New owner today, jury still out!

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by gatorhugger, Jan 19, 2008.

  1. gatorhugger

    gatorhugger Banned

    Jan 19, 2008
    After weeks of reading everything I could find on this gun, I picked up a chrome one today. $299 +tax. I am a realtor and need something very very small, at least smaller than my Ruger P89 or my Taurus 605 magnum snubbie.

    I was very hestitant after reading about fixing this or that and "making it work" and the gun store had many fine guns for 300 bucks that I know would work for my lifetime and here I was getting a plastic one!!! Well I took the plunge. It looks like a second generation and the ramp seemed smooth so I headed for the woods praying it worked. I lightly oiled it to help it along just along the rails, I didn't field strip it first for reasons to follow. Loaded up a clip of Hyra shocks since I read they are slightly smaller and feed better.

    First shot, failure to feed second round. Removed it with difficulty since it doesn't have a slide lock. UGGH!! Second shot, same exact thing. Then I noticed that the assembly release rod was pushed up tight against the slide. It was actually removing the chrome upon firing and no doubt slowing down the slide. The molding on the frame has only a small chip of plastic on one side of the rod holding it from pushing all the way to the slide itself. Not good. No way am i getting a cartridge head in there for takedown like the manual says. So I got a small pocket knife and managed to pull it away from the slide. Removed slide, cleaned and oiled. Put assembly rod back in but didn't push it past the tiny ( just a speck of plastic) holding it away from the slide. It now had clearance.

    50 shots later no problems. But I worry about the rod going back into the slide. These guns are cool and serve a purpose, but they are not quality built weapons. There is no "fit and finish", there is just potential problems to work around. All of which should be done at the factory. This fluff and buff stuff is ridiculous, if I buy a TV I don't want to come home and start soldering wires to make it run right.

    I would rate the gun maybe a 7 out of 10, I am hoping it holds up, I need to finish breaking it in, but I don't know about the extrusion on the frame, is it normal to have nothing holding the assembly rod away from the frame except a sliver of plastic?? I have owned lot of guns, some cheap, some expensive. I have a jennings 22 that has done over 1000 rounds and never misfired, I have had a Tarus revolver the factory had to fix a timing issue. My p89 ruger will outlive me and never an issue. But this little thing worries me. I think it's definitely a gun to break in, then carry with very occasioanal test firing. If I can get to my Ruger in my car, I will trust it first, but it is nice to have this lightweight plastic thing in my pocket.
  2. JFB

    JFB New Member

    Jul 25, 2005
    Welcome to KTOG.  So sorry to hear that you bought a P3AT against your better judgement.

    as for your question,
    is it normal to have nothing holding the assembly rod away from the frame except a sliver of plastic? Yes, the head is normally about 0.010" from the slide when push in all the way.  If it touched the slide, I don't see a problem.  the head should pull away from the slide about 0.03" with just finger nail.  that is just enough to force the rim of a .380 round

    If you just have comments about the poor quality and design flaws, You should direct them to CLICK HERE


  3. gatorhugger

    gatorhugger Banned

    Jan 19, 2008
    Wish I had a micrometer to measure it but anyway, I can hear the assembly pin Click in, at that point it has enough clearance to put a cartridge head in, but I can continue to push it further until it hits the slide.
    I'll take your word for it that is normal, I figured by jamming against the slide it was causing the failure to feed for the next round by slowing the slide.

    Couple of more questions if you don't mind,
    1- am I supposed to be pulling the slide backwards before pulling out the pin? How far? I haven't been, and it didn't seem to matter

    2- Holding the sides to keep the spring in place? My spring doesn't seem like it's going anywhere, and the grips are hard as a rock, so what exactly am I supposed to be squeezing and where? Haven't done that either because I can't figure where I am supposed to be squeezing, it's all hard, It's not like I can compress it anymore than it already is.

    3 At the very front end where slide meets frame, I have probably a 1/8" gap where I can see the spring and it is bound to attract dirt. I can squeeze the slide and frame together so there is basically no clearance and release it and I have a gap. Can you see the recoil spring on all these guns just looking at it from the side or is something on mine broke? It seems that there should be very little clearance where slide meets frame. Mine seems huge.

    I never had gun where I could squeeze barrel and frame together and apart, Little things like that and the field stripping pins are just enough to drive me nuts. It just doesn't seem quality. I will undoubtably keep it because it's so small, but everything about it screams abnormal, abnormal, abnormal, based on every gun I have every owned having tolerances and straight lines, and non moving frames. Please reassure me everything is ok ;D
  4. zeke

    zeke New Member

    Dec 20, 2005
    You don't have to move the slide backwards any, but moving it till the barrel wiggles a little makes it a little easier. Until you get used to removing the slide don't worry about it.

    Using a small flat tip screwdriver works better. Lay the gun on it's side. Put a finger on either side of the assembly pin and push down. Use the screwdriver to pry out on the head of the pin. It will make a popping sound when it releases from the spring that holds it in. Yes the polymer grip will flex as you pull the pin out, thats why you need to hold it in.
  5. JFB

    JFB New Member

    Jul 25, 2005
    The pictures in the manual were that of a P32 when I got mine. It shows the slide being held back with the P32's slide lock.

    To pull the pin, all you should need to do is press the barrel/slide in 1/8", just enought to remove the barrel lug from dragging as the pin is pushed out. I do this by halding in left hand and pressing barrel/slide with thumb.

    If you pull the slide back farther, the reduced width of the slide allows you to use a "crowbar" to pop the pin. Some here use a bic lighter or similar to hold the slide back.

    Now as for putting pressure on boths sides, some people have experanced the hair pin that snapps in to that recessed diameter just behaind the head, to be pulled out of its groove in the grip/frame. That is the "recomended way"

    However, I pop the pin in my P3AT at least once a day, looking to answer questions here. I use a .380 round.

    Yes there is a gap between the grip and the slide. the slide will seem to pivot about the assembly pin (with magazine removed). that is Normal

    Now you need to grease this gun.

    If you have read, you will know all the reasons why this pistol is NOT like any other MADE. Some people just will not be able to make it work for them

    I use finger nail to lift that 0.03", then with rim sitting flat on the slide directly above the pin, I force the rim under with index finger, still pushing rim flush agaisnt the slide. Then using index to push the round hard toward the pin, I take thumb and press bullet away from pin, so rim pivots on far side and pops the pin
  6. gatorhugger

    gatorhugger Banned

    Jan 19, 2008
    Thanks Zeke,
    What I was talking about flexing was AFTER the gun is put back together. This big gap at the muzzel end between frame and slide. What is the normal gap? With two fingers I can move the frame and slide together and then release it and it seperates a good 1/8 inch.
  7. JFB

    JFB New Member

    Jul 25, 2005
    Looking on the side (not the end). I only have a gap of 0.05" to 0.06" between the grip and the slide at the muzzle. I can press down so the slide touches the grip So an 1/8" (0.13") seems excessive
  8. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    The gap is normal.  Go look at a Glock.  You are right.  The P3AT is not like other pistols.  It weighs 8 oz and will drop in a shirt pocket.  It can not be designed like your 2 pound P89.  I have one of those too and I love it.  But I won't carry it.  The P3AT is not a range gun.  It is not a target pistol.  It is a special purpose weapon designed to be carried when nothing else can be.  I would recommend that you get a couple of hundred rounds through it, FMJ, BTW.  Then, AFTER it is broken in, test your JHP carry ammo.  After that, function test it periodically with a few mags.  Properly maintained, they are quite reliable and have a lifetime warranty.  They are not, however, for everyone.  If it does not meet your expectations, sell it and buy some other 8 oz, 380 poocket pistol.  Don't come to a fan site and start knocking the weapon.  We will have little sympathy for that.

    BTW, these flyweight pistols do require more lube than your P89.  The slide is extremely light in weight and needs any anti-friction help it can get.  This is why we like to fluff and buff them.  That amounts to polishing the slide rails, hammer interface, feedramp and chamber.  Not a big deal - not really necessary, but helpful none-the-less.    
  9. gatorhugger

    gatorhugger Banned

    Jan 19, 2008
    That's good advice, shoot it and don't worry about it. If it continues to burp on the ammo back to the shop it goes though, I like shooting not gunsmithing.
  10. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Like I said, break it in with FMJ, then try some SD loads.  And quite frankly, these little pocket blasters push the envelope in terms of what is possible at this size and weight.  That is why we like them.  However, be prepared to make a compromise where ammo is concerned.  Some (not all) can be a little ammo selective.  You may need to experiment a little.  Trying various rounds is part of the fun.  Probably, once broken in, yours will be just fine with whatever ammo you choose but some rounds do feed easier than others in a given gun.  Corbon DPX is a favorite around here although it is a bit pricey.
  11. BillK

    BillK New Member

    Jul 23, 2007
    No measurements, just eye balling, maybe 1/16'' of pinch movement.

    Take care ...

    Ps. Had several issues with my gun that had me doubting the wisdom of my purchase. Worked through them and now have a piece that I'm very happy with. Still have a peened slide but washer has slowed or stopped it - will replace slide when I get a second P3AT.
  12. GMax

    GMax New Member

    Feb 16, 2006
    Realtor here too. You will love the conceal ability of the P3-AT. I started carrying one about 3 years ago after years of carrying a Charter Undercover. Started carrying that after a few creepy incidents at Open Houses I was conducting. The Undercover was in a belt holster and I always was aware it was there and constantly checked that it was concealed. I always had to wear a sport coat or suit coat to conceal it.
    Now just drop the P3-AT in one of my pocket holsters and it disappears in rear pocket. I know it's always concealed whether wearing a coat or not. Don't wanna scare away any potential customers !!

    Oh Mine shoots great, like it so much just bought another
  13. gatorhugger

    gatorhugger Banned

    Jan 19, 2008
    bill. Gmax and all, I am sure you get this same stuff from a lot of newbies. I just worried after those first two bum feeds, then the pin issue, then it seems like it had excessive clearance. I bet it will be fine, just gonna keep shooting.

    On the plus side a couple of things I liked right away was the handling, I was apprehensive listening to everyone talk about it was a hot firecracker, and getting shooting gloves and sleeves and pads. Heck hasn't anybody ever shot a 357 snubbie with 125 grains? This little baby was a piece of cake and I could have shot 100 no problem, just a bit of nicked skin. Thats what shooting is about.

    I also like the way I can view a cartridge chambered. Very cool. I just hope this gun gets more and more refined where you have fans of it that don't know what a preened Slide is( I don't by the way), guns shoulg be shot and not worried about stuff like the workings, and filing this and adding this a carving a hole in the frame. Maybe it's the new generation, i just want the thing to work and not fail my in a bad spot, and I don't want to work on the gun, I've had 30 guns, I'm not about to start gunsmithing now. That would be keltecs job,
  14. Navigator

    Navigator New Member

    Nov 26, 2007
    I just checked mine and also have about 1/16 inch clearence that will pinch together. Sometime back I also had a problem with the takedown pin working itself out during range sessions. After reading a good bit of advice on the causes ,i finally chucked the pin in a drill and applied a thin point file to the proper area of the pin. I can't even see that I removed any metal from the pin, but it did shine up the area. I applied some cold blue to the filed area and upon reassembling the pistol heard a definate click as the spring hit the groove. I haden't heard that before. I also notice that it is a bit more difficult to remove the takedown pin. Seems the problem is solved although I haven't braved the snow to verify that. Certainly acts like I'm told it should tho. :

  15. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    That is your opinion and nothing more.  This is a fan site.  We like to tinker.  Many guys here love to work on these guns.  That's why we're here.  We like to modify and improve them.  You seem to have reached the conclusion that all of these things that you see us doing are necessary.  They are not.  The guns work just the way they are sold.  But all guns have room for improvement and customization.  Go to Glocktalk, S&W forum, THR, whatever...  you will see the same thing.  Heck, go to a Ford or Chevy forum.  Those guys like to tinker with their cars.  They don't say "that is Ford's job."  You can buy a ford and drive it off the lot and will probably have few to no problems.  If it breaks, it's covered by the warranty just like your Kel-tec, except KT's warranty is life time.  There are, however, aficionados that buy a car or truck and start changing parts, customizing and hot-rodding the vehicles as soon as they get it home.  Of course they don't have to do that.  They want to.  Any normal ford driver that visited one of those sites would think the people were nuts for tinkering with a brand new car.  Get it? Now quit yer whining. ;D 
  16. JFB

    JFB New Member

    Jul 25, 2005
    Off topic replies have been DELETED