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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
DISCLAIMER:  CAUTION, THIS MOD COULD BE UNSAFE. IN THE INTEREST OF SCIENCE I WILL TELL YOU HOW I DID IT. I DON’T RECOMMEND THAT YOU TRY IT.

This mod was first mentioned in THIS POST:

http://www.ktog.org/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1169974990

   First, let me say that I did this mod just to see if it would work. My concern was to get it done and tested, and craftsmanship was not my top priority. I have corrected some things in these instructions though. If you try this, you can do a much more workmanlike job than I did. Now, in hindsight, I can change methods and dimensions to produce better looking results. Please follow the directions, not the pictures.


P3AT SLIDE STOP/RELEASE MOD

This mod is for a 2G P3AT, however it will work fine on a FG model if you also want the slide release feature and don’t mind cutting the slide.

  Let’s talk about the First Generation P3AT model though.


SOME HISTORY:

  Some of you may have never seen a FG P3AT. Here are the slides side-by-side for comparison. The one on top is a FG--It looks a lot like a P-11 that someody left in the dryer too long!:





  If you look at a FG P32 and also examine a FG P3AT, it quickly becomes clear that the FG P3AT was originally intended and mostly machined for, the P32 slide stop to fit into it. The magazine is cut for the SS tab:



The FG slide is machined inside for the P32 slide stop/ejector lever to fit up into it. The ramp and bevel are there for the SS to engage. In short, the only thing they did NOT do was rout out the frame channel for the slide stop lever to ride in:



  Since they have already done most of the work for it, this belies the story that the SS was left out to save space. THAT must have been a production cost and time savings decision. OR maybe the P32 ejector couldn’t take the pounding from the .380 cases. For WHATEVER reason, the P3AT production did not get the slide stop.

  Well, if you try the P32 mod and the ejector breaks,  you would have to cut the ejector so that NOTHING entered either the mag notch hole or the ejector slot. Then you could leave it there to act as the assembly pin spring catch. Good old part # 115 would then assume the ejector duty.

  Of course you would still be able to do the PF9 mod and cut the slide if you wanted, even after that.

P32 TYPE MOD ON FG P3AT:

  If you own a FG P3AT and wish to do the P32 mod, (No slide cut needed, works internally.) you will need to use P32 parts instead of the PF9 part that I used on my SG. It is much less work, but you will lose the benefit of being able to release the slide lock from a flick of your thumb.



FG P32 PARTS NEEDED: SLIDE STOP #280, TRIGGER AXIS, #284, and you will no longer need the elusive part #115, because the P32 slide stop lever is ALSO the ejector.

  FG owners will need to mark out the frame for the P32 SS routing and access hole instead of the PF9 SS lever. NO slide or grip cutouts are necessary.

You WILL have to (using the P32 SS lever.) lay out where to drill the access hole and where to rout the frame. The following frame routing details will be similar except not in the same places.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
P3AT SLIDE STOP MOD INSTRUCTIONS

P3AT SG/FG SLIDE STOP/RELEASE MOD:

  First, lets talk about the frame. I know some of you are thinking: Won’t this weaken the frame?  Look at the opposite side of the frame, where the trigger bar cavity is routed out. (Both sides are the same thickness.) The trigger bar recess is DEEPER than what we are going to do:



So the frame has enough strength when it’s THINNER than we are going to make it by routing out our slide stop cavity.

  We’re going to use a PF9 slide stop (Part #412) for this mod, along with the P3AT stock assembly pin spring, so let’s see what that looks like IN the PF9:



  Notice that the spring is a lot like the P3AT assembly pin spring. The tab for the follower goes into a ¼” hole through the frame. The lock tab sits just below grip level. The slide lock uses the trigger axis as an axle. The whole thing sits flush in a routed out recess down in the frame.



  This is the cavity routed into the PF9 slide. Note the large hole for the tab, and the round enclosure for the pivot nose:



  This is what we want to strive for when we rout this cavity into the P3AT frame.

  Unfortunately, We can't use the trigger axis as an axle. That would not allow the tab to properly line up with the mag follower. You should try to make something equivalent for the hole in the slide stop to go over. I wasn't too successful on my attempt--But it still works well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
P3AT SLIDE STOP MOD INSTRUCTIONS

TOOLS NEEDED:

Drill or drill press. Assorted good sharp drill bits up to 7/32 inch. Pin punch set (SEARS $4) Dremel tool (And maybe router attachment) and cutting bits. Files and needle files. , Locking and needle nosed pliers Good steel ruler, Center punch, Vise, Propane or Mapp gas torch, Sharp pencil.

MATERIALS NEEDED: Sandpaper, 180 grit.

Kel-Tec PARTS NEEDED: PF9 slide stop, Part #412. (The PF9 SS lever fits the stock P3AT assembly pin spring--The P11 SS lever does not and will not work for this mod.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTIONS:

First UNLOAD and field strip pistol. With slide off, catch hammer and pull trigger to relieve hammer spring tension. With a sharp tool (Drywall screw works.) mark an X on the LEFT side of frame pins.



Now pry hammer spring catch from bottom of grip. CAUTION! DO NOT PRY THIS UP TOO MUCH AND OVER-STRETCH HAMMER SPRING:



  Turn hammer spring catch sideways and gently ease it down into the magazine well:



  Now, working from the RIGHT side, with a 1/8" or 3/32" pin punch, drive out the two plastic frame pins:



  CAUTION: DO NOT MESS WITH THE METAL PIN AT UPPER REAR OF HAND GRIP!

  Insert a common screwdriver into the front frame rails and pry up gently to start frame removal:



  While pushing hammer spring up through mag well with finger:



and gently wiggling and pulling frame upward evenly at both ends, (CAUTION! HOLD SPRING AND TRIGGER BAR AT FRONT WITH THUMB AND FOREFINGER.) remove the frame. Now disconnect trigger bar and (While holding it down so it can't fly off.) remove assembly pin spring.


Complete frame removal instructions HERE:

http://1bad69.com/keltec/disassembly.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
STEP ONE

DRILLING THE ACTUATOR TAB ACCESS HOLE IN THE FRAME:

  We need to drill a 7/32 inch hole for the follower tab to fit through. Measure back from the front of the frame 1 13/32 inches and make a vertical line about ¼ inch down from the top. Now measure down ¼ inch from the top and make a horizontal line. Using a center punch, make a dimple where these lines intersect. This dimple will hold the drill bit so it does not slip around when we start drilling.

  The best way to drill this hole is by starting small and progressively enlarging the hole. If you have a drill press, this is the best thing to use. You can use a hand drill at low speed, if you are very careful to keep it plumb. CAUTION: CLAMP FRAME IN VISE WHEN DRILLING. IF BIT GETS STUCK, THIS CAN BECOME A WHIRLING MACHETE.
   When you are finished, you should have a 7/16 inch hole that barely intrudes into the slide rail track. This is how mine turned out, but it is higher than it needed to be. Yours will be right though:



 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
STEP TWO.

ROUTING OUT THE SLIDE STOP LEVER CAVITY:

NOTE: This frame is SUPPOSED to be aluminum, and it has been said that only the Anodized SURFACE is hard. Well, this stuff (all the way through) is harder than the hinges of that hot place they tell you about in Church!

  Now that you have the hole drilled, you can try-fit the PF9 SL lever. Notice how the round front of the lever nestles into the round bend of the spring:



You can pencil trace around it to mark off the routing territory:



  The ideal way to do this is to make a template out of cardboard and tape it to the frame. Then you can cut the outline, and while you rout out the center, the cardboard will protect against slips and scratches.

  There are at least three ways to do the routing:

ONE: Use a router attachment on your Dremel.

TWO: Use a drill press with a depth stop and carefully drill a series of contiguous holes, put in a larger bit and plow over the edges of the holes, then finish by hand with files.

THREE: Rout it all out by hand with a Dremel. Start with the outline and work inward to the center. This is the most difficult to do right, and of course the one I chose as the quick and dirty method.






  You can use needle files to take down any high spots:



  Try-fit and file until it is a perfect fit: No part of the lever should stick up out of the cavity. No part of the top of the lever should be deeper than the top edge of the frame.









  Now try-fit it with the frame in the grip. Squeeze the grip against the frame and make sure everything moves freely with no binding. Sand and file as necessary to make it operate smoothly.

  Use the files and sandpaper to make all of the cavity surfaces very smooth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
STEP THREE.

ADAPTING THE PF9 SLIDE STOP TO FIT THE P3AT MAGAZINE FOLLOWER:

  The stock PF9 slide stop lever looks like this. There is already a convenient bend marker on it to show us where it must be bent downward:



  It’s a straight tab, no downward bend like the P11 has. We have to create a downward bend by heating the tab and then bending it down. First, clamp the tab in a pair of locking pliers. Then , while heating the little tab in the flame of a propane or mapp gas torch until it's red, bend it down like this:



CAUTION! RED HOT METAL CAN REALLY BURN YOUR SKIN! HOT TORCH FLAME IS A FIRE HAZARD! BE CAREFUL WHERE AND HOW YOU DO THIS!

  When you get done with the first bend, it will look like this:



  Let it cool naturally. DO NOT QUENCH IT.  What you see on the left, is the slide release tab. You could also heat that, at the outside top, and squeeze the bottom over to the right about halfway.

   That would eliminate any chance of snagging or accidentally pushing it up while firing.

   Now let’s see how it fits with mag. Oh! It just barely fits onto the notch in the follower. It’s time to heat it again, give it a little forward twist to match the angle of the follower notch, and let it cool:



NOW let’s try it:



  That’s better, now it fits perfectly
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
STEP FOUR.

CUTTING NOTCH IN GRIP FOR SLIDE RELEASE TAB:

  Temporarily put the frame (With slide stop lever and spring installed.) into the grip. Mark 1/32 inch to either side with pencil. Remove frame from grip. Mark a horizontal line between aforesaid marks and about 1/16 inch down.

   You can either slowly file this notch away, cut it with dremel, or cut it out with hacksaw, Razor saw, Exacto knife or Single edged razor blade.

CAUTION; BE CAREFUL NOT TO CUT YOURSELF. AIM CUT AWAY FROM ANY BODY PARTS.

  YOUR finished grip-notch should have BOTH sides evenly spaced as on the right--NOT a big gap on left like mine:

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
STEP FIVE:

CUTTING THE SLIDE NOTCH:

  I cut mine WAY too high :



The deepest part of the notch only needs to be 5/64 inches deep. If I put the slide on backwards, you can see what I mean:



  The slide stop lever can’t raise higher than the bottom of the frame rail, but that’s good enough. Put the slide onto the frame, (no springs) and slide it all the way back. Now pencil mark the cutout right at the very end, like this:



  It’s very important that the slide catches the notch near the end of it’s travel so as to keep the force against the notch low. We will start with a tight fit and adjust it slightly as needed.

  You can use several different files to do this. You could also use a grinder, but that might be too fast and take off too much metal. Work slowly until you have the shape roughed out.. Keep the edges square and true. Take your time.

  When you have the notch roughed out and tested for proper fit, then you will want to smooth the edges.  The final notch should allow 1/32 inch gap at rear of slide lock when slide is fully pushed back. TEST IT NOW WITH BARREL AND SPRINGS INSTALLED IN SLIDE. REDO IF NECESSARY.

  Now file a tiny round radius in the apex of the cut. This will help prevent cracking. If it doesn’t already have it, file a tiny bevel on the back of the slide stop—just to break the sharp edge slightly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
P3AT SLIDE STOP MOD INSTRUCTIONS

  When everything seems right, reassemble pistol into frame while holding both sides at the front. Make sure slide lock/assembly pin spring stays in place and edge of slide lock clears grip edge as frame slides in.

Align the fram pins with "X" to the outside, and drive frame pins back in from the left side. Pull and pry the hammer spring catch up from mag well and, careful to not overstretch spring, put the catch back into the back of the grip.

Reassembly instructions HERE:

http://1bad69.com/keltec/disassembly.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
 I love the way this operates! The slide locks back every time after the last round. When I reload, I just insert new mag and thumb off the slide release. It releases easily and the little P3AT jumps satisfyingly in my hand when the slide closes--It's just too much fun!

  So far in my testing program I have the equivalent of 1000 rounds with perfect performance--And OVER 1000 MANUAL slide stop/releases. There is no sign of the slide cracking and I do not expect it to.

  This is one of the most satisfying and sweetest mods I have ever done.

Packer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
  Wow, guys! Thank you very much!

The SS mod on my P3AT makes it a whole different gun. I love it! Somehow it seems more capable, more expensive. I can't stop playing with it. Er, I'm actually testing it--Yeah! that's the ticket.

Packer.
 

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RAT 76 & JerryO,
I heartily join you in the praise for Packer's latest and greatest -- to date -- mod/improvement. I mean how perfect is the P-3AT? Pretty near perfect, wouldn't you say? Well, pardon my grammar and such, but it just got perfecter! Call me a pie in the sky kind of guy if you want, but I love livin," I love shootin," and I'm gonna love shootin' that little .380 even more that, up until now (IMO) has been missing just one thing -- a slide stop.

Kudos, Packer, on an exemplary job -- and thanks for sharing so generously the fruits of your intensive time and labor -- it is appreciated!

Regards,
Lynnsky
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
  Thanks, Lynnsky!

  After living with this gun for a few days now, I'm starting to think KT made a big mistake leaving off the slide release. This pistol has gone up in value to me now.

   I think this increased perception of value might make it worth paying $50 to $75 more for it.

  Maybe they should offer it as a higher end premium model--The way Rohrbaugh charges more for sights.

Packer.
 
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