Should I just send my new-old FG P3AT to Kel-Tec?

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by FalangHooDawngNyai, Feb 2, 2011.

  1. FalangHooDawngNyai

    FalangHooDawngNyai New Member

    Feb 1, 2011
    Hi everyone,

    I just (re-)joined the forum yesterday - I was an early adopter of the P-11 (stainless, to date myself) and an early KTOG member, but that was a long time ago!  That account no longer exists, so here's my shiny new one.

    I picked up a really nice, early (SN 0031xx) First Generation P3AT a few days ago.  The blued slide finish is almost entirely worn off from carry in a pocket holster - shocking, I know - but the aluminum frame shows barely any wear (save for on the mating surfaces with the slide).  The previous owner put about 400 rounds through it, with no problems after the first 100.  The barrel assembly is incredibly well polished, which my friend says was the case when he bought it new in box, and during my inspection of the piece I found that the internals were essentially pristine, with no tell-tale fluff-and-buff evidence.

    That said, I am a little concerned because my usual routine upon purchase of a new firearm is stocking up on critical spare parts, and the fact that this is a first gen makes me suspect that some of the components that have changed entirely during the upgrades (or changes to simplify manufacture) are not going to be available any longer.

    I want to refinish the slide and have a tritium or fiber optic front sight installed/bonded on due to the non-existent sights, but I don't want to go down this route if Kel-Tec doesn't have parts for this generation anymore.  Reading through KTOG and seeing many people have this experience makes me suspect that it's my destiny.

    Has anyone else had this experience?  If I call Kel-Tec and tell them that I bought a first gen gun second hand, are they most likely going to tell me to just send it in, or only if I have a problem?

  2. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Re: Should I just send my new-old FG P3AT to Kel-T

    There are maybe 200,000 1st gen P3ATs out there still running strong.  They still make parts for them.  If you want some spare parts, not a bad idea, call the parts department and buy some.  They are pretty cheap.  Just be clear that you need 1st gen parts.  Most of the internal parts and springs are the same for both generations.  Obviously, the barrel, slide and extractors differ.  There is also a new design hammer block that prevents short stroking if that is a problem for you.  It will fit in the 1st gen gun.  Personally, I haven't upgraded any of mine. So long as the gun runs well, I certainly wouldn't send it in. FWIW, the 1st gen guns were a little more ammo-selective than the current crop. You may need to try several brands of brass-cased ammo to find what yours likes. Otherwise, enjoy your new prize. Astetically, I like the 1st gen guns better. :cool:

  3. JAB

    JAB Well-Known Member

    May 6, 2010
    East Tennessee
    Re: Should I just send my new-old FG P3AT to Kel-T

    I had a first gen that I bought NIB and didn't shoot much until I got my carry permit a few years later.  At that point, I found that the pistol I had was unreliable.  I kept trying to fix it myself because I liked the 'looks' of the first gen better and feared that if I sent it to KelTec I'd end up with a second gen.  After a series of fixing one problem only to have another show up, I ended up sending it back to KelTec and was told by KelTec's customer service that some first gen specific parts are no longer made and that KelTec no longer has any of them.  I know they said that they no longer have any first gen barrels or slides but there may be other parts, too.  Why a second gen barrel wouldn't work in a first gen gun I don't know - I would think that it should but got the impression that KelTec wouldn't try it.  That said, if there is nothing functionally wrong with the gun - unless they just want to update the hammer block setup - I'm not sure that KelTec will 'fix' what isn't broken, at least not under warranty.

    I did end up getting a second gen gun built on my old, first gen frame.  It was 100% reliable right out of the box.  It didn't need a fluff and buff and probably didn't even need a 'break in' - it has had zero problems even during the first box or two of ammo I put through it.  Further, I personally find the minuscule sights on the flat-topped, second gen slide to be much more useful than the basically non-existent sights on the first gen.  In fact, I was so exasperated with the first gen that I had just about decided to trade the P3AT when it came back but ended up giving the second gen a chance and it changed my mind.  I am now a second gen 'convert' and only wish that I had sent my first gen back to KelTec sooner than I did.  I still like the aesthetics of the first gen guns better but I like shooting the second gen more - and there is the added advantage of knowing KelTec has all the parts for the second gen guns.

    FWIW, my wife recently got a first gen P32 and it proved to be unreliable, as well (when firing, it randomly fails to completely chamber the next round and it has done this with several types of ammo.)  Rather than fool with it, I just got the LGS where we bought it to send it back for her.  If they can fix the problem and return her first gen then that will be great but a big part of me hopes that they build her a second gen.

    BTW, I spoke to someone in the service department about the P32 earlier this week and was told that their turn-around time right now is about four weeks.
  4. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Re: Should I just send my new-old FG P3AT to Kel-T

    There was a time when KT didn't have all the 1st gen parts. However, I assume they made some because lately we have seen a few guns come back with new parts that were previously unavailable. I'm not sure if they will keep up with the demand for 1st gen parts or not. I'm sure it cost time and money to reset equipment to make a run of those parts. Plus, the slides are made from a different bar stock than the current versions, so continued availablity of those remains to be seen. Personally, I hope they keep them up.