Not too happy with my P3AT so far

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by billstaf, May 27, 2011.

  1. billstaf

    billstaf New Member

    May 27, 2011
    I've had my P3AT now for about 10 months or so. I bought it originally for CCW. I do like the extreme lightness and thin profile for pocket carrying. This pistol is easy to clean and maintain as well. I also bought a couple of pinkie extensions for the mags so the thing fits my hand better.

    I've been to the range with it a few times now and run a few boxes of decent PMC ammo through it. My Kel-Tec seems plagued with FTE's or stovepipes. Now it is happening about every fifth round or so. I've struggled with keeping the gun controlled against the recoil in order for the casing to fully extract and eject, but nothing is working. Additionally I seem to be getting some feed problems, but that just may be related to the extraction issues. I keep the gun very clean and lubed, so it isn't a dirt issue. I've heard someone else mention a fluff/buff, but I don't have any idea what that entails.

    So far I'm not real happy with this pistol. I wanted to like it a lot, but this thing is just too hard to like with all of its attendant problems. I finally ended up buying a new SR9c for CCW from Ruger, which behaves perfectly, and now the poor Kel-Tec spends all of its time on a shelf.

    I'm still interested enough in my little .380 to try and find out what is wrong with it. I stopped by here to see if any of you might offer some advice on how to make this gun work correctly or if I should buy some aftermarket part (extractor maybe?) for it.

    Thanks in advance for any help you may give.
  2. billjohnso20

    billjohnso20 Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2008

    Sorry to hear of your troubles. I've had my P3AT for more than two years. I can honestly say mine has never jammed. IO tell you that so you'll know that yours is fixable and can be reliable. I have a few suggestions. Really, I'll post the links and let you read through them for yourself. Each one will deal a different topic but that topic may or may not apply in your particular case. I'm not saying you're limpwristing the little guy but there are some tips in that thread that seem to help almost everyone. You'll want to read through the fluff and buff article as well as the lubrication article. Many of us use a quality grease on these little guns on the rails too. If you remain open, you may find the answers you're searching for.

    Fluff and buff:


    Limpwristing/shooting techniques:

    Good luck and welcome to KTOG.

  3. illogicalmethod

    illogicalmethod Well-Known Member

    Jun 7, 2005
    Check the frankenbolt that holds the ejector, if that has come lose, you will suffer frequent problems.
  4. billstaf

    billstaf New Member

    May 27, 2011
    Thanks for the advice. I think that maybe I have been limp-wristing with this gun. This pistol has a nasty little recoil, so when shooting it, I have been concentrating on my two-hand grip and arms in order to maintain a sight picture on the target. I expect that I might have been neglecting my wrists during recoil. I'll hold off a bit on doing any buffing until I can spend some more time at the range and see if I'm the problem and not the gun.

    I did take the extractor apart and cleaned it and made sure the tooth was still sharp. All looks OK there and the extractor screw was already tight, so I'm guessing for now that my P3AT issues have more to do with the boob shooting it than the quality of the gun.

    Thanks again for your help.
  5. abuck50

    abuck50 Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2008
    NW Ohio
    You have gotten great advice so far! If you are getting feed issues have you tried a different mag and different ammo? American Eagle, Winchester White Box and Sellier & Belliot all feed good through mine now. I have found that UMC makes mine dirty faster than the ones mentioned. These small pistols don't like to be dirty. Especially when they are fairly new. I carry mine daily and really wanted close to 100% reliability for obvious reasons. I sent my upper half to GoldenLoki for a reliability prep. It didn't cost much and he provided fast service. FTFs and FTEs are very rare now and only have occurred at the end of a range session while very dirty. I bought my P3AT when there were not very many choices for a pocket carry pistol. I am very glad I chose it and don't leave home without it.

  6. Welcome to the forum. Sorry to hear that your P3AT is being a problem child. Mine was one also when i first got it. Mine is a second generation when issues were more common. Now it works great! I did have to send it back a few times for service to get it to be a good child.. But like i said it works great now. It is a daily carry. And when i say it works great now, i mean it never fails. And i shoot it a lot.

    If you search for my posts look and the early ones. They outline what i went thouh.
  7. kcb

    kcb New Member

    May 27, 2011
    Mine was the exact same way when I first got it. I'll say this, I had great luck with Kel-Tec's customer service. I sent it back to them along with a note explaining my problems. In about a week, they sent it back to me and I've had no problems with it ever since. Their warranty for my $240 dollar gun was a heck of a lot better than the warranty that came with my $1300 .45 Kimbe$ pistol!

    Contact Kel-Tec and get it back to them.

    MAJORSDAD New Member

    May 27, 2011
    Sorry to hear about your issues. The only one I ever fired was a friends that broke after the first magazine. The trigger and trigger bar came apart and the frame showed some flexing at that point. Keltec ended up replacing the pistol. My P32s always worked fine though.
  9. CDW4ME

    CDW4ME New Member

    Apr 6, 2009
    I'll second the idea of trying another brand of ammunition and make sure wrist are locked, before proceeding with another plan of action.
  10. gbarber010

    gbarber010 New Member

    Jun 21, 2005
    Prattville, AL
    Billstaf, Do you have an update on your P3AT. Very interested in hearing a report. I would recommend a fluff and buff. It can't hurt, and can only help.
  11. mike_kitterman

    mike_kitterman Active Member

    May 7, 2010
    Don't forget to keep it cleaned and well lubed, sometimes I think the lack of lube in the right places has a lot to do with these problems.
  12. martywj

    martywj Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    Sorry to hear about the problem you are having. My P3AT has about 200 rounds through it, and the only problem I have had was ammo related. I got some FTE from Herter's steel cased ammo other wise no other problems.
    Try using various brands of ammo, some pistols are just fnicky eaters.
  13. eccoboot

    eccoboot New Member

    Nov 2, 2004
    This is a major cause of ftfs, this screw should be glued down tight....
  14. oldgranpa

    oldgranpa New Member

    Sep 23, 2004
    Just from my experience with many kinds of .380 ammo....PMC is one of the brands that has lots of problems especially FTE.
    Get some Winchester ValuPak at WalMart (it's flat nose FMJ) and try that. Seems to work for everybody.
    my 2 cents.
  15. rebootit

    rebootit Active Member

    Mar 25, 2011
    St. Petersburg FL
    Wow! PMC has been one of the best shooters I have shot. Remington UMC is good also in 380 but plain sucked in my S&W SD9mm. I thought something was wrong with the gun until I switched ammo one day at the range. Would FTE like every 3rd round. Loaded up with PMC and shot fine the rest of the day. I traded the UMC for PMC to another shooter.
  16. calcman

    calcman New Member

    Jun 12, 2011
    this is a strange little gun - either works great or bad. Mine is the latter and will be a range-practice gun from here out.
  17. torrent

    torrent Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2006
    And you're right. Some issues are blatantly mechanical in nature and require the gun be shipped back to KT for them to fix. In some instances the shooter is the problem and none of us want to admit we can't shoot a tiny little gun like the P3AT. A combo of both problems can lead to a frustrated and unhappy shooter. Every now and then someone buys one of these little guns that has one or two minor mechanical issues that could be fixed at home, but the owner doesn't have the no-how to deal with the problem. Figure out which road you're on and get back to me because there are ways to help you.
  18. Bullseye25

    Bullseye25 New Member

    Jun 15, 2011
    I felt the same way when I first got my p3at.  Lots of fte and FTF.  I hated it! Was going to trade it in for a bodyguard or lcp. Just before deciding to sell it I gave the warrNty a shot. Drove over to cocoa beach and they fixed it on the spot. Replaced the frame and a few other things. Has been flawless ever since. Doesn't matter if it's limp wristed or what kind of ammo I shoot. Give kt a chance. I'm sure they won't let you down. One of the best warranties I've seen. And turns out the p3at is a great pistol that I'd bet my safety on.
  19. calcman

    calcman New Member

    Jun 12, 2011
    Mine's been back to FL twice now. No, I'm not going to play amateur gunsmith with a piece under warrantee. If the rest of your want to play it, go ahead. It ought to work when it hits the shelves... that's called quality control. One return - okay. Two, the gun is now a single shot - and I'll say it's a nice, lightweight single shot. Other than that, it goes to non-crucial use. I'll stick to depending on one of my P-32's.
  20. gerry

    gerry New Member

    Apr 28, 2011
    Im in the same boat. Mine went back to Kel tec for FTE almost every mag. They replaced the slide and did a fluff and buff. Got it back and it FTF the 2nd to last round consistently. Round goes in nose up and jams on top of chamber. Tried my cousins mag and it was much better. They then had me exchange my 2 mags and it still does the same thing. last few range sessions its gotten a little better. Went today and had 5 FTF's in 100 rounds and that was better than last time. Using American Eagle but Im going to try different brand next range session then it may go for sale. Really shouldn't be like this. Cant say its me cause I've shot 2 others with no problems. Its almost not worth sending this thing in more than once, the shipping fees will start to be more than the gun cost.