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Why I slam Kel-Tec

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by PlayboyPenguin, Mar 30, 2010.

  1. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin Pacific Northwest Well-Known Member 2016 Volunteer

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    A lot of people ask me why I never recommend Kel-Tec pistols and why I actively discourage anyone from ever trusting their lives to one. Several people have noticed that I am pretty forgiving of most brands but seem to have it out for Kel-Tec. I will relate this story again as an example of why I feel the way I do about these cheap little guns. This is not my only bad experience with them, but it was one of the most educational ones.

    I went to the range early one morning to get some shooting in before I spent the day working in the back yard.

    When I got there I spent a couple minutes talking to one of the employees. I noticed that they had a Kel Tec P-3AT in the case. I asked about it since the owner of the range had told me before that the Kel-Tec guns were really not suitable as rentals since they break too easily. He said they got a really good deal on a few new ones so they ordered four of them since alot of people ask for them. He said they were good little "get off me guns" but that they have only had them for less than a week and one had already went to the big gunsmith in the sky. I asked about warranty repair and he said for what they paid for them it probably wasn't worth the hassle or expense but they were checking into it.

    I myself have actually considered buying a Kel-Tec (hard chromed slide with grey body) and there seems to always be alot of talk about them on the boards so I thought I would rent one and see how it felt. The fact that one had broken under rental use did not discourage me because I would rarely be shooting it. It would most likely be a "slipped in short pockets when I have no other option at the beach" type of gun. I would not worry about practicing with it too much since it would be, just as the guy had said earlier, a "get off me gun."

    I usually shoot my own guns at the range. I have rarely rented. Today I was going to be shooting all .45colt revolvers. I decided what the **** and rented the Kel-Tec. I figured it would be fun and I could see how I liked it.

    To try and keep an already long story from becoming a dreadfully long story I will keep the rest as short as possible.

    I decided to load six into the mag each time and shoot five round groups...leaving on in the chamber each time.

    After about 30 rounds with the first pistol the trigger stopped functioning. It would pull back with very little resistance and would not fire. I took it back into the front desk and after taking a look at it the guy replaced it with another one.

    I took the second one figuring I at least wanted to finish the remain 20 rounds I had purchased. I loaded up the mag, chambered a round and started firing. I forgot my little system of leaving one in the chamber and fired all six. All six went off fine. Then I reloaded the mag and attempted to chamber a round. The slide did not move smoothly. It felt very wrong and nothing like it did the first time. I moved over into some better light and looked the gun over. The grip frame had cracked right down the left side. I assumed this was causing the problem.

    At this point I was afraid they were going to think I was either a jinx or I was purposely killing these poor little pistols. I took this one back inside and showed it to him. I was very happy when he said that is what happened to the first one. He asked if I wanted my money back or to rent something else instead. I decided what the **** and looked in the case for something else.

    Needless to say I do not think I will be buying a Kel-Tec. I am not passing judgement on the entire line. I know tons of people have flawless ones but they either just don't like me or I have very bad Kel-Tec mojo.
  2. matt_w

    matt_w Hillsboro, OR Active Member

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    Anyone else read this as "Why Islam Kel-Tec"?
  3. NK777

    NK777 West of Portland Member

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    Well I hope my LCP copycat lasts longer then that. I've had no issues with it thus far however I would argue that it is not a copycat exactly. I feel Ruger made some good changes to the gun and likely have a far better manufacturing process. The Ruger LCP is definately finished a lot better FWIW. Anybody have any horror stories like PBP above of an LCP self destructing?
  4. deen_ad

    deen_ad Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    have had six KT's with not a problem with any of them. Right now I still have one of my original two P-11/P-40's. The P-11 I converted to a P-40 with the conversion kit KT used to have, then added the .357 SIG barrel to it. I now have the P-40 with the .357SIG barrel in it as well as the P-3AT and a SU-16C. NONE has ever been a problem. The P-40 I sent to an outside outfit and had the slide hard chromed and black coated. The black coating started chipping off so I removed it but that's not a KT problem.
    Guess I'm one of the "lucky ones"
  5. 9mmMike

    9mmMike Gladstone, OR Member

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    Islam has nothing to do with Kel-Tec, or I never would have tried them to begin with.

    But after owning a PF-9 and putting about 600 rounds through it, I sold it as it was not a reliable defensive handgun. I averaged a FTF about once every 40-60 rounds .... Never went away even with a trip back to the factory ....

    Switched to a Kahr for the mouse gun and won't look back .... Much better accuracy, reliability, trigger, etc ... Well, everything except for the price.
  6. Cougfan2

    Cougfan2 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

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    The only time I ever shot a Kel-Tec was my brother's pistol. He swore by them, but the thing siezed up on me on the second shot and it was out of commission for the day. Granted this was an early model pistol, but it pretty much soured me on them.
  7. kenr74

    kenr74 Oregon Active Member

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    Never had a problem with my P3AT. I like it for what it is.
  8. Trlsmn

    Trlsmn In Utero (Portland) Well-Known Member

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    I read it as why Kel-tecs slamfire. :p

    Back to the topic of cheap guns, I would ask a potential purchaser of a cheap gun the same question I used to asked customers when I worked for a motorcycle shop that asked to buy a cheap helmet: "How much is your head worth?"
  9. raftman

    raftman Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I've had my Kel-Tec for a while now and have fired hundreds of rounds through it. No issues or complaints of any kind. I've also allowed a number of people to try it out, male and female, of all shapes and sizes, and varying levels of firearms experience, and it hasn't misbehaved for any of them. Now some of them didn't like the gun because it's a bit snappy given its small size/weight, and some didn't like the DAO trigger, but it's always worked. I carry it more than any other gun, even though I do own nicer, more expensive pistols.
  10. kamshaft

    kamshaft Pisa, Italy Member

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    My opinion is that they are like a Chevy...something to swear AT rather than something to swear by :D
  11. Wenis

    Wenis Tri-Cities, WA Member

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    My P3AT has functioned flawlessly so far.

    It is not a range gun, but something I have taken to the range to put a box of 50 through a few times so I feel safe with it in my pocket. But I bought it for what it is, a pocket gun.

    • The DAO trigger sucks
    • it's too small for my hand
    • the sights are practically non-existent
    • there's no slide lock back
    • only holds 6+1


    • Small
    • Lightweight
    • Inexpensive
    • Doesn't jam
    • Heavy trigger for pocket carry
    • and most importantly...I'm more likely to carry it
  12. hendrixfan

    hendrixfan Clackamas County Member

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    I love my su-16b. Accurate and reliable so far.
  13. FatherHolyHoly

    FatherHolyHoly WA Active Member

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    PF-9. Worked out the FTF's, then the slide assembly pin broke after 170 rounds making the gun useless. I figured it may be a defective pin but the same thing happened with the replacement. I sent it in to them to be fixed and sold it the day it came back. I'll never own one again, that's for sure.
  14. Correctthought

    Correctthought The big PDX and Vicinity Member

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    :laugh: Yes, had to do a double take.

    Oh yeah, I bought a Kel-tec, I'm unhappy with it. I may try the new .22 mag pistol, only after about a year's worth of reviews.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2010
  15. coosbaycreep

    coosbaycreep 9 miles South of Roseburg Active Member

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    I've owned 3 keltecs now: a P32 that I gave to my mom, a PF9 I sold because it was too big, and the P32 I carry everyday.

    I haven't put many rounds through any of them, but only the first one I had ever had any kind of malfunctions, and I'd still trust my life to that one as long as there's a round in the chamber.

    Every company makes lemons, regardless of price. There's as many complaints about kimber reliability as there is about keltec reliability. When you consider how many keltecs are out there being carried on a daily basis (I'm fairly certain they're the best selling pocket pistol), I'll bet there's more people who like 'em and trust them than otherwise.

    There's only 2 other pistols that come to mind that's comparable in size and weight to keltecs; ruger LCP, and rohrbaugh. The LCP was recalled right after it came out (and it's pretty much just a keltec clone anyway), and a rohrbaugh is almost $1k. Keltecs are good guns for what they cost, and for what they were designed for (small gun to be carried a lot and shot a little).

    I can't comment on their other guns, as I haven't shot any of them yet, but I consider keltec to be one of the most innovative firearms manufacturers.
  16. longcolt

    longcolt Zephyrhills, FL Active Member

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    I do know that Kel-tec has some issues with the first generation P3ATs and had to change out the extractor, I believe.

    The are strictly a back up weapon, will not stand up to range use and are not designed for high performance ammo.

    I have had the P-32, P3AT 380 and the PF-9mm. All have performed fine after a 200-300 round break in period. But I don't pump a lot of round through them.

    I clean them often since I pocket carry in a pocket holster. To clean out the lint that accumulates and make sure they are in good operating condition.

    Makes no sense to me the comments the range owner made about the broken Kel-tecs. There is no cost to him to have them repaired, kel-tec will repair them no cost every-time and they are darn good about it. His only cost would be the cost of shipping them back to the factory in Florida.

    I have been shooting since the 1960's and every once in a while I get a gun with a problem and sometimes its a high end manufacturer. I had a Springfield 1911 GI that never could be fixed and I sold it. But I am sure I could have persisted and sent the gun back again and again until Springfield made it right.

    Kel-tec is/was one of the original supplier of back up firearms for many police officers for years. They would not buy them if they were not well made and reliable for that purpose.

    I suspect there is a lot more to the story about those range guns!
  17. jordanvraptor

    jordanvraptor Oregon City, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    So did the range guys give any indication why the first one failed? Trigger spring or transfer bar? Makes me rethink the plastic fantastic guns.
  18. the4thshake

    the4thshake Portland Active Member

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    I had one of the early P3AT guns that came out. It carried nice but I couldn't keep the thing. It jammed way too much and was hard to hold on to. Mine never broke but it did seem sort of frail. After several years of not trusting it I sold it.
  19. CaughtSteelin

    CaughtSteelin Oregon Member

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    My first P3AT gen2 has worked flawlessly! I have around 500+ rounds through it with no hic ups. Now the Gen1 is a different story.

    I think there great. Small enough to throw in a pocket and conceal very well. May not be the biggest caliber...but I am not comparing my "package" either. :laugh:
  20. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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    Some people's heads aren't worth the neck they're stapled to... :D