Kel Tec P3AT Range Report

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by Animal Mother, Oct 22, 2007.

  1. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother New Member

    I recently purchased a P3AT, and had my first opportunity to take it out to the range on Saturday in order to break it in. It is a hard chrome model with navy blue grips.

    I took it apart for a light fluff and buff beforehand, but really, there wasn’t a lot of rough machining marks or burrs internally. There was a little bit of excess plastic flashing that trimmed off with a razor blade. I applied RIG grease to contact areas of the slide and frame and oiled the internal parts.

    I had two types of ammo at the range, a box of Fiocchi FMJ, and a box of MagTech JHP. I started with the Fiocchi because I’ve heard good things about it and I figured the round nose would feed much more reliably at the range than the MagTech.

    The gun is a little top heavy, which is something one would expect with something this light. However, it does naturally “point†fairly well and the grip is well designed to minimize the chances of the slide biting the web of your hand during firing.

    I’ve read that the recoil is stout with this little handgun. I’ve even read gun magazine writers that stated that they flat out don’t like to shoot it. Others have said that the muzzle flip makes the gun want to flip out of your hand. Personally, I like shooting the P3AT. The recoil is stout, but the ergonomics are pretty good, and the trigger pull is less than six pounds with a fairly smooth takeup. So as long as you keep a stiff wrist, it’s manageable.

    I tested the Fiocchi first, at about 7 yards. I was comfortable enough with the accuracy, as I was able to keep nearly all my shots within the 10 ring, even after some shooting fatigue. I loaded all my mags fully with one in the chamber to simulate my carry configuration. The shooting went well, however the brass of the second round I fired somehow struck my forehead, and opened a quarter inch gash. :!: I’m not sure if this case bounced off something before it hit me as it was the only time it occurred, most of the brass did fly up vertically and would land somewhere behind me.

    I did have a problem getting a full mag to lock into the gun. I found that if I pressed the mag into the frame without pressing down on the top of slide it would lock in without a problem. Otherwise it would just refuse to lock in. Since I won’t be doing any mag changes under fire, its not a big concern, although I will be looking for a better solution.

    Out of the Fiocchi, I had two FTF, each time this occurred it was on the second to last round in the magazine. It was easily cleared but it not something that would inspire much confidence as a carry ammo. Although to be fair the pistol is still in the break-in period. However, the Magtech JHP was flawless and performed perfectly. I’ll put a few more boxes through it before I consider the gun fully broken in, but at least I can be confident that the MagTech should function well in the meantime.

    Overall, I really like this gun.

  2. ptsmith24

    ptsmith24 New Member

    Good write up! Is it really difficult to get the last round into the magazine? Maybe that's part of it being difficult to get a full mag into the gun. Try banging the bottom of the mag on your palm before putting the last round in and see how that works.

  3. Macktee

    Macktee New Member

    Budder also recently acquired one and Saturday he damn near made love to it.

    I found it to be a little too small to hold comfortably; I could only get one and a half fingers on the grip. I expected the pinkie would curl under, but my ring finger did also and I really don't have sausage-sized fingers. Budder likes it, but I'm not so sure...

    He carries it as a BUG for those last ditch efforts when everything else has already been tried and failed. Neither he nor I think it should be recommended as a primary carry weapon.

    If I were to carry small, I do believe I'd go for the Beretta Tomcat. It shoots a smaller (.32 vs. .380) cartridge, but the gun fits my hand sooooooooooo very much better. And, after all, it all comes down to individual preferences.

    So Mother, I'm glad you're happy with your new toy and I'm sure I'm not the only one to appreciate the nice range report.

  4. Brian618

    Brian618 New Member

    This solved that problem for me. I bought one for each of my mags and it made holding it much easier. I am able to get 2 fingers comfortably on the grip.
  5. budder

    budder Moderator Staff Member

    As Macktee said, I also just tried out my blued P-3AT this past Saturday. I bought it used, so it was already fluffed and buffed and felt very slick. Like you, I think the weight is weird but fine and the trigger pull is smooth. I only shot WWB FMJ for this trip and that's what I'm carrying in it right now, before I test some hollowpoints (the Golden Sabers seem well recommended on ktog). However, I am worried that a .380 HP will not have the penetration I want in a SD round. Anyone have any advice?

    Fortunately, since I have little girl fingers, I could get two fingers on the grip and didn't mind. I did most of my shooting with my left hand only, arm extended and locked in front of me, since I am carrying it in a pocket holster on my left side. I found that if my wrist was not SOLID, the gun would have problems feeding the next round. A TRB would fix that right away, but I don't think it'll be an issue in a situation with adrenaline running through me. Whether that's true or not, I plan to put at least a box of ammo through it every range trip to help build up the muscles in my wrist so that the chances of a misfeed are minimized.

    Most of my shooting was done without use of the sights, since they're barely visible and not terribly easy to use. A full 7-round load, shot at 7 yards with a serious attempt at using the sights gave me a 5 shot, 2-3" group with two flyers (all contained within about an 8" group). Rapid fire would give me all hits in the black (silhouette target at 7 yards). This is all off- and single-handed. With a little more practice, I think I will be able to get all the rounds in a pieplate at 7 yards, which is all I expect out of the gun. Further mastery is certainly possible, but not something I will devote a lot of time to. I can currently shoot with it to 1 MOBG, so I feel fairly confident with it as a BUG, with that confidence growing as I practice more, find better ammo, and do some drills. I think the P-3AT is a great backup, but I wouldn't recommend it as a primary unless absolutely necessary.
  6. Brian618

    Brian618 New Member

  7. gsusnake

    gsusnake Token Liberal Hippie

    Good to read all this stuff.

    I was offered a good deal on one of these ($200 with 250 rounds through it) from a guy in Florida on another board I read.