Continued problems... (new range report)

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by TK421, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. TK421

    TK421 New Member

    18
    Jan 21, 2011
    Hi all,

    I bought a new P3AT a couple of weeks ago and since then have put 250 rounds through the gun.  Unfortunately I have experienced problems that don't seem to be improving.  The biggest issue has been failure-to-feed, which can usually be corrected by a firm tap on the bottom of the magazine.  On 5-6 occasions this has been unsuccessful, and I have to strip the magazine out by hand (the mag release button will not work while the misfeed is happening.)  I have also had a number of FTE's, which are worse toward the end of the session when the gun is pretty dirty.  On two occasions, the takedown pin has backed out about 1/4 inch in conjunction with a FTE.

    I have tried 4 different types of ammunition, all FMJs (Speer, Federal AE, Remington UMC, and PMC Bronze.)  There is little to no difference between them with regards to failure rate.  Also, I am an experienced, trained shooter (LEO.)  Admittedly, most of that experience has been with larger guns, so I have considered that limp-wristing might be contributing, but I am fairly confident that I have made the necessary adjustments to my grip when shooting this pistol to rule that out.

    Oh, I also did a limited fluff and buff after the first shooting session:  polished and lightly sanded the feed ramp, chamber, hammer interface, and slide rails.  The gun has been thoroughly cleaned and lubricated prior to both shooting sessions.

    The point of all this:  is it time to contact Kel Tec and let them inspect it, or am I missing something??  Has anyone else continued to experience these types of teething problems after this many rounds?   I love the size and weight of the P3AT and would like this to be my primary CCW, but with a failure every 12-15 rounds, I can't trust it yet.

    On a side note, this board has been a wealth of information, and I have found tons of useful info here!

     
     
  2. MphsTiger1981

    MphsTiger1981 New Member

    387
    Feb 4, 2010
    Re: Continued problems after 250 rounds

    TK,

    Have you checked to see if the button screw, located on the right side of the slide, which holds the extractor in place is good and tight? That would be the first place I would check. I had a recent model that did the same thing you are describing, and it always did this when the screw was working loose and backing out. If yours is loose, take just a drop of blue loctite on a toothpick and put it under the head of the screw, then tighten it down, but don't over-tighten.

    good luck,

    Robert
     

  3. TK421

    TK421 New Member

    18
    Jan 21, 2011
    Re: Continued problems after 250 rounds

    Thanks for the suggestion Robert. I checked the extractor screw, and it seems tight.
     
  4. 3wbdriver

    3wbdriver Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 2, 2005
    Louisiana
    Re: Continued problems after 250 rounds

    Do any of your misfeeds happen on the first round or only while shooting?

    If it occurs while shooting you may be experiencing some form of limp wristing. Even with .380 it's a really light gun and needs a firm grip. If you push up on the bottom of the magazine while it is jammed it should relieve the tension on the catch enough to allow it to be dropped.

    If you are comfortable that your shooting technique is all in good form, then yes you may well need to call Kel-tec. But generally most of the feed issues with new P3ATs is shooting technique related.
     
  5. Toforo

    Toforo New Member

    769
    Feb 10, 2010
    Columbia, MO
    Re: Continued problems after 250 rounds

    When I first started shooting my 380 I had to adjust my grip....

    ...even the LIGHTEST touch of the mag release would cause the mag to "drop" just a  hair - enough to cause failure to feed with symptoms exactly as you've described.

    I adjusted my grip to keep my fingers WELL away from the mag release and the problem stopped.

    It was the only failure I've ever experienced with this gun.
     
  6. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Texas
    Re: Continued problems after 250 rounds

    Assuming you are not limpwritsting, it sounds like you have done due diligence.  Such issues can be caused by an out-of-spec- part/s.  I'd call KT service and talk to them.  They'll probably advise that you send it in.  Since this was a new gun that never ran right, ask nicely and you might get a call tag for inbound shipping, which they are not required to do under the warranty.
     
  7. TK421

    TK421 New Member

    18
    Jan 21, 2011
    Re: Continued problems after 250 rounds

    Thanks for the suggestions guys.  The misfeeds mostly happen while shooting-- I've only had one or two times when it (I) failed to chamber the first round properly.  Another kind of odd facet is that the misfeeds differ-- with some the round is striking the bottom of the feed ramp (producing a smiley.)  Others are tilted up, almost across the face of the chamber.  Those ones require the mag to be stripped out.  Once the magazine came out with the round on top standing straight up!

    I am also fairly confident that I am not limp-wristing, especially since the feeding problems occur at all points during a shooting session (as opposed to more often near the end, when fatigue erodes technique.)  This last time out I really tried to focus on technique, making sure I had a solid "push-pull" with my hands, locking my shooting wrist.  I don't feel that I'm contacting the mag release either.  I will say that the FTE problems have occurred more often toward the end of a session, so a dirty gun (or fatigue) may be contributing a little there.  As I said, I do have a fair bit of shooting experience, but it has been almost totally with larger framed (i.e. duty size) weapons, so perhaps there is something about my techinque that just isn't clicking with the P3AT.  I do understand that these smaller pistols can be fussy, so I'm not looking for perfection.  I think a reasonable standard before I carry it is 50 rounds with no malfunctions.  

    In any event, I'll be calling Kel Tec monday.  Assuming they want me to send it in, I can feel confident when it comes back that it has no mechanical issues.  If I keep getting misfeeds then, I'll know it's me!  Good suggestion about the shipping tag TxCajun, I will definitely try that! I really like this little pistol, so I want to make it work.

    Sorry this is so long-winded :D  I will report back with updates if anyone is interested... thanks again for the feedback!
     
  8. 3wbdriver

    3wbdriver Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 2, 2005
    Louisiana
    Re: Continued problems after 250 rounds

    Another thought regarding technique. I have largish hands and without a finger extension I can only get my middle (bad) finger around the grip. I don't like the fact that with finger extensions I lose some of my concealability options, but I am much more confident in my hold on the little feller with my ring finger added to the equation.
     
  9. TK421

    TK421 New Member

    18
    Jan 21, 2011
    Re: Continued problems after 250 rounds

    Update: spoke to Kel Tec this morning and they are sending me a list of new parts: extractor kit, magazine catch and spring, recoil springs, recoil guide rod, and new magazine. Whew! Hopefully that will do the trick.
     
  10. Flight_Chief

    Flight_Chief New Member

    93
    Nov 26, 2010
    Re: Continued problems after 250 rounds

    TK:
    Don't hesitate to send the gun in for repair.  Perhaps your dealer can send it via Priority mail  with their FFL. You could offer to pay the postage.

    These are very reliable little guns.  Don't worry about limp wristing, that is something lot's of people like to say when they don't know what is wrong.  I have one of these little critters and I have tried to limp wrist it with no luck.  The little guy has worked first time, every time for 350 rounds and likes to eat Speer, Federal & Winchester HP ammo too.

    Sounds like there is something wrong with the gun that needs to be fixed and factory folks are good at fixing their product. When you get it fixed , you will have one of the most reliable micro 380s on the market.
     
  11. torrent

    torrent Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2006
    Re: Continued problems after 250 rounds

    The first time I read your post it didn't occur to me that all of your problems, except the take down pin backing out, are related to the mag release. It's not holding the mag in well enough when you shoot and this allows the mag to drop just enough to cause a problem. Replace that and the little gun should be cured. Sometimes it helps to take a micro file and remove some of the material on the mag release so that your thumb doesn't accidental hit it during recoil.
    When you shoot more than 50rds with a P3AT without cleaning it you'll start to have problems. These guns need lots of lube (grease, graphite, whatever) to keep going. It really helps to break it down and clean it at the range whenever things like this start to happen. Try another F&B as that will polish the contact surfaces and eliminate some of the resistance, helping the gun function more smoothly. I've done two on mine and the second was after 500rds.
     
  12. TK421

    TK421 New Member

    18
    Jan 21, 2011
    Re: Continued problems after 250 rounds

    Thanks for the thoughts guys.  I have focused on the magazine from the beginning-- in my experience, that's the most likely problem area for feeding issues.  KelTec did send me a new mag catch and spring, among the other parts I mentioned above.  I did not receive a new magazine, and I'm pretty sure the guy on the phone send he would send one.  I'm going to call them again tomorrow-- I would at least like a new mag spring and follower (mine has a couple of good dents in it.)

    At this point I am kind of torn about KT's customer service.  On one hand, they were friendly and fast and very willing to send parts (albeit cheap ones.)  On the other hand, it seems like they put the onus on the customer to fix their products-- they throw a bunch of parts at the customer, and then you have to install them and try to figure out where the problem lies.  

    torrent, I've been thinking the same thing about the 50 round limit.  I think in my eagerness to break it in (and resolve problems) I might have been asking a bit much of a new gun.  I'm going to limit it to 50 rounds or so per session from now on.

    Two other notes:  I found a rough patch on the underside of the old extractor's "claw."  The new one looks perfectly smooth.  Also, I examined a casing that found its way into the pocket of my cargo pants last time I shot.  I noticed the primer had been struck a little off-center.  I'll be checking my brass tomorrow.
     
  13. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Texas
    Re: Continued problems after 250 rounds

    I'm not saying this particular member is or isn't limpwristing his gun.  It may or may not be a contributing factor, but your comment is venturing into the realm of mis-information, which we try to avoid.  Limpwrsting is a fact, especially with guns that have very light slides.  Over the past 10 years here, I have seen scores of posts where members who were having issues learned here that they were limpwristing, corrected their technique, and ceased to have problems.  

    Here are some examples:

    The webbing of my hand was bruised after the first time I fired mine.  Had A LOT of FTF's too. I got on this forum and realized I was limp wristing and corrected it. Got the Hogue grip and the Ktaddons pads to go underneath.  This took care of all of my problems. Turned out I just didn't know what the hell I was doing. [/quote]

    Limpwristing is well known and documented among folks who are familiar with guns that are susseptable.  Overcoming limpwristing is not about having a death grip on the pistol.  It is about allowing your arm to pivot at the elbow and not the wrist, which can rob the slide of the needed momentum to cycle properly.

    LIMPWRISTING
     
  14. Flight_Chief

    Flight_Chief New Member

    93
    Nov 26, 2010
    Re: Continued problems after 250 rounds

    TXCajun:

    Thanks for the excellent review.  After that bit of information, I will have to adapt and correct my position on the limp wrist issue.
    I have never had issue with my P3AT or PF-9 after firing hundred of rounds, but then I am using the Weaver hold taught at Gunsite or I use an isosceles hold with locked wrist.  Your information provides an increased  understanding of the issue and I would have to agree with your logic.  Thanks for correcting me in a diplomatic and helpful manner.
     
  15. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Texas
    Re: Continued problems after 250 rounds

    Why thanks for being such a gracious fellow.   :cool:

    Here is an applicable excerpt from a pretty good article:
    As has been noted in the sub2K forum, it is also possible to "limp-shoulder" a long gun.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limp_wristing

    A google search will also find several good videos demonstrating the problem.
     
  16. TK421

    TK421 New Member

    18
    Jan 21, 2011
    Re: Continued problems after 250 rds

    UPDATE:  I replaced all the parts sent by Kel Tec (mag catch/spring, extractor, assembly pin and spring, recoil springs and guide rod.) Went to the range today and shot 50 rounds of Rem UMC and one leftover magazine of Federal AE, with only one failure-to-feed.  I think that one was my fault-- I was experimenting with a different grip and I think I contacted the mag release.  In short, I'm very pleased and feel confident in carrying the pistol now.  The range also had a decent price on Speer Gold Dots, so I bought a box, and the P3AT shot two flawless magazines of it! YAY!

    Side note:  this is embarrassing but I'll share in case anyone else is removing the frame and is as ham-handed at gun-smithing as me: I mistakenly assumed the frame pins were metal (like the assembly pin.)  I gave the front one a good whack with a rather small punch, and put a nice ugly hole in it... DOH!  Gentle taps with a larger diameter punch is what you want.  Fortunately the damge was purely cosmetic, and it's a cheap fix at $1.50/pair!

    Thanks to all for the help/encouragement/advice :)
     
  17. TK421

    TK421 New Member

    18
    Jan 21, 2011
    Re: Continued problems after 450 rds (Update)

    After some brief improvement, the extraction problems have returned with a vengeance, at the rate of 6-8 per 50 rounds.  In all occurences the case fails to extract from the chamber after firing.  I am on my third extractor.  With the last two, I have noticed damage is occurring on the top corner of the "claw" portion of the extractor, flattening it out slightly.  KT suggested it was probably caused by a stove-pipe I had with the #2 extractor, and sent #3.  No stove pipes with extractor #3, but lo and behold, the same damage has returned, with worse extraction than before.

    Tomorrow I will call KT and insist on returning the gun for inspection.  At this point I can only conclude something is misaligned or out-of-spec.  Since it has never run right, I think I will try to get them to pay for shipping too (which is not covered by warranty, but we'll see.)  I'll update if anyone is interested.  Hearing about other people's problems (and eventual resolutions) has provided me some encouragement when I wanted to bury the thing in the backyard, so I'll try to do the same.

    Needless to say, not happy about having to send the gun off.>:( But in the meantime, I might look at some wheelguns!  ;)

    P.S.  Before anyone says it, I have maintained from the beginning this is not a limp-wristing issue.  I had friends shoot the gun, and they had the same problems.
     
  18. BillK

    BillK New Member

    898
    Jul 23, 2007
    Re: Continued problems after 450 rds (Update)

    Hi,

    I hate to read stuff like this, about anyone having so many issues with their gun regardless of make or model. Even when fixed by Kel-Tec you may never have full confidence in the gun. I can understand moving on to another piece for SD carry.

    Bill K.
     
  19. TK421

    TK421 New Member

    18
    Jan 21, 2011
    Re: Continued problems after 250 rds (Update)

    Bill,

    I couldn't have said it any better.  What bums me out the most is that I really like the gun!  I shoot it well, and the trigger is far superior to my buddy's LCP, which I shot yesterday.  I think I will indeed go to another gun for everyday carry, actually thinking about a revolver for reliability.  Kel-Tec service agreed with me that the gun needs to go back to them (and they are paying for shipping.)  I am trying to be optimistic that they will fix/replace it.  My plan when it comes back is to take it slow, fire a box through now and then, and see what happens.  Maybe if I get enough rounds through without problems, I will start to trust it again, but for now, I will be carrying something else. :(  

    On the plus side, shopping for a new gun is fun!
     
  20. OnTop

    OnTop New Member

    15
    Feb 26, 2011
    Re: Continued problems after 250 rds (Update)

    I hope Kel Tec will replace you with a new gun. Don't give up on the P3AT yet. But of course I would not use it as my main carry gun (good for back up).

    OT