Kel-Tec is an innovative company with many interesting and light weight weapons. When I was looking for a pocket .380, I specifically chose the P3AT over the more locally manufactured Ruger LCP because I thought KT deserved my business for innovating the category, and the Ruger looked like a more refined, more expensive copy cat to me. I loved the gun’s size and weight. Sure there were rough edges to the plastic frame, but they easily sanded off. In love, I bought a few accessories: extra round magazines, pinky extensions, belt clip. This was fun! And then . . .
My P3AT died. After about 100 rounds, it was FTF uber alles. I fluffed, I buffed, I lubed, I ran more and varied types of ammo through it (erasing any price differential to the Ruger). I checked the Kel Tec message boards for tips. I replaced parts with parts kindly sent out to me from Kel Tec, eventually replacing everything but the frame. I had a local gunsmith work on it to no avail.
Finally after messing around with it too long, I sent it back in to KT, along with a detailed email/with accompanying printed copy in the box detailing everything I had done to the pistol.
Six weeks later, nada. No communication.
Today, I received what looks like an entirely new gun. It appears to be Parkerized instead of blued (nice upgrade). The P3AT arrived without notes or any other documentation. Not a word about what was wrong with the old gun. Just an entirely new one with new serial number similar to my old one adding an “A”.
That was fine with me. I had no confidence in the old one.
When I disassembled the new piece it looked completely dry, no lube at all on the rails or barrel. The barrel appears to have been test fired, but uncleaned. I don’t know what I expected, but I hear many internet lauds for Kel-Tec’s terrific customer service. Color me unimpressed. Their service is . . . . adequate.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m glad they gave me a “no questions asked” new gun. Maybe this one is a shooter. Right now I feel like showing some tough love towards the thing. I figure I’ll shoot this P3AT to oblivion and replace it again if necessary. But I will not put a bunch of time into tweaking/amateur gunsmithing it. I may lube it occasionally if I have some time and feel like it and have nothing better to do.
It’s a shame. Kel-Tec has so many innovative products that I want to love and buy: PF-9, PMR-30, SUB-2000, KSG. The reality, however is that their products seem to be cheap junk (judging by my sole P3AT sample). I’m very hesitant about buying another Kel-Tec even though I really, really want an PMR-30 and KSG.
Still . . . What was that about marriage being the triumph of hope over experience? Like that.