P-3AT Out of the box reliability

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by MW_surveyor, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. MW_surveyor

    MW_surveyor New Member

    Oct 30, 2009
    One of the main items I've noticed in the forum is that some people question the reliability of the P-3AT and other Kel Tec products. I realize that these are mechanical objects and are subject to problems just like any other machine. The majority of produced items (not Kel Tec specifically) work very well and a few slip by QC and into the user's hand where the item and company ends up being a POC.

    I recently bought a P-3AT and with no preparation other than an initial cleaning before the first 50 rounds fired and subsequent cleaning and lubing for the last 125 rounds (175 rounds so far); I've had no failures from the pistol. Based on my experience, the P-3AT is what I expected and got. If I went by some other's experience, I got lucky.

    I'd like to see one of the moderators start a count poll of P-3AT owners like myself who have had no problems with the pistol out of the box. The results could then be posted in the FAQ area for persons looking at this forum for information regarding the reliability of the gun.

  2. raymac1215

    raymac1215 New Member

    Dec 31, 2008
    I really like your idea. This would show how reliable the P3AT has become. I have 2 that have NEVER failed me with over 300 rounds through each. No prep..right out of the box. Sounds like a neat idea.

  3. JFB

    JFB New Member

    Jul 25, 2005
    So for the poll to be accurate, how many owners of the 1000 per week P3ATs need to vote.

    also, I would be in that NO catagory as I did have malfunctions until I became familair with it

    to me, If KT would provide stats woulld be a better measure

    1) Number of P3ATs made
    2) Number of returns
    ----a) no problem found
    ----b) damaged part due to owner
    ----c) out of spec part
  4. JFB

    JFB New Member

    Jul 25, 2005
    so would these be good poll responses

    absolutely perfect
    fix it myself
    sent it back
    sent it back several time
    gave up
  5. MW_surveyor

    MW_surveyor New Member

    Oct 30, 2009

    This is why I suggested a moderator to start the poll as there are a number of areas that could be included within the question.

    I also agree that it would be very advantageous for Kel Tec to provide some input into numbers sold and how many have had or were returned for service. The latter may be difficult to get from Kel Tec but I would imagine that it would be a generally low percentage as you can not remain in business doing a lot of warranty work.

  6. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Anything you do here will be skewed.

    Yes, the last stats I've seen put out annually by the ATF show that KT has produced right around 50,000 P3ATs per year for several years running.  Bt far, the P3AT has represented the highest domestic production of 380 cal pistols over the life of this pistol.  Of those 1000 bought per week, probably 999 owners have never heard of KTOG.  The average owner buys the gun, it works, and that's the end of the story.  Because the guns are inexpensive, they do attract a lot of novice owners and "non gun nuts".  Those people buy the gun, shoot it a little, drop it in a sock drawer, and that's it.

    Who comes here to KTOG?  Primarily 2 groups...  Those who have problems and gun nuts.  Which one are you? :D  Anyone who buys a Kel-tec and has a problem will google Kel-tec. We are the 2nd hit after the company.  If someone has a problem, almost certainly, they will show up a KTOG.  Of folks with no problems, only a very small slice of them will ever find us.  That would be the gun afficianados and a few who are further researching what they bought or checking around for accessories, etc.

    To rephrase this phenomena succinctly, you don't judge the health of a community by visiting the hospital.  In many ways for many folks, we are the Kel-tec hospital.  If someone has an issue with a Kel-tec, trust me, they will find us.  Therefore any information you collect here will not really be representative of the product in general.  

    Having said that, I can certainly supply some anecdotal information.  Compared to the early P3ATs, today's version is a much improved weapon.  They are far more reliable out of the box with much better fit and finish.  In fact, they have even improved since the advent of the second generation guns.  Just from the general "feel" of reading this board I'd say the guns have even improved over the past year.  Seeing a problem with a new P3AT these days is downright rare.  If problem guns don't show up much at KTOG, rest assurred, there just aren't very many.  ;D
  7. JFB

    JFB New Member

    Jul 25, 2005
    and I would think nothing was actually wrong the large percentage of those return to KT
  8. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    This is almost surely true.  Again, due to the low retail price, these guns attract a lot of novice gun owners.  Many such folks know nothing of breakin routines for a feather weight pistol.  They'll buy some expensive SD rounds on the gun shop recommendation and try it out on a stiff NIB gun.  Or, they'll buy some cheapo steel-cased ammo because that's all they can find or afford these days.  Cleaning...  Lubrication?  Every couple of years, right?  Limp-wristing?  What's that?  They haven't a clue.  IMNSHO, the P3AT is a lousy first gun.   :-/

    Such is what led to the discontinuation of the P40, which of course was notoriously more difficult to handle than the P3AT.  After X number of guns are sent back for repair that perform perfectly in the hands of the technician, what are you going to do?  Shipping them back and forth across the country gets expensive and how do you tell thousands of folks, "Sorry, you just don't know how to shoot this pistol."  :-?
  9. MW_surveyor

    MW_surveyor New Member

    Oct 30, 2009
    Thanks for the input to date.

    TxCajun - In reality I've been using the internet and specialist forums to help make decisions on what to purchase or how to get better service out of what I already have. In the case of the P3AT, wanted something small, light weight and more concealable than my Taurus PT111. Really looked at the LCP and also the PF9. Gun nut? Not really, but could be getting that way. Still have my really old S&W 38, S&W 422, with recent purchases of the PT111, Walther P22 and the P3AT. :-X Almost forgot, 10/22 and 870 in 12 gauge. :-[

    The basic input that Kel Tec is producing something on the order of 50,000 of these guns per year and selling them at the rate of near 1,000 per month probably needs to be put into a stickey for people like me that use the internet to help make a decision to purchase a product.

    I will really have to agree with both TxCajun and JFB that the majority of the new gun buyers do not have the slightest clue of what they are buying and then not knowing the basics of gun preparation and shooting what they have purchased. I usually go to the range about once per week on a week day as my job is a 24/7 call out, so as long as I have my phone, I'm available. Any way, was at the range yesterday, new shooter (female), new gun, next to me. 357 S&W 2" barrell, gun not cleaned or lubed, using full power 357 ammo. No clue on how to load, aim or even knew that the hammer could be cocked by hand. Gave some instruction along with the range officer after we realized both she and the gun were new. In any event the new shooter got about 17 rounds out of 50 on the target (this includes the cardboard backing) at 7 yards. Tried to cheer her up saying that size pistol was difficult to learn to shoot on. Left semi-discouraged but will probably be back.

    Again, thanks for the input.
  10. risabee

    risabee Member

    Jun 23, 2007
    Range masters should keep a handful (per newbie) of .38 hollowbase wadcutters on hand for that scenario, so she can work up from there. Try them on her if she shows up again. Tell her a lady in Oregon whose carry is a Security Six said so. I actually find it easier to shoot, even with 158 grain full loads, than the P3AT backup ... :p
  11. RobO-excop

    RobO-excop Active Member

    Apr 27, 2009
     I hope nobody minds me joining this thread... I have a PF9 but may get a P3AT next year .
    I really enjoy KTOG and I've learned a few things here as well! I guess I kinda fit in on the "gun nut" category.
     Secondly, all I did to my PF9 before taking it to the range was a good cleaning , lubing and greasing . It has shot flawlessly so far, about 205 rds. The only problem I have had is the hammer block pin backed out a little bit the second range trip. I pushed it back in, but haven't been to the range since to see if that happens again. If it does, I will have to ask for advise on how to keep it from happening again.
     The bottom line: I like the gun. It does what I need it to do reliably and it is small enough for CC without being too small and too "snappy"  I didn't buy a PPS,nor did I expect a PPS for $300. But, I'm also having fun with my PF9  "personalizing" it. I have already contacted Golden Loki about Duracoating my slide ,  I will try a Kahr mag extension just like I saw on an earlier thread, a Hogue Handall Jr and a C/T laser sight are on my "wish list" too.
     I also appreciate and enjoy all the help and opinions I have rec'd here too.... Thanks, everybody! :) :) :)
  12. gunrunner124

    gunrunner124 New Member

    Jan 31, 2007
    I think i can input a little information here.
    Keltec has sold about 120,000 firearms this year, with a 5.5% return rate on all total of all weapons. that's pretty good in my book. thanks
  13. acts2florida

    acts2florida New Member

    Oct 17, 2009
    I'm a new shooter who bought my P3AT on advice of a friend (and P3AT owner), but only after surfing KTOG and reading everything I could on the gun. Then, despite the issues that people talked about, I bought it anyway. My thought was, as expressed by another, that out of the many thousands of pistols produced, some are going to have problems (Have you ever bought a new car???). More than likely, those problems are related to certain manufacturing or QC processes and will be both few in number but repetitive from problem gun to problem gun. Strangely, it is because I was able to read so much about the issues people have had with their guns, that I decided on a KT. I'd sooner know what to expect and know where to go for answers than to "shoot in the dark" with an unknown weapon.

    I now have just over 200 rounds through it and it has performed flawlessly. I've followed the advice found here...clean, lube (including grease on the rails), shoot, repeat. It rides in my homemade pocket holster (a modified HP PDA case) everyday and gets field stripped and cleaned weekly. I've become a real KT fan.

    Gun nut? Not yet, but well on my way!
  14. oldgranpa

    oldgranpa New Member

    Sep 23, 2004
    I agree with this quote by TxCajun....

    "Having said that, I can certainly supply some anecdotal information. Compared to the early P3ATs, today's version is a much improved weapon. They are far more reliable out of the box with much better fit and finish. In fact, they have even improved since the advent of the second generation guns. Just from the general "feel" of reading this board I'd say the guns have even improved over the past year. Seeing a problem with a new P3AT these days is downright rare. If problem guns don't show up much at KTOG, rest assurred, there just aren't very many."

    It certainly fits the description of the P3AT I just recently bought. Even the smiley problem has been reduced to next to nothing. The Ruger LCP can't say that since it's a copy of the older 2d generation pistol and has worse smileys than any P3AT I've ever owned, and I've had 5. Adding a slide lock doesn't mask the fact that Ruger stole the design and are nothing but a bunch of theives. Plus, the LCP I tried had worst accuracy of anything, it just plain stunk!!

    The word will get around and KelTec will remain the .380 pistol favorite. Even a Crimson Trace for it. I plan to get one for a Christmas gift to myself. But don't kid yourself, my P3AT is just as accurate as the Kahr P380. Maybe it doesn't look as pretty but the bad guy isn't going to know the difference!!

    You get what you pay for is mostly true. But the new P3AT's are a best buy!!

  15. DaveTec

    DaveTec New Member

    Oct 16, 2009
    Mine was/is flawless right out of the box. No buff and fluff, no nothing. I loaded it up and have nearly 500 rds thru it now. Its lived in my pocket daily since day one, and has only been cleaned once.

    The CT laser is still dead on, and the little gun is a constant source of amazement among my co-workers, family and friends.

    Even more so since I got the GURU wallet holster.

    All the fellers agree, "I gotta get me one of them!"
  16. MW_surveyor

    MW_surveyor New Member

    Oct 30, 2009
    Good to see all of the replies and input:

    gunrunner - so that makes about 6,600 guns returned out of the 120,000. Unfortuanatly, we don't know why they were returned. Not sticking up for Kel Tec but as has been observed, some people just don't know anything about guns or how they function. (as per JFB and TxCajun)(and my own observations)

    RobO-excop - if you are looking for something that hides easier than the PF9 you have, then the P-3AT is for you. Saw a few of your posts on the PF9 forum. I don't think that your wife will like to fire the P-3AT so you should be able to keep it for yourself when you get it.

    risabee - that's why my daughter has a security six instead of a P-3AT. Likes it a whole lot better. Unfortuantely the range that I go to does not have a good stock of ammo at the present time so having some hollow base wad cutters is pretty rare.

    All of the others, enjoy.
    (Still really thinking about getting a PF9 if not to carry but maybe put in truck on full time basis PT111 stays home then 24/7) :-[
  17. risabee

    risabee Member

    Jun 23, 2007
    Yes sir, I think it would pay a good range to keep a wadcutter mold and reloading kit on hand to put together some light loads, not for sale (I understand there can be legal issue with sale of reloads) but for newbie wheelgun training "on the house." Of course, as they are exposed lead they are not good for indoor ranges, but it's a start. I would love to see production of very light loaded FMJ for this very reason; I have friends who will not try my Six but who might if I could find some very low-kick indoor practice rounds.

    It's sad. A happy student is a happy customer. When I qualified for my CCW the class was about 1/2 women and we had to bring our own iron, one or two had J frame 38s and +P ammunition and one quit and did not qualify. She could not control her weapon. I was surprised the instructors did not offer her more help than they did, and I had to stay in my own lane and could not advise.

    I used a Taurus 4" 941 which was loud enough to make the instructors happy but stayed on target for my weak wrists and I outscored the men with their 40s and 45s easily. Shot PLACEMENT is way better than caliber for qualifying, methinks. ;)

    When I took my children to the woods and trained them we started with .22LR rifle and worked steadily upward, and they were all good with the .357 by the end of three hours with a couple of breaks. My daughter was 14 at the time.
  18. michael_t

    michael_t New Member

    Sep 7, 2004
    I have 3 KelTecs all were started same way. Out of box check barrel to make sure clean. Ran some break fee on slide rails . Loaded with S&B ball and begin shooting . After 50 rounds I disassembled and cleaned All are way over 500 rounds trouble free today.
    I took a P-32 cleaned and greased fairly heavy the lube points . Fired 1 full mag +1 in chamber. Reloaded and dropped in pocket no holster carried for a month Repeated the 1 mag shooting , reloaded and put back in pocket . Carried and fired for 6 months and never cleaned at all .
    At end of 6 months I fired mag and disassembled . To say was a mess is being nice. My reason for this I wanted to see if I could make it fail by using grease and never cleaning just carry and shoot. No pocket holster I wanted dirt and lint.
    KT passed with flying colors got a much deserved cleaning and confirmed my belief that KT is one of the best pistols in this country for carry . Regardless of price
  19. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Hey michael! Long time - no see. Good to see you hanging around. :cool: