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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to this forum and appreciate your help.

I am very interested in the P-3AT and have been doing a lot of homework, both here and elsewhere, reading up on this neat little pistol. While new to Kel-Tecs, I own quite a few other pistols mostly Sigs but also Colts, HKs, etc.

Like most people, I'd like to use the P-3AT as a BUG or at times even my primary when "wardrobe" prevents otherwise. As these are critical roles, I am a little concerned when I read about the number of FTFs, FTEs and the ubiquitous "smileys" that require home "fluff and buff" work. While I can certainly appreciate the fact that this is not an overly costly pistol and that one can certainly enjoy working on ones pistol and taking it to the range...there is little room for reliability issues when using a pistol for carry (especially in such a small caliber).

While I have read that Kel-Tec has great customer service, I wonder why these problems that seem so consistent are not corrected in house? In one post here, the author says that he contacted someone at Kel-Tec about, for example, the "Smiley" problem and their response indicated that they were aware of this issue but did not seem to think that it would be corrected soon because it would require an "extra step". Shouldn't a company want to correct all known problems immediately?

How realistic or prudent is it to consider this a reliable carry pistol? Thank you, I really appreciate both this forum and your help.
 

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The P-3AT is a very reliable carry pistol.
It just needs to be held firmly to prevent pretty much any problem that's been reported with it.
Smileys are an unknown quantity... they may be of no concern whatsoever. At any rate, the newer barrels have modified feed ramps that lessen this considerably.
I'd recommend one without hesitation.
Flyer
 

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I purchased my 3AT about a month ago with some concern also over the number of problems discussed on the gun forums. I'm happy to say I've put about 200 rounds through the gun and haven't had a single failure. I added a Hogue Handall Jr and haven't done a fluff and buff. I don't see why I should mess with it when it is working fine.

Kevin
 
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I had reservations when I was about to purchase one also but I bought one anyway and I'm glad I did now. I've put 310 rounds through mine without a single failure of any kind and have since given it an early retirement where it will ride in my right front pocket where I hope it lives out an uneventful life.

RM
 

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My 3at is quite picky about ammo, having occasional extraction failures with: PMC, UMC, Fiocchi FMJ, and CCI JHP. I've replaced the extractor and its spring, tried a radical extractor re-shaping, as well as polished the chamber.

It LOVES Winchester Silvertips, and I've put a total of 150 ST's thru it with no failures, and surprisingly good accuracy. Acceptable performance (to me) for it's intended role, but I'll probably send it in for a chrome replacement when it becomes available, and hopefully the new top end will be less ammo sensitive.

I know if I wanted to send it back right now, KT would get it running better, but I want the future chrome upgrade, so I won't bother sending it back (and having to re-test it) twice.

ANY new gun can have reliability issues regardless of price; my picky $229 3at is still more reliable than my $800+ Kimber. As they say, Your Mileage May Vary ;)
 

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Buy it. Shoot it. Trust it. I really think that a lot of problems listed are shooter related, such as limp wristing. Mine has never had even a hiccup. I like it. I trust it, or I would certainly get rid of it.
 

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(Flyer) "At any rate, the newer barrels have modified feed ramps that lessen this considerably."

Flyer, can you be more specific. Starting with what serial number? I have no idea if I have the modified feed ramp or not. My serial number is H2H##. :?

Thanks.
 

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kraigster,
You've got one of the new ramps, according to your serial #.
You should be fine!
Flyer
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you everyone for your posts...I really appreciate it!

On a different board someone discussing the Kel-Tec pistols said:
"Also the .32 and the .380 have a guide rod bushing which falls off the slide! The .380 has an ejector which also falls off the frame! But the materials are quite good in these small guns!"
http://sigforum.com/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&s=674608412&f=430601935&m=43460934

Has anyone else ever experienced similar problems?

Does anyone know if there are any plans for changes or modifications planned for the P-3AT?

Is the serial number H3F3x current?

Thank you very much again!
 

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The guide rod holder and the ejector are DESIGNED to be removable from the slide and frame, respectively.
Your pistol is one of the newest ones.
You've already got the changes that've been done; I don't know if any new ones are planned.
Flyer
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you Flyer!

I don't actually have it yet...this is the one a dealer friend of mine currently has and I told him I was interested in.

Flyer...when the other poster said:
"Also the .32 and the .380 have a guide rod bushing which falls off the slide! The .380 has an ejector which also falls off the frame! But the materials are quite good in these small guns!"

...and you responded:
"The guide rod holder and the ejector are DESIGNED to be removable from the slide and frame, respectively. "

I am a little confused. When the poster on the other board says these parts "fall off", this sounds like you are carrying the pistol or holding the pistol and... woops where did that piece come from (as it falls to the floor). In other words, not something you would want to happen...not desireable.

But when you say it is "designed" that way, could you please explain as I am a little confused.

Thanks again Flyer.
 

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The Guide Rod holder and Ejector can only be removed when the pistol is stripped for cleaning. Once the slide is off the frame, the ejector can then be pulled up from it's slot.
After removing the guide rod/spring assembly, the Guide Rod holder can then be pulled to the rear and removed from the slide.
I understand your confusion. What he meant most likely was that these parts, when the pistol is stripped, can fall off and are easily lost! This is true. The best thing to do, in fact, is to make it a practice of removing both and setting them aside while cleaning, then re-inserting them for reassembly.
When the pistol is together it's impossible for these parts to come off... only when the pistol is in pieces is this possible!
They're really no problem at all to deal with.
Hope this helps!
Flyer
 

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Reliability

When you are looking at the new one, if you can find several to look at, try cycling the action slowly. Notice which one closes the smoothest. Many will take a little nudge to close at the last, but I selected one that would close the smoothest. That and the fluff and buff are what I attribute my smooth running P3AT to.

The Hammer Block Spring problem I had was apparently a fluke, since I have never read about anything like that on any of the other sites. BTW the KTOG is now back up and running.

If you've been following these sites, you know by now that the assembly pin and smilie problem are the two most frequently encountered problems outside of feeding and ejecting problems. My serial number is in the H2Txx range, but it also had a smilie problem.

I'm still very happy with the smallest lightest 380 around. I was aware of the protential problems before I purchased the pistol, but I felt it was worth it to own one of these.

Keep shooting

:D
 

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I've got an "H" serial number P3AT and it functions very well. The only ammo I've had problems with is Winchester flat-nosed FMJ. After about 400 rnds, my assembly pin has shown no signs of "walking out", and before I did the "ramp-ectomy" I did see smilies. I think the only real affect of smilies was on terminal ballistics. Putting dents in hollowpoints might have a negative impact on accuracy and expansion, but I have no proof of it. I did the mod for peace of mind.

The guide rod holder and the ejector WILL fall out when you field strip the weapon, and like Flyer says, I make it a practice of removing and setting aside the parts when I clean. No big deal.

After you've had 50 or so rounds thru the gun, I recommend paying attention to the wear patterns on the gun, ESPECIALLY the ejector. I found a peculiar bit of wear right next to the ejector hook. A bit of metal had squished up (sorry, no better word) and after filing it down, the gun would manually cycle very well.
 

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HAVE DONE A RAMPECTOMY INCLUDING 'EARS' AND A FLUFF & BLUFF. NOW IT NEVER FAILS TO FEED OR EJECT ANY AMMO I TRY. SMILIES ARE 99% HISTORY. GOT IT A FEW MONTHS AGO. THINK I MAY HAVE PURCHASED ONE OF THE OLDER ONES. DID HAVE TO SEND IT BACK RIGHT AFTER PURCHASE FOR SEVERAL TROUBLES, BUT NO TROUBLES SINCE THE 'RE-STAMPING'.........WHATEVER THAT IS. SERIAL NO. IS 003996. NO LETTERS, JUST NUMBERS. PRETTY OLD YA RECKON?
 

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HAVE DONE A RAMPECTOMY INCLUDING 'EARS' AND A FLUFF & BLUFF. NOW IT NEVER FAILS TO FEED OR EJECT ANY AMMO I TRY. SMILIES ARE 99% HISTORY. GOT IT A FEW MONTHS AGO. THINK I MAY HAVE PURCHASED ONE OF THE OLDER ONES. DID HAVE TO SEND IT BACK RIGHT AFTER PURCHASE FOR SEVERAL TROUBLES, BUT NO TROUBLES SINCE THE 'RE-STAMPING'.........WHATEVER THAT IS. SERIAL NO. IS 003996. NO LETTERS, JUST NUMBERS. PRETTY OLD YA RECKON?
 

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paco,
Yep, sounds like you got one of the last ones before the lettered prefixes began.
Glad its running fine forya!
 
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