Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by JB, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. JB

    JB Guest

    Just needing to 'vent' a little.  My P3AT is a first gen.  I got it NIB and I have had it for a few years, now.  I bought it planning to 'eventually' get my carry permit, which I did, but not until last year.  By then, I had owned the P3AT for quite some time (a couple of years.)  Since it isn't exactly a 'range' gun, I didn't mess with it much before I started carrying.  When I did shoot it, I was often disappointed.  It would fail to feed (tried different ammo and kept having a problem of the nose of the bullet 'hanging up' on the feed ramp - happened with round nose FMJ, flat nosed FMJ, and HP) fail to extract (spent casing only partially removed from the chamber) and fail to fully eject.  Keep in mind that even after having it for a few years the gun was still practically brand new because it hadn't been fired, much.  However, it had been fired enough that the 'break in' period should have been over.

    Fast forward to getting my carry permit and wanting to make the P3AT more reliable.  That's when I found this forum and the extremely helpful information here.  I did a fluff and buff, polished the feed ramp and started really putting the grease to the little thing and, wallah, like magic it started running about as close to 100% as I believe a small, pocket auto in such a relatively large caliber can run.  No real problems, at all, with many different kinds of ammo.  Also found out about the pinky extensions and that a Hogue, Jr. would work on it, so I got both and greatly increased my control and accuracy while decreasing the abuse to my hand in practice.  I heard about the fix for smileys and, while I didn't feel comfortable doing a complete rampectomy or rampotomy, I did do some 'rampoplasty' (smoothed the worst of the sharp edges) and polished the ramp until it is smooth as glass.  I still get smileys but not as deeply gouged.  The P3AT is small, easy to carry and, when functioning correctly, just about the perfect solution for carry.  Suddenly, I loved the little pistol.  Liked it so much that I ended up buying a used P11 after reading good things about them on KTOG.  The P11 has functioned great, although I am still more accurate with the P3AT.  Add in my .357 for the colder winter days when it will be easy to conceal and I might need more 'oomph' and my carry rotation seemed complete.  Until...

    Recently, for no apparent reason, the P3AT started the crap with not extracting spent casings, again.  Sometimes it works fine.  Sometimes, it partially extracts a casing and sometimes it doesn't extract them, at all.  The only way to clear the resulting jam is to drop the mag, clear the spent casing, reinsert the mag and rack the slide.  If the P3AT had a slide lock on it to hold the slide open, this might not be so bad.  As it is, though, it is not a quick process.  In a real SD situation, I'd be dead before I could get the darned thing back into the fight.  To make matters worse, it is doing this two and three times per magazine.  About the only thing I feel I can consider 'reliable' about it is that it is consistently leaving the spent casing from the last round in a magazine completely seated in the chamber - but it comes right out when hand cycled, just like it is supposed to do.

     I have checked and there is nothing wrong with the extractor.  I tried smoothing the sharp edge on the underside of the barrel hood and polishing the chamber (being careful not to get into the rifling.)  Made no noticeable difference.  With the ammo shortage, I don't have access to many different kinds of ammo, so I have only tried it with Remington UMC 88 grain JHP and some FMJ reloads I got from the LGS.  Thing is, it was firing the UMC stuff (and everything else) extremely well before all of this started - well enough that I started carrying that in my backup mag (only have one mag full, my carry mag, of Hydrashoks left.)

    The only thing left that I can possibly think of to try is putting the original baseplates back on the mags and taking the pinky extensions off.  The reason I think of this is that it has started sometimes dropping the mag during recoil.  I never had a problem with this before adding the extensions and I am paying close attention to my grip - there is no way that I am hitting the mag release so the only other possibility is that the cheap a** plastic catch KelTec uses isn't holding up to the extra leverage the extension creates - maybe there is a change in the mag angle that also hinders extraction.  Without the pinky extensions and with the width of my hands, though, I won't like it nearly as much - but if it works that way, at least it will be usable.  If that doesn't work, then the P3AT is going in lockup and I will look for an alternative.  It will have to be at least nearly as concealable as the P3AT - maybe the Bersa CC .380 or, more likely, a small, five shot revolver - for times when the P11 or the .357 are just too big.  If I can't figure this out, the P3AT will probably go home to the factory, eventually (although I don't know what effect even my slight mods will have on the warranty) but not really soon - I am just too aggravated with it, right now.  Besides, with the way that it went from running great to jamming several times per magazine, I'm not sure how much trust I can put in it even if the Mother Ship did make it better, stronger, faster.
  2. Hoopster

    Hoopster New Member

    Jan 10, 2009
    I would send it back to Kel-tec with the original mag. base plates installed ASAP. You've got nothing to loose.

  3. Rubb

    Rubb Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2006
    Me too!!

    I had trouble out of the gate with my 2G and fixed it with advice here.
    It did the same thing ...started again...I tried everything...didn't work.
    I sent it home, got it back in 2 weeks, I was going to trade it in if it didn't work.
    It's been flawless since Dec. 2006

    Send it back, KT will make it right ;)
  4. PshootR

    PshootR Banned

    Apr 1, 2005
    A new mag catch, preferably one the after-market steel ones, otherwise a new polymer one from K/T would be the first place I'd start.

    Check that a fired case is being held snugly by the extractor claw by field stripping the pistol and reassembling it without the recoil springs.

    With the slide all the way back manually insert a spent case under the extractor claw and slowly close the action, guiding the case into the chamber.

    Now very slowly cycle the slide back and just before the case head hits the ejector feel whether the case is held firmly in place by the extractor.

    If the case is not held firmly, or has already fallen out from under the extractor, check that there is not a groove running vertically down the left rear corner of the breech. If there is the case head can move too far to the the left away from the extractor claw on the right.

    You could have a weak extractor spring, worn extractor (unlikely) or a grooved breech.

    Fixes and tweaks for the 1st Gen. P-3AT include:

    1. "Rampectomy"
    2. "Flyer Hood Mod"
    3. Barrel bumper pad
    4. Extractor filed to increase grip on case head
    5. Using a later 1st Gen. P-32 extractor

    Kel-Tec's small pistols pretty much eject the empty case off of the bullet nose of the top round in the mag, so if your mag is hanging low due to a worn mag catch that can be a problem.
  5. DaveNC

    DaveNC Active Member

    Mar 7, 2008
    I just had the same EXACT problem a few weeks ago on my P3 and it was the extractor spring. I posted a picture of the two springs (new & old) side by side and it was quite obvious the old spring had lost a fair share of it's tension. Call Keltec and ask for customer service and tell them the problems your having. They will send you a new extractor, spring and screw for free with in a couple of days. If the new parts don't fix it then you'll probably have to send the weapon back.
  6. JB

    JB Guest

    Thanks for the advice, guys. I have been trying to figure out how to most easily remove the extractor from the slide, just in case something needs to be changed. With the Gen. 2s and their big, ol' frankenscrew, it looks pretty easy to figure out. With the Gen. 1s, it isn't quite as obvious and I have never really taken a pistol apart beyond normal field stripping. In fact, if I were to have a metal mag release put in, I would probably take it to a gunsmith.

    PshootR, I'll double check the extractor's hold on the spent casing using your method, just in case. I can't imagine that anything is worn out, though. I don't have more than six or seven hundred rounds through the gun. I remember reading in other posts where people have had trouble using the pinky extensions, so I'm going to try a mag with the plain, flat baseplate and see if that fixes it. My favorite LGS is open tomorrow, I am off from work and I called today to see if they have a P3AT mag in stock. They had one and are holding it until I come in, tomorrow (can't remember exactly what I did with the original baseplates for the mags I have - they are here somewhere but it is easier to just buy another mag than to search for them if that isn't the root of the problem.) Wish me luck - I really want to like my little P3AT, again.
  7. VolFan1nGA

    VolFan1nGA New Member

    Apr 8, 2009
    Athens, GA
    My wife was dropping her magazine during shooting and it turned out she just had her thumb too close to the mag release. A little adjustment and no more problems.
  8. D50boy

    D50boy New Member

    Nov 1, 2004
    I have a 1st gen and purchased it when the P3AT was fresh to the market and still getting the kinks worked out. I had to send mine in for the assembly pin walking out as well as for extraction failures. The walking pin damaged my frame so they restamped a new first gen and mailed it to me. I found that they had updated some parts. Extractor claw had a little more material on the bottom of it than the one I sent in. The pin was cut a bit better. Since I've had it, I've had no problems. You may need to send it in to get it sorted out.
  9. JB

    JB Guest

    Well, I went to the LGS yesterday and tried out the mag with flat baseplate.  No more dropping the mag but it is still failing to extract (although not quite as often.)  I did check the extractor using PshootR's method and I think the extractor is fine.  It gets a good purchase on the rim of the casing.  In fact, often when the casing gets stuck, I can see a little 'gouge' on the rim of the casing where the extractor was pulled free of the casing.  I think I have narrowed the problem down to the idea that the casing is simply gettting trapped by the barrel hood.  I have already done some slight modification to the hood and am hesitant to do too much more.  May have to try putting some material under the back of the barrel and at the top of the mag well to keep the barrel from going into such an extreme angle at full recoil.

    All my mags are now wearing the original baseplates.  I'm keeping the pinky extensions and if I ever get a stronger (as in metal) mag catch, I will try them again as I really like using them.  Apparently, though, having them on for even a short time helped me because I am shooting much better with the flat baseplates now than before I put the pinky extensions on.

    That seems to be a fairly common problem with the P3AT but that isn't the problem in my case.  I never had a problem with it before adding the pinky extensions and, since it started happening, I have adjusted my grip.  I am nowhere near the mag release and, through paying close attention, am 100% sure that the mag was just popping out without my touching the release button - especially since going back to a mag with the original baseplate completely solved the problem.

    My problem is that some other members who have sent theirs in have received the gun back with a 2nd Gen. setup (as far as I know, they no longer make the 1st Gen. slides, etc. even for repair work - they just replace with 2nd Gen. slides or even stamp a whole, new 2nd Gen. gun with the old serial number.)  I suspect the 2nd Gen. may work a little better but I really prefer the look and feel of the 1st. Gen. so if I can fix this without potentially giving up my 1st Gen. setup I would really rather just do that.  Ultimately, though, I may have to take that route because, while I would rather have a working 1st Gen. than a 2nd Gen., I'd rather have a working 2nd Gen. than an non-working 1st Gen.