Latest Thoughts on P-3AT Ammo?

This is a discussion on Latest Thoughts on P-3AT Ammo? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Just thought I'd ask. I'll likely be picking up my P-3AT tomorrow. Would Golden Sabers be the way to go and any preference on fmj ...

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Thread: Latest Thoughts on P-3AT Ammo?

  1. #1
    Member Array Air,Land&Sea's Avatar
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    Latest Thoughts on P-3AT Ammo?

    Just thought I'd ask. I'll likely be picking up my P-3AT tomorrow.
    Would Golden Sabers be the way to go and any preference on fmj range ammo?
    Thanks.
    Freedom of speech does not excuse one from freedom of thought.

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  3. #2
    Ex Member Array azchevy's Avatar
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    I totally concur with this statement:

    Quote Originally Posted by DocGKR
    Handguns chambered in .380 ACP are small, compact, and generally easy to carry. Unfortunately, testing has shown that they offer inadequate performance for self-defense and for law enforcement use whether on duty as a back-up weapon or for off duty carry. The terminal performance of .380 ACP JHP's is often erratic, with inadequate penetration and inconsistent expansion being common problems, while .380 ACP FMJ's offer adequate penetration, but no expansion. All of the .380 ACP JHP loads we have tested, including CorBon, Hornady, Federal, Remington, Speer, and Winchester exhibited inconsistent, unacceptable terminal performance for law enforcement back-up and off duty self-defense use due to inadequate penetration or inadequate expansion. Stick with FMJ for .380 ACP or better yet, don't use it at all.
    That being said, check out Buffalo bores "+P" loads

  4. #3
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    I've had one since late 2005 and it was a little stinker to break in. Gives perfect function now after about 1500 rounds. It is a locked breach design rather than a blow-back design. Seems fairly sturdy for what it is. I've shot a lot of surplus Spanish Santa Barbara ammunition through this one and that is what is carried. The ammunition gives every impression of being "hot" and gives 1040 fps over the chronograph screens. Ejection of fired cases is enthusiastic, the pistol flinging them a full 15 yards to the rear.

    The gun has held up to these loads along with some Unique-fueled cast bullet handloads. I don't like the pistol but there was nothing else quite like it on the market at the time I purchased mine. .380 performance in practically a .25 ACP sized handgun. I don't like the plastic, don't like the DAO trigger pull, don't like the lack of a slide lock, and don't like the sights. The front and rear sights are both indistinct lumps and far less useful than the sights on my brother-in-law's similar Ruger LCP. The LCP is better looking than the P3AT. That's both relative and subjective as none of the plastic pistols are attractive in my view.

    It's been said that one shouldn't fire "+P" .380 loads in these pistols but mine's held up well to several hundred such loads. Realize that there really isn't a true "+P" designation for .380 ACP ammunition. One thing I do like about the pistol is that it seems to actually have less recoil than any of several classic steel framed .380s I've owned or shot over the years and this includes the Colt Model 1908, Colt Mustang, Walther PP, LLama III, Remington Model 51, Mauser HSC, and Astra Model 300. The P3AT is lighter in weight than any of these others but the recoil sensation is less.

    I'd like to try some Buffalo Bore .380 "+P" loads in it sometime, testing them for function and over the chronograph screens but I haven't gotten around to it. I have a large quantity of the surplus Santa Barbara ammo on hand.

    Despite the sorry sights the pistol was once used to plunk a magazine's worth of bullets into a Galvanized steel trash can at 165 yards. This was after walking the bullets onto the target with the first magazine-full.

    Sellier & Bellot is cheapest and most available around here and my P3AT eats it up. In our small town we can buy it at the local grocery store. Winchester White Box with its flat nose gave my pistol fits initially as did Remington UMC. The cheapo Russian Wolf ammo was a bust as well and the pistol was only useful as a single shot with it. After shooting a few boxes of the hot Santa Barbara stuff the pistol finally smoothed out on its own. I was determined not to do the stupid "fluffing and buffing" that was so highly recommended at the time for the P3AT. Buying a new gun and having to work on it in order to obtain reliable function is akin to buying new tires and then having to patch them so they will hold air.



    I do my very best to carry something more substantial than the P3AT so it sees little carry use. It sometimes sees use as a BUG. It offers more "umph" than the .25 ACP chambered Colt I used to carry. The Colt is more attractive though.
    azchevy and gasmitty like this.
    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

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    RKM
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    I'd rather buy a .38 Special +P J-frame. Kel-Tec's are super easy to carry, but mine had the "smiley" problem, but a severe case of it causing bad set-back and mis-feeds every 3 rounds. I couldn't get it fixed. So I dumped it for a S&W 442 and don't understand why I didn't just buy a 442 in the first place.

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    VIP Member Array Thunder71's Avatar
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    Check out the Taurus TCP 738 before you decide, I had an LCP and the Taurus is better in every way in my experience.

    I load Federal HST's in mine, but the key is to find something that works well in YOUR gun.

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    Ex Member Array azchevy's Avatar
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    I won't even get into the many reasons why Taurus is one of the worst gun manufacturers on the planet right now..... just use the search on this forum and others. They recently removed it, but the Taurus Armed forum was the first manufacturer specific forum I had ever been on that had an entire sub-forum dedicated to customer service and quality issues. That should tell you something right there. Carry on

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    VIP Member Array Thunder71's Avatar
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    While I usually agree with many things you say azchevy, I can't here... the LCP or P3AT is far from any better, and those are recommended all the time for a small .380, MANY of those have gone back to Ruger for repair, yet people still recommend them.

    For a .380 it has a lot to offer over the LCP for me (I've had both). It shoots better as a point and shoot (for me), it's more comfortable to shoot (for me) and it has a last round slide lock back and better sights, not that you need them in these guns for their intended purpose if you practice point shooting.

    Not all Taurus firearms are junk, and many folks are starting to see the light in the 738 over the others. I personally think it's the best thing going unless you want to spend $500+ on a .380, to which I personally can't fathom.

  9. #8
    Ex Member Array azchevy's Avatar
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    My recommendation is simple...... Ruger, smith, or keltec as far as pocket 380..... they all have issues due to the size. If you get one that shoots, keep it. Avoid Taurus and their deplorable customer service at all costs. In all honesty I say get a j-frame or LCR and be done with it.

    I am surprised you didn't go with the kahr arms since you have had so much success with them.
    bmcgilvray likes this.

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    VIP Member Array Thunder71's Avatar
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    I can't see spending that much on a .380 personally, plus the Kahr P380 has been a problem child for Kahr.

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    Ex Member Array azchevy's Avatar
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    I did not say all Taurus firearms are junk. What I said was Taurus as a company has the worst customer service in the business.... why would you want to give them your money? They make cheap reproductions of other peoples guns. Some work great and people have trouble free lives with them, others... well then you get the headache of dealing with their incompetent, rude, customer service. I wouldn't put a single dime in their pocket ever again until they fix their issues, which they do not care to do because they import the cheap weapons, sell them cheap, and continue to make a profit regardless of the quality.

    I would much rather deal with companies such as Smith, Glock, and Ruger that will fix a gun for me, or send me a part for a weapon that I have had for 30 years second hand or not, hassle free with no questions and if they can't fix it, they replace it and they don't have to brag about lifetime warranties, because everyone knows they stand behind their products.

    yeah taurus has a "lifetime guarantee" on their weapons.... a lifetime of hassles from their sub par customer service and warranty dept.....to quote Tommy Boy:

    Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed… I will. I got spare time. But for now, for your customer’s sake, for your daughter’s sake, ya might wanna think about buying a quality product from me.

  12. #11
    Member Array Gary T's Avatar
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    I have a Kel-Tec P-3AT (why didn't they just name it "Kel-Tec 380"?? as that's a lot easier to remember than P-3AT) and carry Federal 90 grain Hydra Shock in it. At the time I bought mine, ivery few of the better 380 self defense ammo was available. I put about 100 rounds of FMJ through mine before trying an JHP's. I did not do the fluff and buff on it. Mine has handled the JHP's w/o problems. Nevertheless, the more I read of the 380, the more I consider the wisdom of azchevy's comment about using FMJ's instead of JHP's. I might end up carrying FMJ's at some point in the future, but I'm not quite there yet.

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    Member Array nhcruffler's Avatar
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    I bought a P-3AT for my son last year for Christmas. He just loves it and carries it everywhere. It seems to eat what ever he feeds it. It seems to be a fine hand gun. Due to the sights I can shoot more accurate with it than with my 642. Stick with a name brand self defense ammo for carry and anything on sale for plinking. I hope you enjoy your new pistol as much as my son enjoys his.

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    New Member Array Explorer1's Avatar
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    Been carrying a P3AT for many years, its just to simple to carry. While I tend to buy what is on sale, ensure it works in your gun if you are going to carry for defense reasons. many of the things reloaders care about don't matter if you are only going to shoot factory ammo.
    Spend some time at the range, both before and after selecting the ammo your gun likes.

  15. #14
    Member Array Air,Land&Sea's Avatar
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    Thanks. Ordered some Golden Sabers, Fiocchi fmj and Black Hills fmj.
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    Member Array faif2d's Avatar
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    I have settled on the Buffalo Bore hard cast flat nose +p for my P-3at. I feel that the penetration will be better with this round than any hollow point. The .380 does not have enough horsepower to use a hollow point in my opinion. That round feeds fine in mine.

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