Hands-On With KelTec’s New P17 .22LR 16+1 Pistol

KelTec P17 .22LR Pistol

Jeremy S. for TTAG

Last November I attended a KelTec media event at High Bar Homestead in Wyoming. Though the list of warm places I would have rather been during Turkey Month is impressively long, it did offer me the opportunity to put dozens and dozens of full magazines — like, 33 and 50 rounds full! — through a handful of their then-new CP33 pistols (review here).

Those CP33s were full-on production guns, but the P17s I shot — the new .22LR pistol KelTec announced this week — weren’t quite at that stage.

Therefore, this is a “hands-on” report and not a full review. That’ll have to wait for a production sample which we hope to have soon. But the P17s I shot in Wyoming were extremely close. Way beyond prototype stage and well into reliability and durability testing phase with production fixtures and molds, etc, already being used.

So, what can we reasonably expect from KelTec’s new P17?

KelTec P17 .22LR Pistol

Jeremy S. for TTAG

More Capacity

First, though the P17 is a .22 LR handgun, it has completely broken the mold on capacity. While other companies are stuck on the idea that 10 rounds is perfectly appropriate for all .22 LR pistols for all states, KelTec went ahead and maximized the capacity for the gun’s size. As such, the P17 holds 16+1 rounds. Even better, it ships with three magazines in the box. Standard. All at an MSRP of only $199. Which is awesome.

If demand is anything like that of some of KelTec’s previous hot releases, I expect we won’t even see street prices much over $500 (haha I kid, I kid).

KelTec P17 .22LR Pistol

Courtesy KelTec

Now, what will really surprise you about the KelTec P17 is . . . a few things, actually:

Other Features

The P17 has a great trigger. Smooth and light with a crisp break, the internal hammer-fired P17 surprised me with a much better trigger than found on most .22 pistols and certainly better than anything even close to the price range. It broke at or under 4 lbs and was far smoother and nicer than you’d expect.

It has ambidextrous controls. The thumb safety is mirrored on both left and right sides, as is the paddle-style magazine release.

It has good sights. A fiber optic front and adjustable rear were very easy to pick up and easy to shoot accurately and precisely. Fast and precise is a good combination.

It has a threaded barrel — 1/2×28 for use with suppressors and other muzzle devices.

It’s accurate. Like way, way more accurate than it should be. Which was the same story for the CP33, incidentally. Though in that gun it made sense considering the long barrel and super-long sight radius. In the P17? I guess it’s the magic combo of really good sights, a really good trigger, really good mechanical accuracy, and really high controllability that inspires confidence.

The P17 covered in more bolts than Frankenstein’s monster. Okay, well, maybe this isn’t a selling point, but it does fit the KelTec industrial aesthetic and it gives your palms something to freeze to when in Wyoming in November (again, I kid).

KelTec P17 .22LR Pistol

Jeremy S. for TTAG

Basically, the P17 — and I put a few full magazines through three different P17s, for what it’s worth — is a fantastic shooter. Far better than it should be considering its size and very low price point.

Reliability was fine, but not perfect. Two of the tester guns were suffering from slow slide speeds, which I mostly chalk up to lube that got too thick in the frigid temperatures (that was the consensus from Florida-based KelTec, too). Again, Wyoming. November. I had to tap those guns into battery a couple times per magazine.

Now, I said “mostly” due to thick lube because I think the recoil spring rate was also too light. The guns were ejecting empty brass appreciably farther than “ideal” — just shy of low earth orbit — and I don’t think the spring was able to then return the slide forward with enough energy to strip and chamber the next round with sufficient gusto. And definitely not while fighting the obviously cold weather-thickened lube.

But perfecting the spring rates is exactly the sort of thing KelTec has been doing between last November and this week’s announcement of the P17. Hopefully they’ve figured it out (or whatever caused the slow slide speeds or weak return to battery if I didn’t diagnose it correctly).

KelTec P17 .22LR Pistol

Jeremy S. for TTAG

Based on my early testing of this pistol, I’m full-on 5 stars impressed with the P17. At this price point and with these features, it’s a gun every shooter should probably own.

I mean, why not? A high capacity, lightweight, super-accurate, really fun plinker with a threaded barrel for under $200? Clear win.

Specifications: KelTec P17

Caliber: .22 LR
Capacity: 16+1
Barrel Length: 3.93 inches, threaded 1/2×28
Overall Length: 6.65 inches
Trigger: 4 lbs, internal hammer-fired
Weight: 12.9 ounces with unloaded magazine
MSRP: $199

 

comments

  1. avatar Sean G./The Rookie says:

    Gonna have to get me one of these, I think. I already have a PPQ .22, which has been flippin’ awesome, but I can always use another good little .22 pistol.

    1. avatar Madcapp says:

      Rimfire = Superyawn

      1. avatar Chris Mallory says:

        I guess shooting a couple hundred rounds for less than $10 can make a person sleepy.

        1. avatar Art out West says:

          This pistol sounds like a TON OF FUN, at an awesome price. They should sell tons of them, like Ruger is doing with their Wrangler revolver (different market segment, but also awesome).I

          Its hard for me to justify another 22 (have quite a few), but I certainly want one.

    2. avatar Tim says:

      I have number 74 shows made in June 2019. I shoot it every day. Had it for three months and fired more than 3000 rounds through it without a single malfunction and doesn’t seem to matter what brand of ammo its been flawless. The trigger is the best ive ever had out of the box. Its deadly accurate and the rear sight is exactly centered. I highly recommend this pistol

  2. avatar Bcb says:

    Well bad ass. Affordable, fun, reliable, accurate. Do need.

  3. avatar TommyJay says:

    I like it, though it’ll never be legal in CA.
    Do the sights have any elevation adjustment? Did you try any ammo other than MiniMags? How simple is the field strip?

    1. avatar Jr says:

      I seconds the ammo question. Mini mags can make many a finnicky .22 run but I want one that runs well on the regular stuff.

    2. avatar Squiggy81 says:

      My Sig Mosquito was great until I figured out it only ran well with mini mags. Got rid of it after that. I love my PPQ 22 and it runs any cheap ammo I feed it, but may need to add another rimfire pistol to my collection. This thing looks smaller and seems to be a stellar value.

      1. avatar Mike says:

        The mosquito’s will run on anything including subs but you have to fix the floppy barrel problem first. Loctite where the barrel beds and tighten the bejesus out of the retention screw. Fixed a few.

    3. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      We ran three or so brands through it, one of them being a specifically subsonic load or perhaps that was just CCI standard, but I don’t remember what they all were.

  4. avatar CCDWGUY says:

    I’m going to have to get another safe just for my Kel-Tec’s if they keep doing this!!!!!

  5. avatar Mike Dexter's a GOD says:

    BIG IF TRUE

  6. avatar JMR says:

    “First, though the P17 is a .22 LR handgun, it has completely broken the mold on capacity”

    Huh I’ve been shooting my 16+1 Taurus TX22 for over 8 months now, guess I didn’t realize that the mold has finally been broken almost a year later by another company. I wonder how much the author was paid to write that lie? Or maybe it’s like movie critics, they dont criticize movies otherwise they dont get access to the next releases early.

    1. avatar Blkojo says:

      Is it a “lie” or merely a statement made sans outside knowledge…….or are you always such a projecting ass?

      1. avatar JMR says:

        I would assume that a gun website would know of a gun… that… they …. reported on… when it came out.

        1. avatar Blkojo says:

          That’s what you get for ASSuming.

        2. avatar JMR says:

          Lmao, that went right over your head didn’t it?

    2. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      Actually I didn’t realize that Taurus was “high capacity.” Couldn’t think of anything on the market over 12 rounds. I guess I’m out of touch haha

      1. avatar Specialist38 says:

        Plus….its a Taurus.

        1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

          I’ve had a couple that treated me really well. And I know that new .22 of theirs has been really highly lauded. Plus, this one’s a KelTec 😉. Despite what that basic entitled whiney commenter said above, I don’t care what logo is on the side of my gun. If it’s good, it’s good.

        2. avatar JMR says:

          Vs …a keltec?
          Didn’t someone from Keltec once admit that the pmr-30 was junk but they kept selling it anyways?

      2. avatar JMR says:

        Well, sorry I called you a liar, that was inappropriate.

    3. avatar Edwin Hernandez says:

      How do you rate the Taurus. What ammo works best? Thinking of getting one. Thanks

  7. avatar jwm says:

    Does it have a captive recoil spring?

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      Don’t recall, but I think it goes over the barrel like a lot of fixed-barrel pistols.

  8. avatar Whoopie says:

    I suppose if I was a cartel hit-man and needed a cheap throw away pistol to screw my suppressor onto…

  9. avatar TheUnspoken says:

    Seems like a decent plinker but I just don’t love the bolted clamshell design, I mean it will be cheap but the s&w m&p compact and Walther ppq 22 and Grand power k22s aren’t super expensive either, and likely more substantial. PPQ 22 has 12 rounds, so not 17 but pretty good for training or as a suppressor host. But I guess if this could help someone make the jump into shooting sports with that under $200 price point, likely $150-175… If you can find one.

    1. avatar Grumpy F'er says:

      I hope I can find one. I don’t have a semi .22. Been hankering for a long time. At that price I can buy it AND a Maverick 88 with my current gun fund.

      I don’t mind the bolts. I like the industrial look.

    2. avatar Stuart K says:

      I have a full size m&p22, not sure if the compact is different but I hate how it is put together. Internally it’s a sorta clamshell too, and has all sorts of small parts that are a pain to put together. And then there’s the way the barrel is mounted… bleh.

      Anyways this thing seems cool.

      1. avatar Chris Mallory says:

        The compact SW MP 22 is a different animal than the full sized. The FS is made by a Euro company and just wears a SW badge. The compact is Made in the USA by Smith. The compact is the only plastic pistol I own. I use it to run my 22 can. I can’t endorse the compact enough.

  10. avatar Billy Bob says:

    My Ruger SR 22 has 15 round mags, that is with their 5 round extensions. It would be nice if the Kel Tec is as good of a pistol as my Ruger. You cant have too many good 22s out there. The more the better.

  11. avatar Geoff "Hurry-up and *die*, Ruthie" PR says:

    Interesting…

    …but I was hoping it came configured as a DA/SA with a de-cocker…

    1. avatar enuf says:

      Something I am missing too in this flood of striker fired and internal hammer pistols.

  12. avatar Han says:

    Since I don’t have as high expectations for reliability in rimfire that’s not as big a detriment as I would see in what I would consider a ‘carry’ piece. If only they could take a bit of the work they do into developing new guns and put it into production to make more of their popular models.

  13. avatar Jerms says:

    $199 MSRP means about what on the street? $150?

    1. avatar C.S. says:

      $350 for about a year and a half…

  14. avatar IN Dave says:

    From the looks I am guessing it does not have a slide release? If not does it have last round hold open?

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      It does have a slide catch (it’s a small lever inside the opening between slide and barrel shroud thing) and IIRC it does lock back on empty.

  15. avatar Specialist38 says:

    If they’d make one in 32 ACP, I’d buy it in a heartbeat.

    I will wait to see what I think of the 22.

    1. avatar allen says:

      they do. it’s the p32. have one and love it

  16. avatar Grigori says:

    Been contemplating a “dog gun” for SHTF/prepping/WROL for some time, now. This just might be it if accuracy, reliability, and durability, are there.

    “What is a dog gun”, you might ask. Following Katrina, and any foreseeable large scale, long term, disasters, lots of people who have dogs wind up abandoning the dogs in one way or another. Whether fleeing to emergency shelters which, for good reasons, almost never allow pets, or perhaps not having food or other provisions for their pets once the stores are closed and looted (short sightedness), many people turn their dogs loose to fend for themselves. These animals, bewildered, abandoned, hungry, and thirsty, will begin to “pack” with other dogs eventually. The packs, somewhat resembling human gangs, will become a danger to humans in their territory and also will endanger pets, livestock, and game animals, that are beneficial to humans. As such, these packs will need to be thinned out or eliminated as they are encountered.

    I have often considered that in a post SHTF event, if patroling on foot, scavenging, hunting, maintaining security of your neighborhood or compound, using your centerfire rifle, shotgun, or handgun, to eliminate these feral dogs might soon deplete your supplies of valuable centerfire ammo. A lightweight, accurate, reliable, and durable, .22LR revolver (8+rounds) or semi-auto handgun would allow for carrying plenty of light, cheap, plentiful, dog ammo and allow you to save your centerfire ammo for more intelligent and dangerous hazards while out on foot.

    Hoping Kel-Tec gets this thing into plentiful production, sans bugs, ASAP.

    1. avatar Blkojo says:

      Damn. Already wanting to shoot dogs.

      1. avatar Geoff "Hurry-up and *die*, Ruthie" PR says:

        Any dog chasing me with the intent to attack me while I’m riding my bike will be dealt with appropriately.

        And I’m fully aware of the difference between a friendly chase and teeth bared and snarling.

        20-foot range pepper spray first, then stronger measures if that doesn’t deter ‘Fido’…

    2. avatar Cooter E Lee says:

      Firstly, it is my opinion that .22 is an inappropriately small and underpowered caliber to take on most dogs that would ever be a threat. Dogs (of breeds that would be a threat) are extremely muscular and athletic and punch well above their weight.

      For the $200 + $100 in ammunition and accessories you will spend in acquiring this firearm, you can buy 1000 rounds of bulk .223 or 9mm and be able to engage at longer ranges.

      Secondly, how many dogs are you planning on taking out bruh? Have you considered applying for an ATF position?

      1. avatar jwm says:

        A dog pack just killed a teen in Tennessee not long ago. It happens now when times are normal and we live in a first world nation. I had to kill a dog with a .22 rifle that was part of a pack that was after me decades ago.

        When shtf you would do well to not just focus on 2 legged predators.

      2. avatar Grigori says:

        Cooter, as JWM correctly noted, dogs and packs are a serious problem in areas today, when we are still “First World”. Following a disaster of whatever type, when thousands of dogs are turned loose on their own, they could become an enormous hazard. They will breed like flies and carry disease and parasites everywhere. You are correct that some might require precious centerfire ammo to stop, but in my experience, two or three hits anywhere will send most running, even with a .22. If circumstances do not allow for humane coup de grace, hopefully they will die soon afterward or when attacked by members of their own pack, which is common behavior. Given the population explosion of dogs that would occur after a massive breakdown, depending on your area, how far, and how frequent your patrols go, one might easily expect to kill hundreds of dogs over a year. Given that they not only endanger you, but livestock, your pets, and game animals, I would try to kill every feral dog I encountered. It’s not like they would ever be on the endangered list.

        .22LR is cheaper and lighter to carry in quantity than centerfire ammo.

      3. avatar Cooter E Lee says:

        I think you are living in some sort of unrealistic SHTF scenario.

        If it’s a real apocalypse, you and I will probably get killed pretty quick. If I make it a few weeks, I’ll be actively hunting dogs to eat and store as food. No, I’m not kidding. The Lewis and Clark expedition ate several dogs with the native Americans. My grandmother remembered eating a lot of rabbit that did not look like rabbit during the Great Depression. You did not ask, you were happy to have something to eat. If people get truly hungry, trust me in that you won’t have to worry about dogs very long. Or cats.

        The other realistic scenario is a recession where folks don’t take care of their dogs and just turn them loose. This scenario was pretty well exemplified in Detroit 2008+ from what I understand. If it’s not a total breakdown of society, you should be able to purchase ammunition for rural areas where the noise is not investigated. Cities maybe think about a bow. Maybe you could get away with a suppressed .22 it the suburbs like this Keltec. Point is that you’ll have some options.

      4. avatar Kelly says:

        Go see what your butcher uses on site to drop a full size steer. Heck, go see if anyone takes down feral hogs with a 22 air rifle.

    3. avatar Dick says:

      LMFAO!!!!!
      Damn, I’m speechless!
      It would be funny as sh*t if the pistol was listed on Kel-Tec’s website as the “K-Dog .22”
      I can just see everyone now referring to this pistol as a “Dog Gun”.

      LMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      8===D~

  17. avatar enuf says:

    I’d be interested after it’s been on the market a while.

    I’ve heard it said that the founder of Kel-Tec had an earlier gun making business go bankrupt because he expanded too fast, took on too much business loan debt. So now he operates under the rule that he only runs the business on profits, never on loans. Keeps the business a manageable size and without large loan debts but also limits ability to expand production capability on popular products.

    Currently my only Kel-Tec is a P3AT .380 pocket gun. Completely reliable.

    1. avatar Cymond says:

      I can’t comment on the debt thing, but yes, George Kellgren formerly ran Grendel firearms which made guns like the P-30, a semi-auto pistol with 30 rounds of 22WMR.

      https://www.guns.com/news/2013/03/07/grendel-pistols-keltec-kel-tec

    2. avatar Garish Kasparov says:

      He got wonked by the AWB and by his stuff being scapegoated. I do believe he operates without debt now. It’s only natural he wouldn’t trust US society not to hamstring him again, I mean, past events and we still talk about it constantly. We’re lucky he stayed active.

      1. avatar JR Pollock says:

        He was the chief designer for Interdynamic AB, later called Intratec, maker of the infamous TEC-9, and it’s AWB compliant successors. He knows a thing or two about being vilified for making a perfectly legal, constitutionally protected product.

        Given their low debt load, they were probably able to avoid the Hawaiian Shitstain and his Wingboi making trouble by way of Operation Chokepoint.

    3. avatar Fred Lead says:

      These days it’s whether you can even get a loan in the firearm industry. The war on guns is still an economic and cultural one.

      1. avatar Dick says:

        And now there is a war on dogs!

  18. avatar GS650G says:

    Hopefully not a vapor ware product like the pmr-30 or the sub2000

    1. avatar Anner says:

      This comment keeps popping up. Yesterday I saw 5x PMR-30s for $399 each, 2x Sub-2k Gen2’s for a reasonable price (dont remember), a KS-7 for around $500, a KSG for $800, and a slew of P3AT’s for dirt cheap at my moderate-sized display counter of my favorite LGS in my moderate sized town. That’s just what they had on display, in one store, for solid prices. They could have ordered dozens more and had them ready for pickup within a day or two.

      Stop whining and expend a couple calories searching around, or order one and wait the whopping 3-5 days.

      1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

        Yeah they’ve been readily available for at least 4 years now. They’re everywhere at and under MSRP and have been for a long time. The people who say this stuff haven’t even bothered to look and clearly aren’t in the market for one, because if they were they’d find exactly the model they want ready-to-buy within 5 minutes. My main distributor has over 500 Sub2Ks in stock right this minute. Granted, most of that inventory is .40 S&W but there are a ton of 9mm Glock mag ones in that mix, too. These guns are readily available.

  19. avatar Cloudbuster says:

    Are the magazines steel? Right before the AWB in the early ’90s, I bought a Magnum Research Mountain Eagle — nifty little polymer .22LR with 20round magazines with innovative constant-force roll springs. When the AWB hit, new guns with 20 round capacities weren’t allowed and it was discontinued. Now, I could have happily kept using it for many, many years, but all the fees lips in the plastic magazi es eventually grew brittle and broke, and nobody was making aftermarket mags for this obscure little gun. So, had to abandon a perfectly good high-cap .22 because it had become a single shot.

    1. avatar Garish Kasparov says:

      Looks like just plastic to me. I’d have higher hopes for modern plastic, but yeah, end of the day I’d think of the mags as consumables. Given the likely price and where I’d expect the service life to be that might be OK with me.

    2. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      They’re polymer. And, yeah, as the commenter above said, 2019 polymer has come a long way since early 90’s polymer. But that isn’t to say it couldn’t happen where you find yourself 30 years into the future and this gun is no longer made, nobody has magazines for it, and yours are lost or broken or something. It happens. Steel mags rust, dent, break, and get lost, too, including for guns that have long-since become obsolete. At least the investment here is very low.

      1. I wonder if maybe it might be possible to make a magazine if one has a 3-D printer ? If it were possible, you could always epoxy a base plate onto the bottom. You could make each side separate, which would make it easier. Dunno ???

    3. avatar meeester says:

      3D printing or UV Curable ‘glue’ may get those feed lops workubg again.

  20. avatar Specialist38 says:

    The light weight and capacity might make it a fun trailgun and plinker.

    For reliability and accuracy, I have yet to best my MkII Ruger Standard.

    Feeds everything Walmart has ever sold and more accurate than i am.

    I only wish i had bought a 6 inch as well as the 4 inch.

    But choices are good. I bought a Walther P22 to teach my kids to shoot an auto. It’s been great, and reliable. I lucked out based on the others I’ve shot.

  21. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    If this comes out streeting at what the pundits say it will and it’s not too picky about ammo, I may have to pick one up. The costs of 22lr have made it so I have thumbed my nose at it but this is cool on a beer budget.

  22. avatar Dash Riprock says:

    I own too many 22 pistol now and swore not to buy another, but after the TX 22 came out, I bought one and paid $209 after rebate. The slide was tall enough to accommodate larger cans without having to replace the sights. Kel Tec one upped them by providing one extra magazine and a little lower price. The TX 22 is the first Taurus I have owned. I only hope the Kel Tec function as well as the TX 22 does. The TX 22 is striker fired pistol with a great trigger that is not ammo sensitive. Both handguns are made in Florida. The P17 designs reminds me of a High Standard or Colt Woodsman 22 with it’s fixed barrel and half slide. Before I would pay over retail for a Kel Tec, I would buy the TX22. I am wondering if the slide is made out of aluminum, zamak, or real steel? It would be great to have a 22 auto pistol that functions for under 200 retail with a good trigger, suppressor ready, that is accurate and is not ammo sensitive. Is this too much to ask for from a sub 200 pistol?

  23. avatar Pat Carver says:

    How hard is this thing to take down for cleaning?

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      I don’t remember the exact procedure but I remember it was super freaking easy. I think you pull down on the Glock-style disassembly tabs and then stuff just comes off… don’t recall if that’s lifting the slide up and off the rear like many fixed-barrel pistols or if there was more to it, but it was fast and simple.

  24. avatar Richard Castaneda says:

    I don’t have to “justify” this P17. I just WANT one.

  25. avatar James69 says:

    Helll yeah, I’m going to get one of these. I like kel tec stuff. Have several and had 0 problems. The damm things work. I still want the CP33 as well, I wish they made it with yellow accents , cause Borderlands!

  26. avatar Sam Ricker Jr. says:

    Well so far I am very interested in buying a P17, my question is when will they be available.shootistsammy.

  27. avatar Ammo Man says:

    Anyone who wants a fantastic .22 should check out the Beretta M9-22.
    What a fantastic pistol it is!

  28. avatar Fred Bar says:

    Wish it came from the factory with a 5 inch barrel. It would definitely clean house at $199 and even at $249.

  29. avatar S Meriweather says:

    I am extremely satisfied with this pistol. I highly recommend it. It hits targets out over 75 yards. I have run Armscor through it with no issues. Everything it is advertised as I find to be true. Great little gun for the price.

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