Kel-tec PF-9 vs. Snubbie .38 vs. Ruger LCP


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xanderzuk
September 3, 2008, 01:39 AM
I'm looking for something that can be a pocket gun for Concealed Carry, with only minimal use in a IWB holster when pocket carry isn't practical.

Each seems to have their drawbacks:

Kel-tec PF-9 - I seem to be reading alot of issues regarding malfunctions.

Snub-nose .38 - Relatively thick compared to the others - no?

Ruger LCP - Impossible to find - lowest amount of stopping power.

I seem to keep going back and forth over and over and over.

I have an athletic build (as I've mentioned before in other threads), and dress well, so I don't have hawaiian shirts or larger build to hide a bigger gun.

I'd like things to be as convenient as possible so I don't "leave home without it."

What would you pick?

P.S. I'd prefer a snub-nose without an internal lock - what S&W model number would you recommend?

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Josh Aston
September 3, 2008, 01:50 AM
To get a snub nose without a lock you'd either have to get one made before they started putting them on, or get one of the 4,000 642s they just made without locks. As for which J frame Smith to go with, it all depends on what you want, what your experience level is, etc.

If you're experienced pistol shooter and just want something easy to carry that won't get shot all that much, then get either the M&P 340 or 340 PD. If you want something easier to shoot then get one of the steel framed guns. Then you've got snubs with a hammer, with the hammer completely concealed, or with the hammer shrouded. Then you've got .357 Magnum or .38 special. All a matter of personal preference.

And I said all that to say, I'd pick the Kahr PM9 or one of the S&W snubbies.

makarovnik
September 3, 2008, 02:19 AM
All the Kel-Tecs are good weapons. I like the PF-9 and would probably go for the P3AT before the Ruger just because it has been out longer.

mnrivrat
September 3, 2008, 02:24 AM
The LCP will be the hands down smallest and easyest to carry gun of the three. I wouldn't worry to much about the .380 caliber . I carried the Kel-Tec P3-AT for about a year and never felt underguned. Select good ammo and learn to place shots in the right area and it will do just fine in my opinion.

I carry a snub nose revolver now in front pocket carry. Not as smooth a carry piece but I haven't had any problems either. For pocket carry I recommend a light weight version and a pocket holster. Here you are looking basicaly at a .38 Spl power arena. Mine happens to be a .32 mag but that is about the equivalent of a standard .38 Spl loading for energy delivered. .357 mags can be had in the light weight guns, but they tend to be a bit much for controlability in guns that weigh in at under 20 oz. They are not as flat, but the pocket holsters blend them in just fine.

Based on the Kel-Tec P3-AT I owned I would not have a problem considering the PF-9 . Just ring it out a little before trusting it to carry which is a good idea no matter what. It is flat and small enough to pocket carry with ease I would think. I have looked at the Ruger LCP and it is an almost identical gun to the Kel-Tec P3-AT for design, and quality as far as I can tell. Our local shop has sold a few of the LCP's and I know at least one has gone back to the factory for jamming problems so you don't automaticaly get a good gun because the name on it is a major player.

contenderman
September 3, 2008, 08:45 AM
You've mentioned 3 different mfg. and calibers, and both semi-auto and revolver styles.

If your looking for one gun to cover all your bases then smallest, flattest and lightest would be the apparent direction to go in. Today's excellent selection of SD loads boost the 380 into the viable category.

On the other hand, if your looking to have different carry pieces, as many of us do, then consideration of a small 9mm (Kahr, Kel-Tec, etc.) and the Ruger LCP or Kel-Tec P3AT (nearly identical in size/weight) would be a good start. And relative to the bigger pistol there are some pretty small 45's out there, but they are a little harder to control for 2nd and successive shots.

For simplicity sake ... the revolver is the best choice ... simple to use. However typical cylinder capacity is 5 rounds -vs- 7-9 for the semi-autos.

Lots of ranges have rental guns so you should be able to find models of interest that you can actually shoot. Even some of the large retailers have demos and a test shooting area.

hhersh
September 3, 2008, 10:47 AM
I have a G19, BHP & a1911...my fav? a good ole S&W mod 60 Chief !

sm
September 3, 2008, 11:26 AM
Snub nose in dedicated .38spl.

What is not often taken into consideration:

-Having to make safe a firearm and place in lockable storage in some structure.
-Traveling, and entering jurisdictions and having to unload, and separate ammo from firearm.
Safety goes to a revolver in unloading, and reloading when entering legal jurisdictions again.

-The ability of another person to not only use the revolver, also to make ready to use, or unload to make safe.
Spouse, parents, grandparents, sister/brother, kids, anyone.
Serious situation happens and you are down.
In traveling and while in the shower, another can use a revolver is a problem happens at hotel

Personal Experience with both Kel-Tec P-11 and Snub Nose dedicated 38spl, the revolver is overwhelmingly preferred by not only those persons I have to make safe and put into a lockable container, also by those I associate and have traveled with.
Persons such as single ladies, single moms, teenagers, and those a bit rusty with firearm use, due to jurisdiction restrictions , or physical limits.

Yes, I have situations where having a snub nose was comforting to another.
Such as travel, and in bad areas of town, and passengers could use an extra snub nose I had along.
Such as picking up folks from the Airport.

Phil DeGraves
September 3, 2008, 12:16 PM
Go with the .38 snubbie...

HoosierQ
September 3, 2008, 12:43 PM
+3 (I think) on the snubbie. People don't like the locks on the 642 or 442 but mine is no issue...very tightly locked open. Snubbie is easy to carry even in a pocket if your pants are "relaxed fit". .38 +P with a good hollow point is an outstanding round under most circumstances. No such thing as a failure to feed or failure to extract. You can get one for about $400. I would definitely want the hammerless (like Smith's 442 or 642), bobbed hammer like some of the Ruger SP101s, or maybe one of the covered hammer models like the Smith 638. A snubbie with a hammer is going to need more careful draw from concealment and can hang up.

There may be other guns out there better for CCW but you set the parameters and I stuck to them.

Bobo
September 3, 2008, 04:05 PM
I think you'll find that the PF-9 might be a bit big for pocket carry. That leaves the snubbie or the LCP.

The LCP is thinner, holds more ammo, extra mags are thinner and quicker to load.

Sorry, I just can't think of any good reason for the snubbie in .38 unless it had more power (.357).

Bobo

doc2rn
September 3, 2008, 04:23 PM
LCP is best I have one.
I think the S&W model 60 is what you are looking for.

xanderzuk
September 3, 2008, 04:42 PM
Does any know which S&W pre-lock .38's are +P rated?

I only ask this because of the use of defensive rounds.

lesjones
September 3, 2008, 04:52 PM
There have been some issues with locks engaging on harder-recoiling guns, but I've yet to hear of it happening with a .38. I have a 642 and haven't had any problems.

I wouldn't let the lock get in your way of buying an S&W .38.

JShirley
September 3, 2008, 05:09 PM
I have a P3AT and a 642.

I probably carry my Commander 9x19mm more than the 642. :)

John

DawgFvr
September 3, 2008, 06:16 PM
I have a P3AT and a 642.

Nothing beats the 642 for pocket carry.

I do carry a G26 IWB whenever possible. P3AT is a last resort.

xanderzuk
September 3, 2008, 10:40 PM
Should I consider a Taurus in .38 spl or are they junk?

3KillerBs
September 3, 2008, 10:49 PM
I will be getting a Taurus 85 and my research indicates that even people who are anti-Taurus seem to make a, "Well, they got that one right" exception.

I chose it because it fits my hand a bit better than the essentially identical S&W J-frames. Its just a tiny bit smaller with a slightly shorter trigger reach but is supposed to go in all the same holsters, use the same speedloaders, etc.

orionengnr
September 3, 2008, 11:02 PM
I've owned half a dozen j-frames (from all steel to alloy to Scandium) and sold them all.

I've owned four Kel-Tecs (one .32, two .380, one 9mm) and sold them all.

Sensing a pattern here?


Looking at an LCP and will buy one as soon as the price is right.

In the mean time, my Kahr PM9 stays in my pocket day in, day out. :)

tinygnat219
September 4, 2008, 07:32 AM
I can actually help here.

I owned the PF-9. Good quality gun. I fired 500 rounds through mine with no problems. It carries well in a pocket holster (I used a DeSantis Nemesis), and you have 8 rounds of 9MM. I sold it simply because I found a S&W 3913 that is overall a much better gun. However, I had NO problems with my PF-9.

I own a S&W J-Frame Model 60 Ladysmith in .38 SPL. It's pre-lock, made from Stainless steel, etc. This one isn't as easy to conceal and it's a more specialized gun to master. Still, only 5 shots? Let me have the 9MM with 3 more shots. I carried this one for a while after I sold my PF-9 and while I was looking for those elusive 3913s.

I own a KT P3AT (or Ruger LCP MK 1). It's been reliable as well. I carry this in addition to my 3913 for a BUG. .380 for me is the bottom of what's "acceptable" for Self-Defense, but even then I relegate it to backup duty. It's definitely not a range gun, but it goes bang. The key is to have the right ammo. I use Remington Golden Saber 105 Grain .380 rounds. These have some of the best expansion on the market.

SHOOT1SAM
September 4, 2008, 09:21 PM
xanderuk:.............I have an athletic build (as I've mentioned before in other threads)............

So, what kind of athletic build are you talking about? Weight lifter? Shot Putter? Discus or Hammer thrower? Sumo Wrestler ??? :neener:

Sam

Jack2427
September 5, 2008, 03:32 AM
You are talking about 3 different animals entirely; each has its strong points and downers. I like the P3AT which is just another Ruger(or vice versa) as far as I am concerned. Haven't messed with the KT 9mm, but it sounds OK. For best reliance on stopping power a properly stuffed 38 special has it over either. My 38s carry the 158GR SWCHP +P, or the 125GR JHP +P, either will do better than the plastic guns IMHO.

deputy tom
September 5, 2008, 08:23 PM
I prefer an S&W 642.They seem to always function when plastic pocket pistols might not.(ref. Walt Rauch).I still carry a kel-tec P32 when I can't afford to be detected.I have owned a couple of kahrs but have since moved on.YMMV.tom.:cool:

Rmart30
September 5, 2008, 10:51 PM
Nothing beats the 642 for pocket carry.

I 2nd that.... I like little autos and have 2 Keltecs, a P32 and P11, the P32 has been flawless since new, the P11 so far eats everything but steel cased ammo (wolf)... The trigger on the P11 is very stiff and tough to master, I feel much better with my 642 in my pocket than with either of the others...
There are new non lock model 642's out there now for $409.... With a desantis Nemesis pocket holster it will just dissapear in most pants.

tinygnat219
September 6, 2008, 11:05 AM
One last note, someone mentioned Taurus. Don't waste your money on one. They are junk.

springmom
September 6, 2008, 11:26 AM
I have m37 without a lock, bought a couple of years ago when some group (Japanese police force, IIRC) ordered a bunch and then didn't take delivery. There are some out there. But you know, I have a lock on my Bersa and don't wig out about it, and it's never caused a problem, either.

Of your choices, I second SM on the revolver. The P3AT and the LCP are very small. Before you buy one (voice of experience here) shoot one and make certain that the tiny grip along with the lively recoil (uncomfortable to me because of the size of the gun) is something you want. A J-frame with good grips that fit your hand just disappears next to the body. Unless you're wearing something skin tight, you will be able to conceal it just as well as a P3AT. As SM said, revolvers are easy for others to use, people with arthritis can pull the hammer back and shoot SA if they have to.

And +P loads out of a snubbie are just fine as a defensive round.

Springmom

tblt
September 6, 2008, 11:34 AM
Lcp is not imposible to find.Show up at a gun show 1 hr early wait in line and you can get one I got mine for 330.
I was carrying a 38 snub but the LCP is so easy to carry.
I also have a taurus mod 85 that I carry

moooose102
September 7, 2008, 08:03 AM
the ruger lcp is a pocket pistol. pretty small for a iwb pistol. you would want a single stack small frame 9mm or 40 s&w for what you are speaking about. lots of makes / models out there. go to a good gun dealer, or show and check them out. a good iwb holster is probbable the thing you need the most. i preffer the bianchi 6 holster. midway, amongst many others carry it. i have a right and a left hand one, so i can vary where i carry.

popeye
September 7, 2008, 08:51 AM
Pocket carry is something I try to avoid. What do you do when your seat belted into your car? I can't carry on the job (where I need it most) as I work in and around *****cago. Most of the time I carry a Cobra or a 2.5" S&W 66 on my hip with my shirt out to cover it.

blackcash88
September 7, 2008, 02:25 PM
All the Kel-Tecs are good weapons.

Uh, no, they're not. Fail. :rolleyes:

FLA2760
September 7, 2008, 09:41 PM
I vote for the 642. I carry mine mostly in a MIKA roundcut pocket holster. Whether I carry it in the pocket, IWB or ankle it simply disappears. It goes bang EVERY time.

tawcat
September 8, 2008, 08:46 AM
I carry the LCP almost exclusively. My two other choices are a 642 and a 351PD.

GunNut
September 8, 2008, 10:27 AM
I own all three, plus a few more, and I find myself carrying the 340PD more than the rest when wearing cargo pants or shorts.

I also have a Kahr PM9 that is proving itself to be a wonderful shooting gun which will more than likely replace the 340PD most of the time.

My LCP is reliable too, and will end up in the rotation especially when maximum concealment is required.

I bought my PF9 used, and have not been able to shoot it yet. It needs a new magazine release, the current one will not hold the magazine in place.

Good luck on choosing, lots of good options.

orionengnr
September 8, 2008, 10:00 PM
All the Kel-Tecs are good weapons. I like the PF-9 and would probably go for the P3AT before the Ruger just because it has been out longer.
Sorry, having owned a P-32, a P-11, and two P3ATs, I could not disagree more. I will not own another.
Nothing beats the 642 for pocket carry.
Again, having owned at least five, I cannot agree with that one either.
I also have a Kahr PM9 that is proving itself to be a wonderful shooting gun which will more than likely replace the 340PD most of the time.
Now this one I agree with. Three years worth of carrying and shooting--smaller than a j-frame, more accurate, easier to shoot, better capacity, quicker reloads, and a more powerful round (9mm+p+).

That said, I am still waiting for the price of LCPs to attain a sane level, and then I may try one. :)

rainbowbob
September 8, 2008, 10:48 PM
To get a snub nose without a lock you'd either have to get one made before they started putting them on, or get one of the 4,000 642s they just made without locks.

Or buy either a vintage or a new S&W .38 Model 40 "Lemon Squeezer" with walnut grips, no exposed hammer, no lock, and a grip safety on the back strap.

Add a Tyler T-Grip and carry it in one of Chief Robert Mika's one-of-a-kind pocket holsters.

Oooh...

P.S. I think a vintage all-steel model of the Model 40 should be fine with +P - I'm not sure about the new version.

The_Shootist
September 8, 2008, 11:04 PM
Not mine - My M85 has 1300 rounds through it (mainly +p) without any issues at all. I'm more accurate with it than my 642, which I am STILL dialing in after 400 rds.

In fact, if I can't achieve a reasonable level of accuracy with after 1000 rds with the 642, it might go into the safe and I'll get one of the new 6 shot Taurus .38 spl +p rated revolvers.

http://www.taurususa.com/products/product-details.cfm?id=615&category=Revolver

green country shooter
September 9, 2008, 09:25 PM
My taurus (titanium, 12 ounces) has also been reliable with commercial loads. I've even shot an IDPA match with it. It has failed to ignite some of my handloads with CCI primers. I've put a laser grips on it and love to carry it. I've tried several small autos and found reliability lacking, but I haven't tried them all.

rj112275
September 9, 2008, 11:12 PM
i own a j-frame, old school model 38 humpback and the LCP. the LCP is nice and small, but i still enjoy carrying the j-frame more. i like the having 158 grains of .38 more than 95 grains of .380. the LCP usually ends up in my wife's purse, but i hope to buy her a PM9 sometime soon.

george29
September 9, 2008, 11:23 PM
The experts say the most powerful weapon you are comfortable with, this really makes it the PF9 from your list of possibilities. I personally have the snubbie but only because of the reliability issue, otherwise a well stoked 9 out performs a .38


Should I consider a Taurus in .38 spl or are they junk?
I wouldn't use that term, but I have noticed that there are only a few die-hard Taurus fans on THR that would pick a Taurus over a Ruger or Smith. Even many Taurus owners carry a Smith or Ruger when it comes down to reliability.

If you could buy a new AMC Pacer or a used Volvo 240, which would you?

Lucky Strike
September 11, 2008, 03:50 PM
Pocket carry is something I try to avoid. What do you do when your seat belted into your car? I can't carry on the job (where I need it most) as I work in and around *****cago. Most of the time I carry a Cobra or a 2.5" S&W 66 on my hip with my shirt out to cover it.


Personally i take the gun out of my pocket when i'm driving around and set it in the storage compartment in the center console....then just toss it in the pocket (in a Mika roundcut) when i get outta the car


I bought one of the new 642's with no lock....so far i'm pleasantly surprise that it's easier to shoot then i thought it would be

Kind of Blued
September 12, 2008, 06:12 AM
I'd suggest (like a few others here) taking a look at the Kahr PM9 as well.

When I absolutely can't afford to be "made", I carry a S&W 642 on my ankle and a Kahr PM9 IWB. That's still two guns. :)

Padri
November 24, 2008, 09:45 PM
I am sorry to post so late on this. I dress in a shirt, tie, and dress pants. I have a job in which I do not need to be seen carrying. I do not have the luxury of having a shirt I can leave untucked. I have, for several years, carried a Kel-Tec. I carry a P3 AT on a daily basis in a front pocket holster. I have tried, and experimented with all the pistols and revolvers mentioned, but this one is a gun to have with you always. It is the ONLY one that meets the needs you and I have. Given modern ammunition, it will do the duty of a .38 Special in a small package (Try testing and you will see). I use the clip that Kel-Tec provides when wearing shorts or jogging, rather than a holster. I hope this helps.

Padri
November 24, 2008, 09:51 PM
Xanderzuk, I am sorry to post so late on this. I dress in a shirt, tie, and dress pants. I do not have the luxury of having a shirt I can leave untucked. I have, for several years, carried a Kel-Tec. I carry a P3 At on a daily basis in a front pocket holster. I have tried, and experimented with all the pistols and revolvers mentioned, but this one is a gun to have with you always. It is the ONLY one that meets the needs you and I have. Given modern ammunition, it will do the duty of a .38 Special in a small package (Try testing and you will see). I use the clip that Kel-Tec provides when wearing shorts or jogging, rather than a holster. I hope this helps.

Scott Free
November 25, 2008, 02:00 AM
I had the most recent model of the PF9, and then sold it for a 642. The PF9 was a gun that I really wanted to like, but couldn't because it requires an absolutely perfect grip to function properly. I wanted a gun that would work with a compromised grip, an injured grip, or a rolling-around-in-the-dirt grip--hence, the 642.

No opinions on the LCP.

david_the_greek
November 25, 2008, 08:45 PM
Can't comment on the Keltec, as I don't own one (yet), but I can say that the 442/642 line up are quality. I have a lock model and though I don't have too many rounds through it, it has yet to malfunction. During the first 75 rounds I had thought I made a mistake, I changed my grip a little bit and I now love it! My groups really closed up at the 7-10 yard range, I can't wait till I get to take it back out to the range.

michiganfan
November 28, 2008, 08:24 AM
I have the P3AT and a S&W Airweight. I have formed the opinion the P3AT is almost too small. By that I mean if I ever had to get it into operation quickly from a pocket carry it is not easy to get the right grip and your finger in the trigger guard.

CDH
November 28, 2008, 08:42 AM
From a "best compromise" perspective, you can't beat the 642. It's "almost" small enough to be a pocket pistol for some, and it makes a great IWB pistol when you really need to conceal with lighter clothing.

For my part, I've gotten to like pocket carry and my first choice for that is always the R9S Stealth. When I go IWB, I'll carry the 642 when dressed light, but with a sweater or oversized t-shirt, my first choice is always my stainless Commander.

But if you have to make a choice of which one to get first, the 642 would have to get the nod.

YZR
November 28, 2008, 10:41 AM
I usually have a Kel-Tec P3AT in my packet and a 642 snubbie on my ankle. You can't go wrong with either or both :)

symr00
November 28, 2008, 01:04 PM
The J frame really isn't that fat. The cylinder is the widest part. Everything else is thin. Budsgunshop has new NO-LOCK 442s in stock for $391 shipped which IMO is a great deal.

tblt
December 1, 2008, 05:22 PM
check out how good my golden saber expanded in my test.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=410045

Graymutt
December 4, 2008, 02:59 PM
I use a LCP for summer carry, I have never found something that I cant carry in...shorts, T-shirt (or not) and flip flops are no problem.

MagnumDweeb
December 4, 2008, 03:19 PM
Um athletic build can denote a wide variety of builds. Do you have a swimmers build, jogges build, all around soccer and basketball recreational player build, serious weightlifter build, powerlifter build. Also how tall are you

I'm a powerlifter build (42" chest, 26" arms [bicep and tricep], tree trunk legs[have to wear 38" jeans for my legs to fit without looking strange in the pants], and a thirty waist with freakishly large abs [gravity crunches and overweight cable pulldown crunches]. I pocket carry a Rossi snub .357 in 38" jeans with an IWB holster for my Ruger Redhawk .44 4". All depends on how you dress, if you are okay getting a 'pocket holster' or getting a thundercarry holster, works buy wearing between shorts and underwear but doesn't allow for quick draw.

regal
December 5, 2008, 10:51 AM
I have a Airweight .38 S&W snubbie and a Keltec P-32. I shoot the snubbie better than any pistol I own. But I don't feel safe carrying 5 rounds. I am much safer with the P-32's 8 rounds + 10 round mag in the other pocket.



I am very interested in the PF-9, but I would be afraid it is so light that it would be impossible to be reliable.

Valis
December 6, 2008, 05:50 AM
I keep a PF-9 in an Uncle Mikes Pocket Holster in my front right pocket and almost never notice it. It literally doesn't feel much different to me than putting my wallet in my front pocket.

As far as issues? Haven't had them. I've got about 750 rounds through it without a single hicup. And Kel-Tecs customer service (from my experience) is top notch.

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