[email protected]#&!* P3AT! **UPDATE**

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by JB, Feb 4, 2010.

  1. JB

    JB Guest

    Okay, for anyone new to the board or to KelTec, in general, let me begin by saying that I do believe KT to be a good company.  Further, based on what I have read from owners on this board, I believe that the P3AT has improved over the years.  That said, there is something I have to get off of my chest, so...

    [rant] I've told part of this story and voiced my frustration about this particular pistol on here, before.  Some of this will recap and the rest is an update.

    I purchased my 1st gen P3AT NIB a little over five years ago.  As it was purchased as a carry piece and I kept putting off getting my permit until about a year and a half ago, I never fired it much for the first few years I had it.

    Upon getting my permit, I started firing it a lot more.  It jammed a lot.  Mostly failures to feed - live (feeding) round would stovepipe.  Would do this two or three times per magazine with every type of ammo I tried (curiously, the WWB FMJ with the flat nose worked best but still not well.)  Found KTOG, did a fluff and buff and that helped with the stovepiping but then it started failing to chamber rounds - they seemed to be hanging up on the feed ramp and I was getting major 'smilies'.  Did a light version of the 'rampectomy' and really polished the ramp.  Tested it out and no more feeding problems.  Worked okay for a couple of months (putting only a mag or two through it each month) then started failing to fully extract.  Noticed that the barrel hood was leaving pretty noticeable marks on the spent brass.  Did a very, very light version of the barrel hood mod.  Seemed to fix the problem and it worked okay for about one range session then started failing to extract, at all.  Ordered new extractor assembly from KT but modified old extractor while waiting for new one to arrive.  Modified extractor worked and I was back in business - for about two more range sessions then it started, again.  Installed new extractor that had come from KT and didn't seem to make a difference when I tested it out.

    Yesterday evening, I decided I wanted to try it one more time before sending it back to KT.  The only ammo I had tried it with after installing the new extractor was WWB flat-nosed FMJ.  I noticed that the extractor was gouging the rim pretty deep so thought that it might be a case of soft brass.  Took the P3AT, that box of WWB and a box of Remington UMC JHPs (pretty limited on ammo selection, right now) out to my shooting spot in the woods.  First up was the Remington stuff - the very ammo that was failing to extract before I changed out the extractor.  Same box, in fact.  Two magfuls + one in the chamber to start off, smooth as butter, no problems.  Hmmm...maybe I was on to something.  Tried two magfuls +1 of the WWB - failed to extract eight times out of thirteen shots fired.  Yep, I figured I had the culprit - as unlikely as it seemed, I had just so happened to get a batch of ammo with weak brass - the first time that has happened to me - to test right after replacing the extractor.  Loaded up two magfuls + 1 of the Remington, again.  Once, again, working perfectly - until about halfway through the second mag when I pulled the trigger and...nothing.  The hammer was coming back but not falling.  Yep, you gessed it - THE @&%!* HAMMER SPRING BROKE!!!

    This thing has had maybe 400-450 rounds through it and already the extractor and the hammer spring have crapped out.  Further, it has actually been what I would consider reliable for a total of maybe six months (not six consecutive months, mind you) in the five years that I have owned it.  I'm done with this pistol.  Last night, I was about to throw it in our pond.  In fact, if not for KT's excellent warranty, it would be sleeping with the fishes as I am not fooling with it anymore and wouldn't feel right about selling or trading it off to pass my troubles on to someone else.

    Basically, either this thing is simply old enough to be one of the P3ATs that got an early reputation for unreliability or it is simply a lemon.  Either way, I should have sent it back to KT a long time ago but until I found this site I didn't know much about the company or how great they are about honoring the warranty and had no experience with sending firearms back to any company.  Recently, I haven't wanted to send it back because I like the looks of the first gen better than the second gen and figured I might end up with a second gen replacement so I just kept trying to fix things, myself.  Now, however, the broken hammer spring seals the deal.  It's going back and I never want to see it, again - unless KT would be so kind as to send me a video of the blasted thing being shredded, I would like to see that.  I hope they send me a second-gen replacement and if they do I will certainly give it a chance.  If this one is repaired and returned, however, it's going to the LGS to trade for something else as quickly as I can get it there. [/rant]
  2. doubloon

    doubloon New Member

    Jan 5, 2008
    Houston-ish, TX
    Re: [email protected]#&!* P3AT!

    Sounds like you've nursed this particular gun as much as you could, sorry it didn't work out.

    The good news is there are lots of new pocket .380 choices out there these days even without considering the Little Copied Pistol.

    Good luck and I'd be interested in hearing what you find to replace it.

  3. Bert

    Bert Banned

    Mar 4, 2007
    Re: [email protected]#&!* P3AT!

    JB, if you are going to get rid of it anyway, why not put it on the board "as-is" ?

    If you do decide to toss in the pond, I have a good shallow over here. ;)

  4. JB

    JB Guest

    Re: [email protected]#&!* P3AT!

    If KT sends me a second-gen replacement there is a good chance I'll just keep that one.  I haven't lost all faith in KT or even the P3AT in general, just this particular pistol.  That said, I really like the pics I have seen of the newish Taurus .380 but want to avoid the same 'new design syndrome' that I think could be the root of my problems with this one.  I have held one of Bersa's CC models of their .380 and really liked it.  In fact, I've flirted with the idea of trading the P3AT for one even before now so that would be on the short list.  I'd also consider something chambered in 9mm Makarov if I found one small enough to pocket (weight isn't a major concern to me - in fact, I've come to realize that I'd kind of rather have something a little heavier than the P3AT - the size is the big factor for me.)  Also, I would have to strongly consider a KT P32 - since the P3AT has been 'down', I've gotten used to carrying something larger as my primary even more often that I did, before so I would be looking at something that could play primary sometimes but mostly to ride in my weak side pocket as a BUG.  In that case, a little less felt recoil to aid control when firing one-handed with my weak hand would be a good thing.

    I would honestly feel badly putting this thing off on someone else.  Also, there is the money factor.  Given their good track record with things like this, I'm really hoping that KT might send a second-generation replacement - meaning that by going that route I could possibly get a brand new P3AT to replace this one without spending any more $$$ (well, except for shipping, I guess.)  Selling it 'as is' wouldn't get me nearly enough money to buy a NIB replacement, be it a P3AT or something else.  Even if they repair and return this one, I'll get more out of it if it is fixed than broken and feel a little less guilty about trading it once it has been home to KT for some TLC.

    ETA:  The good news is that I also fired my P11 and it works great as does the 12 round mag I picked up last week.  The 12 rounder is a little difficult to insert/seat but it works well.  I will probably stick with just one 12 rounder in the pistol and carry a 10 rounder or two if I feel I need extras as the 10 rounder goes into place with no problems.  I'm even getting reacquainted with the trigger well enough to be able to actually hit what I am aiming at, again!

    ETA 2: SCORE! I won't be paying shipping. Called the owner of my favorite LGS and asked if he has anything to go to KT. He has something to send them tomorrow and doesn't care to put my P3AT in with his shipment. I don't have to be at work until noon tomorrow so I'll swing by there in the morning.
  5. lklawson

    lklawson Well-Known Member Supporter

    Oct 13, 2009
    Huber Heights, OH
    Re: [email protected]#&!* P3AT!

    The most pocketable pistols in Makarov are either the FEG PA-63 or the P64.

    The PA-63 is larger, longer, wider, thicker, and heavier than the PF9 (with the same magazine capacity) or the P11 that you already own and the 9x18 Makarov caliber does not perform as well as the 9x19 Luger.

    The P64 is (also) larger, longer, ~1/4" shorter, same width, and heavier than the P11 (with less magazine capacity than the PA-63!) and still has the 9x18 Mak vs 9x19 Luger issue.

    To be honest, I think that the KT's are "better" for carry and SD.  The extra weight of the two Mak caliber pistols above make them slightly more pleasant to shoot, but, from experience, I can only run about 4 magazines through the PA-63 before my hand protests.

    Additionally, the 9x18 Makarov caliber, though ballistically superior "traditional" .380ACP ammo, runs nearly neck-in-neck with most modern high-performance .380 ammo. So, really, you're comparing the P3AT to the P64. Same magazine capacity & (roughly) similar ballistics performance. As a simple blow-back, the P64 has a pretty heavy recoil anyway. So, again, I think the KT "wins."

    Peace favor your sword,
  6. JB

    JB Guest

    Re: [email protected]#&!* P3AT!

    Hmmm...thanks for the info, lklawson.  The 9m Makarov was more me thinking out loud than anything else.  I'd be much more likely to go for the Bersa CC or a P32 if I were to trade. I'd still just as soon get a (keeper) P3AT replacement, though.

    Speaking of the FEG, though, my mom bought one of their smaller model .380s (smc-380 IIRC.)  It's not that much different in size from the P3AT as far as practical, carry applications go.  It is heavier.  Hers has a decocker/safety and external hammer.  It shoots like a dream - I love that thing.  Problem is, the mags for the smaller model are hard to find, although I hear that the mags from their larger .380 will work but will protrude below the mag well.  Don't know what finding parts would be like if something broke, either.
  7. litenlarry

    litenlarry Active Member

    Sep 4, 2007
    MO, south of KC..
    Re: [email protected]#&!* P3AT!

    Always the Micro Desert Eagle.....Is it just me , are they ugly or what?..At 4 to 5 hundred buck's...hum :-/
  8. Bert

    Bert Banned

    Mar 4, 2007
  9. chase

    chase New Member

    Dec 5, 2007
    Re: [email protected]#&!* P3AT!

    Well, since I am Keltec-less I have been carrying the S&W J frame and the Bulg Makarov until my P3AT comes back from the factory. Gotta confess, I love the Mak, always fires, has a slim profile and is VERY trouble free plus holds 7 rounds of 9x18 that seems to ring my swinging plates more that a .380 . Now before everybody gets into a caliber fight here, let me also add that I have a Mak in .380, same barrel length etc and there is a noticable difference between the 2 platforms as far as how they swing the plate. Not scientific I know...all seat of the pants type behaviour-but it does indicate a difference between the 2 calibers.. I still miss my P3AT, nothing compares to the size for the caliber...Unless I can get the barrel bored and rifled for the larger 9x18 Mak round. All my Mak rounds feed 9X18 or .380 with out problems so might be the Meggar mags for the K-tec..

  10. Bert

    Bert Banned

    Mar 4, 2007
    Re: [email protected]#&!* P3AT!


    We have an identity crisis brewing.....


    just B.
  11. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Re: [email protected]#&!* P3AT!

    JB - You should have sent that thing back years ago, but you know that.  ;)

    Some advice...  Include a detailed note of ALL the problems you have had with the gun to date, otherwise they may just think it needs a hammer spring and ship it back after successfully test firing a few rounds.  I would spare them the details of the various mods you have done least they think you ruined it or something.  Given the history of that particular pistol, I'm not sure they have the parts to properly repair it.  My guess is that it had some out of spec parts from the git-go.  At the least, it probably needs a new slide and barrel that they may not have in stock.  I do like the 1st gen guns too in terms of aesthetics but the 2nd gen guns are far better in terms of being dead-on reliable. Obviously, the QC has greatly improved over the years.  Still, most of the 1st gen guns worked well. Mine do.  Then there were those like yours that really needed to go back for new major parts.  Probably your best bet is that they send you a new 2nd gen model.  
  12. JB

    JB Guest

    Re: [email protected]#&!* P3AT!

    Thanks for the advice!  I am including a note telling about the broken hammer spring as well as the fact that it was having extraction problems and that I was in the middle of function testing the new extractor when the spring broke.

    When I first replaced the extractor and extractor spring and still had extraction problems, I thought that the chamber might be out of spec. and called to see if I could order another barrel or get a replacement.  The lady in customer service to whom I spoke said that I would have to send it in.  She said that they no longer have barrels or slides for the first generation (I thought the second gen barrels would work in the first gen but maybe not.)  Further, she said that there were new safety features, etc. that needed to be updated on my pistol.  Although she didn't say it in so many words, the 'between the lines' message I got from that was, basically, that they might not even fool with trying to repair it and that I would probably just be getting a second gen.  I know there is no guarantee of that but it does kind of sound like when a first gen comes in for warranty work they would just about as soon replace it with a second gen that will have all the updates, etc.
  13. JB

    JB Guest

    Re: [email protected]#&!* P3AT!

    Yikes! A little wallowing out of the guide rod hole, huh?

    Meh, luckily having the P3AT on the DL doesn't leave me without carry options. I picked up a used NAA mini revolver in .22WMR a few months back and have been using it for a BUG. I've been carrying my Rossi five-shot .38 as primary most of the time but am just about ready to trust the P11 enough to let it start filling that role from time to time.
  14. FullMetalJacket

    FullMetalJacket New Member

    Jan 14, 2006
    Re: [email protected]#&!* P3AT!

    I think your level of frustration would be much lower if you had just sent the P3AT in for repairs a lot earlier. When I first bought my P3AT it was a jam-o-matic, it had FTE issues every other round. I promptly sent it in for repairs and it has been running PERFECTLY for years. I have put over a thousand rounds of every type of .380 I could get my hands on through it without any malfunctions and I trust it as much if not more than any other pistol I have, including my Springfield XD. I hope your P3AT is working well when you get it back because nothing compares with the mix of firepower and size the P3AT offers. Good luck with whatever choice you make.
  15. cactus_jack

    cactus_jack New Member

    Sep 7, 2004
    Re: [email protected]#&!* P3AT!

    I think it's cute and it sure shoots good. :)
  16. BillK

    BillK New Member

    Jul 23, 2007
    Re: [email protected]#&!* P3AT!

    JB, Assuming full disclosure, should you have a mind to, there should be no moral reason not to sell your gun as is. Personally I'd give Kel-Tec a chance to make it good.

    Take care...
  17. finnfur

    finnfur Active Member

    Feb 5, 2008
    Re: [email protected]#&!* P3AT!

    Sorry for all your problems - MINE HAS PURRED LIKE A KITTEN FOR TWO YEARS
    KT should make it right and if not all is not lost 'cus WILSON will give ya $50.00 FOR IT . I'm sure.
    Good luck , hope it all works out.
  18. rhinokrk

    rhinokrk New Member

    Feb 20, 2008
  19. dozer

    dozer New Member

    Jan 31, 2010
    Re: [email protected]#&!* P3AT!

    Just curious, If K-T notices any mod's (ramp polishing, hood mod's ect..) will they chalk-up the problems to that? I haven't had to send anything back to them so I don't know how that work's. For example, I know Glock's customer service is excellent but they can be very critical when it comes to any form of modification and easily dismiss any problems you may be experiencing to mod's of this sort, rendering your entire warranty void! Please let us know how this goes I'm very curious to see how they handle this!
  20. diamond

    diamond New Member

    Jan 18, 2010
    Re: [email protected]#&!* P3AT!

    I asked this question on another thread. The answer came back as no. All the fluff-n-buff does is speed up the break-in process. But I've never tested it so this is just third-person info.