Range Report, P-3AT (SG)

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by pocketgun9, Apr 18, 2005.

  1. pocketgun9

    pocketgun9 New Member

    Apr 18, 2005
    I'm a new member and a new owner. Thought I'd share my first experiences with this tiny gun. BTW: mine too has that tiny hole in the slide but it looks as if many owners are reporting that little hole so I'll wait to see how this develops.

    The gun is the new, SG, P-3AT that was given some F&B by the gunsmith who sold me the gun. He had about 5 for sale at the show. All were SG models.

    His F&B consists of his version of the ramp mod, deburring and polishing other parts "as necessary", black baked-on Gun-Kote treatment on the slide, and a couple of little dots of sight paint. He also test fires a few clips of ammo to see that it feeds reliably.

    First thing I did was disassemble the gun and then I completed a full inspection, cleaning, and lubrication.

    At the range I fired a box of 50 Silvertips with no FTF or FTE. That was encouraging. Not one failure. Next I fired a box of 20 Hyrda-Shok and again, not one FTF or FTE.

    Next I fired some range re-load FMJ. I noticed the slide was reluctant to chamber the first round. Twice the first round did not chamber until I nudged the slide forward, and twice it chambered but sluggishly. I could tell the slide was hesitating as the new round began its trip up the ramp (tiny smileys too).

    In these 4 cases it was only with the range re-load FMJ ammo. The gun fired, extracted, and ejected every one of the range re-loaded shells.

    And finally, I fired a box of 20 Hydra-Shok with no FTF or FTE. So it appears that the ramp needs shortening.

    All in all the gun was 100% reliable with factory ammo. It's fun to shoot, the recoil is mild compared to my Wilson 45 and other larger handguns I've fired. I could shoot it all day...

    Accuracy? Well, it's going to take some practice to get good at point-shooting with this tiny gun. In a pressure situation I had better be close to the target.

    Smileys? Yes, but just a hint and with the range re-load junk. I never fired any factory FMJ.

    In my opinion (when tuned up)... this is a pretty good pocket gun as long as you use good factory ammunition.

    It seems solid and well built. I was surprised such a little pistol could be so nice.
  2. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Good report! Sounds like you already found your carry round. 8)

  3. gpr

    gpr New Member

    Jan 6, 2005
    north palm beach
    welcome to our family....don't be a harsh judge because of the reloads....the next batch would probly differ in feeding .....if you have problems with factory ammo i would be a little more concern..every kt seems to favor different brands... find a cheap one to shoot and one for carry.....gpr
  4. DT_Willy

    DT_Willy New Member

    Nov 16, 2004
    Welcome aboard! There are several good, inexpensive factory rounds available for practice, including Sellier and Bellot, Magtech, American Eagle, and UMC Remington. Use those, stay away from reloads, and stick with Hydra-Shoks for carry. Keep up good maintenance and you're there! Enjoy your gun.
  5. pocketgun9

    pocketgun9 New Member

    Apr 18, 2005
    Thanks for the friendly welcome. I hope to gain lots of useful information from this forum.
  6. pocketgun9

    pocketgun9 New Member

    Apr 18, 2005
    Well 6 weeks have passed since my first range trip. In that time I've had to send the P-3AT back to Kel-Tec because the slide refused to chamber a round when manually racked. I use Hydra-Shok ammo and tried several different magazines and different boxes of ammo. About 50% of the time the slide would stop when racked manually to chamber the first round.

    Kel-Tec worked on the gun last week and I just got it back. I spoke with the gunsmith and she said she modified the ramp and test fired the gun. She also said "all the guns" have that hole in the slide.

    First magazine-full of Hydra Shok and again, the first round will not chamber. I have to nudge the slide forward by hand. I tried different brands of ammo and only the Hydra-Shok is doing it. Go figure!?!

    So I guess I'll shoot a hundred rounds through it and then clean and polish the chamber. But after this experience I can see that this little $300 gun is not something I'm going to be able to stake my life on.

    It's back to a revolver for me. Pull the trigger, it goes BANG.

    I like the P-3AT but I can't count on mine. Don't get me wrong, it's fun to shoot that's for sure. But for me it's not something I'm going to be able to carry anymore.
  7. Packer

    Packer Banned

    May 14, 2005
      Hydra shoks will not feed at all in my FG P3AT. And from tests that I have done, IMO Hydra shok is not a good short pistol carry round. Apparently they either do not reach enough velocity to expand reliably, or they are prone to cavity clogging.
      Winchester Silvertips, on the other hand, feed, expand and penetrate reliably. I WILL and DO stake my life on my reliable and potent Silvertips. I have SEEN what they can do.
     Try a few boxes of WST before you give up on your 'AT.
  8. pocketgun

    pocketgun New Member

    May 4, 2005
    pg9, pocket pistols are a tradeoff by their very nature. Expecting the reliability of a Glock out of a P3AT is akin to expecting Kimber to release an 8 oz 1911. Even still, the only problems your SG has experienced were with junk range reloads and with manually racking the slide.

    Easy to solve: stop using the reloads in your KT, and push the slide all the way forward with your thumb as you have been doing. I would assume that you carry (or would carry) your P3AT with a round in the chamber? If so, you will have racked the slide in the safety of your home, so it is not something that would endanger your life. I doubt very much that you will be in a situation where you are loading a second magazine in combat.

    If you hang around this board, I think you will find some answers that may take care of the first round chambering problem anyway. I would start by lightly polishing the inside surfaces of the feed lips on your magazine(s). Someone (I think it was SuperFlyer) once posted that these can be quite sharp and actually dig into the brass. When spring tension is high, the sharp edges might cause the problem you have.

    Anyway, when your revolver is too bulky or heavy to bring, you will be glad you reconsidered the P3AT as a carry gun. Judge it as a pocket pistol, not a combat pistol, and I think you will find it meets your needs.
  9. pocketgun9

    pocketgun9 New Member

    Apr 18, 2005
    Just returned from the range to see how it shoots. I used Federal Hydra-Shok and three other brands. Hydra fired 100% reliably on my first range trip.

    I now have several NEW problems. 50% of the time it fails to extract, 25% of the time it fails to eject, and almost 50% of the time the magazine releases. Neither my grip nor technique has changed.

    These new problems did not exist prior to the gunsmith at Kel-Tec working on the gun. She said she got it to work perfectly. Yea she sure did...

    So I'm sending it back, again, at a cost of $40 shipping, again, and am respectfully asking Kel-Tec to actually fix the gun or replace it with a gun that works. $80 in shipping so far. What a waste.

    I'm not looking for a combat gun that fires 100% of the time regardless of ammo or conditions.

    I'd just like a gun that goes bang when I pull the trigger.
  10. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Sure can't fault you for that. What ammo were you using? Was it Hydrashocks? The only easy suggestion I'd have is to try several different rounds. Many have found that their particular gun likes or dislike a certain brand. I forget what Kel-tec is curently test firing but it came up in a post recently and maybe someone will know.

    If you send it back, send them your shipping reciepts and ask for reimbursement
  11. pocketgun9

    pocketgun9 New Member

    Apr 18, 2005
    I tried Hydra-Shock, which fed 100% reliably the first range trip. Not this time! I also tried Mag Tech, Federal Blue and White Box hollow point, and some range (no-name) reload.

    No difference, it did it with each type of ammo.

    Something Kel-Tec did on the first return made it operate much worse this range trip.

  12. pocketgun

    pocketgun New Member

    May 4, 2005
    When you get it back buy three or four different types of ammo, clean it, lube it using grease (in the appropriate spots) and oil, then take it to the range. Check to make sure your pistol has an ejector; some folks lose their's by accident. Bring some cleaning supplies as well.

    It is tedious, but I clean my P3AT every 25 rounds or so when I am doing reliability testing, and every 50 rounds when I am not. This insures that fouling is not causing any problems you might experience. Try out the ammo and see how it goes. Write down any failures you have in a notebook, with a description of exactly what happened. For example: FTE, brass still fully in chamber. If possible, bring your digital camera and take a picture. Note what round it was in the magazine, and what brand and type of ammo it was. Then you can post some detailed descriptions and pics and everyone can make more informed suggestions on any problems you might have. Hopefully, KT will get it to 100% this time, and you won't need any help.

    If I were you, I would quit shooting those range reloads in all of your guns. Many use "copper washed", or even plain lead bullets which promote lead fouling in the barrels. This isn't good for your guns, or for you when you clean them. Also, the brass is in unknown condition (was it fired once or 12 times before they reloaded it this last time), and quality control tends to suck. At the very least, they shouldn't be anywhere near your P3AT during reliability testing.

    Let us know when you get your gun back.
  13. Cavediver

    Cavediver New Member

    Apr 11, 2007
    Hey I resemble that remark about losing the ejector!
  14. pocketgun

    pocketgun New Member

    May 4, 2005
    Oh no, we are going back and forth on this subject on two threads now. ;D

    BTW, is the cave diver in the avatar an actual picture of you?
  15. Cavediver

    Cavediver New Member

    Apr 11, 2007
    I know, sorry about the hijack. Yep, that's me about 2 1/2 years ago
  16. pocketgun9

    pocketgun9 New Member

    Apr 18, 2005
    Called Kel-Tec today to inquire on my P-3AT service request. This is the 2nd time it's been back to Kel-Tec. The rep said it was shipped out just today. So I asked her what was done to the gun this time.

    Her response? New Slide, New Barrel, New Frame, and New Internals... they stamped the frame with the same serial number. It's a new gun.

    And she said they test-fired the gun with several different types of ammo and it was reliable.

    So... this could be good! More to come.
  17. pocketgun

    pocketgun New Member

    May 4, 2005
    I'm crossing my fingers for you on this one PG9. I am sure the new one will work out for you this time.
  18. pocketgun9

    pocketgun9 New Member

    Apr 18, 2005
    Well - it's been 3 1/2 years now and the little P-3AT is still flawless!  As outlined in my last post back in July 2005, KelTec basically sent me a new gun with the same serial number and it shoots 100% reliably.  I shoot a box of 50 about 4 or 5 times a year and I have not had one failure of any type.  And I will state that I shoot the gun as-is; right out of my pocket holster.  I clean and oil the gun after a range trip but I do not oil it before the range trip.

    No complaints here.  I use 85g Silvertips.

    Funny thing happened the other day: a friend was talking about his new Ruger LCP and how nice it was.  I mentioned the Kel Tec and he quickly dismissed it as "a little Saturday Night Special" and something of no interest to him.  I was holding his (empty) LCR, and I swapped my (empty) P-3AT with his LCR and then gave him the gun back - the P-3AT.  He was holding it but not looking at it.  And he was telling someone else how good it feels in his hand and how it just fits right.  Then he looked down.  He says "what is this?" and I show him his LCR compared to the P-3AT.  Almost exactly alike in every measure.  That shut him up!  He even wanted to try his magazine in my P-3AT (it didn't fit).  They both shot 100% reliably too.  
  19. Cubriver_Kid

    Cubriver_Kid New Member

    Aug 8, 2008
    Nice to here from you PG, happy to see the little gun has worked out for you... ;)
  20. wheelguy

    wheelguy New Member

    May 4, 2007
    WOW! A continued range report after a 3.5 YEAR trial period. That's gotta be a record. You must be one tenacious son of a gun :cool:. Pretty good trick you pulled on your range buddy too - I'm impressed!