New owner/range report/question about trigger

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by byron2112, Aug 26, 2008.

  1. byron2112

    byron2112 New Member

    Aug 26, 2008
    Hi all, I've lurked here off and on over the years, and finally got myself a KT the other day. .380, green frame/blue slide.

    Cleaned/lubed took it to the range and put 95-100 rounds through it.

    My hand hurts! :eek:

    These things are pretty snappy, but fun. The back strap wore a hole in my skin on that bone in my thumb right below the web of my hand. Also, my fat finger kinda engaged the trigger at the bottom point so it was sticking the end of my finger some which was irritating after a while, but I'll get used to shooting this piece, and maybe make some improvements.

    Was accurate as I could make it, sights aren't much help, but I could keep an acceptably tight group gripping with both hands at 7 yards. One hand grip was alittle wild, and weak one handed was spray and pray ;D

    I did not clean, or lube the pistol through the 95+ round session(dunno if that was a mistake?), but only had 2 FTF. I'm pretty sure the first one was my fault for limp wristing since the snappiness was kind of surprising and I was getting fatigued. Both FTF's just took alittle encouragement on the back of the slide to complete chambering, the feed ramp is not polished at all, so I'm sure that would help. Overall I was very happy with the reliability the first time out. With all you hear about these little guns, I just didn't know what to expect... BTW I was shooting Mag Tech ball ammo, which is just fine for my purposes... I'm not concerned with loading exotic HP's, although I might try some just to see how it feeds.

    Anyhow, about the quality of the pistol, just a couplea a issues. When I first purchased it the mag would not lock unless I put pressure on the front of the floor plate. No engagement if pressure was on the rear and hit and miss if pressure was spread out over the entire floor plate. I noticed there was some flash left over from the frame that seemed to be interfering with the catch, so I trimmed it with an exacto and it now operates as it should. I dunno how long that plastic catch will function properly engaging the steel mag? Seems like a metal setup would be superior.

    My big beef is with the trigger. Mine is very gritty and not smooth at all. So with the anticipated snappy recoil, one and half finger grip hold, and useless sights, the herky-jerky, gritty, trigger doesn't do much for my accuracy. I did fire alotta rounds without cleaning and lubing it, so maybe some crap fouled the trigger some... I dunno. Do the triggers on these things age well and improve with use? Do you guys smooth them yourself at all?

    Overall I'm pleased with my purchase, these things are a bargain compared to all other firearms, and obviously by far the most comfortable carry piece in existence.

    Thanks for any info and comments you can share.
  2. RAT76

    RAT76 Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Welcome to KTOG.  You found the flash good job!  Polish the ramp.  Clean & lube.  Use grease on the rails.  As far as the other issues, sandpaper on the offending parts.  Your thumb issue is common.  There was a sharp edge to the rear frame pin that I removed.  I also sanded all the mold lines.  To deal with the trigger pinch I removed about an eighth inch from the trigger tip & sanded it to change the curve.

    Finger extension base plates will let you get both of those fingers on the grip.  The NAA base plates lend themselves to modification.  I trimmed mine down til they were JUST long enough to catch my finger.  

    These shots show the trimmed trigger as well as a handy method of holding the slide back to make removal of the assembly pin easier.



    Here is a shot of my trimmed down base plate;


    When I switched to a P32 I cut the base plate down even further.  The first cut let my wife get all of her fingers on the grip.  Later I decided to optomize it for me & reduce the printing due to the extension.


    OH before I forget.  Press the mag catch in when inserting mags.  Don't slam them in.  You WILL wear out the catch if you do.  If the catch gets worn call KT Service & tell them.  They will then mail you a new one for free.

  3. byron2112

    byron2112 New Member

    Aug 26, 2008
    Awsome post RAT76 thanks for the info.

    Would you mind being more specific about what tools/grit paper you used to reconfigure your trigger and sand your seams?... I'm assuming you did your trigger while it was still installed in the frame?

    I'm also wondering where you all are aquiring those finger extensions, and what kind of fitting is required to install them.

  4. CroSA

    CroSA New Member

    Jul 22, 2008
    I recommend you buy the 1 round mag extender from Kel Tec. Lets you get two full fingers on the gun and increases mag capacity by one.
  5. BillK

    BillK New Member

    Jul 23, 2007
    Byron, welcome aboard! No more lurking :)

    I've got two P3ATs and don't recall either having a gritty feel to the trigger pull. I have had other guns that started out gritty but smoothed out over time. I would say that if your trigger doesn't seem to be smoothing out after several hundred rounds repost problem here and/or contact Kel-Tec for a fix.

    Take care...
  6. molachi

    molachi New Member

    Jun 16, 2008
    Pensacola, Fl.
    Welcome..Glad to hear that you had a good trip to the range...

  7. RAT76

    RAT76 Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    I started with 400 grit & worked my way to 1500. 600 is actually fine enough. I cut the tip off my trigger & used a fine file followed with paper. Put a little oil on the paper to make it cut a little finer.

    I did the trigger with the frame still in the grip. I'd take it out next time I do one.

    One of the great things about KTs is that they are so simple & the plastic parts are so cheap (or free) that you can sand & cut on them without the fear of screwing up an expensive gun. Worst case box up the parts & send it home ot mama for reassembly & repair. ;)
  8. twyacht

    twyacht New Member

    May 19, 2008
    Welcome byron2112, I had to sand the seam in front of the trigger, inside the guard due to my big fingers. I have found that more of a finger tip (first pad) works better for me. Not what I was initially used to with my other pistols, but IMHO, the P3AT is a truly defensive pistol. The one I carry when I go "out" here in the coastal NC summers.

    Took a little getting used to with a slightly different approach to conventional sized pistols, but I "don't leave home without it". ;)

    Good shooting.

    P.S. Ammo is a personal choice, but I have had no issues with Remington Golden Sabres, or Speer Gold-Dots for SD.
  9. byron2112

    byron2112 New Member

    Aug 26, 2008
    Thanks for the welcome and all the advice fellas, and thanks for the more specific advice RAT76. I agree that the price, along with all the experience available here, and the great service from Kel-Tec makes me confident and excited about performing some projects on this gun... kinda one a the neat things about them. Pretty unique situation the can-do/do-it-yourself attitude and owner camraderie... in fact, I think I'm going to find myself a P11 and see what's what with that little powerhouse.
  10. Byron-

    Rat and I have both done the same thing to our 3AT's, including cutting a bit off the tip of the trigger.

    I can only add on thing to what Rat has already posted:

    You may want to consider, besides the standard fluff and buff, polishing the trigger bar.  And after a good clean up, apply a high grade gun grease on the trigger bar.

    Here is a close up of my clipped trigger:
  11. neknraw

    neknraw New Member

    Feb 5, 2008
    These shots show the trimmed trigger as well as a handy method of holding the slide back to make removal of the assembly pin easier. (as quoted by RAT76)

    I'm still a newbie so I guess I can get by asking a stupid question:  I don't pull the slide back to remove the assembly pin as noted in the quote above.  I just pull the pin while the slide is in "neutral".  Am I doing any damage to my pistol using this method?  
  12. Bobo

    Bobo Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 13, 2005
    You don't have to pull the slide back to remove the pin, but it does make it easier if you hold the slide back 1/8-1/4" while removing the pin. If you push the slide back 1/8-1/4" or so you will see that it has an area with no pressure on the pin, this makes it easier to remove (and replace) the pin.

  13. I usually just place a small gun cleaning patch against the slide and slip a small blade under the pin to pop it out.

    It does not hurt anything to pull the pin out without pulling the slide back.
  14. byron2112

    byron2112 New Member

    Aug 26, 2008
    Performed fluff & buff!

    Just for the hell of it. :cool:

    Also sanded the backstrap, and trigger with 400/600 and trimmed various nasties on the frame.

    Picked up some Tetra so I could lube by the numbers aswell... so everything's up to snuff now fellas. Won't be able to go shootin for a couplea days, but the action feels like it's on ball bearings with the grease... or maybe I'm just an optimist ;D