Kel Tec p-3at: The good?


November 25, 2007, 02:06 AM
As opposed to the other thread focused on the problems, I wanted to get your opinions on what you like about this gun, how it performs, what accessories you recommend, and what ammunition you personally use in it. I am strongly considering getting one of these to carry to school, as my regular carry gets almost unbearably uncomfortable after 3 hours straight in a desk.

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November 25, 2007, 02:10 AM
Works every time small and loves Corbon DPX Oh accurate for its size.

November 25, 2007, 02:25 AM
- Has never failed in any way (ok, it stove piped once when a friend who'd never shot a handgun before wanted to try it midway through his first range trip and limp wristed it, but even he had no problems after I told him how to handle it, so I consider that one operator error)
- Has digested everything from I've fed it from cheap ball to cheap PMC/Eldorado Starfire JHPs to expensive Speer & Hornady JHPs
- Awesome pocket & neck holster gun
- 6+1 Rounds of .380 ACP in a package so small & light you can forget you're carrying it
- Company is US owned & the guns are made in the US by Americans
- Lifetime Warranty
- Excellent customer service reputation, but I've never had to try it
- Very reasonable price
- Quite accurate for such a minimalist piece.

November 25, 2007, 02:58 AM
Its very small and concealable. Keltec will take care of you if you have problems.

November 25, 2007, 05:26 AM
Ultra, ultra concealable, less than $300, reliable if you hang onto it (no limp wrist holds), large enough caliber at in-your-face distances, American made.

November 25, 2007, 05:46 AM
Its what it is...a reliable cheap pocket gun. Thats the positive!

Those that complain about trigger reset and sights make me wonder what they bought it for....:confused:

Its not a fun range gun, its a pocket carry $240 SD gun...and thats it. Its for when the Smith Jframe is just a wee bit bulky in the pocket. P3ATs in a slim holster (I use Galco) can be concealed comfortably in anything you go out in.

You are asking a lot about the P3AT - Id really suggest the KelTec owners website - WAY more info there.

November 25, 2007, 06:14 AM
Well, I posted on the bad, so I will post on the good, since I actually do like the gun.

Extremely concealable
Extremely Reliable
Delightful to carry.

Those that complain about trigger reset and sights make me wonder what they bought it for....

I will answer this for you, although I am only speaking for myself. I bought it because I wanted a gun I could throw into my pocket for those frequent occasions where I am just running out real quick and don't want to put on the full rig. I complain about the trigger and the sights because they are valid complaints: They aren't that great. I can accept that they aren't that great because the role that this gun fills for me does not require target sights and a match trigger. I wish the trigger was a little better, and am going to send it in at some point to have some work done on it, but both the trigger and the sights are plenty good enough for an arms length engagement.

November 25, 2007, 07:19 AM
I have had no issues ever with mine. It is quite accurate if you take the time to aim, but make no mistake about it...this is a point-shoot pistol.


November 25, 2007, 08:51 AM
Totally concealable (back pocket wallet holster), so light you forget you're carrying it, reliable (no failures ever on mine). Corbon DPX is my ammo of choice with this weapon.


November 25, 2007, 11:05 AM
My wife has had excellent results using Winchester Silvertips. We haven't tried the Corbon DPX, but plan on it after reading this thread. :) Everything's been said already... light, reliable, accurate, inexpensive, and there's nothing wimpy about a .380acp. I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end. I'm a .45acp bigot personally, but that damn Series 80 GCNM doesn't fit in the back pocket very easily... keep ripping holes in my pockets trying to shove it in there. :)

November 25, 2007, 11:35 AM
The most positive thing about this gun is that you will ALWAYS have it with you. I like my Sig and my Glock better for target shooting, and I would rather have a 9mm with more capacity..... but the simple fact is that if those are too big to carry, you are unprotected. This little gun disappears in your pocket and you almost forget it's there - so you can carry it anywhere.

I had a few stovepipes when I first got it, but sent it back to Keltec for a fluff and buff and it's been fine ever since.

A .380 in your pocket will protect you a lot better than the 9mm that you left at home.

Shooters Plus
November 25, 2007, 11:42 AM
As already mentioned - Small and lightweight equals very easy to conceal, even in a pocket. Easy to disassemble and clean. More accurate than what I had expected. Mine now has like 300rds through it and has been 100% reliable.

Good luck :)

Navy joe
November 25, 2007, 11:49 AM
I owned one and I sold it not because it was unreliable but because I didn't want to keep up with the maintenance that any small auto demands. I'm thinking I'd change the springs every 500 rounds and it had to stay clean. Other than that a locked breech .380 that small is an engineering marvel. I really enjoyed my time with the gun.

Recommended accessory. The pocket clip. I carried mine just left of centerline clipped in my waistband. The belt hid the clip and the rrst was not noticeable in jeans and a tucked in shirt. I blacked out the frame serial # on the back with a sharpie just so the white letters wouldn't stand out when carrying like that. It is the only gun I ever forgot I was carrying.

November 25, 2007, 11:51 AM
Ok, now the good;
1. It disappears. It's barely even there!
2. Doesn't print too much.
3 It's very light.
4. With three dot sights drilled in and filled with bright paint it's fairly accurate.
5. It's not valuable enough to worry about if it gets lost or destroyed somehow, that is to say, like toilet paper, it's disposable. When you need it use it.:)

I posted all this in another forum, here is a view of the three dot sights as drilled and filled by myself. The trigger pull is way long but predictable, but if that pin works out you will find yourself squeezing with all your might while the bad guy is shooting you! KelTec FIX THE DESIGN!
P.S. if someone can tell me how to make my photos smaller I'd like to hear it, I knw that's annoying when it's so large. Thanks

Ala Dan
November 25, 2007, 12:57 PM
Mine has ran flawlessly, right from the box. Even with the P3AT's tiny sights,
I was able to keep several magazines full of mixed ammo in an 8" pie plate at
15 yards~! Mine is used everyday, as my personal BUG~! ;) :D

November 25, 2007, 02:17 PM
My first generation gun took some fiddling and a lot of break-in before it became 100% reliable. It now has about 2,000 flawless rounds through it.

The new second gen guns are now coming out of the box working just fine, and are finished better.

Get one, a thin kydex or leather pocket holster, and an extra mag or two, then break it in with a couple hundred rounds.

And you won't leave home without it!

November 25, 2007, 02:17 PM
Alright, I am convinced. One will be coming home with me in two weeks or so. Now for the specifics.

Which finish is the best?

Is it worth ordering the one round magazine extensions?

And most importantly, does a .380 on a gold chain count as bling?

I'll have to ask about the fluff and buff when I bring the gun home.

November 25, 2007, 02:22 PM
Some like the extended mag and the extra round.
I don't.

Personally, I think of the P3AT as the smallest, most powerful handgun I own.

I think of it as a pocket derringer that shoots 7 shots!

If I wanted more magazine capacity, more weight, and something that prints more, I should have bought a bigger gun.
But if I had, I wouldn't carry it 24/7.

November 25, 2007, 06:22 PM
Those that complain about trigger reset and sights make me wonder what they bought it for..
Since I'm a reset complainer I'll see if I can help out. Every semi automatic handgun I own has a decently short trigger reset, s&w, walther, even the glock's isn't too long. I like a short reset, I'm used to shooting it from my other guns and it helps me place rapid shots much easier. If all I shot were DA revolvers it wouldn't be a big deal but its probably just a thing of habit. A more glock like reset doesn't seem like too much to ask for.

November 25, 2007, 06:34 PM
I echo all of the above positives. Mine is the summer carry piece and I love it.
As far as the finish goes get a regular blued model and have Jack plate the slide:
The one round extension is on mine alaong with a spare mag with a pinkie extension and it all fits in a KNJ pocket holster.
Here's the F & B info too: has a wealth of knowledge.
Enjoy your new addition whan you bring her home!

November 25, 2007, 06:57 PM

Before the flames get too hot on this topic, I thought I would share my carry ammo choices, etc.

I use the magazine extension. Why? Because to me, this gun is unshootable without it.

Ammo, Remington Golden Saber 105 Grain JHP, Corbon 70 Grain. Both work and feed well in this pistol. The Corbon is the preferred stuff since it emulates the feeding of FMJ rounds.

Holster, I use a Galco PH436 made out of Horsehide. Never had a problem with it. Basically, this is a pocket pistol pure and simple.

Likes: Size, weight, capacity (7+1) is a nice number for a gun this small.

Lukewarms: Trigger (at least it's better than the P-11.), QC, plastic checkering on the grip.

Complaints: That Fluffing and Buffing is even recommended for a NIB gun. Sites, c'mon guys it's easy to make something workable here.

But hey, it is what it is, an inexpensive pocket pistol that serves its intended purpose very well as a BUG.

For Primary carry, I want something with some more oomph.

Green Lantern
November 25, 2007, 06:58 PM
Which finish is the best?

Is it worth ordering the one round magazine extensions?

And most importantly, does a .380 on a gold chain count as bling?

1) The plain blue finish has worked ok so far with me. I wanted hard chrome, but had such a hard time finding one in ANY finish that I grabbed the basic one when I had the chance. If I ever get the money ahead (and another gun that conceals so easily while the KT is away), I may get it refinished from Jack.

2) Depends. If you own a Bersa Thunder (or maybe an NAA Guardian too), you can but the extension from the Bersa mag onto the KT mag. For me, the grip is fine "as-is," and a longer mag won't help concealment - not that it would probably make a HUGE difference. I DO plan on buying a +1 mag for times when the P3AT is my only gun, to carry as a spare.

3) Uh, probably. ;)

Ammo - DPX has done 100% in mine, but I haven't been able to put as many rounds through it as I would like to really fell comfy with it. I've had great luck with plain ole Remington 88gr JHPs. Not the hottest load, but not a slouch, and I HAVE put a lot of that round through my P3AT.

Other stuff - never did a F&B, just a pre-shooting cleaning. Has run 99.9%, with the one error being my fault for limp wristing. I carry it in a Desantis Nemesis pocket holster. It's in my pocket right now. :) I follow "GoldenLoki's" lube guide ( ).

November 25, 2007, 08:49 PM
My P3AT was good out of the box. It will however start to jam when you get near the 80-100 round mark. A good cleaning however will fix that. I got this pistol because it's tiny. Sights are lousy, trigger isn't the best, and it chews up my hand if I fire it enough. I also wish it had a last round hold open. But since it's not a primary weapon for me, I think the disadvantages are fine.

November 25, 2007, 08:53 PM
HisSoldier, post your photos up to Photobucket. They have a tool to edit your photos to various sizes (800x600 I think for forums, they give you a hint though), rotates, etc. Then just post the IMG link they give you.

November 25, 2007, 10:48 PM
Thanks Rusty, I'll try that.

November 25, 2007, 10:58 PM
OK guys, so kel tec got the bugs out of the p3at - finally. They improved their quality control too?

I'm gonna take you up on it and try one, but she better work or I'm gonna be mad.

November 26, 2007, 11:04 AM
Please do let us know. I've been trashing the P3AT for months now, and I may have just gotten a bad one, but I have read the same complaints from others as well. I like the little gun and hope they get their act together. Good after sale service is not as good a philosophy as good design and quality control.

November 26, 2007, 11:13 AM
If all I shot were DA revolvers it wouldn't be a big deal but its probably just a thing of habit. A more glock like reset doesn't seem like too much to ask for.

You know, I have a couple DA revolvers I shoot, and I just can't see how people can compare the Kel-tec trigger to that of a revolver. Perhaps it is because it is much smaller than my revolvers, but the DA pull on those revolvers (and, in fact, the DA pull on all of my DA autos) is just signifigantly better.

November 26, 2007, 11:35 AM
If you don't like the P3AT trigger, don't even bother with a 642 Smith. :rolleyes: It's a DA, it's for defense, learn to shoot DA and you'll be fine. Everyone gripes about the P11's trigger. Well, it's 10 lbs to a good Smith's 13 or so average. Yeah, it's long, but it's butta smooth with a little stage at the end. I like it a lot. The P3AT has about a 7 lb pull and you won't find a revolver extant that light. The throw is shorter than my P11.

With a DA, you're just pulling the hammer. With a revolver, you're also cycling the cylinder. I find my P11 much easier to control than even my M10 Smith that's, well, has a self trigger job from 40 years of cycling. I like my revolvers, but I don't trash the autos, either. They have their good points and I fail to see how that P11 has a bad trigger just because it's a little longer throw. That's a good thing for carry as it's safer than, say, a Glock. We're talkin pocket carry gun here, not PPC revolver, much less bullseye gun. People who think a 3 lb SA is the perfect pocket carry scare me.

BTW, I'm going to pick up a P3AT, just on hold for monetary reasons. I need one.

November 26, 2007, 11:44 AM
well, my DA revolvers are a Smith 66-1, and a Taurus 805. I will admit that my DA shooting skills aren't super-great (but they aren't horrid, either). You know what, MCgunner? Your pretty much right. It is a pocket gun, and a light trigger on such a gun would be a little sketchy. Thats why I say it's bad, but still recommend the gun, but you just said it a whole lot better than I did.

You know, one thing that I never mentioned for some reason is that if I take my time and really focus on the front sight-bump, the Kel-Tec isn't inaccurate. The sights are bad, but that doesn't mean that the gun isn't accurate.

November 26, 2007, 11:51 AM
If you are shooting properly trigger reset should never be a problem. You should not be trying to time the reset before you start your next trigger pull. You should be letting your finger go completely forward and off the trigger. Todd Jarrett says, "Now trigger control. There are all types double-action, single-action, safe-action, LDA systems on the market. We are going to show you some quick and simple ways to press that trigger to the rear each and every time. The key thing is never try to go to reset when shooting any type of mechanical trigger. You will find that you will be able to shoot any product on the market built today or tomorrow."

Todd knows what he is talking about, his record: Todd Jarrett has been shooting in competition since 1983. He became a full time Professional after winning his first USPSA National Title in 1991. He’s won the Nationals a total of Nine Times—Five times in the Open Division, Four times in Limited. He’s the only person to ever win the “triple crown”, shooting to championship wins in Limited, Open and winning the World Shoot in the same year. And he’s won the Steel Challenge twice. Add all the wins and Todd Jarrett has claimed more than 500 major titles in IPSC competition.

If anyone can find an equally accomplished shooter who recommends only letting the trigger go forward far enough to reset before starting the next pull I would like to see it.

I have the P-3AT and love if for all the reasons already given. My P-3AT is blued. I treated it with Militech-1 and I wipe it down after every couple of days of carry, or after a particularly hot sweaty day, with a cloth saturated in Breakfree CLP that I keep in a ziplock bag. I have never had a problem with rust.

If you get the +1 mag extension check that the mag catch is fully engaging with it installed. It's very common for it to only partly engage and then release under recoil. If this is the case you will need to sand the grip butt down a little until it fully catches.

Crimson Trace will be releasing a laser for it soon. It is much slimmer than the excellent ArmaLaser that is currently available. The Crimson Trace will also be activated by a pressure switch on the grip which unlike the ArmaLaser does not require your finger to be inside the trigger guard to have the laser activated.

November 26, 2007, 11:52 AM
I have a M85UL Taurus that is VERY smooth, much better than the 642s I've tried. The Taurus DA is pretty awesome. I also have a couple of Taurus 66s with good triggers, but that M85 is the best DA revolver trigger I've ever felt out of the box, so I can see where you're coming from. :D

My P11 is a little bigger and maybe easier to shoot than the P3AT, don't know yet, hope to find out soon. But, I can group 3.5" off sand bags at 25 yards and to POA with my carry load. WWB shoots a little high, but quite accurate. I practice with it or equivalent handloads and can mow down the 6" plates off hand at 25 yards about as well as with my revolvers. It's sort of amazing that the little gun could be that accurate, but it is. I don't expect the P3AT to match it, but what you guys are saying, I'm very likely to be happy with it. :D

November 26, 2007, 12:06 PM
If the gun goes bang when I pull the trigger (which I assume I'll need it when I do), I don't care what the trigger pull is like... I am using it to stop a BG from killing me or a loved one.

It is not a target pistol, but a design to carry as often as I feel I need to...

November 26, 2007, 12:27 PM
wuchak, I agree the ArmaLaser is good, it just didn't seem to work for me with the long trigger pull of the KelTec. I couldn't see the dot in daylight, which I figure goes with all lasers, but the fact was I shot better groups with just the sights. I found that even under heavy cloud cover I spent way too much time trying to find the dot, when I could have snapped a shot off with the rudimentary sights. After drilling and filling the three dot sights I saw absolutely no justification for the laser. My friend has a S&W lightweight snubby with SA trigger, and the Crimson Trace laser served that gun very well indeed, I could hold the gun way out to my side as far as I could reach and point the laser at the target and hit it every time!

November 26, 2007, 12:50 PM
HisSoldier, I like your 3 dot mod on the P-3AT. I think I will do the same to mine in the future.

November 26, 2007, 08:43 PM
If you are shooting properly trigger reset should never be a problem. You should not be trying to time the reset before you start your next trigger pull. You should be letting your finger go completely forward and off the trigger.
Interesting link, I didn't know he shot that way. The competitive shooters I know usually shoot off the reset and personally I just can't imagine what taking my finger on and off the trigger with each shot would do to my shot times and accuracy. To each his own! :D

November 27, 2007, 06:25 PM
I usually shot my P90 or P85 in IDPA, but a couple of matches I used my KT because I carry it a lot and wanted to shoot it and see how I would do. Yeah, it slowed me down, but not the trigger. It's harder to get that short sight radius on target for the first shot, just part of being a pocked PDW. I normally shot slow expert times and with the P11 I was in the fast sharpshooter times beating a few experts. That ain't shabby and the little gun did impress some folks with its accuracy. My accuracy tends to be better than my speed, anyway.

In the sunny south and doing what I do for money, IWB and a service size gun is simply not an option. I can IWB when we go somewhere and usually do, but just around the shop/house, town (whoppin' 12K population) I just pocket carry and I feel quite well armed with the P11. The P3AT remains to be seen, but I think I'll like it for everyday pocket wear. I'm not high on .380 as a caliber, but put it in the right spot and I know I wouldn't wanna get shot with it.

November 29, 2007, 06:34 AM
Wow, you guys want the smallest, lightest, most concealable .380 on the market and complain that it doesn't have the sweetest trigger and the prettiest checkering?? The p3At is what it is guys. If you want all the bells and whistles you shouldn't be buying a 280 dollar gun. I have a P32 and I'm VERY happy with it. I plan on getting a P3AT too. I think the trigger is fine and the purpose of the gun is to put holes in a bad guy. The quality of the checkering doesn't have much bearing on that.

November 29, 2007, 08:21 AM
If the gun goes bang when I pull the trigger (which I assume I'll need it when I do), I don't care what the trigger pull is like... I am using it to stop a BG from killing me or a loved one.

It is not a target pistol, but a design to carry as often as I feel I need to...

That's where I'd have to disagree. The way I think of it......the trigger has a direct impact on how accurately I can shoot a gun. If I can make tight groups all day with a nice trigger. However, under extreme stress my groups are going to open up much wider. So, the fewer variables interfering with making an accurate shot, the better. This is also the reason why I will not carry a DA/SA gun and stick solely to DAO or SAO.

November 29, 2007, 10:56 AM
the trigger has a direct impact on how accurately I can shoot a gun

Agreed Daemon, for me, moderate practice once in a while overcomes the trigger and seems to work well enough to stay inside the ten ring...

December 2, 2007, 04:28 PM
I have to agree with Daemon also. I carried a P11 for some time and while it is fine weapon the trigger pull made it difficult for me to shoot accurately with any kind of speed. It took a lot of concentration to shoot a good group at 7-10 yards. My M&P9C on the other hand has a much better trigger and larger sights. I can shoot if instinctively and quickly and shoot great groups at that same distance without even trying that hard. The P32 and P3AT I shot both had really decent triggers. It didn't take much practice to master the short smooth pull of my P32. Its a lot easier than a revolver or some of the other TDA pistols.

Halo is for Kids
December 2, 2007, 07:23 PM
The good:
-Easy to carry.
-Fairly accurate.
-Reliable, sort of...

The bad:

Looks like I have to send the gun back to Kel-tec. Mine has developed the slide peening issue at 335 rounds. I saved the box tops to keep track.
-200 Winclean.
-50 WWB FMJ.
-40 Speer GDHP.
-25 Remington Golden Sabre JHP.
-20 Federal JHP.

No failures while shooting, just some slow cycling with the Remington HPs. I like the GDHP better than the federals so that is what I carry.
Here’s the pics:

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