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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just got a P3AT two days ago. Haven't had a chance to get to the range yet, but I've had some time to do a little bit of Fluff & Buff. However, even after polishing the feed ramp, sanding the hammer interface, the hammer and polishing the exterior of the barrel I'm still having feed problems when I rack a round. The slide locks back and will not come forward unless I "tap" the butt of the gun on a hard surface or "tap" the trigger guard against my other hand. I've worked the slide about fifty or sixty times, and thus far I can't see any wear marks anywhere that would explain why the slide won't return when feeding. No burrs that I can observe, and only very minor "mushrooming" of the rail tips - not enough yet to be the source of this problem. I should note that the problem is the worst for round 1, and gets progressively better. By the time that I reach round #4 the slide will come forward and chamber the round without any help, but it's still not anywhere near as smooth as I want it to be. It doesn't seem to be a problem with the feedramp, so I'm hoping someone can tell me what's going on. Ideas / suggestions anyone?

BTW, I'm a Kel-Tec newbie - this is my 1st KT ever - so please bear with me if I sound a bit ignorant at times. I can field-strip almost any pistol, but I'm not familiar with anything beyond that on *any* make / model. I've read lots of info at KTOG.org, here, kel-tec.com, and of course I've digested the owners manual cover to cover, and I'm realizing that the P3AT seems to be a model with lots of problems to overcome, and I don't know much about how to fix them, other than what's been posted in discussion forums.
 

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madman,
If you've polished the chamber and ramp well, and it's still hesitating in this manner, it would suggest that your problem lies within the magazine somewhere, since the slide returns more reliably with each round fed.
Try taking your magazine apart and inspecting the inner edges of the feed lips... is there a burr or rough spot that could impair a round being fed? If so, smooth it out with some 400-600 grit paper.
Some mags require a break-in period, but it's obviously costly to break a magazine in by firing it! I use thin ruler; press the follower down repeatedly a couple dozen times. This helps your mag spring take its permanent "set", and will relieve some of what seems to be excess force against your cartridges, allowing them to slip from magazine to chamber with less slide force.
Polishing the groove inside the slide will also help attain a smoother functioning action. Use the same grit paper for this, but don't smooth the FRAME rail-the aluminium anodizing provides an important hardening layer that helps resist excess wear. It's okay to remove any burrs from the front area of the rail you describe, however; this is a common occurence. It's most easily done with a fine, flat needle file. Simply smooth the raised areas until they're again flat with the undamaged surface... a quck swipe with the pad of your thumb will tell you when you've removed the displaced material.
Another bit of polishing that will help is the assembly pin and inside of the barrel lug. Twirl the pin inside a fold of sandpaper; don't sand the pin lengthwise. For the barrel lug, wrap the paper around a small rod, such as a Q-Tip, and smooth the inside of the lug, being careful to polish in the direction the barrel moves in relation to the pin, i.e., not side to side, but in a smooth arc from the bottom of the groove, to the top, to the rear.
Any manner of other areas are suitable for polishing, such as the guide rod and the inside of the guide rod holder - the little piece that detaches from the slide. Also, check your ejector, located at the rear left of the frame. It should pull freely up out of place. This part can frequently bind against the slide and cause stoppages.
I'm betting, however, that it's your magazine causing the majority of the problem. Really give that spring a workout, and see if your feeding problems don't clear up; I'm pretty sure they will!
Keep us posted re your results!
Flyer
 

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Madman:

You may want to try what I have found to eliminate this issue, which is a slight modification of the way I rack the slide. Just grab it as you normally would, but instead of pulling it all the way back and letting go, "snap" it all the way back and slide your fingers off the rear of the slide as it reaches it's rearmost position. I found this snapping motion gets a round in first time, everytime.

Of course... your mileage may vary!

=jeff
 

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I agree, a brisk racking of the slide has always worked the best on the P-3AT for me -- and mine seems to be easier to rack than what others have described.

Rather than use the thumb and first knukle of the index finger to grab the slide from the rear, I use the "overhand" method -- where your hand is over the slide, gripping from the top -- and cycling the slide to the rear.

It sounds like you are having that first round nose down into the beginning of the feed ramp. Just curious, what ammo are you using? Like Flyer said, it could be your magazine. I'd disassemble the magazine and check to see if any debris from manufacture might be present. Of course, while you have the base plate off of the magazine, you might as well add the KT P-32 +1 magazine extension and spring to your P-3AT magazine... :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, without even reading the responses about how to rack the slide, I've come to pretty much the same conclusion - I have to be a lot more "brisk" about how I rack it, and then everything is fine. I've mastered the "snapping" rack that flyandscuba mentioned, and now things are fine. I feel a bit like an idiot now- :oops: ... I think it must be because of the size difference between the P3AT and what I'm used to (Springfield 1911 Ultra Compact .45) and also possibly the difference in spring tensions. BTW, can anyone explain to me why the guide rod has an inner and an outer spring? All the other pistols I've ever owned have had just one guide-rod spring.

As to the question about my ammo - I've got Winchester white-box in it at the moment. I haven't had a chance yet to aquire anything but range ammo. I've read that people are using Gold Dots, Silver Tips and other high-performance ammo for carry purposes. Does anyone know if Winchester makes their SXT in .380? I've had good results with the SXTs in my .45.

I've finished as much of the F&B as I can at this point - I've been using a special polishing disc for my Dremel (not a felt pad with rubbing compound, but a disc that is roughly equivalent to 600-grit paper, and is slightly flexible - works VERY well, but be careful not to press to hard or too long...) I'll have to get some actual paper to sand the pin and the inside of the lug. Hopefully I can get to the range soon and try 'er out. Of course, I've got to work with the limiting factor of having a wife with a full-time job and two very young kids... Seems like range time is "few and far between" and never enough!
 

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madman,
The dual-spring method makes it possible to have a much more powerful spring than would usually be possible to use with the small travel distance of the P-3AT's slide.
In other words, to make a spring of the same strength out of one coil, it would have to be quite a bit longer... and, since it would be thicker, it would likely reach full compression before the slide had traveled fully rearwards. Therefore, two lesser but smaller springs nestled inside each other provide the solution.
Winchester does indeed make the SXT in .380, and it's an excellent round. I've not fired a whole lot of it (pricey!) but feeding and overall reliability have been flawless. Also, it's the second heaviest JHP available at 95 grains, behind the Remington Golden Saber at 102 (I think).
Flyer
 
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