KelTec P3AT troubles.


March 30, 2004, 09:43 PM
I'm not so much looking for help on the subject... I just thought I'd entertain everybody here with a story. Sit back and relax. Feel free to laugh at me when it's all done.

I've had failure to eject (not feed, not extract, just eject) problems with my P3AT since I got it out of the box. Such is life with KelTec. They will make it good so I'm not stressing about that really.

I saw over on that there's a little 'modification' that you can make to the extractor that people say helps reliability. Since I own a Dremel (which I bought the day after the KelTec) I figured I'd give it a shot.

Well, today the new extractor arrives. I pull up the pictures on the 'net and begin grinding bits and pieces away. I'm pretty sure I got it right so I go to remove the drift pin in the slide. Well, that's not so easy since I haven't found anybody in the area that sells a decent set of tools for this. I make due with an allen wrench that's the right size. It's not perfect, but it works. Remove pin, insert new extractor and spring, off to the range!

Total failure. I mean bad. If I got through an entire magazine I was really lucky. It happened once out of 100 rounds. I even had to take the thing apart to pull a shell casing out of the barrel. Seems one of my cases had a little "buldge" problem too and it took some fighting to get that one out.

I return home, thinking I must not have done a good enough job modifying the extractor. I tear the gun down, pull out the allen wrench, and get to cracking again. Well, I hit the wrench with a hammer, it vibrates in a weird way which causes it to JUMP 6 feet across the room and land near my TV. Right in the surge protector. I mean IN the surge protector! It's sitting in an outlet that's currently used by my PS2. Being an idiot and panicking (not wanting to cause a black-out of my entire apartment building) I try and yank the thing out real quick. Before unplugging it. Idiot. Sparks fly, things smell burned, and the PS2 just shut right off. I probably blew the PS2's power supply. I'll check later when I'm not all irked.

I'll try and tweak the extractor once more. If that fails, original one goes back in for one more field test and then it's back to KelTec if it's not running 100%. I just want 100 round of ammo to go down range without a single hitch. I can tolerate a 1/500 failure with this thing but not 1/5 which is my current tally.

Heck, it was failing to go into battery today. I really must need to polish the snot out of the internals.


Just so this report isn't totally negative my trip out last week with the CZ-75B was again flawless. Went bang every time, extracted, ejected, and chambered the next one up like clockwork. Perfect. Shots on target, making me feel like Lead Hose God for the night.

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March 30, 2004, 09:51 PM
Oh my! Seems like Murphy paid you a visit .. and hung around a while too!

Bet you'd never repeat that ''shot'' with the allen wrench ..... commiserations on a not very good day for you.

March 30, 2004, 11:18 PM
Rule #1 if it aint broke don't fix it.

March 30, 2004, 11:24 PM
If it won't go into battery after you messed with the extractor you took off too much from the part that "rests" on the slide when no round is there, so now a round won't slip under the extractor which stops the slides forward motion.

Send it back to Kel-Tec. I incrementally took mine (with a spare extractor) to that point in a failed attempt to make Wolf .380 extract reliably which failed.

Mine is fine with any brass cased ammo. Lots of failures to extract with Wolf, Brown Bear and Silver Bear -- all steel cased.


March 30, 2004, 11:35 PM

1/50 rounds were failing to eject with PMC ammo on the first outing. I consider that broke :)


I've never tried steel cased ammo in a handgun. I was getting 2-3 failures to eject with American Eagle ammo on my 2nd outing per 6 round magazine. That's not good, and I couldn't see anything really different between the AE and the PMC stuff. It did manage to feed a few magazines of assorted "defensive" rounds fine though which calms my worries. Who knows though.

Like I said, a little more tinkering and then it's back to KT for repair. I do like the gun, really. It WILL function eventually :)

Mr. Mysterious
March 30, 2004, 11:37 PM
When it pours.

Condition One
March 31, 2004, 12:06 AM
And I was this close to buying one!

Shoot Safe.......CO :what:

March 31, 2004, 11:32 AM
You may just want to take adantage of KT's service department now.

Failure to eject in a P-3AT is USUALLY caused by operator error i.e. "limp wirsting". I'm not saying that this IS your problem, but it is something that you need to be sure of before dremelling your pistol.

Like I said, a little more tinkering and then it's back to KT for repair. I do like the gun, really. It WILL function eventually This IS an attitude I like.

March 31, 2004, 11:34 AM
And I was this close to buying one! This report shouldn't change those plans. They're not perfect, but a P-3AT can be a Very fine pocket pistol.

March 31, 2004, 12:53 PM
Kel-Tecs are good little guns, but they don't seem to come from the manufacturer as polished as some other guns.

I got some FTE out of my first 50 rounds out of my P3AT as well. I think that polishing the chamber may have helped a little, but the biggest problem was that I was limp wristing.

Since I've learned to lock my wrist on my shooting hand better I haven't had a single FTE from my P3AT.

If your problem isn't limp wristing, then you may want to send it back to Kel-Tec.

March 31, 2004, 01:07 PM
What are the first and most important modifications to apply to this pistol to make it a bit more " user-friendly " ? Other than the sharpish bottom edge on my trigger, all seems well, but can the action be improved?
Is " Fire lapping ", with jeweler's rouge, etc. just an urban legend, or does it improve accuracy on a short barrelled fire-arm? Would a still-pocketable, but 1/2" longer " +p+p+p " etc. barrel be worth it if wanting to use Xtra hot loads?

"Guns don't kill people, BULLETS kill people, and well-aimed bullets kill the fewest people."

March 31, 2004, 01:14 PM
I recommend polishing the feed ramp and chamber in addition to smoothing the face of the trigger. Action smoothing and accuracy improvement don't seem that beneficial to me without a dramatic improvement to the sights first.

J.R. Bob Dobbs
March 31, 2004, 03:31 PM
I have 2 p3at's. One runs perfectly with all ammo I've tried.

The other FTE's with all the same ammo EXCEPT Win Silvertips, which run 100% (with about 200rds of Silvertips so far). I also tried modifying a few extractors, and could change it's preference in ammo. But I ended up putting the original extractor back in and staying with Silvertips, until the Hard Chrome exchange becomes available later this year.

Might want to put your original extractor back in, try some different ammo, or maybe just send it in. IMO, the pistol is worth the time/money requred to get it running right.

March 31, 2004, 08:15 PM
The P3AT is unique in terms of size/weight/power right now. Its worth a little hassle to get one running right. The company stands behind its product and has great customer support.

Sure it'd be nice if their QA/QC was better, but then prices would likely be higher and the folks who now get ones that are 100% wouldn't be happy paying more.

Seems a strange business model, Kel-Tec loses $20 that they rebate you for shipping the gun back, you lose $6.95 and some time to ship it since it costs $26.95 to FedEx it back. OTOH for minor parts breakage, send them an Email and they mail you the part in a week or so -- may or may not get a heads up that its on the way. Or you can call :-)


Craig M. Arnold
March 31, 2004, 11:37 PM
I don't know if I just got lucky or what. However, my P3AT eats everything I feed it and it has been perfect (yes really) for about 700 rounds. I carry it everyday. I really like the little gun.

April 1, 2004, 12:04 AM
Bought two P-32s in 98------both run perfectly with everything except the S&B FPFMJ. They cycled fine, just sometimes failed to fire due to hard primers. Bought a pair of P-11s some time later. They eat everything I feed um. Bought a P 3AT a couple of months ago, it had some problems with Silver Bear, but runs real slick with everything else. I carry the P 3AT everywhere. There's usually nothing wrong with the kel tecs that a little 400 grit sandpaper and oil won't fix. I have not yet had to send any of these back to the factory for repair or service. Lucky I guess.

April 1, 2004, 01:55 AM
Sometimes you get lemons. The Keltec .380 seemed like junk to me, but mine has not had a failure after 200 rounds. My CZ-75 broke its firing pin in half around 1,000 rounds.

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