Kel-tec or Tomcat?


March 16, 2005, 05:47 PM
Am looking for some opinions...................

I currently have a BUG in the form of a Beretta Tomcat 3032 and though I really like the quality and shooting this pistol, I am thinking about getting rid of it for 3 main reasons:
1) the potency of the .32 caliber round in self-defense situations
2) the availability of the 32 caliber round and the not so cheap cost of practicing at about 10 to 11 dollars a box.
3) when in pocket carry mode, the magazine release on the Tomcat all too regularly gets inadvertently bumped and releases the mag. I always due checks throughout the day, but the point is......this mag release situation is not acceptable.

My main consideration for a replacement BUG is the Kel-tec P11 in 9mm.

I would like personal experiences you all have had with the Kel-tec (and Tomcat as well just for comparison) and what you think about my possible switch.

Thanks much!!

If you enjoyed reading about "Kel-tec or Tomcat?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
March 16, 2005, 08:13 PM
I fired a few rounds from both guns. I don't know how it is possible, but the Kel-tec is more comfortable to shoot. The recoil is not as sharp.

March 16, 2005, 09:13 PM
Its possible because the Tomcat is a blowback action and the Kel-Tec is a locked-breech action. This causes a reduction in felt recoil because the slide/barrel lockup is absorbing some of the energy.

My experience with the P11 is that the trigger is very LONG and fatiguing. And because it is a double stack magazine, not so much a BUG anymore because of the width. Once you go to 9mm guns, you lose BUG size and weight usually. A P11 single stack would fit the bill nicely. Personally, the P3AT is a nice compromise.

My ultimate BUG would be a 9mm Mustang Pocketlite.

March 16, 2005, 09:35 PM
I agree. Although the Beretta is a nice pocket design, the P3AT shoots (and carrys) very comfortably. I have heard some P3AT users also complain of the magazine coming loose during pocket carry - but I haven't experienced that.

March 16, 2005, 10:10 PM
I wish - HOW I wish! - that the Kel-Tec's were reliable enough to rely on for the defence of my life: but of the 5 mini-Kel-Tec's I've owned (three P32's and two P3AT's), none would pass the 200-round test with defensive ammo (shoot 200 rounds of one's carry load, from that gun, with those magazines, without a single failure of any sort). I refuse to carry any pistol that won't pass that test.

March 16, 2005, 10:31 PM
I like my Kel-Tec P3AT. I had occasional problems with FTF at first. I sent it in to Kel-Tec and had them work on it. I haven't had a single problem since. It is a great size for carry.

Old Dog
March 16, 2005, 10:35 PM
Certainly the Kel-Tecs have supporters on this forum. I am NOT one. I've had two: a P-11 and a P-40. They stunk. Both bought new. Both incapable of making it through two consecutive magazines without FTFs or FTEs. The most hideous trigger pull I've ever encountered in a handgun -- SPROING! The recoil of the P-40 was brutal. Neither were particularly accurate, athough with some painful practice, I was able to get some 6" groups at 7 yards (trigger pull is a distinct drawback) ...

In spite of the relative wimpiness of the .32, I'd prefer a Tomcat over any Kel-Tec; in fact, my wife has a sweet Inox Tomcat I'm pretty fond of. It's 100% reliable (if kept clean) and surprisingly accurate. BTW, some of the .32 loads stack up pretty favorably against .380, so if you're gonna make the switch, you should go with a 9mm.

I'd suggest you may need to get the magazine release on your 3032 checked out; it shouldn't be popping out mags in pocket carry (unless you're wearing some pretty tight jeans).

Interestingly enough, a quick search turned numerous Kel-Tec vs. Tomcat threads over the past year or so ("Kel-Tec or Beretta .32 Question" Jan. 13, 2004; "Beretta Tomcat vs. Kel Tec P32" Oct. 30 2004; "Beretta Bobcat .32 opinions anyone" Oct. 17, 2004; Kel-Tec P3AT or Beretta tomcat .32" Jun. 27, 2004; Beretta Tomcat .32 ACP" Jun. 27, 2004; Kel-Tecs, need honest info here" Jun. 13, 2004; "Mouse Guns" Feb. 23, 2004; Beretta Tomcat 3032 .32 cal" Oct 30, 2003)

March 17, 2005, 12:39 AM

When you tested your P32s/P3ATs did you shoot 200rds straight, or did you break that up with cleaning? I have 3 P3ATs that I feel confident with, but I tested mine in a different manner. After break-in of 300 rounds (no F&B) I would shoot 50 rounds of my preferred carry load, 2 Corbon and 8 Sellier & Belloit. I'd then take it home, clean in, and repeat for a total of 200 rounds. The last 50 rounds I carried the handgun in my pocket (around the house) to gather up a week's worth of pocket lint. All three guns passed with no failures. All three will fail after firing about 100-150 rounds without cleaning. I do not expect any of my P32s to function flawlessly through 100+ rounds before cleanings. I only expect them to function with one full load of ammo, because that is how I carry them. (When I carry two, the second is a New York Reload.) I feel this is a reasonable expectation for a P32. For my .38spec, 9mm, .45acp and .357mag CCWs, I demand much more.

March 17, 2005, 02:03 AM
I really like my Tomcat. My friend owned a KT and sold it due to reliability problems. I carry the Tomcat in pockets and packs without a accidental mag release problem. I wonder if Beretta has different versions of the mag. release buttons. My Tomcat is one of the first ones they marketed. Is it possible to take some off of the button so it fits lower in the grip cut-out? Also, Pearce, (, makes different grips for the Tomcat but I don't know if it will help you. Maybe someone else makes aftermarket grips for the Tomcat that will.

Walt Sherrill
March 17, 2005, 09:06 AM
I had TWO early Tomcats, and had major reliability problems with them, including the first one being replaced under warranty. I assume that Beretta has gotten the quirks worked out. I lost confidence in mine.

Another problem with the Tomcat, for me, is that its really too wide/bulky to be a pocket gun. Looks like you're carrying a small apple in your pocket.

Mine were accurate and, after about 1000 rounds, had good triggers. (Most gunsmiths don't want to mess with them, as they are too darned small to work on, so its hard to accelerate the trigger break in.

Don't dry fire -- and replace your snap caps regularly. I had a number of firing pin breaks, using snap caps. (That firing pin ATE snap caps.)

I now have a P3AT and have had a P-11. I like the P-11, but moved to a Star Firestar Plus, which seemed to be an improvement: same general size but heavier. MUCH nicer trigger, though. The P3AT is harder on my hand than the Tomcat, but much, much more concealable, and every bit as accurate. I'll continue with the P3AT. Mine's reliable.

March 17, 2005, 06:55 PM
I had a Tomcat and like other posts here, it is just too thick for pocket carry.

I traded it for n NAA guardian. The NAA felt like a brick in my pocket, beat up my trigger finger badly and had jamming issues.

I now have two P-3AT's that are 100% reliable, much lighter, better trigger, much thinner and more accurate (at least for me) than either the Tomcat or the NAA.

When I purchased my first P-3AT, it was just a trial, but I liked it so much I bought another one.

Buck Turgeson
March 17, 2005, 07:27 PM
Hi all. My vote is for the Tomcat. Purchased one for my wife. It has been very reliable. One advantage the Tomcat has over the Kel-tec is its trigger pull. A smith said there was nothing he could do about the first double action pull, but he did a great job of lightening up the single action follow up shots. Turned it into a nice mini-1911. He also said that he likes the Kel-tecs but that there is nothing you can do to improve its double action only trigger pull.

Wilson 17&26
March 17, 2005, 11:02 PM
I’ve never owned a Tomcat but my house pocket carry is a P-3AT and my away from home carry is a P-11 with a flush fitting 12 round magazine. Any of the Kel-Tec pistols are so light they take some acclimation. I recommend a finger extension on a extra magazine during break-in should you go that route.

March 18, 2005, 01:06 AM
Hey Walt, Disco is dead so you should probably wear your jeans not so tight if you want to fit in with the rest of the culture. Is that a mouse gun in your pocket or are you just happy? The Tomcat is designed to fire the Winchester Silvertip ammo. I have had malfunctions with PMC 32 ball. I never had a malfunction with the Winchester's though.

March 18, 2005, 01:06 AM
I've had my 1st generation P-3AT about a year. Before shooting, I did the fluff & buff. Very easy, and a great way to acquaint oneself with the pistol.

I have been pleased with it. If I shoot Winchester White Box in a very dirty gun, I'll get a few FTE's. However, with my carry load (nickel-cased Speer Gold Dot) it is 100% reliable, even when dirty. There is a new extractor available for the 1st gen guns like mine, but I haven't bothered to get it.

I carry it everywhere the law allows, inside a K&D Pocket Defender Convertible 2-in-1 (

The redesigned P-3AT is pretty much a whole new gun. Note: Like the 1st generation P-3AT, it DOES NOT have a slide lock! Also, it weighs about 1 ounce more. Initial reports look pretty good. Take a look at KTOG ( for all the info you might need, and more.

If you enjoyed reading about "Kel-tec or Tomcat?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!