This is a discussion on Straight Poop On the P3-AT within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Originally Posted by flagaman1950 Greetings, I am fairly new to your forum. As of yet, I have not posted or replied so I guess it's ...
"never leave home without it":
I shoot 6 rds a month (1 mag). I changed from the 32 to the 380 and never looked back.
I bought one a few months back, and immediately set about putting 500 rounds through it. I had a few hang up on the feed ramp, but then I was using the cheapest ammo I could find too. After 250 rounds it was working flawlessly. Around 350 rounds it was getting so dirty I could feel the slide trying to hang up. (nasty ammo) After a quick cleaning it fired the next 150 just fine.
I polished the feed ramp a bit, and it has been great ever since.
It has eaten the boxes of carry ammo I have fed to it, without a single complaint.
I have a Gen 1 P3AT and my young bride has a Gen 2. After many, many rounds, both have proven to be absolutely reliable and durable. For a light weight and small size in a decent caliber, its value can't be topped. Inexpensive, but not cheap. I have found no .380acp ammo that hasn't fed reliably. Currently use gold dots.
"We're paratroopers. We're supposed to be surrounded!" Dick Winters
MagTech "gold" JHP +P. Those are a tad too large to fit into the magazines, believe it or not. Won't even feed a single round.
Silvertips and Gold Dots have worked fine for me.
Last edited by ccw9mm; January 6th, 2007 at 10:47 AM. Reason: clarification
Mine is also with me everyday. The only problem I ever had with it was when using Lawman ammo. Everything else has fed and gone downrange without a hiccup.
Gun control is being able to hit your target!
Only shot about 100 rds thru mine no problems. haven't herd of any problems with the newer guns, I have herd they have excellent customer service, and there made in "America"
LIFES JOURNEY IS NOT TO ARRIVE AT THE "GRAVE" SAFELY ,IN A WELL PRESERVED BODY.BUT RATHER TO SKID IN SIDEWAYS TOTALLY WORN OUT SHOUTING "HOLY S@#$...WHAT A RIDE"
Doggone mine is a Dust Magnet though.
It must get highly Static Charged (due to the plastic frame) and really gets lintified (I just invented that word)
I'm going to lubricate mine with EndDust.
I have the apparent exception to the "reliable" P-3AT.
Mine is on it's third slide and barrel since August, and will be returned for it's fourth this week.
It's a pity because I really do like the pistol and you can't beat it for size, but I can't trust my life to a gun that only give me 100 rounds or so between major failures.
Here's a pic of the latest failure:
The poorly hardened slide can be seen as a hump in front of the ejection port. The metal has stretched enough to allow the barrel to bend.
I have only used Golden Sabers, UMC Leadless, and WWB, not "hot" stuff.
Someone mentioned the poor finish on the slide. It is possible to get it hard chromed for either $20 or $25 through the kel tec owners group. I am about to send mine in just to ensure that I don't develop a rust problem.
"The only people I like besides my wife and children are Marines."
- Lt. Col. Oliver North
I answered a similar question on another forum recently. From my experience and from reading others, it appears that you are moderately likely to have some sort of easily-correctable problem early. Many of them need 20 minutes with 400-grit sandpaper (Look up "kel-tec fluff and buff) and a few need either parts or to be sent back to Kel-Tec.
Mine got dings with raised metal in the aluminum slide rails early. Sanded them out the first 2 times I cleaned it, after that they did not reappear. It has been 100% with Gold Dots, several hundred rounds of Blazer Brass and a few Remington FMJ.
All of my problems have been ammo-specific. One box of WWB had erratic recoil-Felt considerably lighter than other ammo. Two out of that box had almost no recoil and failed to cycle the action. I verified that the bullet had made it out of the barrel before firing again, and I'm not going to fire the rest out of that box. Had a 100 round box of Remington UMC JHP that had FTE almost every magazine. For the last 50 of those, I started shooting a mag of those, then a mag of Blazer Brass. Blazer remained 100%, while the Remington continued the FTE's. Keltec sent a new extractor, I have no need to try more Remington JHP's, I'll stick to (cheaper) Blazer Brass for practice, and Gold Dots for carry--As long as it is 100% with the Gold Dots, everything else is a bonus.
Last edited by sevesteen; January 7th, 2007 at 03:03 PM. Reason: Accidently sounded like I was ragging on the OP, fixed my wording
New one on me. I've never seen that exact type of failure in any pistol ever to date.
That would include "first hand" or in photos.
How exactly did that failure happen?
Did the barrel fail to cam down as the slide recoiled back?
It looks like the slide caught on the barrel after detonation and the the slide "stuck fast" on the barrel with enough energy to bend the barrel chamber upward and deform the slide. Looks like the slide is even bulged up from the frame a bit also.
That's an interesting instant "firearm stopping" catastrophic failure if it happened that way.
After the first 100 or so rounds, my Generation 2 P3AT has been perfect.
With my near 60 year old eyes, I could not make out the little sights, so I painted the ramp of the front sight and the U-shape of the rear sight with a glow-in-the-dark yellow-green sight paint and that problem is resolved.
About 4 years of carrying a 1st Gen. Started out real bad. FTE, FTF, and one time the trigger linkage just broke. The feed ramp was also hitting the next round down in the mag with enough force to indent a cresent shape. They call them smilies. Mine were severe. After the several trips they actually cut off the end of the feed ramp, polished it, polished out the chamber and changed the springs to heavier ones and fixed the trigger. Since the last trip the gun has been reliable but it still doesn't like some different hollow point rounds. I've had one or two rounds that didn't fire in the last 1000 rounds or so but I suspect ammo that went through the wash.
I've struggled with my confidence in the little gun. I've shot it a lot to try and regain my confidence but there's still the slightest little doubt back there that it could just "fail" at the wrong moment.
Here's the problem though, there simply is NOTHING out there that is even remotely close for true pocket carry for those situations when you can't wear a cover garment. There is an R9 but the cost is very high and they're very heavy by comparison.
I've thought about buying a 2nd generation but haven't done so.
I had mine chrome plated way back when Kel-Tec still did that and it's made the gun resistant to sweat, etc.
I really like the package and feel it's a good last ditch up close weapon but there is that sliver of doubt due to the history. I try to carry my Kahr P9 more but it's hard to always have a cover garment with my lifestyle.
If someone was considering this weapon, I wouldn't NOT recommend it but I would recommend that you only buy the second generation and really prove out the weapon.
I wouldn't worry about the sights at all as you won't/shouldn't use them on a weapon like this in a true defensive situation. I believe they're basically good weapons and let's face it, just about any weapon can just "fail" at the wrong moment.
I am anxious to see the P9 they're coming out with and would consider buying that even though it will be bigger and when you're my size and wear dress pants that are lighter and thinner material, then ever bit counts.
I've wanted one of the SP101's for a long time but hear a lot of people say that the .357 might have too much flash and muzzle flip and they recommend that you load it with +P .38 and I already have a J frame .38 that'll handle that, plus the SP101 has to be IWB for me so if I'm going to wear a cover garment, I might as well go with the Kahr P9 I already have as it's a LOT slimmer than any revolver.
Good luck with your choices!