I have been carrying a G26 in an MTAC ever since I got my CHP a bit over a year ago. Recently though I have lost 50lbs and plan to continue, and as that has happened the G26 has seemed thicker and thicker. I had been wearing particularly oversized clothes and concealment was no problem, but I find myself wanting to wear smaller ones now and with them the G26 really stands out. It's not bad with a coat on, but summer is coming up and I decided I needed another plan.
I already owned a PPK, and my original thinking was to order a MiniTuck and carry that. There are a number of things I don't like about the PPK though: weight, unforgiving DA trigger for the first shot, requirement to carry with the safety on to prevent possible drop-discharges, and of course the underpowered (and overpriced!) .380acp caliber.
The other day I stopped by one of the local stores and they had a new Kel-Tec PF-9 in the display case for $300...I couldn't resist. Ever since I first read about it, I really wanted a PF-9: the same size as the PPK, but 9mm, polymer, and no extraneous safeties to worry about. I just had to get it
(The new pistol, with chapstick for size comparison)
I have never handled a $300 pistol before, and I had read threads were people said the "fit and finish" would not be the same as a $500+ pistol but I never knew exactly what that meant. Now I understand. Unlike the Glocks, the slide on the PF9 is only lightly coated and appears easily scratched (it is the parkerized model). I also noticed that the mag would 'catch' on the release about halfway in if you push it in slowly, but it is no problem if you slam it home the way you should probably do anyway.
When I got home I immediately did a field strip and cleaned out the factory grease. With only a couple drops of oil (the way I lube the Glocks), the PF9 parts grated against each other like sandpaper. It was the opposite of the smoothness of action I was used to from my other pistols (Glock, PPK, HK). I was a little worried but I ended up just putting a whole lot of oil on everything and packing it up to try out later.
I did go ahead and order a MiniTuck for the PF9 a couple days ago, but it of course hasn't arrived yet. I couldn't wait to shoot the PF9 so I took it out this weekend. I managed to get some Federal FMJ (150rnds) at Walmart and also brought along Blazer Brass FMJ (50rnds) and some of my G26 carry load, Gold Dot 124g+P. I ended up shooting almost all of it...
At the range, I set up an 8" swivel plate at approximately 15yds and started out with the FMJ loads. The trigger pull is extremely long (as I had already learned online and with snap caps) but I had no problems with that. I was extremely impressed with the PF9's accuracy (despite the seemingly wafer-thin barrel) and was easily hitting the plate on every shot by the 2nd or 3rd mag.
Switching to 124gr+P carry loads, I only had one thing to say: "WOW!". The amount of kick was truly shocking. With the G26, I can barely tell the difference at all between 115gr FMJ practice loads and 124gr+P loads. With the PF9, it was such a huge difference that my hand was sore after the first mag. My accuracy suffered a lot due to the kick as well. I am considering getting some standard pressure carry rounds to maintain better accuracy in the case of a SD situation.
The PF9's trigger reset also slapped my trigger finger pretty hard after each shot, and it did cause a little pain after repeated firing. It's not horrible, but it is clear that the PF9 is not designed to be a range gun (nor did I plan to use it in that capacity). For CC practice, I can certainly live with it.
In all, the PF9 was a joy to shoot (with the standard pressure loads). It worked flawlessly; I did not get a single malfunction in 250 rounds. Accuracy was quite impressive, the sites and trigger were just fine, and I had no trouble hitting the target again and again.
I really love the PF9, now. The 'gritty' action, relatively poorly protected slide, and long trigger don't bother me at all for what I get: a tiny, accurate, extremely low price, reliable pistol in a full-power caliber.
(The PF-9 and its bigger brother, the good old G26)
In heavy/loose clothing I will probably still prefer the 10+1 of the G26 to the 7+1 of the PF9, but I expect the PF9 to carry well. I haven't owned a Crossbreed before but I expect it to be pretty similar to the MTAC (but smaller) so I anticipate no problems. I can't wait to get the holster now, so I can try carrying the PF9