First trip to range with my new P3AT

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by WarriorPoet, Oct 26, 2009.

  1. WarriorPoet

    WarriorPoet Guest

    Apr 2, 2008
    I've carried the P-32 for several years now and have been very happy with it. Lately, though, I thought it'd be nice to "up" the hitting power for the fall season when potential baddies are wearing more clothing.

    Naturally, I came back to Kel Tec for my .380 choice and picked one up late last week for $323 and change. I could've found it cheaper elsewhere, I'm sure, but for a few bucks more I can support my local gunshop.

    So, with the ammo shortage being what it is, I was allowed to purchase a box of .380 (they allow one box of ammo per handgun purchase at this time.....and they have more .380's in stock than they have boxes of ammo! :eek: )

    (In the meantime, I have about 300 rounds on-order with Cabelas. Am not holding my breath for delivery this year)

    My normal routine is to clean any new/used firearm I purchase prior to firing it. It allows me to inspect the firearm for any defects, burrs, and any potential bits of metal/material wandering around from the manufacturing process.

    I got to the range about 8:30am, Sunday and set-aside 7 rounds so that I'd have something for the -AT afterwards.

    I drew a 4" circle on a sheet of paper and moved the target to 21'. All slow, aimed shots landed within the circle. So far, so good!

    Having confirmed that the sights work - lol - I decided to go right to rapid-fire.

    Welllllll...... :p I was lucky to get 3 or 4 out of 7 shots on paper - forget the 4" circle!

    Now, I can easily empty a full mag of .32/9mm Makarov/9x19/.45 on a sheet of paper - in rapid fire - at 21'. Therefore, I was really surprised by the results of magazine after magazine of poor results!

    I then moved the target out to about 40' and, one-handed, put all shots on paper. Very nice!

    Went back to rapid-fire :eek:

    Yes - she's not range-session handgun. The recoil is sharp, but it's not unmanageable. I may want to sand/file the checkering just a little as my hand, after just one box of ammo, got a good fluff-n-buff. Luckily, the numbness helped counter the tenderness ;D

    The GOOD:
    Without any fluff-n-buff, the firearms functioned flawlessly for the first 43 rounds put through her.

    The BAD:
    Ammo is so scarce, it'll be a while before I can put 200 rounds through her to feel 100% comfortable that she's broken in.

    The BAD II:
    How is it that the sights on the P3AT are worse than the P32?

    The -AT rear leaf sight is too shallow and the front post is too broad. When aiming, you need to create a perfect fit of front/rear sights before firing. IMHO, the rear and rear sights should be a mm or two higher and the front post should be maybe 1/3 thinner.

    With the P32, just place the orange front (pyramid-shaped) post dot over the rear, recessed groove orange dot and *BANG*. Even in rapid-fire it works as the front post completes the "top of the pyramid" so-to-speak. It's a wide open sight for quick realignment of the barrel onto the target. The same system would have worked just fine for the -AT.

    Having a more precise leaf/post sight on a point-and-shoot firearm is rather pointless where quick reacquisition is more important than fine realignment.

    I'll definitely get some nail polish to touch-up the sights.

    My other observation is that I dread disassembly as I'd hate to bend the frame by accident while working out the pin (yes, I have the newer manual and know to press down on each side of the pin hole.....but I'll still worry about in the years to come.) There's always a little bit of flex when I work the pin out.

    Overall impressions:
    -Good caliber
    -Light weight and compact like my P32
    -Easy to clean/maintain (though the flexing frame gives me heartburn)
    -Accurate with slow-aimed fire
    -LOUSY sights for rapid-fire. P32 style sights would have been much better.

    I'll improve with practice with this new firearm so, overall, I'm pleased with this purchase.


  2. WarriorPoet

    WarriorPoet Guest

    Apr 2, 2008
    Update: I received my Cabelas ammo order sometime in December and took her back to the range.

    By focusing (and I mean "Focusing") on the front site, I can now put 6 of 7 rounds on a 8.5x11 sheet of paper at 21'. Funny how I kept dropping one shot over and over and over again. At least I'm consistant! ;D

    I put about 100 rounds through her. One malfunction only - and I chalk that up to an incorrectly-seated round. Otherwise, she's been flawless from the get-go.

    I'm even happier with the purchase now and just need to keep hoarding .380 and practice-practice-practice :)

    Just wanted to follow up on my original post.



  3. BillK

    BillK New Member

    Jul 23, 2007
    Hey, Thanks for the follow-up range report. Glad to hear Cabela's came through with the ammo - bet you wish you had ordered more. :)

    Take care...
  4. diamond

    diamond New Member

    Jan 18, 2010
    A great report. Thanks for sharing.

    Don't be shy about posting pictures. ;)
  5. uncledub

    uncledub Member Supporter

    Feb 16, 2009
    Alabama, USA
    I like all my pistols, but I really like the P3AT.  It is my everyday companion.  I carry others occasionally and the .380 all the time.  Glad to hear yours is working out so well.  I carry mine in DeSantis Nemesis in my front pocket, doesn't show at all.
  6. diamond

    diamond New Member

    Jan 18, 2010
  7. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    The sights on the P3AT and P32 are and have always been identical.  They changed the sigts on both P3s with the advent of the 2nd generation guns several years back.  I suspect that your P32 is 1st generation and that you prefer that sight.  Some folks like the newer sights better.  The eye of the beholder, and all of that...   ;)
  8. WarriorPoet

    WarriorPoet Guest

    Apr 2, 2008
    Ahhhh..... So they broke something that didn't need fixin' ;D ;)

    Yup - she's my daily companion as well - and I shoulda/woulda/coulda bought more ammo when I had the chance. Now it seems my Hornady self-defense ammo is delayed due to a manufacturing issue? I hear the primers have been iffy.

    Oh, well. Life.