P3AT reliability and this forum

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by gordon11, Aug 28, 2010.

  1. gordon11

    gordon11 Well-Known Member

    Dec 30, 2007
    I can't help but notice how few new posts we've had in the past month or so from people having issues with the P3AT. Seems the P3AT has become so reliable that there's not as much for p3 owners to talk about.
  2. Bobo

    Bobo Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 13, 2005
    I believe you're right about P-3AT's being more reliable out-of-the-box these days, but I think another factor is the main cause of less action on the P-3AT board - more people are buying other brands.

    Until about a year and a half ago, if you wanted a .380 pocket pistol you had the choice of a Kel-Tec P-3AT, a NAA Guardian .380, Cobra CA380, Jimenez JA-380, or a Seecamp .380 (a total of five guns) - that was about it. For a number of reasons the vast majority of buyers felt the Kel-Tec was by far the best buy, so Kel-Tec's sales were huge, and as a result this board was very busy.

    Starting about a year and a half ago many new pocket .380's have hit the market:
    Ruger LCP
    Kahr P380
    SIG P238
    Magnum Research ME380
    Taurus 738 TCP
    Diamondback DB380
    I.O. inc. Hellcat
    Rohrbaugh 380/380S
    S&W Bodyguard .380

    So now there are a total of fourteen pocket .380's on the market, some of which are giving the P-3AT a run for it's money. Due to this I believe the sales figures for the P-3AT (and action on this board) are going be a bit lower than in the recent past regardless of the fact that a huge number of pocket .380s have been sold overall recently.


  3. phair12

    phair12 New Member

    Jan 16, 2010
    a lot of new players to this market and some of those are new all together (to my knowledge) the hell cat came out of nowhere and so did the diamond back arms. I really like the looks of the DB and the fact it has a 3 dot sight in this size. but i know almost nothing about it.

    3 factors decided it for me:
    Fit - i have all other K-t Pistols for carry, p11,pf9, p32 so when i hold this gun up it lines right up and points naturally. it is second nature to me

    $ - the others in this $ range are either unknown to me or more $$ for a blued version vs kt's HC

    Experience i have keltecs and have had good experience. i know what i am getting, i know how to work on it. Ill take something i know how to fix vs something i cant now matter how smooth the salesman is.
  4. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    There is no doubt that out-of-box reliability on the P3AT is excellent.  In general, the 2nd gen guns are a marked improvement over the 1st gen in terms of reliability and the 2nd gen has been around way long enough to have proven itself.  They are very trouble free and we don't see many problems with them.  However, don't assume that is because everyone has switched to other brands.  That is not true at all.  For the latest year (2008) where figures are available, P3AT sales were holding strong and selling as well as ever.  

    Historically, P3AT sales have hovered near 50,000 units per year since fairly early in its production.  Until the advent of serious 380 pocket gun competition, (and BTW, WTH took them so long?), it was the leading US made 380 pistol for many consecutive years.  2008 production figures linked below show that it is still sold at the same rate (48,000).  These figures also show that Ruger and  Sig 380 sales took off and surpassed the P3AT.  What this means to me is that while P3AT sales have not declined, a lot of folks jumped into the pocket pistol marker who had not previously done so, since a lot of competitors 380s were also sold.

    It is interesting to note that KT 9mm sales (43,000) pretty much doubled since the advent of the PF9 and again that was 2008. I bet 2009 was very much a banner year for the PF9 with far greater sales than 2008, but we'll have to wait to see those figures.  So, while P3AT sales held steady in the face of stiff competition, the PF9 greatly increased KT handgun production/sales overall. Again, and we'll have to wait for the figures to be released, but I suspect that 2009 may have seen a slight decrease in P3AT sales but a huge increase in PF9 sales.

  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel New Member

    Feb 6, 2005
    Eastern Kansas
    We might also blame the .380 ammo shortage over the last couple of years.
    If you can't find any ammo, you can't shoot it enough tell if it works or not.

    I always wondered how many people buy one and a box of ammo, load the magazine, and put it in their sock drawer without even test firing it?

    100 year old pocket guns turn up every so often with the original box of ammo still mostly intact.

    I bought a LNIB S&W Chiefs Special & a box of old ammo a couple of years ago.
    It was made 43 years ago, and apparently had fired one round out of the box of ammo sold with it when new.

    Or maybe they just took one round out of the box to look at and never put it back?

  6. gordon11

    gordon11 Well-Known Member

    Dec 30, 2007
    :'( So sad.  Every pocket gun deserves to be loved and cared for.
  7. JFB

    JFB New Member

    Jul 25, 2005
    I inhereted a 32ACP and a box with 47 rounds of 32S&W :-?
  8. phair12

    phair12 New Member

    Jan 16, 2010
    the ammo thing may be at least in part to blame. people willing to pay the extra for 380 are also willing to pay the extra for a smoother more refined pistol.
  9. Wesmonster

    Wesmonster New Member

    Dec 22, 2009
    I have a co-worker with a 3AT that he's had for years along with a PF-9 and a P11, he has nothing bad to say about any of them. That recommendation was enough for me to buy my PLR-16 instead of an AR pistol. Another co-worker liked his 3AT but bought a Ruger LCP instead. He had some issues with some self defense ammo cycling and sent it in for repair, seems to be working fine now. Since then two other co-workers have bought 3ATs with no reported problems. I don't think any of them frequent this board so they have never mentioned doing a fluff n' buff or any preventative tips, just clean 'em and shoot 'em. I had a DB380, great shooter but horrible reliability. Ran 400 rounds thru it, cleaned it multiple times, hand cycled it about 500 times, maybe once or twice it would shoot a whole clip without jamming but it seemed to have problems ejecting and feeding. The slide cut the top of my hand pretty badly a few times and the trigger guard was rough on the inside and would take some of the skin off my trigger finger after the first few rounds. Finally stopped shooting altogether when the rear guides for the slide seemed to be either deforming or coming out of the poly frame. Ergonomics & recoil were great but if a pocket pistol can't go bang 99% of the time it's no good. I think the few problems with the 3AT are covered in this board, do the work and you'll have a 100% reliable gun.
  10. gordon11

    gordon11 Well-Known Member

    Dec 30, 2007
    I can't get a jam or malfunction out of mine no matter what I do. Tried to limpwrist on purpose; still cycled perfectly.
  11. nashvillemike

    nashvillemike New Member

    Jun 25, 2010
    Well, I bought a used one a couple of months ago and am working on getting it reliable. First I did the basic fluff and buff, which helped, then changed the extractor and screw and that helped. Just today I put in a new ejector and changed out what I think may have been the problem all along, the recoil springs. The old inner spring was bent, it did about a 10-15 degree angle when held by itself. If that doesn't do it, I still won't give up on it, just send it off to Florida for fixin'.  When it works, it works great. I like everything about it except the reliability, but I know that can be fixed. So, we're off to the range tomorrow, wish me luck. Either that or off to Florida, then about 4-500 trouble free rounds and it gets added to my carry pieces.

    BTW, I've tightened it, have two magazines including a new one, and am not limp-wristing.
  12. Seahawk60

    Seahawk60 New Member

    Aug 30, 2010
    That's normal.  All three of the P3ATs I've owned (one 1st gen and two 2nd gens) exhibited this characteristic.  Run 100+ rounds or so through a new set and you'll see the exact same thing.  Shouldn't really matter, though, as they ride on the guide rod and are physically "straightened out".  When lubing after cleaning, I rub a very, very thin film of Militec grease on the guide rod.  
  13. Seahawk60

    Seahawk60 New Member

    Aug 30, 2010
    If I were going to keep something in a sock drawer and carry it, it sure as hell wouldn't be a pocket 380 of any flavor! ;D

    I was at a gun show weekend before last and overheard a seller of antique stuff say he paid $1000 for a box of "period correct" original ammo to go with an old Colt revolver in a shadowbox display case. :eek: