New Owner, need help w/ next step

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by bluesdog1, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. bluesdog1

    bluesdog1 New Member

    Sep 29, 2010
    I am new owner of a p3at. I really like this little gun and want it to work out, meaning I want to feel confident in carrying it.  Before shooting I did a Buff and Fluff Reliability Cleaning ( I think thats the name) to prepare for shooting. I then oil and greased appropriate parts.

    The first time I shot it I couldn't believe how accurate it was at 3 and 7 yards. My groups were much tighter than I thought and gun felt very good in hands. The first 20 - 25 rounds were flawless, then I had 3 FTE's in next 25 rounds. After first two FTE's I though it could be me not releasing trigger all the way so I was careful to do this.

    The second range time, I shot about 20 rounds without problems then I had 4 FTE's in next 30 rounds.

    My question, to correct should I:

    A) fire another 200 rounds to try to break in?  cost about $80.00 with no guarantee problem will be fixed: or
    B) Send to Gunsmith to do a professional Relaibility cleaning as I may have been too conservative, cost $35 plus shipping so probably total of $60-$65; or
    c)  just send back to Kel-Tec to get fixed if is indeed broken? They may have long backlog right now.

    I really want to carry gun in certain situations and since the fte's occur after 20 - 25 rounds, the first  magazine theoritically would work well before fte's occured, so maybe it could get me out of trouble before fte's started happening. This logic seems very risky to me though?

    Your thoughts are greatly appreciated

  2. JFB

    JFB New Member

    Jul 25, 2005
    welcome to KTOG.

    there are several opinions related to cleaning and lubing. I'll tell you mine and expect a counter point ;)

    I only shoot a couple magazines (10 rounds) then I clean and lube. (here lately I just clean and lube every month with no shots fired).

    Some say that going to 50 rounds is pushing it due to the soot, and the loss of lubricant during the extreme movements these little components go through. Now there is another group that say they can shoot theirs 100's of rounds with no problem, my explainantinon is they have shoot theirs 100s of rounds and it is extremely fitted and polished.

    So if you buy my opinion, I would clean and lube after a minimun number of rounds and feel reliablity is acceptable. then if you like after putting a few 100 down range, you can try going longer between cleanings

  3. wheelguy

    wheelguy New Member

    May 4, 2007
    You're describing a pattern that sounds familiar to me. Starts out perfect - then fails - in the same range trip. I experienced this pattern just by getting tired and loosening my grip while at the range.

    The good old "limp wrist" problem. My Glock 40 can be limp wristed too, but my P3AT is more sensitive to it. If this is the cause, then you wouldn't have that problem in a real life situation - you'll be gripping onto that gun like a hydraulic rock crusher ;D
  4. Picatinny_Pete

    Picatinny_Pete New Member

    Sep 2, 2009
    Hi Bluesdog,

    Welcome to the KTOG P3AT BB. :)   Right now as long as you have you are getting 20-25 rounds before the failures start occurring, I'd still keep breaking it in per JFB's advice.   My take is that sending the P3AT off would just delay the break-in period on rounds you would shoot anyway if you practice on a regular basis Bluesdog.

    A few thoughts did occur to me though.  Bluesdog, what situation would you be in where you had to reload multiple times(at least twice for 19 rounds?) and would you carry that many magazines?  The P3AT is reliable within its limits and unless we are facing off against Chinese hordes, I don't know that you be ever shooting more than 13 rounds to try and get out of a bad situation.   The truth is that unless you are a law enforcement and its your BUG if you need more than 13 rounds, you don't need to be in the situation, or you should have already made your way to a rifle or shotgun!

    What kind of ammo are you using?  I've noticed some 380 ammo is dirtier than others i.e. Prvi Partizan leaves a lot of residue in my P-32 and P3AT, but CCI Gold Dot is fairly clean.  It could be your brand of ammo is very dirty and is gumming up your P3AT.

    Lube is good, lube keeps your pistol from wearing out, but the break-in period is controlled wear to maximize the effectiveness of your P3AT.  Grease seems to be good at collecting powder fouling and turning into black gunk.  Black gunk can slow the functioning of your P3AT & cause problems.  It might be a good idea during the couple of hundred rounds to stick with a high quality lubricant like Militec-1, or Break Free.  You can go to grease after the break-in period to protect the metal.  

    I hope my thoughts help you come up with a good decision Bluesdog.

    Best Wishes: :)
  5. JFB

    JFB New Member

    Jul 25, 2005
    If that situation is a possiblity, a backup P32 would be my choice (or a Mini-14, 30rnd mag  ;D)
  6. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Keep shooting.  I would certainly not send back a gun that is not even broken in yet.  Give it at least 100 rounds and maybe 200.

    Make sure it is cleaned and properly lubed.

    Do not limpwrist it. Keep your wrist locked and pivot at the elbow.

    If you still have some issues, try some different brass cased, FMJ ammo.  Sometimes these ultralight pistols can be a little ammo-selective, especially during breakin.
  7. bluesdog1

    bluesdog1 New Member

    Sep 29, 2010
    Thanks all for thoughts/suggestions.

    In response to your comments, in no particular order:

    1 - Limp wristing, probably not as my main firearm is 1911 45 cal. which is very prone to this so I am in habit of holding real tight. I did actually think this my my initial problem.  I also thought not allowing trigger to fully reingage was cause.

    2 - Could be ammo. I use Winchester. Problem is the indoor range I shoot at requires you use theirs so unless they get different brand I won't know if ammo related.

    3 - I did follow the drections from Golden Loki and since I didn't want to over sand, I may have been too conservative. I'll take a look at things to see if I need any touchups.

    Chinese Hoards ::) I guess this may be botton line. I bought this gun for low threat situation only or when wearing summer clothing. I will not be carrying second mag since I can't imagine needing it. If I thought I needed 2nd mag I would bring my 45.  If the gun only fte's after 20-25 rounds than I am fine because I will only have 7 rounds than I'm done.

    I'll keep shooting to break in but clean and lube after 25 rounds or fte. I'll run 200 more rounds through to see if problems goes away. If it keeps jammimg after 20-25 rounds then I'll probably not worry and chaulk up to the ammo and keep clean and lubed. My most important thing is to get first mag shot cleanly. Once broken in I only plan to shoot every other month or so.

    Thanks, I'll report back after the 200 are shot.

  8. Jimbo_47

    Jimbo_47 New Member

    Sep 8, 2010
    I'm with most of the others on this and say it's the ammo! If at all possible, can you find another range in order to test a different brand?

    I recently bought my P3AT, and the only thing I did when I brought it home was work the side about 200 times, and then I field stripped it, wiping away all the factory lube using solvent, and then I lightly polished the feed ramp, oiled it and greased the rails and put it back together.

    I had bought a box of Monarch jacketed hollow point .380 ammo which on the box said, made in Serbia and was about $15.00 a box, and the ammo shot relatively clean, which was a surprise to me.

    I fired 50 rounds and it was flawless, after which I took it home and cleaned it, and I'm presently carrying it for now, and will probably shoot another 50 on my next trip to the range, but I feel confident in the ammo, and the gun.

    Try different ammo that has worked in others guns, before you convince yourself it's the gun!
  9. abuck50

    abuck50 Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2008
    NW Ohio
    Could be dirty ammo. I found that my P3AT was more likely to be affected by dirt before it was broke in. Did you check the little allen screw that holds the extractor clip to the slide? Mine worked itself loose. This is a common problem that a little blue Loc Tite will fix.

    Good luck
  10. JAB

    JAB Well-Known Member

    May 6, 2010
    East Tennessee
    These little guys can get pretty dirty pretty quickly and that can definitely affect functionality - especially when they are new and still really tight.  That said, when mine came back from Florida as a brand new second gen (built on my old, first gen frame), it didn't require any break in period and has been reliable right out of the box, clean or dirty.  Of course, it is entirely possible (probable, even, IMO) that the folks at Kel Tec did a bit of a fluff and buff before sending it back to me.  The flip side - and the reason I sent it back - is that I bought it NIB and even after owning it for five years and putting several hundred rounds through it, it wasn't reliable - as in having problems putting even one or two mags through it.  I kept trying to fix the problems, myself, but as soon as I would address one issue another would come up.  Then the hammer spring broke and I gave up trying to do it, myself.

    Moral of this story?  Yes, these little guys often do require a break in period (and you aren't there, yet) and they don't like to run when dirty or not lubed properly.  Also, there are minor issues that you probably can address, yourself, without sending it back.  However, once those criteria have been met, if it still won't work, don't keep beating your head against a brick wall - send it to Florida.  I would have been much happier with mine much sooner had I gone ahead and done so once it was apparent I had a 'problem child'.  I think most of these little guys run right, within their parameters.  A few don't - but Kel Tec will make them right.

    When my P3AT came back from the factory (rebuilt better, stronger, faster), along with a list of the work that had been done, there was a note that Kel Tec (or at least the service personnel who worked on mine) recommend only using 'silicone based' gun lubricants on the gun.  Problem is, I have yet to find a silicone based lubricant at any of the gun stores, sporting goods stores, etc. that I have checked.  When I Google 'silicone lubricants', I mostly get hits for 'personal lubricants' - not exactly the kind of 'gun' lube I am looking for.
  11. haugrdr

    haugrdr Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 4, 2008
    Daytona Beach
  12. JFB

    JFB New Member

    Jul 25, 2005
    wasn't this discussed several months back?
    because silicon is not a good lubricant for metal to metal

    Maybe the tech got it mixed up with what his GF just called and told him to pickup on the way back ;D
  13. Bo_Bryant

    Bo_Bryant New Member

    Jun 7, 2008
    I have used Militec-1 on all my guns. So far, "knock on wood", no failuers. But then, I clean my guns immediately after each trip to the range.

    Bo Bryant