P3at quality questions

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by moonshot, Dec 16, 2007.

  1. moonshot

    moonshot New Member

    26
    Apr 4, 2007
    Its been a while since I've been on this board. My P3at was reliable, but showing the early signs of peening, and I had lost confidence in it. I had an offer from someone I knew who knew all about the gun, including the peening, and wanted it anyway. I sold it for the down payment on a rifle I didn't want to pass up.

    As you might expect, now I kind of miss the little guy. Can someone tell me the status of the peening slide issue? I've looked here and on other boards, and I keep seeing reference to slides continuing to peen. I really want to like this gun, but I just can't bring myself to rely on a pistol that can't be shot for thousands of rounds (practice makes for accuracy and skill), and that may start to deform and cause a malfunction after only a few hundred rounds.

    There seems to be two kinds of P3at owners - those who buy one, buy one box of ammo, put gun in drawer, shoot perhaps 50 rounds per year, and report no problems, and those who actually shoot their guns in practice and training. Just because it's a backup doesn't mean one doesn't need to practice with it.

    This last group seems to be composed of those who have had problems that were fixed, and those who had problems that have not (yet) been fixed. I realize some have had no issues at all, but they seem few and far between.

    I understand this board is for those who love their Keltecs, and not for Keltec bashers. I am not trying to bash Keltec (although it may seem that way). Like I said, I really want to like and trust this gun. I would like to own about 1/2 dozen of them - (one for me, one for spouse, one for each kid, spares). My fear is the QC issues will only get worse over time.

    They say the P3at is a 6000 round gun, but I don't know of anyone who has put 1/2 that through it. I do know of many who have only put several hundred through it, and parts begin to break or peen.

    My question to you all...has Keltec fixed the QC issues related to the P3at (peening slide, breaking mag catch, etc) or is it still a crap shoot as to whether or not the gun will need major repairs? This gun may often be primary, and therefore reliability is non-negotiable. I am a firm believer in training, and I shoot a lot. If the gun can't stand up to thousands of rounds, that makes me worried.

    Can someone enlighten me as to the current quality of the P3at? I really want to like it, and by several, but I continue to worry. Thanks, and sorry for the seeming rant.

    moonshot
     
  2. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Texas
    Your concerns are quite valid and you ask good questions.  The peening issue has long been resolved.  Frankly, IMO, the issue was blown somewhat out of proportion here in the first place.  Many of those "peeners" developed a small ridge of proud metal around the guide rod hole and then stopped.  We only saw a very few that actually failed where the spring came through.  Lots of folks here just put a nylon washer in the guide rod hole and never bothered to return the slide.  They are still shooting them.  Of course many owners did have their slide replaced.  The couple of peeners that I have seen in the past few months were not new production, IIRC.  The polymer mag catch is something of a weak link that can generally be ignored if you depress the mag catch when inserting the mag.  At some pont, you could probably get a steel mag catch from Two Pistol Packer when he resumes production should you choose to do so.  

    Because of the size and weight of this pistol, it will never have the reliability or durability of a 2 pound pistol.  It is not intended to be a target pistol nor range pounder.  I recommend that users buy one, break it in with a couple hundred rounds of FMJ, then do some reliability testing with their carry ammo.  After that, I would just function test it periodically with a few mags.  In other words, shoot a little and carry a lot.  If you insist on shooting thousands of rounds per year, you will have to keep a close eye on it and expect to do some maintenance/repair.  In spite of the 6000 round projected life of the pistol, many have put thousands of rounds through them and it does have a lifetime warranty.  

    This feather-weight pistol does not have a large margin for error.  It should be cleaned and properly lubed after shooting.  These are not for everyone.  They can be difficult to shoot (limp-wristing) and require more maintenance than a Glock.  But then a Glock won't drop into your shirt pocket very well.  It is a niche weapon, designed to be easily carried and to dump a mag of ammo up close and personal, if need be.  Don't try to make it something that it is not.  FWIW, IMO, the P32 can be a little more forgiving as it endures a bit less self-abuse when fired.  If you really need several of these, consider trying one of each.  These guns hold their value pretty well and you can't loose much money on them.  Heck, they are down right cheap in the first place compared to their only competition (NAA, Seecamp, Rhorbaugh).  I hope this helps with your decision and I'm sure a few others will chime in.  Good luck.  :cool:
     

  3. moonshot

    moonshot New Member

    26
    Apr 4, 2007
    Thanks Spence,

    I have several problems with relying on the lifetime warranty...

    It is less costly for Keltec to get it right the first time than to replace parts at their own expense. I have read of those who have had peening slides replaced, only to have replaced slides peen. If Keltec wants to throw money away, that is their business, but as a small business owner, I know that wasting money and causing customer dissatisfaction is a fast road to closing ones doors.

    Lifetime warranties are only useful if the business is still in business (see above).

    Getting it fixed for free is great, but if it breaks just as I need it to save my life, or the life of someone I am responsible for, that warranty becomes useless. I don't want a gun I can get fixed for free. I want a gun that is not likely to need to be fixed, until many thousands of rounds have gone down the pipe.

    The odd or unusual malfunction is one thing, as are the occasional lemon. All gun manufacturers have had this happen. The problems I see with the P3at are recurring problems, already identified and easily fixed. If Keltec needs to install a metal mag catch, they should do so when the gun is made. If they need to visually inspect the guide rod hole for thickness, or retool the drill, they should do so. If they need stronger springs, or better lock nuts, or whatever, they should use them. Not doing this shows me they either don't know how to fix the problems, or don't care enough about their customers to do so. A gun that malfunctions or breaks early in its life doesn't instill confidence, or brand loyalty.

    If I can be convinced they have these problems fixed, I would go out tomorrow and buy another. I would keep buying them until I owned several. I am still waiting to be convinced. The warranty is nice, but I would rather pay more per gun and get it right the first time.

    moonshot
     
  4. moonshot

    moonshot New Member

    26
    Apr 4, 2007
    Thanks, TxCajun.

    You make a valid point. It is a niche gun, and it is wrong to try and make it something is was never designed to be. I still worry about it malfunctioning at a critical time. Confidence is everything. I don't believe in carry a lot, shoot a little, but I could always buy one for range use and one for carry.

    How does the P32 compare to the P3at for durability and reliability? How effective is the 32cal compared to the 380? Neither get great marks for effectiveness.

    Is the P3at really just an "in your face" defensive gun, or can it be effectively employed at, say, 10 yards? Not just accuracy, but ammo effectiveness?

    As Keltec doesn't serial # the slides, how do I know if I have received a new one? Thanks.

    moonshot
     
  5. 3wbdriver

    3wbdriver Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 2, 2005
    Louisiana
    I'm not gigging on you here moonshot, but if you have that much of a concern about the reliablilty of the system I would not recommend you get one.  You will always have that doubt in the back of your mind regardless of what we may tell you.  And that just doesn't make for selecting a comfortable carry gun.  My P3AT has been perfect since I bought it 2 years ago, but I recognized when I bought it that it was not a range gun.  I practice 2 to 4 magazines per month with it to stay proficient, then I clean and lube it and it goes back in the holster.  If you have ANY doubts, don't buy one.

    Seriously, I'm not dissing you.  But that kind of doubt should be accepted, and you should look at something you can psychologically rely on.

    :)
     
  6. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap New Member

    69
    Sep 4, 2007
    I think your concerns are reasonable. My initial introduction to the Kel-Tec world wasn’t at all favorable. My recoil springs were sticking out the front of the slide after the first magazine load downrange. My brand new gun was broken after six rounds! :( Ordinarily, that would have been enough right there, but I really, really wanted this little sucker to work out.

    Slide number two has been doing okay so far (knock wood), but then I haven’t had a chance to put a lot of rounds through it – maybe 200 or so. I don’t know where Kel-Tec stands with regards to this peening issue. My P-3AT is only a few months old, but there’s no telling how long it was sitting in the gunshop prior to my buying it (serial number in the ‘JA’ range for those who are hep to such things). All that aside, I love the concealability of this gun, and the accuracy was surprising, once you get past the noseeum sights. ::)
     
  7. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Texas
    Many folks here do have multiple copies.  If you need to shoot thousands of rounds per year to be comfortable with your carry gun, that is a good way to go.  Have a range gun that you can abuse and afford to have a malfunction with.  Keep the round count on your carry gun relatively low, but do function test it occassionally with a couple mags of carry ammo.

    My opinion is that the P32, with somewhat reduced pressure and forces, takes a little less beating and therefore holds up a little better. Neither the 32 or 380 are what you would knowingly take to a gun fight.  Give me a 12 guage every time.  However, there is darn little differnce in the size hole that the 32acp makes compared to the 380acp, and velocity is not that much less.  I have both P3s and am comfortable with either.  99.9% of people who are shot with anything, including a freakin' pellet gun, are going to cease and decist whatever behavior got them shot.  If possible, they will likely run like hell.  And, shot placement trumps the caliber wars  every time.

    Ammo effectiveness (velocity) is not going to change at all out to much further than that.  At 10 yards, you should have no issue hitting a man-sized target.  However, in truth, the vast majority of SD shootings occurr at bad breath range.  Criminals don't often accost victims from 30 feet away.  If you do shoot someone from further than that, you'd best have a really good reason.

    By my recollection, the last peening slide manufactured was something like last February or March.  You'd be hard pressed to buy a NIB gun that's been sitting on the shelf that long.  Before shopping, put KT's 800 # in your cell phone.  Call them with a serial # and they'll tell you when the gun was made.

    But a word of caution...  NO ONE makes a gun this small, light and inexpensive.  Only a couple of others even come close to the size and weight and even at their prices (2-4 times as much), and they are not without issues either.  It is the nature of the beast.  Repeat after me...  This is not a range gun.  It is not a target pistol.  It is not a service or duty rated weapon.  It is an 8 oz pocket pistol designed to be easily carried and called upon to save your bacon when you can not or will not carry a larger, heavier duty weapon.  Don't try to make it something it is not or you set yourself up for disappointment.  FWIW, the current versions of the P3 are the best they have ever been.  :cool:
     
  8. JFB

    JFB New Member

    Jul 25, 2005
    JAxxx was made prior to April 2007 and was the last in the range of the twenty or so problem slides reported here
     
  9. moonshot

    moonshot New Member

    26
    Apr 4, 2007
    Double Tap,

    If my gun had broken as your did after only one magazine, I don't think I would have shown your level of patience. I admire your willingness to give it a second chance. Two hundred rounds, however, is not even broken in yet. For me, a gun is not reliable until it has digested at least two hundred rounds of carry ammo without a single malfunction. If it malfunctions at round 165, I figure out what went wrong, and start over at zero. It's expensive and time consuming, but that is how I was trained, and I've had good training.

    Your are right about how easy it is to conceal and about its accuracy. Something that small, thin and light can go almost anywhere. It does make it harder to shoot, but it is an acceptable trade off. As for accuracy, I did find my P3 to have good inherent accurate if I was holding with a solid two hand grip and taking my time to aim. Any rifled barrel is generally inherently accurate. However, it's practical accuracy that is one of the keys to defensive gun use.

    If one is grabbing their gun from a position of disadvantage, using a less than perfect stance, and aiming at a possibly moving and beyond arms reach target, then sights and ergonomics come into play. Standing at the range and aiming at paper targets 3 yards away is nice, but in order to be accurate in real world scenarios, one needs to practice under actual conditions. Conditions of poor grip, poor light, stress, and non-cooperating targets.

    This is why I do not believe in carry a lot and shoot a little. Remember, if you press the trigger, and you miss your target, that bullet will still hit something. I would prefer to practice with my carry gun and learn its nuances and be better able to hit my target, under all conditions. Should you ever use your gun defensively, you may have to be able to demonstrate proficiency. I don't think you can do that at only 50 or 100 rounds a year.

    Sorry. I'm ranting again. This isn't a bashing of the P3. It is merely my opinion. Any gun must be shot often in practice to gain, and demonstrate, proficiency. If the gun can't stand up to it, then that is a problem, at least for me.

    A 6000 round gun is more than strong enough, but parts can't break or shoot loose after only a few hundred, or one will never reach that level of competence.

    moonshot
     
  10. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap New Member

    69
    Sep 4, 2007
    I couldn’t agree more. I simply haven’t had a chance to shoot it all that much. The closest range is a good hour’s drive away, and I absolutely hate that range! >:( The next closest range – which I like BTW – is two hours away. So it’s very difficult to just throw some stuff in the car and go shooting for a couple of hours. Due to the distances involved, I sort of have to plan my entire day around it. What’s even more annoying, there’s a perfectly good range right here in town, but joining that club is well nigh impossible! :-/ I’ll just do the best I can with what limited time I can muster until circumstances improve.
     
  11. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap New Member

    69
    Sep 4, 2007
    So in theory then, I should be good to go? :)
     
  12. moonshot

    moonshot New Member

    26
    Apr 4, 2007
  13. Rubb

    Rubb New Member

    Jun 19, 2006
    When I bought mine June 06 HV*** I had FTEject issues through 200 rounds.
    With the help of the forum members I was able to fix it.
    After 230 flawless rounds it started again and I could not fix it.
    On 12-17-06 I sent it to KT, got it back in two weeks and it's been
    flawless since(476 rnds.).
    Included in the flawless shooting was my 75 year old father and
    my 16 year old nephew's first time shooting.

    They replaced the slide and I thought it was going to be a peener.
    Through 476 rounds it has not got any worse.
    [​IMG]

    I've tested Federal Hydashock(53 rnds.)
    and Remington Express 88gr. JHP(51 rnds.)
    The Rem Ex JHP was 93 rounds flawless before I sent it back.
    The Federal was tested slow fire, rapid fire and at 90 degree right
    and left angles as well as right and left hand only.

    I trust the 3AT and these loads 100%

    Accuracy:
    I'm not the best shot, far from it but I'm able to keep 7 shot
    on paper at 50 ft.(NRA B-2 10.5X12)
    I do most shooting at 5-7 yards.
    [​IMG]

    The size, weight, price and power of such a small package is hard to beat.

    Hope this helps and good luck,

    Rubb
     

  14. +1 Bottom line.......An individual must decided for himself if he will carry and what he will carry.

    I think there is very little I can say to persuade any one either way.

    My shooting buddy thinks I am nuts for carrying my KT. But..... he goes unarmed most of the time because he can’t easily conceal anything he has!

    Go figure!
     
  15. moonshot

    moonshot New Member

    26
    Apr 4, 2007
    While Christmas shopping today, I was thinking about my concerns over the P3at, and the advise I have been receiving on this board. I had been trying to put it in simple terms, but I keep getting carried away, and up to this point, I think I have failed. I understand the P3at is not a Glock. It's not even a Kahr. It is a gun which will allow one to a) carry a spare when otherwise no spare would be carried or b) carry a gun when otherwise no gun would be carried.

    It is not meant to be a high performance combat assault pistol, although it may in fact have to be employed in this role. There are far better firearms out there, more shootable, more durable, more accurate, and firing a better cartridge. Unfortunately, they are also larger and heavier.

    There is definitely a place for the P3at in ones pocket, but only if it works!

    This is my real concern. With all the reported breakages I keep reading about (failures to feed, extract, eject, mags falling out, extractors coming loose, trigger pins walking out, slides peening allowing recoil springs to pop out, etc) I worry and wonder if any P3at can be relied upon to function if and when it is called upon to save ones bacon.

    My question to you all...

    What can I do to ensure any P3at I might buy has what it takes to hold together. I need it to be usable for training, at least enough to ensure it functions with my carry ammo (200 rounds min) and then function long enough to test monthly (say one box of ammo). This should help ensure accuracy skills do not deteriorate.

    I am willing to work with the gun, but I am not willing to rely on warranties and wishful thinking hoping that the gun holds together.

    Any suggestions?

    moonshot
     
  16. 98_1LE

    98_1LE New Member

    345
    Dec 29, 2005
    Without reading any of the replies, please put me in the group of these guns were not meant to be shot a lot. The P3AT I own now has 298 rounds down the pipe, and will probably see 100-200 a year for many years to come. If I feel I need to practice more with it, I will buy a second one.

    I have owned two P3AT's, both second gen. The only problem with the first one was the ejector screw coming loose, which locktite resolved. The second one has been 100%, although the mag didn't feel like it was seating real well towards the end of a range session earlier.
     
  17. JFB

    JFB New Member

    Jul 25, 2005
    You had A P3AT, you asked the same same questions, and got rid of it because you lost confidence. Why would you even think about another one

     
  18. Rubb

    Rubb New Member

    Jun 19, 2006
    Just wanted to add.

    1040 rounds through total and no problems with any interal parts.
    I don't have a steel mag release either ;)
     
  19. moonshot

    moonshot New Member

    26
    Apr 4, 2007
    JFB,

    You're right. I had one, lost confidence in it, and sold it. I stated that in my opening post. I guess I am back in the questioning mode because, like you all here, I do see a niche being filled by the P3at. No other gun offers many of its attributes, and I wish I had several. However, my concerns remain. They still seem to be, in not unreliable, than perhaps unstable.

    I love the concept, but the problems you all are fixing shouldn't need to be fixed at all. I'm not a paid Beta tester, nor am I a home gun smith. If I buy a NIB gun, it should be 100% without tweeking. And it should last through several thousand rounds. Any gun can fail to meet this test, but seldom do so many fail to meet it.

    If the P3at's of today are more reliable, more durable, and more trouble-free then they were when I first had mine, I will likely buy another. I'd like several. However, if they are still being produced with frequent parts breakage and failure-prone operation, I'll pass and perhaps try later.

    Every time someone goes to the range and reports back that their P3at had some problem that resulted in it not firing, they should think about what would have happened if that had been in a real self-defense situation, and not a range session. I've owned many guns in the past. I can't remember when one of them ever malfunctioned.

    I really do want one. They fill an important role, and I want them to work for me, but my reliability requirements might be higher than Keltec's.

    That doesn't make me better then they are, or anyone who chooses to rely upon one, it just makes their product not compatible with my needs. It's too bad. I could be a great customer.

    moonshot
     
  20. Rubb

    Rubb New Member

    Jun 19, 2006