J-frame vs. KelTec PF9 for pocket carry.


November 6, 2008, 10:26 AM
Please-this is not about KelTec quality or a caliber discussion. Nor am I looking for alternative carry modes. My past experience with KT's leaves me no worries about reliability or accuracy, and I am fine with a nine for power. I am specifically interested in "pocket-carryability".

I have owned 2 Kel-Tecs. I do not consider them fun-guns, plinkers, range-guns or home-defense guns...my Kel-Tecs were specifically and only for extremely discreet pocket carry. I had a P32 when they first came out and traded up to a P3AT when they were introduced. Mine were always reliable and I was always surprised at how well I could shoot them at reasonable "self-defense" distances. Eventually, it was power factor, not KT design, that turned me away. I was no longer comfortable with anything less than a 'treasury load' in a self defense gun. I sold the .380 and now, when I pocket carry, it is with a j-frame .38.

In a bad display of laziness that I think is more common than many CCW-ers would admit, I have carried less and less recently because even the j-frame is a little big in my pocket. I fondly recalled how I ALWAYS had a gun on me when I owned a Kel-Tec. I began considering another P3AT or even the new Ruger, but keep going back to not wanting to 'settle' for a .380.

I plan on checking out the PF-9 at an upcoming gun show, but could anyone who has pocket-carried both a P9 and a j-frame relate your actual experience? If the P9 is not decidedly better for pocket carry than a j-frame, I might still convince myself to get another 3AT, but my hope is I can carry the 9 more comfortably - and therefore more often - than my little wheelie.

My mode of dress most of the time is khaki-style pants or jeans with a tucked-in polo or dress shirt. I worked in a lot of close quarters, too, so occasional incidental contact with other people combined with mode of dress kind of dictate pocket carry as my most preferred and practical means. I prefer to belt-carry a compact .45 and do so whenever situation and mode of dress allows.

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November 6, 2008, 02:12 PM
I have both the PF-9 (recent buy) and a j-frame 638 (bodyguard style, shrouded hammer). I have carried my j-frame in a pocket for quite awhile, and its not bad with a simple Uncle Mikes pocket holster. Since picking up the PF-9, I have carried it also in a front/back pocket for comparison.

The PF-9 is slimmer and easier to carry for me. Shorts/Jeans and a t-shirt.
Its lighter and doesnt seem to "swish" in my pockets if you know what I mean.
With looser shorts/pockets the j-frame seems to sway when I walk, and it bothers me a bit.

In a jeans back pocket with a similar holster it pretty much disappears(PF-9), and it prints no different than a wallet.

The J-frame has always been carried in a front pocket for me, its just to bulky for my back pocket. I am sure it doesnt help but I have Hogue grips on the j-frame(larger style).

I like both, but as long as I do not dress up (khaki's/button up) the PF-9 wins the carry for my everyday dress.
This is my experience, hope it helps you out! :D

November 6, 2008, 03:30 PM
I agree completely with doglb. The PF9 is not as elegant as the Smith, but it's more convenient and invisible when discretion counts. Also when I have to move the KT from pocket to hiding place in the car, I remove the pocket holster with the gun still in it and it looks like a wallet to anyone walking by.

November 6, 2008, 05:07 PM
Of course, there's the minor size difference, as well as the PF9 larger capacity. Given your understanding of the limitations of both guns, I'd agree that the pocket holster and the Kel would probably be a viable choice.

November 6, 2008, 05:31 PM
probably a keltec 9mm would be better for pocket carry ive never owned one but j frames are bulkier in the middle so im not sure feel both and whatever feels best and fits your pocket

November 7, 2008, 11:33 PM
I looked at both for pocket carry. Both will work well with the right holster. I ended up going with the Kel-Tec, partly on price and partly on it's 7+1 capacity.

That being said, I'd still like a 357 J-frame someday!

November 8, 2008, 12:54 AM
If you like recoil then get the PF9!!!!
That pistol is the only one in my inventory that leaves a mark!!
Think 9mm Smith Scandium revolver.

November 8, 2008, 02:13 PM
I own a p32 and have no problems or have no worries about the 32acp. I like Smiths but for carry the PF9 has it beat.

Scott Free
November 8, 2008, 03:26 PM
Keep in mind that the PF9 is subject to "limp wristing" and the failures to feed that accompany it. The PF9 requires a very solid and perfect grip. I compromised grip, an injured grip, a rolling-around-on-the-ground grip, and your gun is very likely to jam. I'm not a Keltec basher. I currently own four of them--including a PF9. The PF9 is for sale for all the reasons stated above.

1 old 0311
November 8, 2008, 04:53 PM
J. Frame. They ALWAYS work. Way too much bad press on Kel Tec problems.

November 8, 2008, 10:36 PM
The j frame was created buy man it will not always work. It will just work 99.999% of the time. My p32 has the same track record to date.

Scott Free
November 8, 2008, 11:31 PM
My P32 is also very reliable. The original poster is asking about the PF9, though. And as I mentioned, the PF9 may very well be reliable--with an absolutely perfect grip.

November 9, 2008, 12:00 AM
As I said in the first post, I am not inquiring about KT reliability - I had confidence in my previous P32 and P3AT. And not about caliber - I am fine with a nine but still wrestling with possibly owning another .380.

I started this thread just to investigate "carryability" comparison. I am thinking of carrying a KT PF9 in my front jeans pocket. Have you done that? What do you think?

November 9, 2008, 12:52 AM
Jim I have carried a S&W 442 and a PF9. I favor the PF9, but the revolver is nice too. However I wouldn't recommend carrying in a jeans pocket. Most incidents happen so quickly that I don't think you'd have time to draw from a jeans pocket.

I don't mean to sound like some kind of know-it-all or to pretend to be the smartest guy in the room, but I believe most people have little concept of how quickly things happen. I'd say a jeans pocket adds 1/2 to 1 second to a draw depending on how tight the jeans are. For my dress, if I wear jeans, I figure I'm dressed down enough to wear something untucked. Then I can carry IWB.

November 9, 2008, 01:19 AM
The j frame was created buy man it will not always work.Buy gawd, I think you're on to something.


November 9, 2008, 01:44 AM
Have you actually SHOT the PF9???
I wasn't kidding about it leaving a mark!!!
Recoil impacts the ability to get that second shot off and affects accuracy!!

I went back to my MK9.
It does not sting my hand every time I shoot it!!

November 9, 2008, 12:35 PM
Denfoote, I am not really concerned about the power/recoil factor. A couple of rounds for practice or SD will not matter and on the range, I actually find a lot of giggles shooting big loads from a small package. (We'll wait while some of you insert your jokes here!:rolleyes:)

I've owned a small .40 and a 640 (magnum) in the past. I regularly practice with +P's in my 342 and 230 grain loads in a 24 oz 1911 in .45 acp.

My thread here is simply regarding carry, specifically in the right front pocket of my jeans. On another board a member posted pics of a j-frame right next to the PF9 from several different angles. It looks like the KT will not really carry any more easily than the snub. I will check it out in person, but if that's the case, I will again torture myself with whether to get another .380 for when I lazily choose not to carry the snub. (I know, I know; we should carry as much gun as we can and dress around it...but I'd bet I'm not the only one who is somewhat lazy in that regard. If there weren't a bunch of us out there too lazy to carry something bigger, there wouldn't even BE a KelTec, Ruger LCP, etc.)

green country shooter
November 9, 2008, 03:06 PM
Front jeans pocket - I can't carry a snubbie in there. It prints badly and takes forever to get it out. The p32 will work in there, but it's still slow.

November 9, 2008, 11:25 PM
Keep in mind that the PF9 is subject to "limp wristing" and the failures to feed that accompany it. The PF9 requires a very solid and perfect grip. I compromised grip, an injured grip, a rolling-around-on-the-ground grip, and your gun is very likely to jam.
Exactly what I would say; same experience here.

November 10, 2008, 03:38 AM
I don't wear jeans so I can't speak to them directly.
I wear cargo pants which have deep enough pockets to accommodate what I do carry, namely a Kahr MK9.

I do own a PF9, which currently is on the fritz, but that is not the subject of your current inquiry.

I believe in vigorous practice with my carry gun, expending copious amounts of ammunition. I shoot, at least, 100 rounds in a session, more if I discover flaws in my technique!!
The minuscule mass of the PF9 does not lend itself to that amount of practice!!!
To me "carried much and shot little" is illogical.

There also is the issue of +P loadings in the PF9. Kel-Tec advises that only standard pressure rounds be fired in their gun with +P loadings used only sparingly.
My carry ammo is the Federal 9BPLE +P+ loaded to 1300fps.
The MK9 was designed around that ammo and will fire it all day 27/7, 365.
A mag full or two of this will send the KT to the dumpster in short order!!

I originally thought that the wee Kel-Tec was the cat's meow, but have since changed my mind for the reasons explained above.

November 10, 2008, 09:20 AM
Denfoote, Thanks for the additonal input. I actually really like the Kahr product line. The .40 I mentioned previously carrying was a stainless K40. In all honesty I think it to be a near-perfect carry gun. Powerful cartridge, ample capacity, accurate, reliable and carried great IWB.

When I "discovered" the 1911, I decided to go with a carry piece set-up exactly like my new favorite range gun, so I owned a full-size Springfield "Loaded" model and a Springfield "Micro-compact" for carry. The K40 was sold to fund the Micro.

I guess I've come 'round to the idea that 9mm in a modern load can be a sufficient SD round. (My doubts about it are what led me to the .40 and .45 in the first place.) As I said in the OP, I am ok with .38 and most of these 9mm's are equal or better. I have occasionally carried a S+W 3913 IWB rather than the Micro. If the Kahr PM9/MK9 were a true pocket-able gun, I would be looking at that as well. I don't need or want anything else for belt carry (other than what I already own). Since I was specifically looking for pocket carry I was looking at the KT because it has a slight edge over the PM9 in size and weight. Sounds like they are both too big for the pocket of my jeans. Looks like I will probably stick with the snub for pocket carry, 3913 or micro .45 for IWB. There are still times when I am not ok with either of these so I will continue to debate myself regarding the ".380 is better than not carrying" thing.

November 10, 2008, 07:42 PM
The "limpwristing" may have also been a product of which load you are using. I had a P-11 that was less than reliable until I figured out which loads it liked. It never had any problems with WWB, Rem UMC 115gr JHP, or Corbon DPX. It was a bit ammo sensitive but as long as I stuck to those loads I had NO problems. The PF9 may be similar. I later switched to the M&P 9C. It eats everything and is a lot easier to shoot. The PF9 does have be reconsidering getting a Keltec again though.

November 10, 2008, 08:49 PM
In my case, I have both a Smith 642 and a Seecamp LWS32. Having tried both, the Seecamp usually finds its way into my pocket

November 11, 2008, 10:39 AM
I have a KT PF9 and a Ruger SP 101 (2.25 in barrel). I carry both at different times. Just depends on my mood. The PF9 is easier for me to carry in my pocket, but both will fit.

The PF9 doesn't seem the punish me as bad as the 101 with .357 mag in it. 38's in the 101 are much more fun than 9mm in the PF9.

But my LCP fits best in my pocket. It punishes too, is not what I'd call a range gun.


November 12, 2008, 02:57 PM
S&W 442.. I am comfortable with the reliability of the J-Frame much more-so than the 15oz or less pistols.

November 12, 2008, 10:54 PM
I carry a 642 S&W. I pondered this same question a while back. The only issue I've had was rust on the grip screw. I solved this with fingernail polish. It's kinda puny but it will fire every time. I carry it at work only in a desantis pocket holster.

November 13, 2008, 08:06 AM
I have a PF-9 and love it. It shoots 1.5" groups easily at 15 yards and is absolutely reliable with Winchester silvertip HPs. I carried it in the front pocket of my cargo pants in a nemisis holster, until I lost so much weight that I shrunk out of 'em and went back to my jeans, which don't have as large pockets. It became more comfortable to switch to a belt slide holster, but a hot day sorta requires me to OC.

This minor inconvienience is not sufficient to send me back to the P3AT, but I will say that if it wasn't for the extended mag floorplate it came with, it would be pretty unpleasant to hold onto when it goes off. It fits my wide hand fine, but my wife doesn't like the narrow, deep grip proportions or the grip texture, and kept her P3AT.

November 13, 2008, 11:39 AM
I would choose the J-frame. Why...because it can be shot from within my jacket pocket. I'd fear the slide hanging up on fabric with a pistol that is being pocket carried.

November 14, 2008, 04:20 PM
Others may disagree but I find it easier and faster to access and draw a revolver from my pocket than I do any semi-auto. It just seems to "come to hand" more naturally for me.

Phil DeGraves
November 14, 2008, 04:47 PM

November 14, 2008, 04:55 PM
Well since picking up the Pf-9 I was worried about reliablility, I have ran over 200rnds through the Pf-9 without one problem!

I added a Hogue Handall Jr. grip which helps and I have tried the pocket clip.
Honestly, I hate the clip-it is not comfortable with the way I shoot. The gun is very reliable and isnt to hard on the hands unless you run alot of rounds through it at one time. For its purpose it works well, and I am satisfied with the results. FYI I do not know if this makes a difference but mine came with a metal mag release!

I love the J-frame, but as my previous post explained the PF-9 is much easier to carry! :D

November 15, 2008, 01:24 AM
Five for sure...642 every time. My Kel Tec rides in a book safe.

November 15, 2008, 05:35 AM
When I go into revolver mode, I carry my first generation Taurus ultralite or my Smith 65-6LS.

http://usera.ImageCave.com/denfoote/Taurus snub.jpg


November 15, 2008, 07:40 PM
S&W.32 mag 6 shots,DA only,airweight.

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