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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks,

I recently bought a used P3AT, and noticed it really doesn't like most ammo (which is the opposite of what I've been reading about it). I have a box of 95grain FMJ Armscor that it seems to like, but has still failed to load without assistance on two occasions (out of 28 rounds). Ran some TulAmmo, which it hated! TulAmmo is junk, so I give it that. I just bought some Winchester ammo and it doesns't like to load it either. This is starting to bum me out. I like the gun, and I can actually hit my target with it, but as a conceal-type handgun, I really want to rely on it. Any idea what's going on? Weak/worn springs?

Thanks in advance!

Chris
 

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There are two types of ammo that folks have had a lot of trouble with and it seems you have picked both. When you say TulAmmo do you mean the red and black box made in Russia or the other brass cased ones made in Italy? The red/black box are steel cased and steel doesn't have the stretch and retract that brass does. The brass cased ones made in Italy are usually fine. The Winchester, known around here as WWB (Winchester White Box) are the blunt nose ones that some have also had a problem with that blunt nose chambering. My P3AT doesn't seem to mind either for some reason (tolerances most likely) but I'd advice getting ANY other ammo and trying it.
 

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I agree it is probably the ammo causing the problems. With the gun being used it wouldn't hurt to replace the springs just so you know they are new. You may want to check and make sure the chamber isn't rough.
 

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I have had enough FTFs over the years with hollow point ammo that I now only use ball ammo in the P3AT. Just a personal preference...I want the best chance of not having a malfunction should I have to resort to my last ditch line of defense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks guys! I appreciate the insight. I'm definitely going to replace the springs just for piece of mind. So other than the Armscor, what brand/type works best with these P3AT's?
 

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Hey folks,

I recently bought a used P3AT, and noticed it really doesn't like most ammo (which is the opposite of what I've been reading about it). I have a box of 95grain FMJ Armscor that it seems to like, but has still failed to load without assistance on two occasions (out of 28 rounds). Ran some TulAmmo, which it hated! TulAmmo is junk, so I give it that. I just bought some Winchester ammo and it doesns't like to load it either. This is starting to bum me out. I like the gun, and I can actually hit my target with it, but as a conceal-type handgun, I really want to rely on it. Any idea what's going on? Weak/worn springs?

Thanks in advance!

Chris
By "fail to load" do you mean "fail to feed" ? The round doesn't go into the chamber clean and the pistol doesn't return to battery ?

While you've been sitting pretty much dead-center in the "unreliable ammo" zone, and since it's a used pistol of unknown provenance (making it worth doing to just replace all the springs on principle), just know that the P3AT is a very easy pistol to shoot unreliably.

Don't get all ego'd up, but the colloquial term is "limp wristing". Meaning if you don't have a VERY firm grip, the frame itself moves and the slide isn't fully cycling. Just goes with the territory of small lightweight frames and snappy cartridges.

While you are waiting for your parts to arrive, give it a try to focus on a very firm grip - just this side of gripping so hard that you tremble. And don't squeeze side-to-size. Nobody can. Focus on using your middle and ring finger to pull the front of the grip to the rear, and the heal of your thumb pushing forward. Lock it up in a vise-like grip, and see if you still have malfunction.

Without knowing your experience base with such small pistols, or observing you in action and also shooting the pistol ourselves, nobody can diagnose what's going on, so it's all just throwing possibilities out for you to investigate. Place your order for parts - get 2x of each, because you're going to put the new parts in now, and you'll want the replacements already squirreled away for when you need them 10-15 years from now.

In the meantime make the range trip. Good luck.
 

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I'd add that if the feed ramp isn't 'mirror' shiny, polish it until it is. I use a dremel tool with the tapered soft tip with a dab of rubbing compound or 'jewelers rouge' and it works perfect. And of course, as mentioned a firm grip on small guns is a must.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks everybody. I hold it pretty dang firm. I have never owned a handgun this small, but yes, I have heard of the limp-wrist problem. Ha ha. I got a new magazine for it the other day, and it hasn't seemed to help, but it's great to have two now. When I use the good ammo, I can rack all the rounds through no problem. With the Winchester, it needs assistance almost every time. I did clean the ramp, but that's all it was, a clean. I'll look for a way to polish it up good this weekend. What would be a good material for this without a dremel? A finer steel wool maybe?
 

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Easiest way to fix it is to run ammo thru it that your pistol likes...couple hundred rounds to break it in.

Then maybe try the crappy Winchester stuff in it.
 

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Thanks everybody. I hold it pretty dang firm. I have never owned a handgun this small, but yes, I have heard of the limp-wrist problem. Ha ha. I got a new magazine for it the other day, and it hasn't seemed to help, but it's great to have two now. When I use the good ammo, I can rack all the rounds through no problem. With the Winchester, it needs assistance almost every time. I did clean the ramp, but that's all it was, a clean. I'll look for a way to polish it up good this weekend. What would be a good material for this without a dremel? A finer steel wool maybe?
Take something bullet shaped and softer than steel (a plastic fat pen, a dowel rod, your finger, etc) and wrap a bit of a rag that can hold some sort of polishing compound (dremel compound, diamond dust) or ultra fine grit polishing "sand paper" and go at it. You can even clean an old whetstone with a rag and transfer polishing grit to it. Polishing by hand takes forever. Steel wool might work; never tried the really fine stuff, I only use it to start fires and remove rust off crude things (lawnmower blade, not guns, for example).
 

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Bear in mind that successful 'hand' cycling is not an
accurate indicator of reliable firing operation.

Things happen at a much faster rate during firing.

Compare your results with old & new mags. Most
semiauto problems are mag problems.
 

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Thanks everybody. I hold it pretty dang firm. I have never owned a handgun this small, but yes, I have heard of the limp-wrist problem. Ha ha. I got a new magazine for it the other day, and it hasn't seemed to help, but it's great to have two now. When I use the good ammo, I can rack all the rounds through no problem. With the Winchester, it needs assistance almost every time. I did clean the ramp, but that's all it was, a clean. I'll look for a way to polish it up good this weekend. What would be a good material for this without a dremel? A finer steel wool maybe?
You used the magic word. It is polishing. So you don't need/want something that's hellabrasive.

Also, would not use a power tool. First, it will take too much material before you know it and can change the shape. You don't want that, you just want the surface smooth. Or, rather...Second, you want to polish with a motion that is aligned with the motion of the action. So in and out/up and down on the feed ramp. Not side to side. You are actually wanting very small scratches that are inline with the motion. Friction goes up when you go across that texture, and it's there even if you can see it to the naked eye. And in fact a true mirror finish will increase friction if you take it far enough because it increases the area of contact.

If you want to really learn a good grip for these micros (and, I would argue, and that I teach at the range, all pistols) go hunt up a copy of Ben Hogan's "Five Lessons: Modern Fundamentals of Golf" and read about his right hand grip and which fingers apply pressure. Apply that to the pistol and you end up with a proper firm grip that you can maintain without fatigue, and which also isolates the muscles in your hand to improve trigger control. It really is just 2 fingers you need. The pinkie is extraneous and counter productive if it is actually doing anything at all - because it shifts the balance to the bottom of the grip, farther away from the center of gravity. So you get a weaker grip and more perceived recoil because the angle of momentum works against you. Hogan knew this with a golf club and is why his right pinkie was actually just loose.

Try the above and see if it helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I shoot a lot of S&B for practice and Corbon for carry.
Thanks!

I cleaned the crap out of it, and polished the ramp up good. It's not having troubles chambering rounds anymore, which is awesome, but it's still having some failure to fire problems. The Armscor hasn't faild, but I've ran some other more expensive ammo (locally made) but with a great reputation, and I had three FTF's. I'll pick up some S&B and Corbon and see how that goes.

Thanks again guys. Other than what's been happening, I really like the gun. I've grown very comfortable carrying it and firing it.

Chris
 
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