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Old January 1, 2007, 11:22 PM   #1
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Real Kel-Tec P3AT info from owners....

The title says it all...

Let's hear it all, the good, bad, and everything else....
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Old January 1, 2007, 11:34 PM   #2
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I have 2. One for the wife and one for me. Cost for both < $600.00

She does not mind the recoil and I find it much less than my .357s.

They are light to carry - 12 oz loaded (same as 3 sticks of butter).

Never a malfunction in mine when I was shooting it. 1 FTF when my 15 year old son was shooting. Possible limp wrist. My grip cracked at about 1000 rounds (a very rare event) - the gun still functioned. Kel-Tec fixed it no charge no hassle. (I had to pay shipping to them. They paid to ship it back)

My wife's had 2 ftf and 1 fte in the first 30 and narry a hickup since.

We are both carrying them and our lives depend on them. I think that is a great endorsement.

Both are in HC (Hard Chrome). I was lucky to spot them and jumped right on them.

These are inexpensive, not cheap, guns. Customer support is outstanding.

I was just looking at a Rohrbauch 9mm and would love to own one, but I could by 3 or 4 P3ATs for that price.
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Old January 2, 2007, 01:54 AM   #3
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I have 1- 380 and 2 of the 32's All came right out of box a little oil on slide and started shooting. Now each have over 500 rounds and are perfect. Wife carries 1 of 32's I carry 380.
380 recoil a bit snappy but not to bad. I carry Corbon DPX in mine and 32 loaded with Corbon HP
I was not a fan but in last year have become one.
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Old January 2, 2007, 08:19 AM   #4
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I have two each in 32 and 380. One 380 each in the new and old generations.

No problems with any to date. Just keep therm clean, lubed, and don't expect to shoot huge quantities of ammo without cleaning. It took me about 200 rounds to become accustomed to the DAO trigger and for it to smooth out. I was amazed when I was hitting a paper plate about 3 times out of 8 at 25 yards. And that was not using real or deliberate aiming.

Did I mention they need to be clean? They like clean. My Walther P22 works better if I don't clean it but these are opposite.

If you are planning on shooting the 380 for a long stretch either use a glove or put an innertube on the grip. Your skin will thank you. The snap and the sharp checkering can rub your hand raw.

The only tinkering I have done was to buff the outer parts of the barrel to make it nice and shiny. Just for looks.
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Old January 2, 2007, 09:07 AM   #5
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I had a P3AT just after the 2nd generation gun were introduced. The little thing would not feed reliably, kept jamming, polished the feedramp, sent it back to Kel-Tec, still wasn't 100%, couldn't depend on it, so I sold it. But, I really loved the size and weight and I have friends with P3AT's that ran reliably right out of the box so I was convinced I just had a lemon. No biggie, could happen with any manufacturer. Short time later I bought a Kel-Tec P32 which has been 100% reliable, now has over 1000 rounds thru it without a single failure of any kind, and that I carry everyday.

Buy the P3AT. It's a good value for the money.
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Old January 2, 2007, 09:27 AM   #6
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I have a 1st gen P3AT and have had no issues with FTF's or FTE's to date with countless rounds through it.

Compared to other handguns, it's not what you would call "attractive", it's definitely not safe queen material, and some have described it as downright ugly, but it's functional, it's robust and it works. It fills a need for deep concealability that few if any other equally capable handgun can match and certainly not for the price.

What I like most about my P3AT? It gives me absolutely no reason to leave the house without a carry weapon because of attire or hesitation that someone will notice I'm carrying. There are times when carrying my sub-compact 1911 IWB is just not practical for various reasons but my P3AT fits in a front pocket and dissappears from view.
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Old January 2, 2007, 10:07 AM   #7
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I'm glad that I bought one. Works well and hides well.
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Old January 2, 2007, 10:14 AM   #8
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Kel-Tec P-3AT

Plain and simple:

I bought one and had initial reliability issues (FTE's & FTF's mostly). After reading all the hate posts from the detractors AND the posts from those that "drank the Kel-Tec Kool-Aid", I put some work into identifying the issue. It was simply a case of polishing the feed ramp to solve the FTF problems, and replacing the ejector with the longer style (free from Kel-Tec) which eliminated the FTE problems.

After that, I put 400 problem free rounds through it at the range and felt 100% confident in the fact that it would go bang EVERYTIME I pulled the trigger. Another 400 rounds over the next several months here and there with no issues reinforced my confidence. Although I traded it towards something in a higher caliber (a Kahr PM40 in .40 S&W), I still maintain that the little Kel-Tec is a fantastic gun and would recommend it to anyone looking for a small, lightweight, thin .380 pocket auto.
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Old January 2, 2007, 12:05 PM   #9
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I like mine.

The checkering is sharp...a hundred rounds through that gun really lets you have it, but it is tiny, and mine has been really reliable...I don't believe I have had any type of malfunction with it to date. (although a buddy got it to jam consistently, but he was blatantly limp-wristing the thing)

It's so small it's ridiculous. and it's one of the easiest to clean guns I own. And it was dirty cheap. And it was made here in the USA. I like it. I hate shooting it, it's hard to aim and hurts my hand and doesn'e even fit my hand so well, but that's not really its intended purpose, so I think it works just fine.
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Old January 2, 2007, 12:55 PM   #10
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I have a 2nd Gen P3AT. I had numerous jams during break-in, but after that it was 100% reliable. One day when cleaning it, I noticed a defect on the underside of the slide that wasn't there before (top circle in the photo below):

I e-mailed Kel-tec, and they had me send the slide and barrel back. Got a new slide and barrel, and the gun ran like a top. After a few months, the mags would not stay in during firing. I wasn't hitting the mag release, they just came out under recoil. It turns out you have to depress the plastic mag release button when you insert the metal magazine, something I neglected to do. (DUH!)

I Called Kel-tec, and in a few days I had a new mag release button & spring, free of charge. I ended up breaking the hammer spring, so they sent me that too, free of charge. At this point, I had little confidence that I could get the gun back together without breaking something else, so I sent it off to Keltec. I got it back in a little over a week, and it has been flawless since then, 300+ rounds through it. It is my everyday carry when I can't carry anything bigger.

The only thing I added are the Bersa .380 mag extensions; they fit on with no modifications. I find they make it much easier to shoot.

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Old January 2, 2007, 01:39 PM   #11
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The P3ATs recoil can be painful after a bit, but then it's not met to be a range gun. It's downright homely as guns go and the trigger pull/shape isn't one of the better I've used. That said it is on my person when I can't carry something larger. It's lightweight, small and cheap to own. It is what it is. Nothing else quite like it for the money. If I have a choice I prefer to carry the Kahr PM9. nearly as easy to conceal, better build and appearance and a trigger that is far better than anything Kel-Tec has made. The downside? You can buy two Kel-Tec P3ATs for the cost of a single Kahr. My solution? I own and use both.
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Old January 2, 2007, 02:22 PM   #12
Bill DeShivs
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I have two. I haven't bothered to shoot them because our P32s work so well!
You can sand the grip checkering with 400-600 grit sandpaper.
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Old January 2, 2007, 02:33 PM   #13
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I own two P-32s, two P-3ATs, three stainless P-11s plus one hard chrome P-11(done by AP&W in Ft Worth), and one P-40, and they have all been great.

Both P-32s are reliable, accurate and, so far, trouble free. My pistols and I prefer the Fiocchi 60 grain semi-jacketed hollow point (SJHP) ammo.

The P-3ATs have never missed a beat and are lately loaded with Speer Gold-Dots.

The stainless P-11s range from one below s/n 9000, one around 24,000 and the third is above s/n 38,000. They are all reliable (without the KTOG fluff and buff), accurate and easy to carry and conceal. I have the factory trigger shoe on them, plus a steel guide rod, PT night sights and the belt clip on the carry piece.

The P-40 is a handful, but with a firm grip, never fails to feed or fire!

For more info, try the message board at:

Good luck.
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Old January 2, 2007, 02:34 PM   #14
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I have a first-generation one. Did the fluff & buff, and it generally runs flawlessly. I say "generally", because if I leave it loaded with a round in the chamber for more than a couple of weeks, it'll tend to jam after the first shot. I believe the case gets stuck in the chamber for some reason. To resolve this, when I used to carry this gun I just made sure to unchamber and chamber a new round every few days.

I thought maybe it was excess lube, but no, even with a bone-dry chamber I run into the problem. Chamber is nice and smooth. Perhaps it's the Fiocchi .380 ammo I use. /shrug

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Old January 2, 2007, 08:54 PM   #15
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I own 2 P3ATs. One (blued) needed a fluff and buff for failure to feeds, the other (Parkerized) shot flawlessly out of the box. For such small guns both are reasonably accurate at 21 feet. I currently carry the blued alot. Plan to switch to the Parkerized when I wear much of the blueing off the first. One I payed $260 for, the other about $240. Great little guns.

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Old January 2, 2007, 09:55 PM   #16
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I have a 1st gen P3, bought it weeks after they hit the market. After about 150 rounds, the mag started falling out under recoil. I sent it back to KT, and they replaced the mag catch. Since then, I have depressed the mag catch while inserting the magazine and it has been flawless. I honestly can't recall a jam, though I'm sure there have been one or two. Not sure the round count, probably somewhere in the 500-600 range. I carry it quite a bit in the summer, since anything bigger is difficult to conceal wearing wranglers and a tucked-in tee shirt.

I also have a P-32, a PLR-16 and just picked up a PF-9. KT is an awesome company. All American, every employee is an NRA member, good quality, reasonable prices and they stand behind their product with their lifetime warranty and quite possibly the best CS in the industry. They have my business for life.

Now they just need to build a PF-9 type pistol in 10mm or .45 ACP...........
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Old January 2, 2007, 10:47 PM   #17
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I have two, a FG P3AT and a FG P32. Both have been flawless. The P3AT is my primary carry. I wouldn't trade or sell either of them.
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Old January 2, 2007, 10:56 PM   #18
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Owned a P-32, traded it up to a P-3AT. I'm very pleased with it. I don't remember the last time it misfed. (If ever?) So I have no concerns with reliability. Accuracy is better than I expected. I don't find the recoil difficult.

And it sure conceals easy. With a pocket holster, it goes anywhere a small wallet would go.
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Old January 2, 2007, 10:58 PM   #19
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I have experience with a P3-AT. No FTF's. Nothing but hardball through it though. Too small for me, but the actual owner can shoot 2" groups at 7 yards. I can't. With a mag extension I could. Nice heavy trigger, which is needed if you carry it with the clip on the frame, IMO. Small and unbelievably easy to conceal. Must have if you don't like to carry but want to. It's almost like clipping on a knife.

I have a P-11 that I carry sometimes. A bit bigger, but same Kel-Tec family. I trust my life to it. Feeds everything. Accuracy is about what I expect from a sub-compact.

Kel-Tec makes reliable, quality, inexpensive firearms. I would trust anything from their lineup. I don't really dig that .380 for serious defense work but it's a lot better than nothing and easy as heck to carry. For the money, you're just not going to beat it... maybe a mak, or a P-11 lol, but you'll lose the incredible concealment options. Kel-tec's customer service is second to none at this price point and most others. Barring the possible lemon, you can't possibly go wrong wth a P3-AT. Not a range gun, but a good, defensive weapon.
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Old January 2, 2007, 11:42 PM   #20
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Usually there are more negative reviews on Kel-tecs than you see in this string.

I have owned three, two first gen P32s and one second gen P3AT, and none of them would function reliably after 300 rounds. All had extraction issues. The P3AT never worked quite right.

Hope you are luckier than I am, but don't be fooled by the above posts. The baby Kel-tecs are a marginal design, because of their tiny size, and the company is marginal on quality control compared to a real quality maker like Ruger or Glock.

If you decide to drink the KoolAid, be prepared to be VERY patient and maybe send the gun back once or even twice. Me, I expect defense pistols to work out of the box. Too much to ask of Kel-tec IMHO.
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Old January 3, 2007, 03:35 AM   #21
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1st generation P3AT with the old style assembly pin that kept coming out. This, in turn, damaged the frame.
Kel-tec replaced the entire gun and it has worked ever since!!
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Old January 3, 2007, 04:10 AM   #22
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Mostly Agree

Usually there are more negative reviews on Kel-tecs than you see in this string.

I have owned three, two first gen P32s and one second gen P3AT, and none of them would function reliably after 300 rounds. All had extraction issues. The P3AT never worked quite right.

Hope you are luckier than I am, but don't be fooled by the above posts. The baby Kel-tecs are a marginal design, because of their tiny size, and the company is marginal on quality control compared to a real quality maker like Ruger or Glock.

If you decide to drink the KoolAid, be prepared to be VERY patient and maybe send the gun back once or even twice. Me, I expect defense pistols to work out of the box. Too much to ask of Kel-tec IMHO.
It seems like part of their quality control is to have you be the QA guy. If it does not work, send it back for a no-hassle replacement - except you pay shipping.

To me, it was worth the potential problems to get the lightest gun in a decent caliber at a good price; but, you are right, the negatives were not stressed here.

A couple of negatives:

1) You should not have to depress the mag release when you put a mag home for fear of wearing down the mag clip.

2) There is a loose metal piece under the slide which, if you drop it, the gun does not work. I think it is called the extractor? Yep part number 115 - just looked it up. REAL easy to lose.

If you want to hear both whining and good reports galore you need to read the P3AT posts at ktog

A lot of people write glowing reviews and a few get totally disgusted. There are tales of lemons and people who will never trust the P3AT for self defense.

My experience has been positive, but that is not universal. Like I said, 1000 rounds out of one with no misfires. And after the wife's broke in, no problems. I should mention that I only shoot FMJ.

I do not agree that buying a Kel-Tec = "drinking the kool aid". I am happy with mine.

It occured to me, it may be that the reason you are hearing less negative posts is because Kel-Tec is having less problems. I have heard that from various sources.
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Old January 3, 2007, 08:46 AM   #23
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I also disagree with the Kool Aid statement. I think the 32 has been pretty much a good gun from the start. I don't recall many issues with that caliber. The 380 has had it's share of issues. I do think they have been mostly overcome. Except for the "frankenbolt" on the extractor hold down of the new design. Most of the falling out bits have been removed or reduced. Barrel link pins have had some issues. Overall they are good guns and there is probably some magnification of issues via the internet.

I don't recall anyone stating that they are all 100 percent. Everyone that has samples that have never failed (like me, knock wood), can honestly state that. I(we) also acknowledge that they have warts from time to time. Some manufacturer introduced, some operator induced.

I have a Springfield that is being a turkey. Does that make all Springfield's turkeys? No, but I am tinkering with mine to get it to function reliably. It's simply oversprung and I am finding the right spring to make it work better.

Besides, Kool Aid would screw up my blood sugar.
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Old January 3, 2007, 10:23 AM   #24
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Well, i picked one up about a year ago, 1st gen. I gave it a good once over and read all the "Fluff and Buff" instructions, fully intending to complete it. After all, for a $200-250 gun, I dont expect mirror-finish polishing and refinement. If that was my expectation, I'd pick up a Rohrbach (and still may). So i disassembled everything, and lo and behold... Where'd my sandpaper\dremel go? I could find neither. So after little more than a good oiling and a bit of scotch-brite rubbing, i took it out and ran about 75 rounds through it. I bought 100...

The gun worked great. I was actually quite suprised that there were no hiccups, burps, or vomits. The sights took a bit of getting used to, and I had to shoot a couple groups to figure out just how the alignment "should" be. Why did i only shoot 75 rounds? Well, like the man said, its not a range gun. The web of my hand hurt.

Future plans : Sandpaper to the checkering. A-grip the whole frame.
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Old January 3, 2007, 01:11 PM   #25
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I had FTE for the first 50 rounds or so. Since then, it has been perfect with every round I have tried - Speer, MagSafe, Winchester, Remington, FMJ, JHP.

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