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Discussion Starter #1
Well here is a problem I haven't read about anywhere. My P3AT has turned into a seven round single action derringer. Every time I shoot a round the magazine unlatches and drops down about 1/4 inch.
At first I thought that I had installed the A-grip too tight but shot it today with the grip totally loose and it still dropped the magazine.
Operated manually the magazine catch seems to work just fine. It locks in place firmly and when released the magazine drops down under spring pressure.
I'm thinking this could be another smiley problem where the impact of the ramp on the next round nose overcomes the retention of the magazine latch.
Any suggestions before I pack it up for a trip to Florida? Kim :(
 

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This IS a new one...
You SURE you're not accidentally thumbing the mag catch as you're firing?
Did it do this only after you installed the A-Grip? It adds a measure of thickness to the mag release button...
But yep, Midi's right. No need to send it to KT; it's a simple thing to replace yourself.
Flyer
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys

I was planning on calling KT tomorrow. I need to order another magazine anyway.
This did start after the A-grip installation. When I shot today I pulled the A-grip completely off the mag release and made sure my thumb was well above the button. However the damage may have been done and a part of the release broken earlier if the A-grip was installed too tight.
Oops, forgot KT is closed till the new year. Back to the .38 snubby to back up the P-11. Kim
 

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Kimdo,
I've got a couple of P-32 spares... I'm pretty sure they're the same as the P-3ATs.
Send me your address in a PM and I'll pop one in the mail forya.
Flyer
 
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Being that you are careful to keep your fingers clear of the mag release could it be that the gun is sliding up into the palm through inertia when firing. It could be a combination of the A-grip applying enough pressure that when the mag release hit something else like the palm it releases the mag. I found that when looking a 3 P3AT's when I bought mine, I ended up selecting mine becasue the mag release was the one that protruded the most. The others seemed to sit into the frame a bit too much for me. If it is still is doing it with the A-grip gone I would still bet that it is hitting part of your hand. I found that with GLock shooters that they had the tendency to ride the slide stop with their thumb when shooting. This would cause the pistol not to lock back on the last round. Of course they swore that it wasn't them and that it must be the pistol. I had them shoot left handed and BIG SUPRISE the slide would lock back. Try shooting the pistol left handed for just a few rounds. By placing the mag release on the other side this may give you an indication of whether or not you are hitting the mag release. If it still pops out than I would opt for a call to KT and get a new mag release spring. I am sure that there are enough people in this forum that can walk you through it.

Good Luck and let me know how it works.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
norfdet, it is possible

Even though I was looking for that, recoil takes place in milliseconds. I'll try the left hand approach on Christmas day. Then if it still happens I'll pm Flyer and take him up on his generous offer.
I think that I may put a handall jr. back on and then apply A-grip over it. I sure like that setup on the P-40. Kim
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Upon further testing...

My best guess is that the problem is a combination of all of the above suggestions. Yes the magazine does drop out when shooting left handed. Here is what I think happened.
1. With the A-grip too tight or just because of my grip, the recoil caused my thumb to swipe over the mag release partially depressing the button.
2. The barrel slamming into the 2nd round exerted downward pressure on the magazine and rounded or sheared off the top edge of the mag catch. At least it looks chewed up.
3. Now that it is rounded or shorter, just the impact of the smiley problem is enough to push the magazine catch out of its slot and drop the magazine.
Solution looks to be a new magazine release button and spring and a modified grip with a more definitive thumb shelf. I'll extend the ridge just above the release button to shield it.
It is also time to take care of the smiley problem which should eliminate the downward pressure. Needle files get ordered tomorrow.
I could be totally wrong but it is my best guess.
Kim
ps Flyer, thanks for the kind offer but since I'll be working on the barrel and grip there will be plenty of time to get the parts from KT after Jan. 4. I need another magazine and a few other parts anyway. Thanks again for the offer and always for the expert advise.
 

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Valuable Information!!

Thanks, Kimdo, for your most excellent information.

This is a new effect of the smiley problem that we, at least I, had not thought about. You are absoluetly correct. The smiley hit is strong enough to put a dent into a bullet so the hit has to be affecting the whole magazine as well. Since the magazine is not a "press fit" in the pistol, it has to move. This is bound to hurt the mag release, like you have shown.

Again, an excellent reason to do the modification. Three cheers for your superb analysis.

og 8)
 

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Hi
I had the same problem. I had an Agrip applied and the Bursa finger extensions on my mags. I installed new recoil springs to solve a fail to go into battery problem and installed the Bursa extensions at the same time. Next trip to the range my mag dropped after each shot. I found the edge of the plastic mag catch to be rounded off. I fabricated a new catch of bronze and now it works well. This didn't add too much weight, why wouldn't KT change the design ? The new "colored" button looks kind of cool also. I got rid of the Agrip and went with skateboard tape on the front and back strap. This works very well.

Tom
 

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Save your guns life for self-defence

I think we all need to remember that these guns was designed to be carried more than shot!, if we all live by this belief we will all find less and less problems with the guns, instead of more and more problems with it. Shooting is a lot of fun with a handgun but if you like to shoot a lot!, the bigger the frame the better, and a whole lot less problems you will find down the road.
 

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Wrong conclusion!!

Those of us here that have been working on Kel Tecs a long time are not looking for problems with these fine pistols. Far from it. And that is the wrong conclusion if anyone thinks we just stand around at a range firing over and over until we find a problem to complain about.
The smiley problem was discovered a long long time ago on another forum, completely by accident by one of the early owners. Many who looked at it were concerned with setback and increased pressure, in addition to what it did to accuracy. A lot of tests were done, including velocity tests, and it was pretty much decided at that time... that pressure didn't increase enough to be a concern.
However, several owners, here and elsewhere recently have had unusual damage to their P3AT's and traced it to overpressure banging the mechanisms, due to setbacks caused by smileys. This was never proved in a test lab but no one disputed the conclusion. When those same owners got their repaired pistols back and did the modification recommended originally by Flyer (again, a long long time ago) no damage reocurred.
Then we all got concerned about smiley damage to JHP hollowpoints and several owners posted excellent pictures of the damage to the cavity, tending to close it.
As more evidence surfaced those of us with "guts" began to do more modifications in order to eliminate or reduce the smiley effect.
Now, Kimdo has produced more evidence, excellent evidence, of the damage the smiley problem can do to the mag release. He wasn't looking for a problem to criticze the pistol, he found it by common sense reasoning. Not by dumb luck, it takes an intelligent, responsible person to figure out what he did. In addition, look at the fine piece of work by tblshoot in fabricating a neat fix for the mag release. No complianer there, just another smart owner.

I doubt any of this can be called looking for and finding problems by shooting and shooting and shooting.
I in fact have shot less than 200 rounds in my P3AT to test out modifications I've made. I'll shoot more rounds when the weather warms up to evaluate JHP hollowpoint expansion of various brands as well. Extensive tests like that were done on the P32, again, a long time ago with excellent, helpful conclusions. And another "invention" came out of it known as the "Flyer Wire". Top that if you can.

But I'm not, and no one else is, looking for "problems" to complain about this fine super concealable pistol.
So what we're after here are owners willing to post ideas and results with their pistols in our efforts to make the P3AT even better than it is. Where else can you buy a pistol for this price that you can work on yourself??????
If anyone is on this forum to criticize those of us trying to improve things, so be it. I've been criticized before and so have a lot of the others.
There is another forum for Kel Tec pistols where trouble maker critics should go. Otherwise your positive, constructive ideas are very welcome.
Oh, and BTW, I'm sure that most of us have "heavy frame" pistols that we do a lot of target shooting with. And we agree the P3AT, P32 are self defense handguns and not target competition pistols. Already knew that, "been there done that". Tell us something new.
And here ends my thesis on a little of the history. Always study the history of a subject before posting bull.
Thanks for reading this far.
og :p :p
 

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Reguarding my reply above\"Save your guns life\"

My intent was never to criticize anyone on this site!, if some people are on this site to run tests on their gun " Thats All Good", I know I am not running any tests on my gun!, and could not care less about smileys after I called kel-tec ( the real experts ) and they told me not to even worry about smileys.
I DO! KNOW that their are a lot of people that buy these guns due to the price etc. that has never even owned a gun before and do not understand the principle of what this gun was designed for!, therefore they Shoot, Shoot, Shoot, and Shoot!, then something breaks and they run to the internet and happen onto this site looking for awnsers. These are the people that I recommend to buy a large frame gun!, not everyone on this site that makes a post is a gun wizard including myself. Anyone that read my reply above should have had enough sence to realize what I was saying.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Testing

Yes I am testing my P3AT. So far it has about 75 rounds through it. Not even broken in yet. I won't carry any gun that hasn't made 200 without a failure.
I've read all the comments about smileys and wasn't worried either. Since I'm still shooting hardball I figured "no big deal". Then the magazine dropped out.
NOW it is a big deal and I'm looking for answers.
I will admit that this may be my fault with either the A-grip installation or the position of my thumb along with a snappy recoil. However the A-grip is working fine on a P-11 and a P-40. Still the damage has been done no matter what the cause and it is time to fix the problem. I will replace the magazine latch and change the entire grip as well as do the feedramp modification. I think that it is necessary if I change to HP ammo anyway.
Then after 200 rounds I'll retire the gun to a mag a month.
I'm still amazed at how accurate and pointable the little thing is. (At defensive distance of course.)
Kim
 
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