechanism. The cartridge is of semi-rimmed design meaning that the rim protrudes slightly beyond the diameter of the base of the cartridge so the cartridge can headspace on the rim.[2] A recessed extractor groove allows an extractor to grab the cartridge reliably. It is the smallest centerfire pistol round in production, and is commonly chambered in small, so-called "vest pocket" pistols. The .25 ACP achieved widespread use after Colt introduced the Browning-designed Fabrique 1905 Vest Pocket (sometimes referred to as 1906) to the United States as the Colt Model 1908 Vest Pocket.

Though the .25 ACP was designed for semi-automatic pistols, various .25 ACP revolvers were produced in the early twentieth century by Belgian, French, and German gunmakers such as Adolph Frank and Decker.[3] In the late twentieth century, Bowen Classic Arms produced a custom Smith & Wesson revolver in .25 ACP.[4]

Following World War II, the Italian Lercker machine pistol was chambered for the .25 ACP, but achieved little distribution.


"Baby" Browning

Modern Jacketed Hollow Point Loads for the 6.35 / .25.

The use of the .25 ACP allows for a very compact lightweight gun, but the cartridge is relatively short ranged and low powered, putting it in the same class as the .22 LR rimfire cartridge but at a significantly higher cost. Although the .22LR is slightly more powerful when fired from longer rifle barrels, the .25 ACP is viewed by some as a better choice for personal defense handguns due to its centerfire-case design, which is inherently more reliable than a rimfire cartridge.[1]

Manufacturers have loaded commercial hollow-point bullets to higher velocities than standard 50-grain (3.2 g) full metal jacket loads. Firearms chambered for the .25 ACP cartridge run the gamut from inexpensive, simply made guns like the Raven MP-25 and Jennings J-25 to higher quality and relatively expensive guns like the Baby Browning, Walther TPH, or Beretta 950 Jetfire. The tiny cartridge has also been used in some precision crafted target pistols.


  • 25 Auto
  • .25 Auto
  • 6.35 mm
  • 6.35 mm Browning
  • 6.35×16mmSR (SR—Semi-Rimmed)

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Jerry Ahern (2010). "Gun Digest Buyer's Guide to Concealed-Carry Handguns". Gun Digest Books. pp. 19–20. ISBN 1-4402-1383-6. 
  2. *Wilson, R. K. Textbook of Automatic Pistols, p.258. Plantersville, SC: Small Arms Technical Publishing Company, 1943. ISBN 978-0-935632-89-7
  4. Bowen, Hamilton. The Custom Revolver. Privately printed, 2001. ISBN 978-0-9713366-0-5

External links

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