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 P3AT Recoil spring issue and ejector warning. Long but hopefully worth your while.
kyreb  [Team Member]
5/9/2007 11:04:37 AM
I bought one about a year ago. I have shot the snot out of it and carry it almost daily. I have fed it a steady diet of WWB at the range along with some gold dot and ranger HPs. However recently I have shot a box of Cor-Bon Powerball thru it and now use that as my carry load. This load is a handfull in the little gun, but I like what I have read about this ammo and frankly just like the confidence factor of carrying "ball" ammo that has the capability to expand.
Overall, I have been very pleased with the gun.
Recently I picked up a second P3AT. I planned to break it in, then give it to the wife for her CHL (purse gun). So far, I have run a box of WWB thru it , again without a hitch.

This weekend, I fieldstrip and clean both guns. The carry gun had not been fired since its last cleaning, but being a pocket gun, it tends to gather lint. Also, the last time I cleaned it, I was in a hurry and really did not do as good a job as I should have on a carry piece. (bad move I know. This was really driven home as you will see below.)

SPRING ISSUE: On the original P3AT, the outside recoil spring has one hell of a kink in it. (The inside spring is fine. ) The kink was large enough that it had to drag along the frame when shot...actually I wonder if it would have functioned after the first shot.

I called Kel-Tec and they are sending me a couple replacement springs at no charge. No problem there. However, I am curious if this has happened with anybody else. I am also looking for input as to whether the stout Cor-Bon ammo may have contributed to the spring failure.

EJECTOR WARNING: This is more of a "heads up" on a stupid thing I did. When cleaning the pistols, I started to reassemble the newer gun first. The ejector fell out on the table. I was surprised it was not a "pressed in" part. It sits in a couple of grooves in the frame and is loose enough that it will fall out if the frame is inverted.
Anyway, I was surprised enough to check my original P3AT (my carry gun) Sure enough, the ejector was missing. Obviously, it had fallen out during my last cleaning and I had not noticed it. Bottom line, I had been carrying a single shot .380 for the past couple months. Lessons learned.......thought this was worth sharing on several very obvious points.

BTW Kel-Tec is sending me a replacement ejector at no charge. Believe me, I will really watch this as I clean these guns in the future. Rick


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unclez  [Member]
5/9/2007 1:07:22 PM
I've never had the spring issue you mentioned but then again I haven't shot any real hot loads in it yet.
The first time I stripped the P3AT to clean it, I was putting it back together and saw the little black piece (ejector) laying on the table and thought "I don't remember pulling that out". Then the next thought was "Uh ooo... somthings broke". Finally figured it out and now I pay attention to it when cleaning it as it will just fall out of the frame.
ThePirate  [Member]
5/12/2007 12:56:45 AM
By all reports I have read, the P-3AT of either generation seems to function fine without the ejector. I am not suggesting that you omit it; but I doubt you would have been "single shot" without it, especially with the hot PowRball.
Nakanokalronin  [Member]
5/12/2007 2:51:37 AM
I'm guessing that the hot loads with the combo small gun with small recoil spring would wear it out. No big deal, all springs wear and the smaller one on the P3AT looks like it would be quicker to do so. My second gen spring seems to be starting to go, I accidently have 3 extra new sets of springs/guide rods, don't ask how or why.
ThePirate  [Member]
5/13/2007 5:01:57 PM
Someday, Wolff will make a set of higher power recoil springs for the P-3AT like they did for the P-32/P-11/P-40, for use with hot ammo. Some have used the stiff P-32 springs in their P-3ATs.
kyreb  [Team Member]
5/15/2007 1:29:06 PM
Kel-Tec shipped me two complete guide rods with both the inner and outer recoil springs and an ejector at no charge. I received all the parts in less than a week from my call to their factory.

No flies on that customer service!
kyreb  [Team Member]
5/15/2007 1:31:29 PM

Originally Posted By ThePirate:
By all reports I have read, the P-3AT of either generation seems to function fine without the ejector. I am not suggesting that you omit it; but I doubt you would have been "single shot" without it, especially with the hot PowRball.


That is interesting. I am not really sure when I lost that ejector. If this is true, I may have not had the ejector installed on recent range trips and never noticed.

I am now curious enough to try shooting it without the ejector just to see what happens.
ThePirate  [Member]
5/16/2007 1:48:59 AM
Trust me, you far from the first person I have read of who has lost their ejector! LOL

That experiment has been performed, but by all means, give it a try for yourself and let us know what happens.

I use a bit of sticky grease to keep mine from easily falling out. It also prevents the rattling noise of the ejector clicking against the frame during carry. Most people think it is their magazines and ammo making the sound, but it is really the ejector.
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