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  1. #1
    Wandering Man's Avatar
    Wandering Man is online now GM HGF Gold Member
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    New Kel Tek P3AT Range Report

    I've been wanting something to carry in sport coat pocket for a while. And also wanting something inexpensive and small to carry when I know I'll have to go into a prison, jail or school, and don't want to risk an expensive gun being stolen from my truck.

    So, after following the "Kel Tec reliability" thread at Bersa Talk, reading the reviews here, and talking to some friends, I now own a Kel Tec P3AT.

    No one ever told me the manual has cool color pics. Or that the slide doesn't lock back.

    I shot 44 rounds through it today. Only ejection failures were when I tried to fire it with just one hand. I suspect it was a weak wrist problem.

    My grouping was about what I expected at three yards (about 8" if you include my one hand attempts).

    I'm not sure if I even hit the target at 7 yards. I didn't change out the target, just aimed at a different location. I'd like to think the bullets all went low and hid among the thirty rounds I'd already fired. But they could have just as easily gone high or wild and missed the paper.

    Kick was noticible, but not as bad as I was afraid it would be.

    And racking the slide got to be difficult as my hands began to sweat in the hot indoor range.

    WM
    Never argue with drunks or crazy people.

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    Baldy's Avatar
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    Welcome to the club Wandering Man. Yep you are limp wristing it a little. You have to get a firm grip on the little rascal and hold it down as much as you can. Things will start to come together with a little more practice. I have had one now about six months and I think it's great. Just remember these are the last chance gun for up close and personal. Like my buddy says stick it in their face and pull the trigger twice. If they don't let go pull it twice more. Good luck.

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wandering Man View Post
    Only ejection failures were when I tried to fire it with just one hand. I suspect it was a weak wrist problem.
    This worries me as a self defense shooting may likely be one handed.

    Thanks for the report.

  5. #4
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    I suspect it's a wrist-locking issue, as well. Mine works fine one-handed, whether strong or weak hand. Possibly after a few more break-in rounds it will correct itself.

    As far as the slide not locking back, that's obviously a concession to making the gun tiny. I don't think it's a huge deal in a pocket gun. The gun is still faster to reload than a revolver, anyway, if you bother to carry a spare mag at all.
    Employed by Galco Gunleather - www.galcogunleather.com / Veteran OEF VIII

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  6. #5
    Wandering Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by propellerhead View Post
    This worries me as a self defense shooting may likely be one handed.
    I'll be giving one handed shooting another try, I'll let you know the results.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham at Galco View Post
    if you bother to carry a spare mag at all.
    Given its purpose, I doubt that I will ever carry a second mag.

    WM
    Never argue with drunks or crazy people.

  7. #6
    Baldy's Avatar
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    I got a spare mag but I only use it at the range while practicing. I been doing a lot of point shooting at 10 to 15' and I am starting to get fair at it. To me that is the range I will use it in more than likely. Lock the wrist Wandering Man.

  8. #7
    Wandering Man's Avatar
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    I ran another 60 rounds through her today. Four rounds of Speer Gold Dot, and 50 rounds of WWB, and the remaining 6 rounds of Monarch.

    I had to push the slide into battery a couple of times, but no other problem. I was able to inside the ring on the target at 7 yards.

    I mostly practiced point and shoot at 3 yards. She did very well, nice groups even without aiming, and even with one hand.

    No failure to ejects.

    My hand hurts, but overall, I am liking this gun.

    My 5'4" 110 pound wife shot the gun without any problem ... she still prefers her Bersa.

    WM
    Never argue with drunks or crazy people.

  9. #8
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wandering Man View Post
    I ran another 60 rounds through her today. Four rounds of Speer Gold Dot, and 50 rounds of WWB, and the remaining 6 rounds of Monarch.

    I had to push the slide into battery a couple of times, but no other problem. I was able to inside the ring on the target at 7 yards.

    I mostly practiced point and shoot at 3 yards. She did very well, nice groups even without aiming, and even with one hand.

    No failure to ejects.

    My hand hurts, but overall, I am liking this gun.

    My 5'4" 110 pound wife shot the gun without any problem ... she still prefers her Bersa.

    WM

    Huh. Mine ran like a top right out of the box, no break-in or anything required. WWB, Gold Dots, whatever. Just lubed it and off we went.

    I don't doubt your wife likes the Bersa better - the P3AT is a thumper in comparison! And as you have no doubt learned, it stops hurting when you stop shooting.
    Employed by Galco Gunleather - www.galcogunleather.com / Veteran OEF VIII

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  10. #9
    Wandering Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham at Galco View Post
    And as you have no doubt learned, it stops hurting when you stop shooting.
    Actually, my hand continued to throb for about a half hour afterwards.

    But then we did a lot of shooting yesterday, with more than just the Kel Tec. I also shot my wife's Bersa (.380), my Ruger P89 (9mm), and my Kimber (.45 ACP).

    WM
    Never argue with drunks or crazy people.

  11. #10
    Gunerd Guest
    I've had mine about a yr. now. No problems with kick,feels comfy! My only gripe with it is where you eject the clip. My thumb would hit it every so often and,well,you can guess what happened. I tried to mentally pay attention to it. No dice. What I ended up doing was to form a blob over it with a glue gun. It works just fine, although it's not perty. Anyone else ever have that problem?

  12. #11
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wandering Man View Post
    Actually, my hand continued to throb for about a half hour afterwards.

    But then we did a lot of shooting yesterday, with more than just the Kel Tec. I also shot my wife's Bersa (.380), my Ruger P89 (9mm), and my Kimber (.45 ACP).

    WM
    Before I deployed here, I shot about once a week. I seldom fired more than a half-box from the P3AT in one sitting, unless I was testing for reliability. It thumps a bit, but it never actually hurt me. I find the KelTec more pleasant to shoot than an alloy J-frame with +P.

    Those other guns are soft shooters compared to the P3AT or a J-frame! Maybe cut back on the round count a bit?
    Employed by Galco Gunleather - www.galcogunleather.com / Veteran OEF VIII

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  13. #12
    Wandering Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham at Galco View Post
    Maybe cut back on the round count a bit?
    Definitely.

    I'm just shooting a lot in the beginnig to get used to it, see what problems there might be, and to see how it handles with different shooting styles.

    I haven't had the problem with the mag release. I did forget once, though and let the slide hit the top of my left hand. It didn't hurt, but was a good reminder to keep both hands out of the way when firing.

    I was real pleased with the one handed point and shoot practice at close range (three yards).

    WM
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  14. #13
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    I just put 50 more rounds of ball through my P3AT (total 100) and have yet to have a hiccup. I am seeing a rim form around the guide rod hole in the slide - what some call "peening", but it doesn't appear to be enlarging the hole and I don't intend for this to be a range gun anyway. I'm very satisfied. Pretty darn accurate for what it is.

  15. #14
    Shipwreck's Avatar
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    I have a Kelltect 32 that I like a lot. I debated the 380vs 32 version for a while - but online, overall, it seemed like the 380 version hat a slightly higher rate of problems. I know this is a very unscientific survey - but still...

    Anyway, the little 32 works great. Very little recoil too. If the ammo wasn't so expensive, I could shoot it all day long because it is so mild.

  16. #15
    Wandering Man's Avatar
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    I manufactured some light load .380's last week, and got over to the range to shoot them with the Kel Tec.

    It's downright pleasant to shoot, now.

    Trouble is, my wife is making me save the ammo for her Bersa.

    WM
    Never argue with drunks or crazy people.

  17. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shipwreck View Post
    I have a Kelltect 32 that I like a lot. I debated the 380vs 32 version for a while - but online, overall, it seemed like the 380 version hat a slightly higher rate of problems. I know this is a very unscientific survey - but still...

    Anyway, the little 32 works great. Very little recoil too. If the ammo wasn't so expensive, I could shoot it all day long because it is so mild.
    I have both and agree that the 380 has more reported problems. I believe it to be the extractor. I don't like the way that it has to come out when you field strip it so it has a tendency to move causing jams. And being a BOZO I might be way off.

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