Kel-Tec P3AT .380

This is a discussion on Kel-Tec P3AT .380 within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Ive had a few people I work with direct me towards the Kel-Tec. I looked at one, seemed to be pretty cheaply built even for ...

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Thread: Kel-Tec P3AT .380

  1. #1
    Member Array Huckster's Avatar
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    Kel-Tec P3AT .380

    Ive had a few people I work with direct me towards the Kel-Tec. I looked at one, seemed to be pretty cheaply built even for $200. Anyone have any experience with this gun? Is it worth the money? Any noted problems? I just dont want to spend money on junk, even for a bang toy.

    If I bought one it definetely would not be a primary weapon. I plan on going to Minneapolis tomorrow and buy a IWB holster for my G27.

    Huckster

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    The Kel Tecs seem to be one of those love them or hate them things. I looked at one seriously a few months ago, but after just seeing one and picking it up my thoughts were your thoughts. I bought a J frame for the purpose and never looked back.

    It probably is easier to shoot than a snubnose revolver, but I've read on numerous occassions that particular Kel Tecs seem to jam. They just seem like squirt guns with lockwork to me.

    I do have an uncle whose "always" is a Keltec P3AT I believe who got another one of my uncles to buy a Keltec. The other uncle has denounced it as a POS and has since purchased a NAA Guardian in .380, which he is very happy with. I did get to see the two mouseguns beside each other recently and I think I like the NAA piece much more.

    For a $200 backup, heck I'd take that Rossi .38 over that Keltec any day. If it just absolutely had to be a semiautomatic I'm sure there's something else... Bersa Thunder maybe?

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    No KelTec or Bersa Thunder for me. For a backup I am thinking of either a Kahr, a CZ RAMI or a PPK.
    Bumper
    Coimhéad fearg fhear na foighde; Beware the anger of a patient man.

  5. #4
    Distinguished Member Array Gideon's Avatar
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    I have both a P3-AT .380 keltec, a Bersa Thunder, and an S&W J frame .38. It's the Airweight model 637. Here's what I can tell you:

    1. Keltec .380. There are two models out there, the older and new one.
    OLD MODEL:
    - Feed ramp extends past the mag opening when cycling, contacting the nose of the bullet under the one being fed. It creates a crease or even a half moon gouge in the bullet head and seats the bullet deeper in the casing. This doesn't seem to affect accuracy but I don't like it. Many owners literally cut back the bottom lip of the feed ramp which works.
    - The checkering is very rough on the hands. Many folks us a Houge Handall Jr grip and cut it down. I used a buffing pad on a dremel to smooth it a little
    - They are notorious for FTE's and stovepipes, but mainly for FTE's. Many folks end up replacing the extractor or modify it by cutting up into the extractor lip with a file to give it more bite
    - Service is good (mines been home before)
    - Muzzle flip is very very significant and if you don't really grip it and I mean GRIP IT. You'll end up with FTE's all day long.
    - Because of the feedramp problem, some minor cracking appears at the top/back of the magazines and the magazine follower takes a beating in the front.
    - Mine has started to get more and more light hits where the primer is indented but not enough to fire. I've cleaned the pin and firing pin channel but it's only getting worse.
    - I'm sending mine back to the factory

    NEW MODEL
    - I don't have one but have researched them. The main difference is a new extractor set up. The old style was a traditional extractor in the side of the slide. The new model has a large screw holding an unusually shaped extractor. You can't miss it because it has this screw head near the back upper edge of the slide
    - I've read forums where the owners report that KelTec has modified the feedramp to address the problem they were having.

    To be fair, I've read of guys getting one and having it run perfectly out of the box, but my humble opinion is that most have reliability issues and have to be tinkered with and sent back a few times to the factory. I do not believe they will be reliable with consitent long term use. The new model may address the issues. If I was doing this over, and at this time, I would ONLY consider a new model or I'd go for their .32 which is traditionally far more reliable.

    BERSA THUNDER: Is the most accurage pistol I own and I was shocked! It's a little heavy and it has softer metal but the fit, feel and functioning are great and I'm not aware of anything that compares for value. I'm not kidding when I say accurate! I used my to qualify for CCW and cut a small jagged hole roughtly the size of a quarter at 7 yards. This has to be one of the best values in a .380 on the market. I've fed mine every type of ammo imaginable and never had a single malfunction.

    Now, having said that, it's heavy and definitely not a pocket pistol AND if you save up and spend the money, you can get a Kahr P9 or PM9 that is the same size (if not smaller), a LOT lighter, is just as accurate and shoots a 9mm.

    J Frame; I have the Airwieght 637. Stiff DA pull but with the hammer pulled...Most like hammerless designs which makes sense but I just don't like how they look and I have no problem using my as a pocket pistol. Even though I like auto's, I'll say this, this J frame will fire every time I pull the trigger period. BUT the cylinder makes it bulkier than the Kahr.

    I'd love to have a true pocket pistol that I could really count on when I can't carry anything else but I'm not sure what I'd trust. I've read about a nice stainless 9mm that's nearly $1000, a Raubaugh? or something? And there are the NAA Guardians....

    I'm of the humble opinion that true pocket pistols can suffer from reliabilitiy problems because of how much they're trying to pack into such a small package. But if the new KelTec is really better, I wouldn't mind carrying one. Who knows, perhaps they'll get mine right at the factory but I've now got a Kahr P9 that'll be my primary.

    Hope this helps...

    Gideon

  6. #5
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    The Rohrbaugh R9 is the gun you mention Gideon, www.rohrbaughfirearms.com
    TAPSCCW has one and is very impressed with it. They are right at $1000 each. which is kinda on the high side for a pocket pistol, IMO. TAPSCCW reports that the recoil does take some getting used to however.

    Bumper Be careful if you decide to go with a PPK, I know many of them have feeding and ejection problems and there is nothing you can do with the lousy trigger pull, you're stuck with it. (I've had many a competant gunsmith try to no avail)

    A Kahr will probably be my next handgun purchase, they are making them so well that Wilson Combat is doing custom jobs on them. I would stick with the 9m/m version because the .40 is a little bulkier and is too high a pressure cartridge for a pocket gun. (I don't think the frame will hold up to the many, many rounds I fire in practice).

    I also think the Kel-Tec 32 is ok for a in the pocket last chance gun, but I don't like the 3AT very much.

    Just my .02 worth
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    "I like when the enemy shoots at me; then I know where the ******** are and can kill them."
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  7. #6
    VIP Member Array CLASS3NH's Avatar
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    I was at a small shop yesterday, and I noticed a Rossi 2in stainless 357 revolver. It caught my eye, cuz I thought it was a full lug J Frame Smith model 60.......I asked to see it, and it really felt good in my hands.. the fit and finish was pretty good, and the grips were similar to the round butt 60...... it was 200.00........You might want to look into something of that type, where you could carry 357 mags, or 38 +P's in it.. the ruger SP101 2in might be a choice, BUT last friday night, while at a local range, I noticed a couple of guys sharing a ruger SP......he fored it single action, and had several fialures ro fire. <Must have been something in the firing pin assembly, or the transfer bar system, cuz it wasn't striking the primer> this kinda thru me off, as i didn't think a Ruger would have that trouble
    The guys avove are right on the money with their input as well. You shave a lot of good input so far. I think I'd stick with a Kel-tec 32, if you're stuck on a kel-tec, as their more reliable than the 380 Kel-tec. Just my 2 cents

  8. #7
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    I can't speak directly to the Kel-Techs but I have a Grendel P-10, Kel-Techs grand daddy, I have never had any problems with it, it feeds all manor of hollow points without a problem. Sure it's not the mot expensive handgun out there, but I wouldn't treat a Rohrbaugh the way I treat the Grendel, it takes the abuse without a hitch.

    A buddy recently ordered the Kel-Tech P-11....when it comes in we are going to give it a good break in at my range, I'll post my opinions afterward.

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    VIP Member Array CLASS3NH's Avatar
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    Ooooooooo I remember those Grendels.........took the M16 stripper clips to hold 10 rnd of 380, and fed right down through the slide and into the mag......they worked prettty good, as far as I can remember.. Funny thing though, using M16 stripper clips to carry the ammo, BUT look at all the spare rounds you could carry, and imagine the "Hi Cap mag" the militaty makes...and pretty darn cheap too LOl..

  10. #9
    Member Array Puppage's Avatar
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    I carry a KelTec P32 mouse gun while in the office. I have never had an issue with it jamming, etc. But, then again, I am pretty anal about keep'n her nice and clean.
    "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to
    rule." - H.L. Mencken

  11. #10
    Ex Member Array F350's Avatar
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    CLASS3NH-

    I don't recall ever having a jam with the P-10, it shoots anything I put in it, I don't bother carrying extra ammo for it, it can be such a pain to load singles. I use it as a BUG or just to have something when I doubt I will have trouble, and then 10 rounds of Cor-Bon hollow points should be enough. The wife has started carrying it in her car on trips (no permit needed in Missouri for car carry) and calls it her "Little Friend", it fits a compartment in the center console perfectly.

    Tough little gun, I usually carry it just stuck in the right rear pocket, I did have a wallet holster made for when I wear slacks and the pocket is too loose/big to hold it up right. With the perspiration, being sat on, knocked around and generally abused it shows very little in the way of wear. If the Kel-Techs are ¾ as good they should do someone a good job.

  12. #11
    VIP Member Array CLASS3NH's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    I don't recall ever having a jam with the P-10, it shoots anything I put in it, I don't bother carrying extra ammo for it, it can be such a pain to load singles.

    Hiya F350 As I remember, the P10 Grendels had an internal mag, thus you needed to feed it from above. I found that by utilizing M16 stripper clips, you could carry an extra 10 or 20 rounds, and then sliding the stripper thru a slot in the slide, and then pushing downward and loading the whole 10 rounds in a couple seconds..
    I know they were tough little guns....ya had to get used to it, as the trigger guard was a bit large.. try the strippers..I bet you'll be surprised..

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bumper
    No KelTec or Bersa Thunder for me. For a backup I am thinking of either a Kahr, a CZ RAMI or a PPK.
    Bumper I agree with you , but I don't .

    Yes these are all better guns, but they all have much better prices.

    Putting a KelTec next to a Kahr... that's just not fair! Poor little KelTec!


  14. #13
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    My P3-AT is not bad for what it is - but I cannot regard it as totally reliable. Admittedly I have not yet fluffed and buffed.

    My SP-101 is well up there for reliability but bulk and weight mean holster use only - which is fine - it is easy to conceal.

    My true pocket piece is the R9 ....... indeed a very expensive pistol, but also a high precision piece of engineering. It is a very expensive gun to make. It has a certain fussiness with ammo - which is not a problem if fed what it needs ... GD's or Blazers (which are essentially GD's in aluminum case.). Biggest plus is that it carries 6+1 of 9mm ... making it very ''useful''.


    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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    VIP Member Array CLASS3NH's Avatar
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    you know something Chris.. you keep waving that fine looking peice of gun in front of my nose, (the R9) and I'm just gonna have to get one LMAO.....REAL NICE Machine!!

  16. #15
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    Class3 - it is indeed in a league all of its own. If you want one tho - join the queue - it is still quite a long wait and, price is (inevitably) gonna rise.

    That gun is getting an award -- "The NRA publication ''Shooting Illustrated'' has named the Rohrbaugh R-9 as its 2005 Handgun of the Year!

    http://www.nra.org/Article.aspx?id=2395
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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