P3AT Quality Control

P3AT Quality Control

This is a discussion on P3AT Quality Control within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Your advice please: After reading a number of mixed reviews of the KEL TEC P3AT .380, I decided that the odds of getting a decent ...

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Thread: P3AT Quality Control

  1. #1
    New Member Array JTODD's Avatar
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    P3AT Quality Control

    Your advice please:

    After reading a number of mixed reviews of the KEL TEC P3AT .380, I decided that the odds of getting a decent one (or at least one that I could work with) was high, so on an impulse I bought one at my local range for what seemed to be the going rate.

    Initially I was less than impressed with the finish on the polymer frame (plastic tags & ridges everywhere), but besides that, nothing that some 600 grit wet/dry paper wouldn't cure. After cleaning it up cosmetically and cleaning and lubing it, I hit the range with the new piece, and was I *ever* disappointed.

    Since this was my first session with the weapon, I was completely uninterested in point-of-impact patterns on the target, but just wanted to put a lot of rounds through the chamber and get a feel for the piece.

    I experienced an extraordinary number of failures to feed/failures to extract during the session, no matter what ammo I used, having bought several brands at the counter before heading back to my lane. I'm well aware of the tendency of folks to 'limp wrist' small frame autos, but I own more than my fair share and have never had this kind of lousy performance from any pistol I own.

    The final insult to the range session occurred when the last round ignited, but not only failed to extract, but froze the slide in place. Since this was a new piece, I didnít want to do any extensive work on it myself, but sent it back to the manufacturer. Iím due to get it back in about 30 days, but Iím seriously unhappy with my experience so far.

    Anyone else out there think this is acceptable? Several KEL TEC oriented web sites recount similar mechanical problems, and lots of folks report more than one trip back to the factory. Since this was to be my new CCW, Iím having real doubts as to my choice right now. No other weapon Iíve ever owned has been this unreliable out of the box, break-in period notwithstanding.

    Your thoughts please. I love the way this carries, but I feel like I want to go back to my featherweight S&W .38 for the sake of reliability. Whatís your take/experience on this weapon?

    Thanks for your input.......
    Placement, placement, placement: Shot placement usually trumps caliber......
    SIG 226, ParaOrd P-14, CZ 75, Glock 19, Colt Python, S&W M29-3, CZ 50, RVN ChiCom Type 54 Tokarev, Kel-Tec PA3T, GP 100, Beretta Mdl 21, Ruger Mk II Bull Barrel
    toddgm@hotmail.com


  2. #2
    Ex Member Array Pete's Avatar
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    They make lemons sometimes, like Friday afternoon cars I guess.
    But give them another chance, there are many of us who have KTs that work flawlessly and have passed the test of being reliable.
    KT will take good care of you and you will get a gun that works.

  3. #3
    New Member Array JTODD's Avatar
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    P3AT Quality Control

    Quote Originally Posted by 0.02 View Post
    They make lemons sometimes, like Friday afternoon cars I guess.
    But give them another chance, there are many of us who have KTs that work flawlessly and have passed the test of being reliable.
    KT will take good care of you and you will get a gun that works.
    Thanks for the vote of confidence. I *want* to like this little guy, although I'm not a fan of small caliber autos. I carried a Beretta Mdl 21 (.22) in my younger days after reading several articles about the Israeli Massad favoring .22s for their everyday work, and thought 'if it works for them, it'll work for me'. As I grew older and more concerned with my ability to stop an assailant, I moved into larger frame/caliber pistols, but it seems that now I'm at that point in my life where I think I'd feel better with a smaller piece that I can carry/conceal more readily.

    I'll let everyone know what my experience is with the factory re-work on the P3AT, and will keep my fingers crossed. That said, I think I *will* keep my eye out for a good used hammerless lightweight .38 just in case :-)
    Placement, placement, placement: Shot placement usually trumps caliber......
    SIG 226, ParaOrd P-14, CZ 75, Glock 19, Colt Python, S&W M29-3, CZ 50, RVN ChiCom Type 54 Tokarev, Kel-Tec PA3T, GP 100, Beretta Mdl 21, Ruger Mk II Bull Barrel
    toddgm@hotmail.com

  4. #4
    Ex Member Array Pete's Avatar
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    Get the .38 as well, that's what I did.
    Some people swear by the same gun every day and cite muscle memory as a major benefit. I alternate between five different guns and it works fine for me.
    YMMV.

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array packinnova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 0.02 View Post
    They make lemons sometimes, like Friday afternoon cars I guess.
    But give them another chance, there are many of us who have KTs that work flawlessly and have passed the test of being reliable.
    KT will take good care of you and you will get a gun that works.
    Lol - I can't help myself...There are so many here that actually swear by them...Myself personally, I swear AT them. I've seen too many fail in different types and calibers. I have personally seen repeated failure in both the P3AT, the P11, and their little sub-2000 rifle in 9mm (and not just my own - I've seen other folks with them fail at the range while testing diff types of ammo). I Don't trust em a bit except maybe to throw at somebody. You get what you pay for. I will give their customer service their due credit. They are top notch and respond quickly(and can be evidenced by any other folks out there - check the boards). The issue I have is this...That call should never have to be made with a tool you are trusting to keep you alive(especially on the first time out).

    If you still trust it...check out www.ktog.org . The bulletin board in there has a bunch of folks that report on their keltecs(whether or not they work) and they usually list the "mods" they come up with to get their various models to actually work.

    I don't intend to offend anyone, but I usually try to steer folks clear of impending danger...I've said my piece and won't attack KT in this thread any further.

    Oh and stop buying on impulse...it will save you a lot of heartache in the future.
    "My God David, We're a Civilized society."

    "Sure, As long as the machines are workin' and you can call 911. But you take those things away, you throw people in the dark, and you scare the crap out of them; no more rules...You'll see how primitive they can get."
    -The Mist (2007)

  6. #6
    Senior Member Array Cap'n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTODD View Post
    Your advice please:
    Anyone else out there think this is acceptable? Several KEL TEC oriented web sites recount similar mechanical problems, and lots of folks report more than one trip back to the factory. Since this was to be my new CCW, Iím having real doubts as to my choice right now. No other weapon Iíve ever owned has been this unreliable out of the box, break-in period notwithstanding.
    I would never consider a P3AT as a primary CCW. A backup last ditch effort, yes, but never a primary. I think some folks may be expecting more from this little "bug" than the gun was designed to deliver. This is a shove it in the BG's gut, face, head, close encounter last ditch effort weapon.

    As far as your FTF's and FTE's, these guns need about a 50 - 100 rd. breakin period. Usually after this period, the gun will smooth out and the problems will disappear. If it is still consistantly failing after the breakin, send it back to KT again.

  7. #7
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    As you all might remember I had initial problems with mine.
    Very Frustrating.
    And I know how to pick a gun too folks but, mine just stubbornly refused to feed. I was getting numerous feed jams.
    I did my own (rather extensive) internal polishing and now it is just fine.
    It's been a little champ since.
    I would trust mine now but, for a short time there I was ready to set it on fire and bury it down deep in the backyard.
    Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ

  8. #8
    Senior Member Array cmidkiff's Avatar
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    I guess I've been lucky. My P3AT and my P11 have both been very reliable. The P11 required a few round 'break in' period... the P3AT has been perfect since I took it out of the box.

    I was at a range on Saturday, and a guy was having a problem with a P3AT. I took one look at it and though something doesn't look right... The 2nd gen extractor spring was arched out from the retaining bolt, to a much greater degree than I've ever seen. Looked banana shaped, with only the bolt head and the ejector being touched. He was getting failures to extract, at least one per mag. I set mine next to his and showed him the difference, and recommended he return the gun.
    Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. It's worth it.

  9. #9
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    All makers of all guns experience variation in manufacturing tolerances and quality. Of course, all of that's relative to the level of quality and tolerances built into the process by virtue of the gun's design, the machinery and people being used.

    Now, I'm not defending a lemon. I've got a KelTec P3AT, but I'm also aware that a number of folks have had issues. Another example is Kahr, which has a good reputation for building rock-solid guns, but they also have a good percentage of ones that don't work right out of the box.

    KelTec P3AT's are like that. They're decently simple, hence they're inherently reliable because of that. But, they're very inexpensively made, so any "lemon" is going to show itself pretty quickly.

    That said, you shouldn't carry something you can't trust. That's absolute.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Array Steve48's Avatar
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    I wear my P3AT in the summer only but it is reliable if you have a 2nd generation pistol. Steve48

  11. #11
    New Member Array JTODD's Avatar
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    P3AT Quality Control

    Ok; I told everyone that I'd report back after having my P3AT service by the factory.

    After receiving the serviced weapon from the factory (took two weeks although they originally quoted four weeks turnaround), I promptly took it to the range and once again began to feed it a variety of ammunition. Lo and behold---no problems this time around. The Kel-Tec functioned perfectly with over two hundred rounds of mixed manufacturer ammo, and although not a real treat to shoot for an extended session, didn't abuse my hand to any great degree.

    I did find this time that it consistently shot high-left, but was no problem to compensate for and after adjusting my sight picture, put all the rounds into an acceptably tight and lethal grouping every time.

    Now, given this little weaponís history thus far, I wouldnít be ready to depend on it as my primary CCW, but another few hundred consistent rounds should tell the tale. In the meantime, Iíve negotiated the sale of my early issue GP-100 to a good friend, and the deal will net me enough to fund the bulk of a purchase of an S&W snubby airweight .38/.357 hammerless just in case.

    Bottom Line: Started off bad, but itís looking better all the time. Factory service notice indicated that they replaced both slide and barrel assembly, polished feed ramp and test fired the weapon. Sounds like a user Ďfluff and buffí might have prevented the initial jam, and kept me from sending the piece back for service, but Iíd prefer that kind of work to be dealt with at the factory. With some reservations, Iím once again happy with the purchase, and could recommend this as a product for your consideration. More to follow as the break-in period progresses.
    Placement, placement, placement: Shot placement usually trumps caliber......
    SIG 226, ParaOrd P-14, CZ 75, Glock 19, Colt Python, S&W M29-3, CZ 50, RVN ChiCom Type 54 Tokarev, Kel-Tec PA3T, GP 100, Beretta Mdl 21, Ruger Mk II Bull Barrel
    toddgm@hotmail.com

  12. #12
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    Sounds like my initial experience with the P3AT. I refused to "fluff and buff", instead seeing if it would every break in and just how long it would take. After 600 rounds or so it finally settled down. I'm up around 1000 rounds and it functions fine.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Array Roadrunner's Avatar
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    The downside of them being so inexpensive is that they often don't work out of the box. The upside is that they will pay for shipping both ways and take the time to make it work right for you. Either that's something you'll accept or you won't. I did and now carry my P3AT as a backup. YMMV.
    - Kurt
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  14. #14
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    Mine is a P-3AT...first gen...I had a 'fluff & buff' as soon as I bought it...suggested by the gun shop...it's 4+ years old with no problems. Not a fun gun, but dependable...

    OMO

    Stay armed...stay safe!

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  15. #15
    Distinguished Member Array Ghettokracker71's Avatar
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    I wanted one the second I saw it sitting on the gunshop shelf. Glad to see some positive things being said about them..

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