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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I bought my P-32, my dealer didn't have the P-3AT in yet, so I didn't really have a choice. However, I wonder if others agree with me that there still seem to be some advantages to buying the P-32 instead of the P-3AT. For me, the first is that I like having the slide lock back. I sometimes lose track of how many rounds I have fired when I am at the range. I assume that in the situation where I actually have to use my P-32 to defend my life I will not be in as calm a frame of mind as I would be at the range and I would really really really hate to hear that click followed by nothing when I expect a bang. If the slide is back, at least I will know that I am out of ammo, and that I should either reload or run like hell.

The other thing is that most anything that might have required an upgrade on the P-32 by now has been upgraded, whereas with the P-3AT there is a bit more uncertainty in this regard. I don't mean this as criticism of Kel-Tec. More expensive guns get recalled (or if they are Glocks they get "voluntary upgrades"), and I think we all bought our Kel-Tecs knowing what we were paying for, and perhaps being happily surprised that in terms of customer service we really get much more than we paid for. Some people I think are more willing to live with the uncertainty of getting in on the ground floor with a new product. I'm just not one of those people.

I suppose the third thing is I have always liked .32 auto, for no specific reason. I guess it's big enough that it is like a "real" caliber, unlike .22 which seems more like something for training or fun (although I'd prefer not to get shot with a .22 either :lol: ) On the other hand, it is small enough to be extremely managable.

Anyway, what do others think? Should we all trade in our P-32s for P-3ATs, or are there good reasons to keep our funny little plastic guns?
 

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Venator,
Well, here goes.
I was one of the P-3AT's biggest critics...before it came out.
Then I got one of the very first ones, and wrote the first online review of it.
Let's say the problems have been GREATLY exaggerated.
Re the slide stop issue: it's true that a slide locked back is a good indicator. But, so's a click when you drop the hammer on an empty chamber. Both will allow you to replace the magazine in roughly the same amount of time.
Also, the difference in power is REAL. There's absolutely no denying it; the P-3AT is a significantly more powerful pistol than the P-32. It also kicks quite a bit more.
Both are great guns. But, why not have all the punch you can in the same size package?
I'd go with a P-3AT.
Flyer
 

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P3AT.......Yes!

I'm with Flyer on the P3AT. I first had an issue with no slide stop but if you can count to five and remember how many rounds were loaded at first then it's easy to know how many are left. I always load at least 5 rounds at the range.

The pistol also has a neat "round in chamber indicator" too, that is not even advertised. Just look on the side of the breech and there is enough of a gap you can see the rim end of the cartridge case if one is loaded. Good safety feature.

And then the slide stop issue during disassembly is easy to get around. Flyer suggested this a long time ago. What I use is one of those paint stir sticks from Sherwin Williams. It is just the right size. Remove the magazine, insert the paint stick, hold upside down as you pull the slide back and let the stick drop into the gap between breech and barrel. It holds the slide open so you can remove the assembly pin. Use the stick again during assembly to easily replace the pin.

A tip on disassembly, there are two small parts that can fall out, one the recoil spring retainer clip at the front of the slide, and second the ejector insert on the frame. If they fall out just clean them off and replace, no problem. Just be aware they can fall out and get lost if you're not watching.

Finally, the smiley issue has been reviewed extensively and found to be a non-issue as far as firing the pistol is concerned. It fires just fine without doing anything. If you want to do the ramp mod to get rid of smilies it's not too hard to do. Flyer's complete instructions are under the Articles section on the home page.

The P3AT has replaced my P32 for concealed carry in my pocket. It is almost the same size and fits in my P32 soft holster. While E. Marshall doesn't agree either one is "his" choice for primary carry, when you need something that won't print or sag your pants, the P3AT is a great choice.

There is not much published on the .380 JHP expansion and penetration. The FedTact has a little data and Hornady and Speer Gold Dot showed good results. I won't be doing any hollowpoint expansion tests with my P3AT until next year when our range reopens. I'm hoping Goldenloki will soon show some, his data is always the best. When Marshall's site reopens this week he is supposed to have some .380 JHP data also.

In the meantime, you just cannot find a better deep conceal pistol with good firepower anywhere for the price. I looked at Bersa, cheaper, good reviews, but way too big and heavy. The NAA .380 is a big, heavy, expensive stainless pistol. Some like it. There are some older .380's around, Colt used to make one.
But Kel Tec was my choice after reviewing the field.

Cheers,
og 8)
 

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Been carrying a P-32 for two years now. It's been reliable from day one. Keep it full of Corbons and practice regularly. Finally got a 3AT about a week ago and quickly found it was too much pistol for these arthiritis weakened hands.
If you can't have complete control of a pistol ( one handed, weak handed ) then you have no business carrying it. Reluctantly, I sold it to a friend who reimbursed me the complete cost. The P-32 is here to stay. Damn arthiritis!!
Dave a
 

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The slide lockback is not too big of an issue in a defensive situation. Malfunction drill and reload drill should be about the same, drop current mag and replace, rack slide and continue to shoot.

I don't often carry a spare magazine for my P-32 so the point is kind of moot for me.
 

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The big drawback on the P32 or advantage of the P-3AT I think is the possibility of rimlock on the semi-rimmed .32. I've had it happen a few times on the range, and would not want it to happen in a firefight.

The difference in effectiveness of the rounds will probably not be the deciding factor in a social encounter, but a locked up pistol might.

Allan
 

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Re:

birdman said:
The big drawback on the P32 or advantage of the P-3AT I think is the possibility of rimlock on the semi-rimmed .32. I've had it happen a few times on the range, and would not want it to happen in a firefight.

The difference in effectiveness of the rounds will probably not be the deciding factor in a social encounter, but a locked up pistol might.

Allan
For the P-32 I would only recomend FMJ ammo. I agree that rimlock is an issue but I cannot find a JHP that gives enough penetration. The .380 round may not have rimlock issues but there is still not enough penetration in JHP to make me feel good about it.
 

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as a girl

who was told to go with the p32 and didn't listen as normal
i find the p3at a great little gun lighter yet less recoil that the back up very controlable if you need more the 7 to get the job done you are in trouble and should not be armed with a hand gun i would recomend an mp5 or a Ithica31witness protection
maybe getting a truck with ole ma duce on top.....lol really if you are going to into gang war a real war or some place you should not be going don't carry just a hand gun or better yet don't go
 

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undecided...

I'm with you Venator. I've been struggling on deciding between the P32 and P3AT. I was all sold on the P3AT but it seems there are just a few more bugs to be worked out there (e.g. the peening issue, smilies) first. Some of these issues have been glossed over by others here IMHO - certainly not in a malicious way but some folks are just more tolerant of having to deal with those kinds of issues than others. I'm confident all issues will eventually be addressed by the ever-creative George Kelgren. Still pondering, but the maturity of evolution of the P32 is attractive and with a FMJ round, seems to be a nice little pocket pistol. Still, that P3AT is sweet... :roll:
 

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Nope, no issues are being glossed over, here.
There's absolutely no evidence that smileys cause any problems, or that the frame battering is harmful to the pistol in any way.
In fact, that I go out of my way to MINIMIZE the effects that these traits may have on my pistol shows that I'm ADMITTING AND ADVERTISING what MAY be potential problems down the road... certainly not glossing them over!
In fact, current P-3ATs have the improvements I suggested to Kel-Tec in the first place.
Flyer
 

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Re: undecided...

USGuns said:
Some of these issues have been glossed over by others here IMHO - certainly not in a malicious way but some folks are just more tolerant of having to deal with those kinds of issues than others.
There's a 64 post thread concerning smileys and a 24 post thread concerning slide rail peening in the P-3AT forum. I don't think anything's been "glossed over." It, however, has not been twisted, distorted and exaggerated ad nauseum.
 

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pieces falling out of a gun during dissasembly

is a big problem for me. Just picking them up and replacing them isn't that easy for a person who is mechanically challenged. I find it very difficult to field strip my ruger mark 2. One of the things I've enjoyed about my p-11 and p-32 is the ease of field stripping and being able to reassemble just as easily.
I'll buy a 3AT when they fix the problem of parts falling out on dissassembly.
 

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The only thing that falls out of a P-3AT that doesn't fall out of a P-32 is the ejector. The Guide Rod holder can fall out of BOTH pistols, and is designed to. So's the P-3AT's ejector. It's removable purposely.
Flyer
 

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rimlock and heartburn

Guess I dont understand Ive got several hundred rounds through mine and like heartburn ive never experienced rimlock I use federal Hydra shoks and Cor Bon for cary and UMC ball for practice and have yet to experience a failure of any type with my p32 I guess you have to experience it to appreciate it. tiny
 
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