I finally got my replacement Kel-Tec out for some shooting. Despite my tough talk in the prior post, I did take it apart and lube the rails prior to shooting. I hate seeing any mechanical device suffer. I shot 250 or so rounds from seven different brands: Fiocchi, Magtech, Winchester bulk, Federal, and Remington UMC FMJ loads, with a few Silvertip and Gold Dot hollow points thrown in. I would estimate I had a minimum of 50 malfunctions . . .
Half of those being failures to go into battery. After about a hundred rounds, I noticed the same malfunction that caused me to send the last gun back to Kel-Tec in the first place: partial extraction with the slide locked back on the round in the magazine. To solve the problem I had to drop the mag, rack and re-insert. (To visualize the problem, check this video at around the 1:30 mark.) The malfunction started to occur almost every shot, but only with one of the two mags. I abandoned that one, and ran the last 50 rounds exclusively with the other mag. Hakuna mutata.
I called Kel-Tec on the way home. The service rep told me to send the mag back. They’d send me a new one. Sigh, more shipping.
Despite my solemn vow to gunsmith the P3AT again, I took the mags apart and compared them carefully. The malfunctioning mag’s lips were 1mm closer together at the front of the mag. The spring was also about 10mm shorter than the spring in the working mag. I carefully bent the lips to the spec of the working mag, then slightly elongated the spring. Time will tell if this works to fix the issue.
I can’t figure how tight feed lips can cause the malfunction I’m seeing. Dammit Jim I’m a doctor. Not an armorer!
On the positive side, I enjoy shooting this little pistol. It fits the hand (a bit of the hand anyway) a whole lot better than OJ’s glove fit the football player’s mitt. I don’t find the recoil particularly unmanageable. Accuracy is good enough for what it is. I can quickly pop off a string of six combat-accurate shots for a hand-sized group at five yards— if it does not malfunction. The gun, not me. OK both.
However, a Kel-Tec P3AT is more properly viewed as a gun kit. If you buy one for self defense, you better test it thoroughly before trusting it to work when you need it. It may or may not work. Unfortunately, the vast majority of gun owners never test their weapons. With this piece, they should.