Kel Tec P-11 reliability and durability


December 29, 2002, 03:31 AM
What are your thoughts & impressions of the P11? How durable are they? How reliable are they?

Would you bet your life on one?

Saw one in a gun store today for $229 NIB. That about right?


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December 29, 2002, 03:38 AM
Love mine.

Totally reliable, and that's even after modifying the trigger to my liking. A friend also has a new one from November. He loves his too, and it's also been totally reliable even though he doesn't bother cleaning his guns.

Bet my life on it? On mine, yes, because I've "proven" it, but that's the requirement for ANY gun I'm going to carry.

$229 is about right. My friend paid $216 at a gun show. I paid more quite a while ago from a gunshop that I eagerly pay a premium to because of other benefits I get from it.

December 29, 2002, 03:43 AM
I'm a 1911 style guy at heart,like wheels too. That said I needed a "niche"filled. My gunsmith kept touting the P-11. Never had a polymer gun. I shot hundreds of rounds through his, I really tried to "not like it".
I walk in and before I could say anything my gunsmith says "Ok I've got your new gun here, gimmee your CHL and $, oh I already tweaked the trigger".

Yes I carry, Yes I trust it. I put around 1k 'get used to it rds" plus 750 rds of carry ammo (reliable test for me) I even tried mixing types of ammo. Bottom line after I dunno lost track close to 4K rds never had a problem ever. Primary or BUG, been primary here of late. Accurate, reliable, light small, conceals well.

December 29, 2002, 05:37 AM
I tried to tear mine up, couldn't do it. My son and I ran a full case of wolf ammo thru it in one day. We broke, the gun was fine. They do take some practice to shoot well. Recoil is snappy. Wolff makes some after market springs that help. The finger extension is a plus and a slip on rubber grip don't hurt none either. Kel-tec is also the nicest company to work with, if you need a gunsmith, you actually get to talk with the gunsmith.

December 29, 2002, 10:30 AM
I have an early example that`s been a primary carry gun for years. I lost count of how many rounds I have through it somewhere around 8,000. It`s jammed twice in that time,once when it was fired with the shooters whole palm behind the slide and once when filthy dirty and shooting Win. white box cheapo ammo. That time it didn`t go fully into battery and a light tap on the back of the slide had it perking along again. It`s probably the most reliable gun I`ve ever had. That said I don`t think they`re for everyone. Their small size and longish trigger pull require some time and practice to master. Many folks aren`t willing to do that and would be better served my a Kahr or other sub compact. However if you`re willing to put the time in and lots of ammo through it I feel the P-11 still represents a unique package of size,weight,power and "carryability" that`s yet to be matched. BTW it`s optional IWB belt clip is IMO one of the greatest things going for CCW. It sounds hokey but it works really great and makes carrying the P-11 effortless and hassle free. Marcus

December 29, 2002, 12:04 PM
Thanks, guys.



December 29, 2002, 12:04 PM
I have only about 500 rounds through my P-11 but I've read accouts of some who have 10,000 rounds and many more through theirs. The only problem I've had was the assembly pin backing out which has afflicted a few P-11s. That was quickly fixed by KT sending me 3 replacement pins under warranty. There are a number of manufacturers that won't send you free replacement parts, they want you to send the whole pistol in. KT isn't one of them. For more complicated problems they do ask you to send it in to make sure it gets fixed right.
I like my P-11 a lot. The trigger shoe and grip extender help with the long DA trigger pull. Blackhawk has posted a modification that will help this considerably.

December 29, 2002, 12:56 PM
I do weird stuff to assure myself a carry gun will work. Mine is stock--yes my gunsmith did his "magic"with the trigger, other than this and mag extension--stock.

Couple of tidbits, picking my gunsmith's brain. I'm personally not a fan of striker guns. The P-11 will reset the hammer on a light strike (which I have never had) and strike again. If P-11 is slightly out of battery-it will fire. He and I both pushed against target board...bang, everytime. I shot it in the rain, dropped it in mud puddle, snow, borrowed some extra mags and shot as fast as could...P-11 won. Upside down (btw mags don't drop 'up';) sideways, weak handed, two finger...won't fail.

I agree range time is needed to adjust to trigger, but for its purpose a lot of gun for the money, groundhog huntin is fun. Only downside--if there is one is my finger is used to a crisp 4# 1911 style...My wheels are crisp also...I'm used to a faster reset...but with practice one can get pretty quick with these.

Oh I was wading, durn bar ditch pulled out in front of me, drop mag , rack slide, no obstructions, loaded and yep,works wet. And I like the fact will fire w/o mag in gun.

December 29, 2002, 01:24 PM
After all this praise I want one. It seems like the perfect carry gun if we ever get CCW. The trick is finding one for less than $260 in Central Ohio.

December 29, 2002, 02:14 PM
I have a blue on black with belt clip and Hogue Handall. 100% reliable, awesome gun. Yes, I do bet my life on it. $229 sounds good.


December 29, 2002, 02:28 PM
new owner info:

many KT info pages:
(including Trigger Mods to lighten, shorten and smooth the trigger)

December 29, 2002, 02:51 PM
I don't trust my P-11 because the first time out to the range with it, after about 105 rounds, mine locked up with an empty (just fired) case still in the chamber. The slide wouldn't open. It was locked up so bad the gunsmith at the range had to work with it for about 10 minutes to get it open.

It also has a pretty severe rust problem on the slide. I'm going to send it to KT for the slide swap (chrome). Then I'll give it another chance. I already put on the trigger shoe, Houge slip on grip and extended magazine baseplate. I really like the size, weight and capacity, so I hope it will end up a reliable gun.

December 29, 2002, 02:58 PM
I wanted one for about a year or so but I was worried because it was so cheap. Then I saw all the praise but I didn't have any money for such purchases for a little while. Then when I had the money again no MD dealers seemed to have any in stock. Then when I decided I'd order one it was no longer legal to bring one into the state (they don't provide shell casings and the state discontinued the program allowing dealers to pay someone to test fire to get a casing at the state police lab). Now even if they do start with the casings they will be illegal here since they don't have built in locks.:mad: :mad:

Anyway, one dealer does have a P40 that he's had for quite some time. I've been tempted now and again but the praise people have for the P11 doesn't seem to go for the 40 too. In fact, from the sounds of it Kel-tec has had some real problems with the 40, which is why they discontinued it. So the one Kel-tec that is available for me I'm avoiding due to reliability concerns while the good ones (I also really want a P32) are unavailable.

I hate MD and I'm stuck here for at least a couple more years- arrrgh!

December 29, 2002, 03:02 PM
I went a complete 180 on DAO pistols with this gun. Started out very much against it, only got it for the price and size. Took it to the range and after 20 rounds turned into a believer. You can spend twice as much but you won't do better than the P11.

December 29, 2002, 03:05 PM
If it is anything like the P32 I had, they are great. The only reason I dumped mine is it did not fit my hand at all and the trigger pull was too long for me. Never had a malfunction with it.

December 29, 2002, 03:10 PM
I like to shoot mine for fun, but I would not bet my life on it. It won't always eject the empty round. About 1 or 2 rounds out of 100 will fail to eject. I bought mine in Hampton, VA for about $230.00 around 3 or 4 years ago, but I have seen them at gun shows for cheaper than that. I am going to get the fluff and buff done to it as I hear it helps, but don't really know when I will get around to it.

Chan Bates
December 29, 2002, 03:46 PM

The P-40 had some initial challenges, it is true, because it absolutely pushed the design envelope for a lightweight, small, full-power pistol. It was supposedly just a slightly enlarged P-11, which had faced similar challenges, but that wasn't enough.

The magazines had to be changed to feed the larger bullet higher up the ramp. KT made the change and replaced older mags for free.

The feed ramp also needed to be shortened and I believe the angle changed slightly. KT did, and made good on any old barrels. Other than these two upgrades, I am not aware of any mechanical problems that the P-40 had that would not occur in any similar pistol, including the P-11, from time to time.

I consider wear and tear on certain parts, like extractors, ejectors and slide stops, to be normal wear. In the case of KT, the slide stop and ejector are stamped parts, so I expect them to wear out. They are inexpensive and very easy to replace. When mine have broken, the gun continues to function. I keep them on hand and change them every once in a while if they have not broken (ca. 1500 rounds). Both models take hi-cap S&W mags, a nice plus for home defense or as a backup.

The biggest problem with the P-40, and the real reason KT discontinued manufacturing it, was because they had a large number of returned guns that had no problems. The shooters could not handle the recoil and would limpwrist the guns, causing feeding and ejection failures. Improper slide lubrication could have also contribute to this. As with any semi-auto, a light film of grease is necessary to get consistent slide functioning and to protect the parts from wear. You cannot shoot a KT dry, and it will sling oil off the fast moving surfaces in a short time.

I carry one of my three P-40's every day. They are absolutely reliable, but they need maintenance, as with any carry gun. However, because the gun is so light and small, the balance of the feeding/firing/ejection sequence must be maintained. A lot of crud from not cleaning the gun, improper lubrication, weak recoil springs, weak grip, etc., could all cause functioning (read "slide travel") problems more quickly in the KT's than in heavier guns that have more mass to be more forgiving.

Understanding all this, the KT P-40 has the best combination of concealed carry characteristics for me, and money is not a consideration when I am out to protect lives.

My two P-11's also run consistently. I just shot an extensive IDPA match yesterday (ca. 130 rounds) with my oldest one (serial # < 3000, about 3,000 rounds through it). The gun performed flawlessly and accurately, considering it is meant for use at under 20 feet for self defense and not as a target weapon. Most of the stages required shots at 20+ feet, and a lot of head shots. Those are very challenging for any small gun, but I did fine with the little guy, even compared to the full size 1911's. I'm just not quite as fast on the trigger or aiming. I beat out a Glock 26'er on almost all stages, and numerous 1911 pattern guns, almost all of which had function failures (Kimbers & Para's). One Glockster in our group had a light strike and performed a TRB. I would have just pulled the trigger a second time and the gun would have gone bang. (Then TRB if necessary).

There are those who have had bad experiences with KT's. Early manufactured guns had some challenges (trigger pull too heavy) that the factory has been excellent to take care of. The more recent guns rarely have a problem of any kind. They are now a mature product for a specific use--concealed carry or a small but powerful kit gun. The triggers are their safety, just like on a revolver. I consider my KTs to be my thin, lightweight 11-shot revolvers that reload very fast. Most problems relate to improper lubrication and limpwristing.

The design is also very simple and easy to understand, making maintenance and even personally performed upgrades and modifications possible. I have done a lot to my guns to get them to be exactly what I want, since I stake my life on them. That could be another thread.

Obviously, I could go on. I'll stop here by saying again, the KT is the best combination of concealed carry characteristics in a 9MM/.40 S&W pistol out there, if you can handle them. There is even a .357 SIG conversion barrel available for the P-40 for those who think that caliber is the ne plus ultra of anti-personnel rounds this week.


December 29, 2002, 04:21 PM
Although I don't have a lot of rounds through my P11, it has been extremely relieable so far. Ran 50-75 rnds through it yesterday at sub zero temps and it worked flawlessly even after I droped it in a snow bank. :D
btw: I got mine for $220 to my door from CDNN Investments.

December 29, 2002, 04:28 PM
My P-11 has been !00% also. Not a single problem in about 1500 rounds. I trust it completely and it rotates carry duty with an XD-9. Can't be beat for the value.

December 29, 2002, 04:44 PM
re1973:I'm personally not a fan of striker guns. :confused:

Since the P-11 is not striker fired (nor is the P-32), I don't understand your context....

December 29, 2002, 04:59 PM

Watching my gunsmith and seeing how stuff works, I decided for me I didn't want a striker fired gun.

So when considering a 'niche' gun I ruled these firearms out. Upon learning and seeing a Keltec P-11 broken down and learning how it works-I was pleasantly surprised.

You've worked on yours--interesting little bugger--right;)

December 29, 2002, 05:09 PM

Thanks... that makes perfect sense.

I was so impressed with the internals and design of the P-11, I became an enthusiastic George Kelgren fan. The design is ingenioius!

Later I bought a P-32, and was equally impressed with it, although I'm not a fan of the trigger block because it doesn't give second strike capability and makes the trigger too "stagey" in addition to storing some spring energy.

I'm as impressed as anybody can be with KT's customer service. I've asked for some parts, and they've just sent them including extra assembly pins, hammer springs, etc.

I'm eagerly anticipating what the 2 new products KT is introducing at the SHOT Show in February, and I hope one is a P-32 sized mouser with a bigger caliber -- .380, or [gasp!] 9mm Luger.

Rohrbaugh is debuting its 9mm Luger P-32 sized mouser there, so it should be an interesting show.

Any new KT pistol is on my acquisition list, and so is a Rohrbaugh.

December 29, 2002, 05:18 PM
I'm still learning...always will. Sometimes meanings get lost on the net. Have learned from you (among other stuff) neat stuff about the P-11. I haven't shot a P-32...don't know why.

I'm looking forward to what KT comes out with. I realize their market is a niche for CCW, 45ACP probably won't even be considered. I'm betting a .380, or a single stack 9mm.

I figure your going to shot show, I'm expecting a full report about KT and Rohrbaugh...with pics of course:D

I've checked the Rohrbaugh site, but for the $ the KT gonna be hard to beat IMO.

Oh pick up some Jerky while your there---its what makes gun shows...

December 29, 2002, 05:30 PM
I'm betting a .380, or a single stack 9mm. I'm HOPING for both! :D

December 29, 2002, 05:36 PM
Why oh Why did I just Know that...:D

December 29, 2002, 05:45 PM
Realizing what the KT market is, I'd still like an 4" bbl, or option for my P-11. Legal bbl limit is 4" here for hunting. Not that I would choose a 9mm, or purposly shoose this platform, but walking the property per se I'd be legal. Not that I haven't had some groundhogs run into some 9's while on private property. :D

22 lr perhaps? dunno:

December 29, 2002, 07:00 PM
22 lr perhaps?Anything's possible, but I doubt it.

22s are great blowback design rounds, but KT doesn't have any experience with them, insteead prefering the superior (IMO) locked breech designs. In addition, there's a loud and consistent wail that the only thing wrong with the P-32 is that it fires the wimpy .32 ACP cartridge, and can't KT just ramp it up to at least .380? But I haven't heard anybody wanting a new 22 pistol design since Ruger and Browning own that market segment.

The .32 and .380 rounds are within a hair of each other lengthwise, and design wise, it would be easy to modify the P-32 design to handle .380s.

There are very few people on the planet who've fired the P-32 sized Rohrbaugh 9mm Luger, and I'm not one of them. However, the reports are that its recoil is very close to a PPK .380, which is heavier and a blowback gun. That's due to the locked breech design of the Rohrbaugh, but the point is that a locked breech KT designed, P-32 sized 9mm mouser shouldn't have much more recoil than a .380, and maybe the same if KT added some steel here and there, like maybe a steel frame instead of aluminum.

Speculation's fun, but we'll probably just have to wait and see because I've got a feeling that security at KT is tight and the employees are very loyal. :D

December 29, 2002, 07:45 PM
I agree wholeheartdly about the 22lr, and blowback, just the topic came up and how KT might design something. Agree the market in semi spoken for...

I doubt if they'd ever go anything less than a .32 (someone in hashing around thought .25acp)

I'm sticking with a .380 or single stack 9mm as my guess.
But, hate to place a bet on what Blackhawk orders in Feb. ;)

concerned citizen
December 29, 2002, 09:34 PM
kel-tec p-11.

I've owned two and both have been 100% reliable. One thing i would stick with the plastic guide rod, I swapped the plastic out for a metal one and with in 50rds noticed the frame getting battered from the metal rod, I had put about 500 rounds through it with the plastic rod with no issue..:confused:

Hey Blackhawk...did you get an e-mail from Eric Rohrbaugh about taking orders for the new little 9 and being on his list to receive first dibs? I would have taken him up on the offer but I don't believe they will ever be legal in massachsuttes, same with whatever the new kel-tec offering will be... :mad:

December 30, 2002, 01:05 AM

No email, but I'm supposed to be in line for an early R-9.

Why don't you think the Rohrbaugh's will ever be legal in MA? The MS-9 with the internal magnetic trigger lock would satisfy the laws there, wouldn't it?

December 30, 2002, 02:29 AM
I'd be willing to bet that a .380 on the P11 frame will be one of the new offerings since they already make one for export. High on my wish list is a .45, same gun, only a bit bigger.

December 30, 2002, 10:05 AM
You may be right, Okiecruffler, and that's a KT pistol I wouldn't buy. Wouldn't be interested in a P-11 chambered for a .32 or .25 either...! :D

December 30, 2002, 11:30 AM
whew, thought I was all alone wanting a 45 ACP KT

December 30, 2002, 03:11 PM
you could get that P-40 and then if you don't like it trade for a 9mm slide and barrel. You can usualy find someone willing to trade even for you, and since the barrel and slide are just machined parts you can use normal mail to exchange them. You would have to double check your specific state laws, but I'm pretty sure that would fly.

Also KT might exchange the .40 for 9mm if you call up and ask them (but I would give someone on the boards first wack at upgrading because they are not selling any more.)

concerned citizen
December 30, 2002, 04:47 PM
Blackhawk...The MS-9 with the internal magnetic trigger lock would satisfy the laws here I believe but i'm starting to give up hope for any changes in this state.

Thus far glock,H&K,Kahr and NAA are not interested in doing buisiness here. We have heard for over a year that glocks will be compliant, they have the internal lock,loaded chamber indicator,NY+ trigger all that was left was a hidden serial #.
The boston pd. dept is issued the glock 17/19 and they are not even on the compliant list to be bought new...:confused:

The attorny general ingnors requests for what is needed to be done for compliance.

December 30, 2002, 11:32 PM
I sure hope the P11 is good! I am going to try and get one next weekend at the show, or if I fail there, at the shop.

December 31, 2002, 10:55 AM
Saw this at the KTOG site. How about a lightweight .50 BMG for their next pistol ?

I really like these guys....

Seriously, since a coworker told me how his wife's P-32 surpassed his own NAA Guardian, I've been intrigued by KT products. My P-11 has not had any fluff and buff procedures other than a trigger stop and it shoots fine. No problems so far but I'll inform the group when I have some...

Glad to be aboard, too, from TFL:

Pico :D

Dave R
January 1, 2003, 01:10 PM
Another happy Kel-Tec owner. I find the accuracy surprising, once I got used to the trigger. I have shot mine at 100 yards, at a junk real estate sign. Hit is almost every time. Surprised me.

January 1, 2003, 04:06 PM
If you can hit that sign at 100 yards with a Kel Tec, you're cheating, Dave. I'll bet you're holding your P-11 with a firm grip! :D

Seriously, every P-11 owner who complains about accuracy seems to take loose one handed Leo Carillo type shots. Remember him? He was Pancho, the Cisco Kid's sidekick on the old TV show. In the horseback running gun battles, he'd kinda swing his revolver around and it would go off somewhere in the arc. Even as a little kid, I thought that was hilarious. Turns out that a lot of handgun shooters are so used to heavy pistols that they think pulling the trigger the instant the sights are on target is proper shooting technique. Maybe they can get close if the pistol's heavy enough and the trigger's short and light enough. Then P-11's eat their lunch because they're light with a long, heavy trigger.

Trigger control is the key to shooting P-11s accurately. The guns themselves are, as you say, surprisingly accurate!

January 1, 2003, 11:12 PM
Mine is a fairly early model. I had some initial problems with it.

KelTec stood behind it and made it 100%. I had the blued slide
nickel plated by the wonderful Jack Fuselier. The gun ran great till the extractor broke. I sent it to KelTec, they not only fixed the problem under warranty.......

Since the slide was nickeled, they must have assumed I didn't want a blued slide. They replaced the slide with a chrome one at no charge. An upgrade for free!

Their service is why I own a P-32 as well.

My P-11 has a ton of rounds through it by now.

Great gun.

Felonious Monk
January 2, 2003, 01:30 PM
My P11 (s/n 117xxx)
--was the first gun I ever bought ('tho I was given a snubbie first)
--was purchased instead of a Taurus PT-111 (thank G-d)
--was purchased from another KTOG member
--has enabled me to learn about minor home 'smithing
--has been 100% reliable
...and I love it.

All that said, it's a little too big to carry as an always gun.
Not quite what I want for a Home Defense or SD gun.
For sentimental reasons (you never forget your first :D ), I'm not going to get rid of it, but I "need" another P32 worse than I "need" a P11.

If a compact 9 is on your radar screen, this is the one to get.
Kahr (wassup wit da Moonie thing?) is comparable at twice the price
Glunks have just never turned my crank
Sigs seem nice, but they better be for that kind of money.

January 2, 2003, 01:47 PM
OT P-11
I was instructing a left handed student. I put one of those green stick on felt furniture protectors on the side. I did this for her to 'touch'-keeping finger off trigger along side of gun in a safe manner, to ingrain the habit. Another student with a more expensive gun noticed " ha ha whats that for?". Another instructor " thats to protect the KT from the rough shooters bench". Fellow immediatly had to go check his gun for scratches. :D

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