Long-Term Gun Test Update: Kel-Tec PF-9.

It’s been more than three years since I first reviewed Kel Tec’s diminutive and now somewhat infamous PF-9. My review from November of 2010 was quite favorable, and the PF-9 was my carry gun for the next year. It was a promising little gun once it got broken in, but things started to go wrong after less than six months. I don’t know if my experience is typical, but this gun has completely lost my trust.

As you’ll recall, the PF-9 functioned great with factory ammo but had problems digesting my standard-pressure handloads. There was evidence of light primer strikes, and it took a new firing pin and a lot of elbow grease to solve this problem. I honed the firing pin channel with fine-grit emery cloth wrapped around a cotton swab, and this eventually solved the problem. Mostly.

But his particular malfunction probably wouldn’t have been a deal-breaker, since the PF-9 had worked fine with factory ammo. Until it didn’t.

Image: Chris Dumm

About 500 rounds in, the PF-9 started having feeding and ejection problems. Sometimes the extractor was too stiffly sprung and wouldn’t snap over the rim of the case; sometimes it was too loose and wouldn’t pull it free from the chamber after firing. I took advantage of Kel Tec’s excellent customer service, and they sent me lots more replacement parts.

I installed new extractors and springs, but it was a PITA: the extractor spring screw controls the tension of the extractor, and it also holds the firing pin under tension against the firing pin spring. All these parts have to be positioned just so before you screw down the extractor spring screw. It takes three or four hands, but I’ve only got two.

The extractor screw must also has to be torqued to just the perfect tightness for proper function, and this tightness is never actually specified in inch-pounds. You’re just supposed to tighten it, but not tighten it too tight. When and if the gun runs reliably, you’ll know you’ve got it perfect.

I never got it perfect, and the extraction problems continued. These intermittent malfunctions happened with enough frequency (a handful of FTEs in every 50 rounds) that I knew I couldn’t depend on this gun for defensive use.

My PF-9 is nothing but a range toy these days, and that’s a problem because it’s one of the world’s crappiest range toys. It has a decent trigger and more accuracy than a subcompact 9mm needs, but it’s no fun for plinking tin cans or running through informal 3-Gun stages. And it’s got a nasty recoil that doesn’t really hurt until you notice that you’re actually bleeding.

Before you finish your third 7-shot magazine you’ll have two bleeding sores on the web of your thumb, where the grip bites you like a rattlesnake. This will put a quick stop to your PF-9 shooting, and don’t expect your friends to shoot it much either. In the entire time I’ve owned it, none of my shooting buddies have ever put more than one magazine through this gun at a time.

So there you go; the PF-9 hasn’t been a complete disaster like the ATI VK-22 with it’s Chiappa-sourced .22 upper half, but it is the most trouble-plagued handgun I’ve ever owned or tested. If you’ve got a knack for tweaking Kel Tec’s tiny niney and you want to try your luck, send me an email and make me an offer.

I’m done with it.

comments

  1. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

    It worked for GZ. just saying. . . .

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      But it did FTE after the first round.

      1. avatar Sebudei says:

        What semi-automatic won’t FTE with a third hand on the top of the slide?

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          If it were a Glock the slide would have moved Martin.

          Another person who doesn’t get irony.

        2. avatar James R says:

          If it was a 1911 it would have blown him clear across the block, allowing plenty of time to clear the malfunction

        3. avatar CK in CA says:

          In Soviet Russia, slide moves you!

      2. avatar Colby says:

        That case is exactly why I went to a LCR for my BUG/Deep concealment pistol. If I’m in a defensive situation where my auto jams up, goes down, or where I am already on the ground with my attacker, my chances of getting more than one shot off at contact distances is much greater than with any kind of auto.

        At least so goes my theory.

        Unless he somehow manages to tightly grip the cylinder, therby, prohibiting me from making any shot by blocking the advancement of the cylinder and cocking of the internal hammer. Then I’m in a worse situation than I would be with even an auto, but I can’t imagine many assailants having that kind of presence of mind or that I’d be so slow as to give one such an opportunity. Still, nothing is perfect.

        1. avatar Biff McClanahan says:

          Get a life Colby. You’re most likely not a secret agent. Oh, but it’s been several years since your post so maybe you enrolled in that on-line secret agent course.

      3. avatar mp says:

        did it?

        curious (and wondered) is this a known fact that it malfunctioned?

    2. avatar Drew says:

      Iirc it jammed after the first shot.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        One and done! /irony

        1. avatar Drew says:

          Irony would have been TM surviving long enough to finish flattening the back of his head. But it would have saved many a facepalm at Zimmermans follow up media appearances.

    3. avatar Justin R says:

      Worked and % chance that it WILL work are very different things. Odds are funny things both statistically and in lady luck/Murphy’s law type situations.

    4. avatar DeeDeeMao says:

      Some of these guns work some of the time, some of these guns work half of the time, but no one can depend on all of these guns working all of the time. And that is because that stamped spring steel extractor is a serious major design flaw.

      I have an earlier P-32 that has the spring loaded machined extractor claw and it has been 100 percent reliable for many years. I sent my PF-9 back to the factory once and they supposedly fixed it still would fail to extract. I contacted customer service and they sent me a new claw and screw and it still doesn’t work.

      I need to send the POS back and demand a refund even though the gun has been sitting around gathering dust for over a year. If you google “PF9 extractor” you will find countless cases of people who have had problems with this gun’s extractors. A small firearm carried for self defense that isn’t 100% reliable is a deadly disaster waiting to happen.

    5. avatar Heath says:

      Cheaper guns equal cheaper quality, cheaper parts, and a warranty with contingency’s. I bought a KSG new brought it home, loaded it, and it failed to cycle right out of the box. Sent it to Keltec, they keep it for 2 weeks then sent me an e-mail stating I owed them money. Wait? What? After I bucked them about it they said that I had to prove I was the original purchaser, that the warranty only covers the original purchaser not anyone after that. So I had to call the owner of the gun shop to get him to send a copy of the original ATF form in order for them to send my gun back to me. The owner sent it that afternoon. After several e-mails and no communication I finally called a week and a half later. The gun still hasn’t left their workbench. It has been a month since they received the gun…I am still waiting on it to arrive. Worst process ever. I am selling it as soon as it gets here along with the rest of my Keltec weapons. I will never buy another Keltec. The warranty division told me that if I buy a gun from an individual or a used Keltec it is not covered under their warranty policy. I do not want a gun I can not rely on, especially one that right out of the box malfunctions. Stay away from Keltec products, buy a real gun, a Glock, Sig, Colt…stay with those guys that have been doing it forever and that will back their weapons no questions asked.

    6. avatar Paul snyder says:

      Keltec charged me $9.00 s&I for a flat ejection spring they could have put in a 50 cent stamp envelope

  2. avatar Michael says:

    I had one. I did not have a problem with it, worked 100% .
    It feels cheap and I sold it, carry a Glock 26 now.

    1. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

      G26 is my EDC, too. Do you carry with a round chambered? I don’t. It’s funny how I trust and extol Glock’s reliability, yet even I won’t trust the safety mechanisms against a partially tensioned striker.

      1. avatar jimmyjames says:

        Ditto…

        1. avatar TheBear says:

          I used to carry a Glock brand Glock 23 with one in the pipe.

          In my opinion, having the rack the slide first with on the body carry is as bad as off the body carry.

      2. avatar DeeDeeMao says:

        The Glock is basically like a DAO revolver. you don’t have to carry it with an empty chamber under the hammer like you would an 1873 colt pacemaker and it doesn’t need a safety. The only practical difference between a Glock and a DAO revolver like a shrouded hammer Smith & Wesson (or Ruger LCR) is that the revolver has a longer trigger pull and that’s what makes it safe to carry loaded.

        I carry my Glock 23 with a round in the chamber but make DAMN sure that it’s always holstered in a rig that covers the trigger and I make double damned sure that my finger never enters the trigger guard until I’m ready to fire the gun. Just the awareness that it has a fairly easy trigger pull and is dangerous makes me treat it with respect and caution.

      3. avatar Tom says:

        I agree. I carried a 23 18 years at work. That wonderful glock trigger pull is just too fine for a CC gun with no safety and one in the pipe for my liking.

    2. avatar DeeDeeMao says:

      I wish Glock made a single stack 9mm the same size as their model 42 .380 or at least offer that gun in 9mm Makarov. A double stack Glock “compact” is almost a wide as it is tall and just is NOT comfortable to carry 24-7-365

      1. avatar jim says:

        It’ called the S&W Shield.

  3. avatar Jeremy S says:

    Maybe sending the whole gun back to KT would net better results? The ship a bag o’ parts thing sounds like a nightmare in this case w/ the extractor/firing pin screw tension thing.

    BTW tech nitpick — the extractor doesn’t snap over the rim of the case. As the round is stripped from the magazine, the rim slides up the breech face and under the extractor. It only snaps over if you lock the slide back, drop a round in the chamber, and then drop the slide. Which most people say not to do in a pistol, since the extractor isn’t actually meant to snap over the rim a lot and it will cause it to wear. If you want to carry a full mag + 1 in the chamber, you are supposed to insert a full mag, rack the slide to chamber a round out of the mag, then drop the mag, put another round in, and insert the mag again…

    1. avatar Ryan Olson says:

      Well-said! If one avoids dropping the slide on a chambered cartridge, the extractor should never have to actually snap over the rim.

    2. avatar KCK says:

      Thanks for that!

    3. avatar Morseus says:

      Huh. I did not know that. Thanks for the tip!

    4. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

      Chambering from the mag by racking, then dropping and topping off the mag is how I go +1. For years it never even occurred to me to try to chamber a round directly via the breach. When someone finally did mention it to me, it sounded bizarre and dangerous and I’ve never tried it, despite being perfectly normal with, say, a pump shotgun.

      1. avatar Drew says:

        I do that with my .22 colt while plinking. I never drop the slide though.

  4. avatar ErrantVenture11 says:

    Take it to a buy back. Sounds like it actually deserves to be smelted.

  5. avatar TheSav says:

    Same experience here.
    My magazine still falls out and the gun likes to spontaneously disassemble itself.
    Kel-Tec has been kind and prompt with the parts, but no amount of trust can be placed in this gun. Maybe someone else’s works great, but mine does not. I’m moving on.

  6. avatar drew says:

    I had similar problems with light primer strikes with my first PF9. I bought a second one with the through of sending the first back to Kel-Tec for repair. Both now sit in my safe unused.

    I really need to get around to sending the broken on in for repair.

    I now carry a M&P Shield daily.

  7. avatar The Original Brad says:

    Tiny guns still go boom with 9mm, even .380. That means those little parts undergo a lot of stress. A gun of that diminuative size is hard to make reliable long term in any calibre over .32. I would proffer that you almost need two of them. One to practice with and beat on, the other to carry. The carry one would maintain its optimal condition longer. Most people don’t have the money for two guns but that’s the price you pay for having a 9mm gun so small. And it is small. I shot one at the range once and Chris is right. You only fire one magazine and think, “Okaaaaay then, wow, that’s enough of that.” It is not a pleasant gun to shoot.

    1. avatar Jeremy S says:

      Gotta say, I fully believe the Beretta Nano is many thousands of rounds reliable. It’s also quite pleasant to shoot and surprisingly accurate. It’s supposed to be +P rated all day long. Mine only has like 60 rounds of +P through it but it has ~500 rounds of standard pressure through it also and still looks and feels like new. 0 stoppages.

      I do remember one of Beretta’s first marketing videos was stripping it of all lube and running 1,000 rounds through it in one sitting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOsIr3xsv2w

      Now I don’t mean to imply that the Nano is the only micro 9 capable of high round count reliability. Just trying to say that guns in the PF9 size category do exist that can and do hold up to extended use.

      1. avatar Drew says:

        That and the problems enumerated above have little to do with the size of the gun. Certainly adding an inch to the grip barrel and slide wouldn’t fix extractor and striker issues. Small gun issues not related to the shooter or manufacturer usually effect feeding and stove piping (incomplete ejection) simply because it can be hard to balance recoil spring strength between beating up the frame and not providing the force to strip and chamber the next round. Even a great pocket pistol can go through springs far faster than full sized models.

  8. avatar Scott Neves says:

    Seriously though. Pistol works fine with factory ammo. Hand loads lead to problems. Firing pin that previously worked replaced with a new one that needs to be fit into the channel by manually sanding the slide. And now the extraction problems due to (it sounds like) the necessity to remove that tension adjuster to get the firing pin in and out? Doesn’t sound like a gun problem to me. Sounds like amatuer modification problem to me. I work on all mechanical things I own, I just accept my limitations or the potential consequences.

    1. avatar Phillip Hillard says:

      Dude. Stick to your story. First its good now it sucks? Come on man. Kel Tec makes some amazing guns and the PF9 is definitely due for an overhaul but lets call a duck a duck here ok? Fit and finish is crap but again were talking about a $250-$300 dollar 9mm CCW. For what it is, the PF9 is a ground breaking pistol. Its the smallest lightest nine I’ve seen. Its no glock,sig, whatever but I have owned two and shot four without any hiccups at all. Very snappy recoil but quite accurate. Recoil bugs you? Lug around a 1911. Oh and folks, most warranties are void with the use of handloads for good reason. Tell us sir, what does “standard pressure” mean to you? All my Kel Tecs have been just as reliable as my glocks but who knows,… Maybe they were all made on a Thursday.

      1. avatar Mikial says:

        @ Phillip.

        Agreed. I’m sorry if some people have had problems with them, but an hour of reading gun forums and you will find people who have had problems with every gun out there including some of the very expensive ones. My PF9 is my BUG and, like I said in an earlier comment, I shoot it at the range one handed with my weak side hand with no issues hitting center of mass and no FTE.

        Scott is also correct, when you start dicking around with handloads, you open up a lot of new issues to be addressed with most guns. The author sounds like he created at least some of his own problems. You have to know your guns and understand them. I have two Desert Eagles. Powerful, accurate, easy to shoot and absolutely not able to shoot lead projectiles. In fact, if you do shoot un-jacketed lead, or even FMJ boatails with exposed lead bases, you void your warranty because the lead vaporizes and blows directly into piston well and seizes the piston. Does this make the $1500 DE a POS? No, it means you have to understand your gun.

        I am confident of my PF9 as a BUG, and of my ability to shoot it one handed with my left hand and put 9mm HPs center of mass.

  9. avatar The Last Marine out says:

    I think they will fix the gun at the factory ? (free?) about shipping not sure ? sell it and use the money for some ammo etc. .They fixed my sub b in 223 had a broken/cracked bolt……just saying.

    1. avatar Mikial says:

      Kel Tec has excellent customer service. And yes, you do pay the shipping costs yourself, but that’s the way it is with any business.

  10. avatar JaredFromTampa says:

    Pretty much the same experience I have had with my PF9. The thing is unfortunately junk. I carry it with me sometimes when I go running and walk my dogs, but that’s about it (and that role has been mostly taken over by my wife’s old S&W 442.) I don’t really trust the Kel-Tec to get off more than a round or two in a pinch, it has a wicked tendency to FTF and FTE with almost all ammo I’ve tried in it. I really wanted to like it, but it has been relegated to the junk drawer in my kitchen. My hefty little G26 remains my EDC.

  11. avatar Mark N. says:

    Try a Kahr. Some have problems with them, others report flawless performance. But other than having a DOA trigger, it is pleasurable to shoot. The grip is very close to the bore axis, and recoil is moderate or even mild. I have a CW9, with a full size grip that sold for under $400. [There is also the CM model with a shorter grip and one less round.] I put 200 break-in rounds through it in one session, and the only pain I had was where the slide release rubbed on my thumb, a problem resolved with a shift in my grip.

    1. avatar Bill K. says:

      I have had great luck with my CM 9. No failures or problems good little gun.

  12. avatar Tackleberry says:

    the last time I was in the market for a carry gun I had a choice between the PF-9 or the Taurus 709 ‘slim’ I bought the taurus. it is better than the PF-9, it has a better trigger, a better grip, and if you ask me, better sights. only issue is the magazines are absolute Garbage, and no one else makes those mags except taurus. a good friend of mine bought a S&W Shield for quite a bit more than I paid for my taurus, but still less than you would pay for a sig 938. We have both shot numerous rounds through the S&W and given another chance thats what i would buy, “buy it once, Cry once”

  13. avatar Jimbo says:

    Who hacks up a gun that admittedly worked fine so that it would function with handloads, and then blames the gun when it ceases to function properly? Outrageous.

    1. avatar Mikial says:

      @Jimbo

      Amen to that!

  14. avatar Jeff says:

    sounds more like you broke it all on your own.

    1. avatar Chris Dumm says:

      I’ve got a suggestion: buy one and find out for yourself.

  15. avatar Yoel Grauberg says:

    Relative of mine bought a PF9, he carried it IWB then noticed one day taking it off there was no mag in the magwell. Just popped out and was left in Costco parking lot or who knows where, relegating it to a single shot derringer. Inspected the mag button on a spare mag, seems certain sideways movement pops the mag. He traded it on a Taurus 38 poly frame wheelgun figuring 5 shots is better than 1 if the mag wont stay in. I stick with Glock 27 and have never had a mag pop loose carrying daily IWB.

  16. avatar David says:

    I had a Kel Tec break after 53 rounds. I wouldn’t recommend them.

    1. avatar steven marshall says:

      My Keltec 9 made it through 6 shots, then it was back to keltec. Have now gone through 1 mag. And it sits
      in my glove box. I Know I can get ONE shot off if needed. Expensive single shot handgun.

  17. avatar Second Amendment says:

    The simple fix for my PF-9 was to stack an extra extractor spring on top of the existing one. It was a $1 part from Kel-Tec with free shipping. Fixed my FTEs perfectly…zero FTEs since and that’s several hundred rounds later. Prior to that it would FTE on nearly every mag (factory new ammo). The fix took all of about 2 minutes: remove the screw holding the leaf spring, stack another one on top, replace the screw. Done. Here’s the part, SKU: PF9-182. http://www.keltecweapons.com/pf-9/pf-9-parts/pf9-182-extractor-spring/

  18. avatar David says:

    I have never seen a company that has such a disparity between the quality of its handguns vs. its longuns. Kel-tec rifles and their 1 shotgun have gotten fairly favorable reviews. I think gas operated subcompact pistols are hard to get right. I have not heard many bad things about their PLR-16 pistol which is essentially the same frame as the SU-16.

  19. avatar Gunr, from Oregon says:

    There are many reliable auto loaders on the market. BUT, you never know when you might get an FTF, or a FTE. With a wheel gun, it’s easy and quick to move on to the next chamber. For personal defense, it’s worth considering.

  20. avatar KD says:

    Spend more and get a quality gun that will out last you – the Boberg XR9S or L. I’ve shot as many as 200 rounds at a single range trip and no hand pain. Its a little bulkier than the Keltec and a little heavier. Everyone that shoots one gets a smile on their face. Its rated +P and also for some +P+ which gets you almost 357-Magnum power out of your pocket pistol.

    Here’s a graph comparing silhouettes of the 2 guns:

    http://community.bobergarms.com/photo/boberg-xr9s-vs-keltec-pf9

  21. avatar Jay says:

    Guidance for carrying a Kel-Tec:

    1: Drop magazine and clear weapon.
    2: Place gun in original packaging and trade it in on a Glock.

    I know that will piss off a ton of Kel-Tec fanboys out there but I have my serious doubts of the quality of their products. I owned a P3-AT which sucked. I got an LCP (arguably same design) and it has worked flawlessly.

    Bottom line: Kel-Tecs are not for serious shooters.

  22. avatar flatfootedman says:

    Torque spec per customer service is 14inch-lbs on the screw, which is basically as tight as possible without stripping anything.
    +1 regarding proper loading from magazine, not dropping from above & snapping extractor over case rim.
    New firing pin, spring, extractor, ext. spring, & screw couldn’t hurt.
    Failing that, send it in for refurbishment.

  23. avatar Ryan says:

    I’ve had the opposite experience.

    I own 3 pistols, a 1911, a 92FS and a PF-9.

    I consider the PF-9 to be my do-it all gun. It’s small enough to carry. The extended magazine gives me 8+1 rounds which seems like plenty in an apartment with one way in and out. The gun has a rail for my flashlight which I realized was critical after Hurricane Sandy when my power was out for a week.

    I’ve never had a single problem with the gun, but of course… I don’t shoot it much because it hurts!

    But I trust that gun more than my 1911 or my Beretta 92FS.

  24. avatar Hasdrubal says:

    My pf9 had the same issues. The double extractor spring seemed like it was working great, but during testing the slide stop broke for the second time and launched the slide several yards down the range. I gave up after that.

    My sub2000 and su16 worked great for a few thousand rounds, and I had a p11 that worked great too. Just the one lemon model, judging by the kt forum.

  25. avatar Adub says:

    This is the truth of a review that needs to spread. A glossy magazine would never be this honest. It’s what makes TTAG my go-to gun website.

  26. avatar Curt Bibb says:

    Gez….I’ve got well over a thousand rounds thru my PF9….I break down the slide ever 200 + – or so rounds and completely clean the carbon/grit/residue off of everything and lube well.

    Maybe I’m fortunate not to have had any problems and I run the same reloads in this PF9 that I run in my CZ 75B….Glocks (Yes I run reloads and lead bullets no less thru my Glocks…I clean the barrels of my Glocks after 100 rounds and no more than 100 rounds) and my Smith….keeping the “Double Spring” in mind will be helpful.

    The one thing that I do dislike about the PF9 is removing the slide…hunts my fingers but I’ve learned to hold the slide back by using the edge of my workbench as support (Holding the slide back) then pull the pin. Reassembly I do the same.

  27. avatar anthony says:

    seconding Second Amendment’s comment. My p3at would fte by the 3rd or 4th round. i did the double extraction spring trick, have only had 2 issues in 200 rounds, and those were seriously limp wristed. you have to hold this gun tight so the mussel flip doesn’t use up all the kinetic energy in the slide. and it has some serious mussel flip.

    it does throw the empty cases a long long way now.

  28. avatar Bob says:

    I have 2 pf-9’s, one for carry and one for limited range use. I have about 450 rounds in the carry one with no problems after I stopped using WW box. The other was seems just as reliable but I’m not keeping count of the rounds and I bought it used, the carry one was new.

    I might consider something else but it can’t be any heavier or wider than the PF-9 and I think that limits my choice to about one other gun (maybe?). The weight and thin-ness are great features of the gun, especially for a slim framed person. Also, since it’s so light, limp wristing can be an issue that can cause FTE’s.

  29. avatar Dustin Eward says:

    I love Kel TEc, but you’re right. The PF-9 sucks. The reason I still like it and Kel Tec, at least in this category, is that there would never have been a PT709 without it. Or a PT740… Both of which are so awesome it hurts my face to look at them directly. To re-iterate, they would never have existed if Kel Tec hadn’t made the PF-9. Kel Tec forces this industry to get off it’s ass.

    If Kel Tec would stop making the receivers from Aluminum, the whole game would change. Most of your issues were not realted to that, it seems. But the precision needed with the parts you have issues with drop off as the energy is applied to the slide more directly, as occurs when you have steel rails on it… Aluminum just sucks for this tiny gun thing. Might get away with it on bigger guns, but not here.

  30. avatar justice06rr says:

    I’ve owned a brand new PF9 a few years ago. This is a pistol I really wanted to like, but no matter how I tried, I hated it. Lots of malfunctions right out of the box. Recoil is punishing and its not fun to shoot at all. Keltec may have excellent warranty and CS, but all that doesn’t make up for an unreliable handgun.

  31. avatar Juno says:

    Am I just crazy? I’ve carried my PF-9 for almost two years now, and it’s a great gun. It isn’t that bad to fire; I never have experienced the slide bite problems described above, had no FTFs or FTEs, magazines work great and never drop, etc. I haven’t had a single problem, honestly.

    Maybe I’m lucky. I put about 100 Magtechs through it so far and a couple mags of Golden Sabers, and I carry standard-pressure Hornady Critical Defense. I use the .22 conversion for range time more often than not.

    Then again, I have one friend with a PF-9 that won’t stop rusting, and another who bought early and hasn’t fixed his plastic mag release yet.

  32. avatar JLB says:

    I’ve been very happy with both of my PF9’s. Have over a thousand rounds through one. Had a couple malfunction’s with it all attributable to being dirty and needing cleaned, my fault. Shooting lots of cheap Russian ammo through them is pretty hard on them. Placed second in a IDPA bug gun match with it as well. Never tried hand loads in it though.

  33. avatar george says:

    I have carried for over 40 years, everyday all day all the time, and I can unequivocally say that I am with the Marshall on this Kel-tec crap, “they suck”. Never have I seen such a poorly made, hyped up piece of “get yourself killed,” carry gun in my life.
    How they are even still in business is astounding, with their unavailable, ill conceived, non functioning half backed unfinished crap.
    I don’t care for them as you can see, and care less for magazines and editors who know better than to approve of this gun as a viable inexpensive means of self protection, “so is a rock”. The rock works every time that’s the difference.
    Just on the basis of written complaints this gun far exceeds what can even be considered usable let alone good for an emergency. You would be better off with prayer.

  34. avatar eric says:

    I’ll make you an offer on it just email me lol

  35. avatar Mitch says:

    First Kel-Tec I had was a P-11. You needed body builder hands to pull the trigger. I traded it for a PF-9. A POS !. I had a FTF every other round. I went to a Ruger LC-9. No issues. Friends don’t let friends buy Kel-Tec’s

  36. avatar Jon says:

    Wow, I see so many complain about how this gun “hurts” to shoot and how you’ll only get through a mag or two. You all are sissies, by wife carries this daily, shoots 150+ rounds through it every weekend.

  37. avatar Ken says:

    I realize I’m late to the party, but here are some thoughts on the PF-9. First, I own one; I have no opinion pro or con, it’s been a decent gun for the 2 years I’ve had it. However, glossed over by the critics here is that per Kel-Tec, this gun us designed primarily as a backup, which means it is not designed for hundreds of rounds:
    1. It weighs 13 ozs, corners were cut to save weight.
    2. Proper grip is essential; if your poor baby hand is injured, you’re not gripping it properly (hint: hold it like you’re trying to crush it). If your tender flesh still hurts, go see an expert, preferably military whose lives depend on getting it right.
    3. See #1; clean the gun religiously, especially the magazines which many people ignore. Even a little fouling can cause a light weight gun/magazine to FTE.
    4. If you modify your gun and it fails to perform, you have only yourself to blame; box it up and send it to a real gunsmith. Kel-Tec warrants these guns for life (transferable), so they are not that bad if used for what they were designed for.
    About me: I’m no expert, just a guy who has owned guns since my Vietnam days and have picked up a thing or two along the way.

  38. avatar Mikial says:

    I have a PF9 as my back-up, and carry it pretty much daily. I’ve shot it on the range a lot without bleeding sores on my hands or anything else too negative. Yeah, you feel the recoil more than with a full sized 9mm, but nothing extreme.

    I own 3 Kel Tecs and have no reason to complain about any of them. So, I am sorry the author had a bad experience, but I can honestly say I never have.

  39. avatar Jim says:

    I have been carrying a PF-9 for about 5 years. The first week I owned it I shot 500 rounds in one range trip to break it in. Out of the 500 rnds only the second round had a failure to feed only due to me not being used to the gun and limp wristing it. Other than that, I have probably 3000 rounds through the gun and not a single other issue whatsoever. Even on the first range trip of firing 500 rounds I had no bleeding or even hurting hands. One of the most reliable guns I own personally.

  40. avatar dzzs nutz says:

    I have had my pf9 for 5 years an have close to 2000 rounds thought it. People all ways like to mess thing up. Love my pf9 best carry gun out there for the money. An do some real work so your soft girl hands dont bleed when you shoot. Ps, this guys a tool.

  41. avatar RPK says:

    My 34YOA son owns a S&W SD9VE which he purchased new for $189.00 a year ago as a concealed carry firearm. This child of mine did so without first talking to me. He knows doodlee about firearms. I have nearly 37 consecutive years of law enforcement and corrections experience. I am just saying he is a grown man true, but with no practical experience or knowledge of firearms. He is about 6’1″ and weighs between 350-400 pounds. Yes, he is a BIG BOY! Anyway, he FINALLY admitted the SD9VE is not suited for concealed carry and went off on his own in search of a carry firearm where he came across a USED Kel-Tec P9 which he paid $150.00 for. I told him a sucker is born every day and he should have saved his money and purchased a reliable handgun. Nonetheless, now he owns it. The slide rubs, the recoil spring is wasted and the firing pin looks like an ole’ ladies hat pin. He has not taken it to the range yet, but I told him to stand behind a fixed barricade when he does so as when it blows up in his hands, he might only lose a trigger finger or thumb. Lesson learned: you get what you pay for and NEVER be leary about asking your father for advice no matter how old you might be.

    1. avatar Mikial says:

      @RPK

      Sorry, but in light of your rant that your son knows nothing about guns and how foolish his purchases were . . . I have to ask how it is that you have 37 years as a LEO and never taught your kids anything about guns? You never took him shooting?

  42. avatar Charlie says:

    A friend let me borrow his Kel Tec PF 9 to take to the range. Fired 300 rounds through the gun with no problem. Shot several types of ammo including hardball, hollow point and hydra shock. It functioned great with all the ammo and the trigger pull was smooth and light. I was very impressed with the gun and felt the recoil was not bad at all.

  43. avatar Paul D. Coleman says:

    Unlike the author, my PF-9 has been flawless after 1,500 rounds and will shoot anything that you can stuff into the mags.

    Cuts on the authors hands after only firing 21 rounds?

    The author needs to have someone show him the proper way to grip his PF-9. I’ve ran 100 rounds through mine in a single range trip without a cut.

    Also, the recoil is a little snappy but my EDC is a Glock 23 .40S&W so it’s not too bad.

  44. avatar Beetzmee says:

    My review…..

    I’ve had te stainless and black polymer model now for about 5-6 years. Results:

    You have to thoroughly clean it, then break it in and clean it again. Most top shelf guns will fire fine out of the box but, this one needs what is really, standard care.

    Cons: FTE and FTF was similar to a Khar for the first 300 rounds. After that, not a problem. The extractor screw was coming loose at rounds 550-600. Tightened it firm not Vulcan mind meld grip. Haven’t had a problem since and I haven’t used loctite to secure it. I just keep an eye on it.

    I’ve shot maybe a 1,000 rounds through it, it’s fine and I carry regularly.

    Pros: light. About 13 and change ounces empty. 15 ish loaded. Thin, about .88 inch wide “from the tips”. Cleans easy. Able to polish the aluminum slide/hard chromish with about any regular metal polish and it removes the tarnish and oxidation beautifully. Also makes it a bit slicker to holster and thus smoother draw. Accurate. Amazingly do to 15-20 yards. More than good enough for self defense. Parts are plentiful and cheap from keltec directly. One of THE few mfgs who doesn’t belt you on replacement parts. Very reasonable. Check out the site, you’ll see. Reliable. Yes, reliable. I carry a variety of handguns concealed throughout the year to include, but not limited to, glock 23, Springfield XD, ruger sr9, smith SD with ten buffer slide and front night sight (this thing rivals the previous three, no joke), sw 442, Taurus tcp 738, and browning hp. I have a choice. Regardless I carry this a LOT because it’s LIGHT and THIN and goes bang everytime I ask. $279 new in 2010.

    Cons: recoil. I don’t recommend +p’s. Your thoughts and mileage may vary. Standard pressure 124gr hollow points are fine. Preferably with nickel cases for smoooooth and slippery feeding and extraction. That or 115gr hp’s of quality. That same beautiful weight is the reason it recoils considerably. It’s a trade off like ALL cc weapons. It’s similar to a snubbie in .38spl. Nuff said. Beauty….well, it’s not a functional concern but I think it’s “pretty” enough and frankly couldn’t care less. If the bite hurts you enough, buy a bicycle inner tube at Walmart or uncle mikes jr booth rip and mount accordingly. For uncle Mikey, mount upside down. A box at the range is enough to get you to consider these whopping $6 “upgrades”

    Summary. Are you kidding? It’s a GREAT gun at a GREAT price. It’s cause smith and ruger to lower their prices which is flattery pure and simple. Do you need to check it out? Yes, just like all new guns you buy, inspect and adjust if necessary. I do recommend cleaning and sanding that firing pin channel. The extractor can either be doubled up or shaped to pull the cartridge more effectively if your tampon keeps falling out over it. Me? I’m fine with it, practice with wallyball 115gr fmj’s and carry 124gt Hornady’s or golden saber hp depending who is on sale. Either will kill the bg just fine. Oh and yeah, ALWAYS practice double taps. Always. Any deviations between brands melts away at the impact of the second projectile on dao bg. Just sayin. And if he/she is of a particularly resilient stick, you get 5/6 more tries. This gun serves well. All for under $300. Questions? Good. But one, you won’t be disappointed and the blued version is usually $249 new. “Splurge” on the hard chrome like version. No rust.

    Carry on

    1. avatar DErvin says:

      OP claims hands bleeding after 3 magazines? He’s either a girl or rarely shoots. Maybe he goes against what Kel Tec tells you about the +P loads. I’ve had the PF9 for 5 years shot maybe 2000 rounds with zero FTE or FTF including using my reloads. If original reviewer doesn’t want his, he can ship it to me!

  45. avatar Beetzmee says:

    Sorry for the typos. Doing this on a not-so-smart smartphone

  46. avatar Tom Unruh says:

    I have one of the early PF’s, black poly and stainless slide. Understand it was designed around the S & W model 915 magazine (15 rounds) and since I already had the model 915, (my Arizona desert carry gun) I tried my 915 magazines in the little Keltec, using a sort of hard rubber spacer from Keltec. Perfect performance, no issues. But then I bought some used police high capacity mags but did not install new springs, and got a few stove pipes. Out of the box, the Keltec did need a box of shells through it before it settled down. Extractor broke, factory sent me 2 for free, no further issues. I have noticed firing pin grit and mag release grit here in dusty AZ, but I clean it. I guess I’ve shot less than 3 boxes through the PF, because I have other guns, but now I think I may sell it because the wife got mad when I bought a Taurus Curve last week. No time yet to shoot the new toy, we shall see if it is fun or not.

  47. avatar Patina says:

    Interesting read. I just picked up a PF-9 cheap at auction, which will arrive next week. It looks like it has been a safe queen, and at the price it was hard to resist. The price, slimness, and weight are the appeal, but fit and finish look a little rough, and reviews like this one have me concerned about reliability, but I will try it for myself.

    I’ve been shooting for nearly 50 years, all sorts of guns, and have a sizable collection with collectibles and shooters. After all these years, I still prefer a 357 revolver to most CC pistols, the 3″ SP101 getting the most use recently. Hard to beat revolver reliability, and 357 power. Only 5 rds, but if you can hit what you are aiming at, it only takes one and it works every time.

    I’ve recently added some single stack 9s for pocket or IWB carry & am trying to lock down the keepers. The stable in this category includes a K9, CW9, LC9s Pro, 709 slim, and will soon include the PF-9. I looked at the G43, but it was too bulky compared to the others, and I had a XDS 3.3, but sold it already. It was on the heavy side for this use, less accurate, and the trigger was not great. I did like the aggressive grip & box of accessories. I think the platform worked better for the 45 XDS.

    FYI, I’ve already concluded the K9 and LC9s Pro are keepers. While a little pricey and a bit heavier than some with the metal frame, the K9 is a beautiful piece. 100% reliable, slim, very accurate, durable, low recoil even with +P, and just feels great in your hand. The LC9s Pro got it right. Ruger listened, and once they improved the trigger, got rid of the safety and mag disconnect, I got on board. Great gun, especially for the money. Nice trigger, accurate, reliable, durable, rounded so not much print. I’m not yet sold on the CW9, 709, or PF-9, and will likely keep only 1 of the 3, maybe 2,

    The CW, 709, and PF-9 were all great recent buys as far as price, so I could not resist. I plan to put them to the test in the next couple of weeks. The CW cost the most of the 3, but also seems the nicest going in as far as grip, fit and finish, machining, quality parts, etc. The PF is the lightest & the roughest. Despite bad experience with Taurus QC in the past, the $199 sale price on the 709 was crazy, and the reviews surprisingly good, so I’m going in with an open mind. The winner becomes my beater carry, for sweaty hikes, glovebox use, etc.

    Will report back if any interest

  48. avatar JohnnyReb says:

    Somthing out of the ordinary had to have happened with this PF-9 reviewed and/or some bad reloads. It’s either that or my PF-9 is one extremely exceptional gun. Never a misfire, shoots straight, doesn’t hurt my hand to fire it at all and rarely do I shoot less than 50 rounds at a time. Sure it kicks a little but not more than one would expect from a small gun and not enough to make my XDs .45 carrying, highly critical, girlfriend complain and she fires it quite frequently. I have never heard a peep from her about the PF-9’s recoil and not a single cut on her very girly hands from it. I always bring it to the range with me simply because it’s fun to shoot and it’s actually one of the funnest guns I’ve ever fired, after a long war and 20+ years army service that list is very very long.

  49. avatar burns says:

    Youi must have gotten the only 2 or 3 guns that worked. I won’t get inyo it, but look on utube at Yankee marshalls or many others who have had major problems right out of the box, including me, and I have been doing this for 60 years. I tried every trick in the book to get that gun to shoot. Here is the deal, there were different runs, of the gun, some chambers were cut shorter tha others and simply won’t shoot 124 or 147 grain ammo, you can find the serial numbers for the batches that are bad.
    No amount of work will fix this unless you are a gunsmith and want to mill the chamber. so it’s hit and miss with them and mine was a single shot gun.

  50. avatar Bill Murrin says:

    I’ve had my PF9 about a year and have never had a single problem. I guess I got the 3rd or 4th good one.

  51. avatar Grayhead says:

    I always assumed Keltec was the preferred brand of choice for discriminating criminals; after all, as the bad guy, you are mostly waving your gun around wildly and screaming, not actually shooting people most of the time, thank goodness. If you are an actual criminal shooter, you may be the only person armed, and so have lots of time free to clear jams, try over and over until you succeed. About the cheapest concealable guns around, and likely tons around via secondary market as so many get sick and tired of them and dump ’em cheap.

  52. avatar Ron G. says:

    Can’t believe all these whiny girls complaining about their hurt hands. Sheesh! I’ve owned my PF-9 for 10 years… I have put 1000’s of rounds through it with not a single issue. I have let friends and family members shoot it, and THEY had no issues. In my opinion, it’s an easy gun to shoot, and it’s easy on the hands – IF you hold it correctly. I can put hundreds of rounds through it in a single day, and it doesn’t cut me, or hurt me, or make my hands bleed. You cannot death-grip it… that is definitely working against the gun. You have to hold it tight, but give it room to rock in your hand. By doing so, I can get a full mag out of it inside a 3″ circle, firing as fast as I can.

    As for the KT haters; IF you got a bad gun, which can happen with a $200 gun AND a $1000 gun, how about giving the manufacturer a chance to make good on their warranty? I had so many issues with my P-3AT that I was about to give up on it. I ended up sending it back to KT for service. What I got back was a gun that has NEVER failed to go bang when I pull the trigger… ever! The gunsmith had me send all 4 mags with it, he personally worked on the gun, tested it with all the mags I sent, and hand-wrote me a note describing what he did to the gun. I have dealt with S&W customer service, and I can tell you KT’s service put them to shame!

  53. avatar Mike mgrdichian says:

    Kel-Tec is a Saturday Night Special company just like Bryco and Jennings. Total dangerous junk and garbage. Poor quality steel that peens and fractures, MIM ( metal Injected molded) parts that are too fragile and break. The company is being run now by Derek Kellgren who is desperately trying to save the company. They are now refusing to honor their so called “LIFETIME WARRANTY” that is not existent. They require you to send the gun to them and then they charge you for the repairs of their inferior product citing a sundry of excuses such as “WEAR & TEAR”. I strongly recommend that you contact the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Commissioner Adam H. Putman at 1-800-435-7352 and file a durable complaint and they will contact Kel-Tec to remedy your problem and get you a refund.

  54. avatar kevin357m@yahoo.com says:

    Liberty rounds have way less recoil and should Be good for This gun if You already own it.

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