lcp vs. kel-tec P32 or P3AT


September 22, 2008, 08:37 PM
Which is the most reliable? Kel-tec owners claim Ruger copied the wrong extractor, Ruger owners claim that Ruger's build quality is better.

Oh, and how about the sights?

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New User
September 22, 2008, 09:06 PM
Well, I am not very happy with my LCP right now, but it was fine with 200 rounds through it, and then my brother went to dry-fire it and the hammer won't drop.

When the gun functioned, the extractor was fine with two different types of ammo and all of the brass was reloadable.

I bought the LCP after comparing it to the P-3AT and liked the fit and finish of the Ruger more. The slide on the LCP looked better than the P-3ATs I handled (rough machining marks).

I think my LCP problem is a fluke because I have only seen one other thread with a similar issue after doing a google search. I think anyone that tells you the Kel-Tec is WAY better than the Ruger, or vice-versa, is the same type of person that could talk to you for hours about why Ford is better than Chevy or how Diet Dr. Pepper tastes nothing like regular Dr. Pepper.

My suggestion, buy whichever one comes in to your shop first, shoot it, enjoy it, and deal with the problems that seem to face all teeny-tiny pocket pistols.

September 22, 2008, 10:43 PM
I have one of the first 200 Kel-Tec P32s, and just bought a new LCP. The P32 has many hundreds of rounds through it, and I haven't shot the LCP yet. With that background ...

I ordered one of the first P32s and had it sent directly to Jack Fuselier in TX to nickel plate the slide. Shortly thereafter it went back to the factory for failures to extract. Kel-Tec replaced the extractor and tuned the gun. Since then it has been flawless through many hundreds of rounds (could be 1K+, but I haven't counted that carefully). I carry it regularly in an Alessi pocket holster. The sights are rudimentary at best, but when the gun was back at the factory, Kel-Tec repainted them with some orange hi-viz paint. It has faded a bit over the last nine years, but is still effective and helps pick up the sights.

The LCP seems to be a bit more robust, and the fit and finish seem a bit better than the P32. One big advantage is that the LCP has a slide stop to hold the slide open when you want to. The P32 does not. On the other hand, the P32 locks back on an empty magazine, and the LCP does not (per Ruger's manual). The sights on the LCP are awful in contrast to the P32. But I think they can be improved by some sight paint.

I hope to be able to shoot the LCP this weekend, and do a direct comparison. I've been very happy with the P32, and hope that the LCP is as satisfying.

September 23, 2008, 12:33 AM
I have two P-3ATs and have carried them for years...sometimes in a watch pocket and sometimes in a De Santis pocket holster. They work for me. One of them had to go back to KT for some work...the other never has.
KT invented, improved and tuned this design. It's such a minimal little gun to be shooting 380, including +P, that every little thing must be just right or it's unlikely to function too well. KT has years of experience on this and Ruger doesn't. It's completely unlike Ruger's experience. I'd stick with the real thing here. KTs don't look good but they were'nt made for looks. Being there and going bang when needed...nothing else.
For something not touchy try an XD-45c. Also not built for looks but more like a tank. Tough as one too. Very sweet to shoot. Wish the pocket guns could be as reliable but probably will never happen. Carry two if you can. Think of it as a spare mag wrapped in a spare gun.
Which brand you choose is second to your picking at least this model. Everybody should have a couple of these. You might consider one of each and see what you think. Suggest Golden Sabers for carry. These little guns can be very choosy on ammo but GS seems to be most reliable for most KTs and probably good in most of the imitations.

September 23, 2008, 01:37 AM
I have a P3AT, its a great gun. She did go back to KT for fixing. I bought the little gun 2nd hand though, and there is no telling how she was treated before I got her. She works like a gem now.:) I wouldn't mind shooting an LCP either, but I have to at least wonder if Kel tec doesn't have the leg up on Ruger since they designed and invented the little gun and have already had their growing pains. Ruger, though a fine company, hasn't earned it's stripes in the arena of true pocket pistols like what the Kel tec and LCP are. I still wouldn't mind shooting or owning and LCP.

September 23, 2008, 07:11 AM
I have a P-3AT and it has never given any trouble at all.
The Ruger is a better looking pistol but from what I have been reading they are not without their own problems. I think they will get the bugs out of them just as KT had to with theirs.
In some parts of the world (mine) a LCP has not been seen in person yet, don't know when any will come in.

September 23, 2008, 07:40 AM
Hi, My Ruger LCP goes back to Ruger after only firing 18 rounds this morning ! Trigger won't reset here either. Test fired at the factory 9-04-08 so assuming Preston King fired a 6 round magazine, the defensive application weapon turned into a rock after only 24 rounds. Then the extremely professional and nice Ruger Customer Service person told Me the turnaround time would be 3-5 weeks ???? I ranted ( not at Her as I worked in Manufacturing , but at Ruger and expressed that to Her ) and asked to speak with Her Supervisor as that was unacceptable time table for a company putting out 55 of these guns per day ! I was put on hold briefly and when She came back her Super said they would try for 2 weeks . Little swamp with returns was the impression I got ! Now I'm sure alot of LCP out there go bang every time, but i also know alot of people will purchase these pistols that come with 1 magazine, load it , shoot all 6 rounds and think it's good to go then just drop it into there pocket/purse/glovebox as its not really a take to the range gun. No 800 # either at Ruger, You need to call to report there defects on Your dime, I think thats tacky also, there excuse is You will have a real live person answer the phone. They can't answer a 800 # ??????????????.............WVleo

September 23, 2008, 08:32 AM
My own P3AT continues to be 100%.

I've run a significant number of Winchester White box round nose, Remington UMC Round nose, Remington UMC HP's, Buffalo Bore Lead Flat nose, Remington Golden Sabers and my own reloads without issue.

I guess when they work, they work.

As for Ruger, maybe the turnaround time is driven by current workload. Being a new model, they may be having infant mortality issues and returns are higher than normal.

For example, a couple of weeks ago, I called Ruger on a new Super Single Six revolver that I purchased, one that had a defective rear sight.

Ruger sent UPS to pick it up on a Wednesday (their nickle) and it was back in my hands the following Wednesday (also their nickle).

Rex B
September 23, 2008, 10:38 AM
I have a P3AT (my 2nd) and a P32 (2nd), a P11 (3rd) and a SU16 carbine.
All the pistols work just fine, and I always have one of the pocket pistols with me.
I'll buy a LCP later, when the bugs and the price settle down.

September 23, 2008, 12:36 PM
Why buy a dressed up copy When you can have the orginal I have 3KelTec. 1 in 380 and 2 in 32. Not as fancy as the copycat but all all have been relieable .
If its a KT and has a problem its a POS. But if Ruger has a problem Thats fine Ruger will fix just needs adjusting They look so nice barf.
Make mine KelTec.

September 23, 2008, 12:37 PM
A lot of people seem to bad mouth KT, but my experience has been pretty good with them. My P-3AT has 500+ rds through it without a single malfunction of any kind with MagTec, WWB, Agulia, CorBon, and handloads ranging from very mild to very hot. Same thing with my P-11, 100% reliable.
KT customer service is also VERY good. I actually have a hard time paying for parts from them, they never charge my card for the parts I order when I call for extra magazines.
I was actually looking at an LCP before I bought the P-3AT, but I just found the LCP to be butt ugly (just my humble opinion) and it's also a couple ounces heavier.
Anyway, I'm extremely happy I went with the KT, it's been a hell of good little gun.

September 23, 2008, 02:12 PM
I'm on numerous lists for an LCP. Sights in this class of pistol are basically non-existent for a couple of reasons: 1) it's a gun designed to shoot a target less than 21 feet away, 2) big sights will snag up on a fast retrieval and get you hurt.

It's not a range gun at all. Complaints about sights are indicative of the user's knowledge about the gun's proper use. :neener:

Lots of Keltec fans will say the Ruger is no better - and with current production quality issues, they are probably right. Ruger fans will say it's no worse, and Keltec has a track record of excellent customer service - which is pointing the finger right back at the real problem.

Small .380 autos are picky about ammo, and many new owners are not experienced gun geeks. Their expectations are pretty high from buying other merchanise, like electronics. They just don't understand the huge difference. Mechanical devices have break-in periods and may need initial adjustments. But their service life is estimated in decades. Electronics always seem to work great out of the box, until you junk it a few years later for the newest-latest-greatest.

Case in point, HD TV is coming on line. The last equivalent change in firearms was the transition to smokeless powder.

You will be well served in the long run with either pistol if you don't put too much expectation into initial break-in perfection. Chances are the Keltec may give you a slight edge, now, in having less problems, or at least quicker turn-around. But you may be carrying it for the next ten years, so consider the features carefully and decide which pleases you more. That way you will be more inclined to have it on you when you need it, which is what it's all about.

Me, I'm waiting for an LCP, probably #89xxx at this rate. My friendly dealer already knows I expect it for Xmas, which he denies will be that late. I hope he's right!

September 23, 2008, 02:38 PM
show me a kt that has went 42,000 rounds without breaking like a lcp has that is owned by one of the kt moderators even. Hell show me a kt that has went 10,000 rounds without breaking. There both good guns, but one is better IMO.

September 23, 2008, 09:11 PM
I think the P32 is perfect for this size of pistol. Mine has been reliable, low recoil for quick follow up shots and quite accurate. I am pleased.

September 23, 2008, 09:16 PM
Show me a guy that has shot 40000 rounds of ammo through a keltec and I will show you a guy who is wealthy enough to dress how he wants and can change his wardrobe daily to comfortably conceal a much larger weapon. Maybe I am wrong but my goodness my P32 has somewhere north of 500 and hasnt missed a lick it has proven itself to me. Not debating better but suits my needs just fine.

September 24, 2008, 09:03 PM
Thanks for the info, everyone.

For something not touchy try an XD-45c.

A little tough to get into that back pocket :D

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