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Kel Tec 380 improved???

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Bob79, Aug 18, 2004.

  1. Bob79

    Bob79 Well-Known Member

    I know this topic has been somewhat covered, but my question is the recently reliability of the P-3AT.

    Can some of you who have recently purchased one reply? Does the reliability/quality seem to be better now? I'm trying to wait to try one until the bugs are worked out, seems like people have posted how they called KT and they are sent new "improved" parts. I want to see if these better parts are being used in current production.

    I smith who I trust said overall KT's are designed well, and are fairly simple, but that he has seen the 380's go back more often than the 32's. And if they are the same size gun (pretty much) I would rather have the .380 cal.

    I'm gonna keep carrying my J-frame whenever possible, but I'd like to find the "ideal" semi-auto for when I need something smaller. I like my Seecamp, but the KT 380 is smaller in every way except for overall length, and the .380 is a little better. But the burning question is the reliability.
  2. Bart Noir

    Bart Noir Well-Known Member

    Bought one a few months back...

    ... and it was a jammamatic. I sent the slide and barrel and two other parts back for the chrome upgrade. Each day I approach my mailbox all a-quiver, hoping for the package. I'll let you know the result. It would fail to extract every 3 to 5 shots.

    Bart Noir
  3. duckslayer

    duckslayer Well-Known Member

    I have recently purchased a P3AT. It hasn't had one problem yet, although I do not have that many rounds through it.
  4. Series 70

    Series 70 Well-Known Member

    I bought one last month. Only about 75 rounds through it so far. I've had a couple FTF's - all but one I can attribute to a horrid grip. No issues with the pin moving at all. No other issues.

    I shot it last weekend at a 40-yard IDPA target from an improvised rest. Four rounds shot, four rounds on the target. Two of 'em just nicked the bottom, but they were there. The other two were good COM hits.

    So far, so good.
  5. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

  6. Safety First

    Safety First Well-Known Member

    Bob, I would suggest you opt for the hard chrome slide option for 2 reasons: first this will assure you that you are getting a late production model that has the latest improvements for reliability. second, it is only a $20.00 upgrade and does wonders for the appearance. I have only put a couple of magazines of speer gold dot 90 hp through mine. Of course that is no where near enough to determine reliablity, but no problems with those. I just ordered some more ammo today and when time allows I will try to put a significant amount through it and report back (it may be few weeks before that happens) Most people who have posted results regarding FTF & FTE are having few if any problems with the gold dots. they are a little pricey, but after all it will probably be your always gun and you don't want any nasty (deadly) surprises if you ever need your kel-tec.
    So the jury is still out on mine but I really think I am going to be happy once I have put couple hundred rounds thru it to test for reliablity..good luck
  7. Merc40

    Merc40 Member

    Bought mine 2 months ago and no problems at all. Recently put on the new P-sight but haven't got to shoot it yet.
  8. Vitamin G

    Vitamin G Well-Known Member

    I have about 200 rounds through mine. No problems. Only very minor fluff and buff. not even dremel'd
  9. alamo

    alamo Well-Known Member

    New KT's have all the latest parts upgrades. If you want chrome and can't find one, get the blue and send the slide & barrel, assembly pin and recoil spring catch to KT and they will swap them for chrome parts for $20. Best deal around. Here's the full scoop:

  10. mini14jac

    mini14jac Well-Known Member

    Just sent mine back for all of the upgrades, and the chrome treatment.
    The takedown pin still walked out, but they sent me a new one.
    Over 300 rounds so far, with no problems.

    It's my always gun, and I wouldn't carry anything that wasn't realiable.
    I try to get to the range at least once a month, and the P3AT always gets several mags run through it.

    I had to polish the chamber to get it to feed the cheap UMC ammo, but before the polishing, it fed several brands of hollow points, and S&B fmj just fine.
    It still won't fee Wolf, but most of them don't.

    So, there's a really good chance that you can get one out of the box that will be reliable with the right ammo.

    And, KelTec customer service is top notch.
  11. perrytrails

    perrytrails Well-Known Member

    I had problems with FTE, sent barrel and slide back and got the HC upgrade. After 100 flawless rds, its now clipped on the belt. The feed ramp appeared to be polished on the upgrade, just got it back Monday(16th), 2 and 1/2 weeks total turn around. :D
  12. hboy35

    hboy35 Well-Known Member


    bought mine new 2 months and about 200rds ago. Not a single problem of any kind. Has been cleaned once. Have only shot PMC FMJ in it. My advice is to keep the black/blued slide until you notice rust/corrosion problems. Black in the back pocket is less noticable than chrome....
    Only mod is to file the tip of the plastic trigger back so it isnt so sharp it cuts my big dumb finger.
  13. gbundersea

    gbundersea Well-Known Member

    To save bandwidth, see my detailed reply on this thread.

    My P-3AT (s/n H09xx) was purchased in April 2004. It was a layaway which had been canceled, so may not have been the very latest production. As noted in my other post, I did the fluff & buff, and the pistol has been very reliable. The assembly pin backed out once during heavy shooting, but Kel-Tec sent me 2 free replacements after a quick email to them.

    276 rounds and counting!

    The only other thing I've done to it is add a P-Sight, of course!
  14. azrael

    azrael Well-Known Member

    I have 2 of them...first one was bought when it appeared at the local gunsmiths...Prolly one of the first in this area....Because I frequent some of the KT forums I was able to have "fixed" any problems that were with the weapon...I did the mod on the pin and havent had any problems with it...400-500 rounds

    The second one I bought about 4 months ago...Havent had any worries with it at all...Granted I havent shot it as much as the first one, but I carry it every day...250-300 rounds

    P3AT's have had problems...99% of them are easily fixed either by your own hand or by sending it back to KT...They have the best customer service that I have ever dealt with..

    People are buying these things by the bucket load...of the pocket holsters I sell prolly 75% are for the P3AT<~~~~Shameless Plug!:D

    kt forums..

    MICHAEL T Well-Known Member

    Man came in gun shop todat with his KT he had picked up on monday. Said jamed 2or3 times per mag. Wanted it sent to company for repair.Q-control seems to be very hit and miss,people that like them seem willing to work on them,A lot of people are like this person and expect a working pistol for there money. Iam in second group myself.
  16. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    gbundersea, let me get this straight. You had a pin back out during VERY HEAVY shooting and now you have 276 rounds through the gun?

    You give the impression that 276 is some sort of high round count, so very heavy shooting is what, 6 rounds?
  17. Bob79

    Bob79 Well-Known Member


    Thanks for the info thus far guys, keep it coming!:D

    Although I think I may just stick w/ my Seecamp .32 for now, and give the KT 380 a little more time to have the bugs worked out. Seems as though there are still issues, even though the number of negative responses seems to be a little lower than threads I have read in the past.

    With Kel-Tec seems you just run a higher risk than the rest of the manufacturers of getting a gun that needs work. Although it is comforting hearing people say KT is really good at trying to fix things, even though some people have posted they've sent guns back several times w/o luck.

    I can deal with sending a gun back once, but I don't like the idea of several times, to me if somethings wrong, and I tell you what it is, then fix it the 1st time. I know you can get a .380 for about $250 brand new, but I'd gladly pay $350 for more reliability. That being said I can see myself getting one in the next 3-4 months.
  18. gbundersea

    gbundersea Well-Known Member


    I didn't imply that 276 rounds is a lot. It's just the number I've run through the gun.

    The conditions during which the pin began to back out were "heavy" in that it was sustained rapid-fire through a pistol I intentionally left dirty. I quickly put several magazines through it, firing and reloading almost as fast as I could. On the last mag, I noticed the pin just beginning to creep out.

    It was the old-style pin, probably due to the gun having been set aside for some time for the layaway which was canceled. Thus it wasn't the very latest production, in spite of the "H" serial number.

    One email to Kel-Tec caused 2 of the correct pins to appear in my mailbox, free of charge.

    For $229.99 plus about an hour or two of fluff & buff (which was besides a great way to familiarize myself with the pistol) I feel it was well worth it. With its size and light weight, it is truly my go-everywhere gun. It has been 100% reliable with my carry load, regardless of how dirty, and has only had 6 FTE's, all with cheap ammo and when filthy.
  19. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    So what is "sustained heavy fire" in a Kel Tec. Maybe the Kel Tec owners could come down to Texas for the annual Glock v. 1911 match and make it a Glock v. 1911 v. Kel Tec match. Bring 1000 rounds and expect some stages to go as far as 50 rounds (hits on target) before ending. You will need several mags.

    While I was poking fun, I keep thinking Kel Tecs might be dandy little guns if the best thing I heard about them was not the extremely high number of happy customer service stories. Good customer service if fine, but something is odd when nearly everybody needs to use it.

    So you had a pin back out and so they sent you two? Undoubtedly they don't expect pin #2 to last very long either. What a shame. For my other pistols, they don't even get broken down down for cleanng and lubing until after 500 rounds and yours was broken before 276. This is scarey for a gun that has a primary purpose of being a self defense gun.
  20. kokapelli

    kokapelli Well-Known Member

    In the first 7 months of production of the P-3AT, KelTec delivered over 10 times as many P-3ATs as NAA and Seecamp 380s combined!

    Sure there were some problems with this new pistol, but if you look at the volume (30,000 P-3ATs in the first 7 months of production!) the problems were minimal and now are almost none existant.

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