View Full Version : So disappointed in new P3AT

September 18, 2005, 09:18 PM
I was proud to show friends today my new mouse gun (I just love my 32) We went out and it just didn't work, It was like like a piece of crap. Would not extract every other round. Over and over it did this. I did the fluff and buff as soon as I got it and was sure it would work just fine. After I did the F&B to the .32, never a problem,100% reliable. This is a second generation P3AT. I hear guy say they just send it in to Kel Tec and it returns all better. I need to do this. Where do I start? Is it just as simple as calling them? Has anyone had a gun go to them to be fixed and it still didn't work well? I love these little CCW pieces. I have high hopes.


September 18, 2005, 09:43 PM
I did the fluff and buff as soon as I got it and was sure it would work just fine
Maybe you should've shot the gun first.

Talk to the dealer and see if they'll send the gun back for you. It could save you some hassle.

Otherwise, start by calling Kel-Tec.


September 18, 2005, 11:58 PM
I don't know where you guys live, but around these parts, you don't have a snowballs chance in hades to try shooting a gun before buying it.

Some dealers will not even let you dry fire. Only have about three dealers in the area I live, and they are all small time. Buy the gun, wait ten days, and then you can try shooting it. But by then, the paper work has gone through, and it's yours baby, like it or not. Take it out and fire it, then if you don't like it, you can sell it back to the dealer as a used gun, for a lot less of course!

September 19, 2005, 12:09 AM
Try different ammo. WHen I first got my 2nd gen P3AT it also jammed way too much. But, i realized it was due to the wolf steel case ammo. I switched to brass and the gun works as it should. also, with the blowback system make sure it's clean and run a snake through it occassionally. It's such a small light gun it will be fickle with being clean.

And, give it a couple hundred rounds to break it in. If that doesn't work send it to KT for repair. Good luck.

September 19, 2005, 10:27 AM
Try some different ammo before doing anything else; mine was been ammo sensitive and DOES NOT like Winchester white box, but prefers Speer Gold Dot and Cor-Bon.

HighValleyRanch: I think mtnbkr was talking about shooting the gun first BEFORE he did the fluff and buff, not before he bought it. I'd recommend that, too, I'd never do work on a gun to improve reliability until I at least shot it first.

September 19, 2005, 10:29 AM
try other magazines?

September 19, 2005, 10:39 AM
I don't know where you guys live, but around these parts, you don't have a snowballs chance in hades to try shooting a gun before buying it.
I was unclear, I meant shoot it prior to a fluff and buff. A Fluff and Buff might've been uneccessary and could've potentially caused problems.


September 19, 2005, 11:27 AM
I called and talked to Stacy at Kel-Tec this morning and she said that there were a lot of barrels that were questionable in the second generation guns. They thought they might experience a lot of returns, and that some new barrels were being made as we speak. They have been getting this phone call a lot lately about constant FTE on SG guns. I'm sending it back to them so they can replace the barrel and they will probably smooth it out some themselves. By the way...A PROPER fluff and buff to a Kel Tec will ONLY improve it. A SMOOTH action only helps and will NOT cause FTE. Thanx for the ammo advice.


September 19, 2005, 01:05 PM
Strait from the horses mouth


"Reliability Preparation

For prevention of accelerated wear, it is highly recommended that you prepare your pistol for service, also known as a fluff and buff. The initial F&B should be done on the steel parts only,before firing, and then again after a few rounds when additional wear or rough spots may become evident. "

September 19, 2005, 03:23 PM
Actually, that's not straight from the horse's mouth...that's a fan site. A reputable and learned fan site, one that I visit from time to time and from which I've gained some great information (including a fluff-and-buff I did on my own P3AT)...but don't be misled, it's not official and all information taken from it should be well-considered before personally adopting. As with the other posters here and contrary to his rec., I'd shoot it first, then see what it needs to have done.

If you want official, here's the scoop from the Kel-Tec site, which *is* the horse's mouth:

"Kel-Tec will not be responsible for defects resulting from careless handling, unauthorized adjustments or modifications, defective of improper ammunition, corrosion, neglect, abuse, ordinary wear and tear, or unreasonable use. (posted 3-7-2005, updated 7-28-05) " -- as seen from the date, this is a relatively new policy purportedly made in response to the large number of returns they were receiving from folks who had modified and "improved" their Kel-Tecs with poor tinkering skills and by following advice w/out proper consideration.

Since you've already done your fluff-and-buff, hopefully you didn't get too carried away, because you may have some unpleasant news coming your way if you send it in to Kel-Tec. Along with the standard fluff-and-buff, I've done the barrel ramp modification to prevent visible smilies and feared bullet setbacks, but it was with the understanding that should I now ever have a barrel issue, I'm very likely going to be out of luck w/ regards to subsequent repairs.

September 19, 2005, 04:45 PM
MY story...I bought a 2nd generation P3AT a few months ago. Took it home, disassembled and cleaned. Shot 50 rounds thru the thing, had many fail to feed and fail to eject, was a nightmare. Took it home again, did the fluff and buff, recleaned and took to range. Only got another 30 rounds thru the thing before the slide seized in the back position and wouldn't move forward. So, I shipped the gun back to Kel-Tec. (the instructions for shipping are in the back of your owners manual and on their website). Three weeks later it arrived with a new barrel and slide. Has been 100% since.

They did ask for a list of what ammo I'd been using and what I intended to use. They'll test fire the gun with your ammo of choice to make sure it works for you. Also, I spoke with some folks at Cor-Bon a few days ago and the new Cor-Bon .380 DPX round is being designed specifically around the Kel-Tec P3AT, using a Barnes solid copper bullet to help eliminate feeding problems. Is in testing now and they tell me 60-75 days should be hitting the stores. So, first of the year, us Kel-Tec owners will have a new carry round for our mouseguns.

September 19, 2005, 09:41 PM
I know that some will disgree with this but .... Even though Kel Tec can build guns right, they seem to continue to lose the recipe, also their quality control sucks at times. I've owned 7 Kel Tecs, mostly early ones, some used, some new. All had to go back to Kel Tec at least once, some several times and some never got fixed. (If things are bad enough KT will buy them back.)

I do have a P-32 that works great, but I won't buy another Kel Tec.

October 20, 2005, 11:45 PM
So I received the gun back in just 2 weeks and took it right out to fire. Excited about everything being better. Pop,Pop,Pop and FTE. DAMN! Over and over this went on for about 10 mags. I quit. So...I sent it back again. Jeezze, I hope this isn't a waste, I need this gun to work so it can be my CCW and I can hand down my Kel Tec .32 (that's 100% perfect) to my wife. My only thought from here is that I was useing the 1 round extention on the mag. Maybe they don't work with the 1 round extention. I too love my .32 and I'm hopeing I don't end up like the guy before me saying "I'll never buy another Kel Tec again"


Dave R
October 20, 2005, 11:48 PM
jOHNnlv, what ammo were you using?

Ace of Spades
October 20, 2005, 11:58 PM
Wow! I 'm glad I decided on the Guardian .380 (Jinx. Jinx. Crosses fingers.).

Good luck.

October 21, 2005, 01:18 AM
when you buy a kel tec you are really buying a gun kit. :D

October 21, 2005, 01:19 PM
So, as others have said, what ammo are you using.
I don't know of any "mouse gun" that will work with every brand of ammo out there.

Try to round up at least 3 different types of ammo to take to the range.
From what I've read, you should avoid Wolf completely.

My P3AT would not shoot UMC fmj after I got the slide chromed, but it would before.
I've also heard that they don't like Winchester white box, so that doesn't leave you a lot of options.

Buy a box of Silvertips, maybe 50 rounds of Hydrashoks.
My gun did work fine with S&B and Fiocchi ammo.

I loved my P32, but never could get my P3AT to be reliable.

Good luck.

October 21, 2005, 02:05 PM
Hope you cleaned it and lubed it well before shooting it. These little pistols need to be well lubed to function properly. Also, hold it firmly with wrist locked to avoid limpwristing.

October 23, 2005, 01:45 PM
A person has to be a real gambler to carry a gun for protection that's prone to limp wristing. You're gambling that, even if you've practiced enough to get some reliability under ideal or range conditions, real world conditions will allow you to achive the degree of "locked wrist" necessary to cycle your gun.

Good luck. :confused:

October 23, 2005, 02:26 PM
I have a P32 that I have shot approx. 300 rounds through straight out of the box.

I did not do a "fluff and buff" or clean it when I bought it. It has been a GREAT little shooter right out of the box and I confidently cary it everyday.

From what I have read on the net about Kel Tec products is that sometimes they are hit or miss. Luckily for me I got a hit.

If your gun is not working properly, call Kel Tec. I heard they have pretty good customer service and will take care of whatever problems you are having.

October 23, 2005, 03:00 PM
"I called and talked to Stacy at Kel-Tec this morning and she said that there were a lot of barrels that were questionable in the second generation guns. They thought they might experience a lot of returns, and that some new barrels were being made as we speak."

A couple of thoughts occur to me ...

Did they consider these barrels 'questionable' before they assembled and shipped the pistols with them? Hmmm ...

This is why you ALWAYS test fire your handguns intended for use as defensive weapons, using the ammunition you intend to use for defensive purposes.

This is why I'm rather selective in choosing handguns I intend to use as defensive weapons.

I CRINGE whenever I hear, or read, the words "fluff & buff" ...

What are they paying the assemblers, do you suppose? How much more would it add to the cost of a pistol, do you suppose, if they had to pay an assembler for an hour's labor to do some minor "reliability preparation" work before the pistols were boxed and shipped? $15? $20? Maybe it's beyond the abilities and skills of the line assemblers, and they might have to pay their "Custom Shop gunsmiths", raising the cost another $35 or $50?

Personally, I prefer not to gamble, if I can avoid it ...

Personal risk assessment and personal choice ... ain't it wonderful?

October 23, 2005, 04:21 PM
A person has to be a real gambler to carry a gun for protection that's prone to limp wristing. You're gambling that, even if you've practiced enough to get some reliability under ideal or range conditions, real world conditions will allow you to achive the degree of "locked wrist" necessary to cycle your gun.

Good luck.

Lots of pistols can jam due to limpwristing. Small, lightweight pistols are more susceptible to it than larger, heavier ones. The Seecamp owners manual, for instance, contains a strong caution against it. I've seen larger guns like the P-11 or Taurus PT-145 limpwristed by inexerperienced operators. Sometimes those with weak hands/wrists can have a problem with it.

It is not a problem for most people but causes problems for a few. Shooting it properly doesn't require any extraodinary effort for most people. If you have weak hands/wrists, then you should find a pistol that works for you.

If you are one of those who are unwilling to learn how to properly hold and shoot a weapon, then you shouldn't carry it.

October 23, 2005, 04:31 PM
It's kinda hard to properly hold and shoot a weapon when I'm lying on the ground using one arm to shield my head from some punk's baseball bat.

October 23, 2005, 05:00 PM
I agree, it would be difficult to shoot any pistol if someone is hitting you with a baseball bat while you're lying on the ground. What's your point?

You're familiar with 1911 forum. They can be limpwristed as well. Jim Keenan has some good suggestions/comments on this thread:



October 23, 2005, 09:18 PM
My point is, any handgun I use for defense had better work even if I have to shoot with a limp wrist. I don't tolerate guns that won't, and in fact whenever I test a new gun for function I always purposely hold it in my left hand and relax the arm, and fire off a couple mags just to see if it will still work.

October 24, 2005, 08:33 PM
The more possible failure mechanisms (i.e. limpwristing) for a self-defense gun, the more likely you won't survive the attack. Besides weak wrists or lack of practice, limpwrist failures can occur if your arm or hand are weakened by an injury or your grip on the pistol is impaired by a slippery substance like water or blood. If you want to play the odds that this won't happen when you need reliability the most, then take your chances.

October 24, 2005, 08:55 PM
To each his own then. I would expect that you only use revolvers for self-defense. Since any semi-auto can be limpwristed, to use one would contradict what you just posted. I like revolvers personally and keep then around the house for self-defense and carry one at times. The P-3AT works very well for me for carry in most situations. I have tested it lying down, weak hand, etc. and it has worked just fine.

March 6, 2006, 01:40 AM
Kel Tec has made my P3AT right and it is now 100% with white box and gold dot.


March 6, 2006, 09:38 AM
Glad to hear that!!

Did they end up replacing the gun??
That's what they did with mine. The sheet KT sent back had the notation "Restamped and replaced frame" This means it is a new gun since the frame is the serial numbered part!! Mine is now 100% as well!!!

March 6, 2006, 11:48 AM
Glad your gun came back good. Mine is at KT now. FTE's from day one.
I bought mine due to my purchase of a P11 some time ago. Good gun and seems reliable. I bought the P3at a couple months ago and what a bummer. Since then I've been to the KT sites. Wish I'd seen them before I bought this thing. I'm a shooter not a gunsmith.
I've talked to KT customer service quite a bit during the last couple months and my impression is that the customer is their main method of quality control.Not good.
Hopefully mine will come back 100%. I really like the size of this gun for carry purposes but will always have to question it's reliability. The resale or trade in value of this gun is bad so I will probably keep it for emergencies.
I will not buy another KT unless they make some major changes and get their quality control up to speed. It's been said here but it is worth repeating--a CC gun must be reliable . Period
So just to cheer me up--last week I got a SA XD9sc and a Ruger MKIII 22/45. The XD is real nice--fun to shoot and no problems at all. I haven't shot the Ruger yet but I did disassemble it for clean and lube and did the re-assembly (yikes--maybe I am a gunsmith now LOL).
Glad your gun is good. I'll have to see how mine is when it comes home but NO MORE KT's for me.

March 6, 2006, 02:41 PM
I too bought a P3AT about two months ago. I initially had a few FTFeed problems with WWB which went away when I switched to UMC (different bullet shape). But after about 150-200 rounds I started having FTE's every mag. I sent it back to KT and it was returned 3 1/2 weeks later. They replaced the slide and polished the feed ramp. I have shot 50 rounds since it was returned with no problems yet. I will have to shoot about 200-300 more problem-free rounds before I completely trust it though.

March 6, 2006, 03:15 PM
Glad to hear your 3AT is running right now.

I had the same problem with mine. I was highly disappointed and about to give up on it or send it back for work. After 200 or so rounds of crappy WWB and other "range" ammo, I ran some Speer Gold Dots through it. Like magic, it worked perfectly. I ran some more through it. It ran perfectly. After 200 or so rounds of Gold Dot, ZERO problems. Turns out it was just ammo sensitive. I tried some Fed hydra shoks, and they ran fine too. Now it's my everyday carry gun. Don't give up on them, they are so small and easy to conceal, it is worth it to get them 100%.

March 6, 2006, 03:33 PM
John...go to www.ktrange.com its a kel tec forum and those guys have a lot of helpful advice about kel-tecs if you run into any more problems. I hear the P3AT have more issues out of the box than the P-32. Kel-Tec has some good weapons it just sometimes they need some modification or just some TLC out of the box then most other guns.

Dave R
March 6, 2006, 09:15 PM
Just a note to keep your P-3AT away from steel-cased Russian ammo. (Novisibirsk, Uly, Brown Bear, Silver Bear, etc.) The cases on those seem to me to be a bit fat, and my 3AT will not feed any of them, at all.

OTOH, it has never had a problem with any brass-cased ammo.

March 6, 2006, 10:58 PM
I have a pt145 mil pro and I can't limpwrist it. I have tried. I can basically hold it so loose that it about falls out of my hands and it shoots perfect everytime. Now the pt3at is very easily done.