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Posted: 7/6/2003 12:23:38 PM EDT
Tell me which of the following "itty bitty" pistols are worth considering and which aren't even worth picking up:

Kel-Tec P11 9mm

Kel-Tec P32 .32 ACP

Kahr P9 9mm

Beretta Tomcat .32 ACP

I am most interested in reliability and concealability. Do the Kel-Tec's work and can you hit anything with them? I hear the Kahr's offer good reliability in a decent size package. How do you rate them? I hear the Beretta Tomcat is a jam-o-matic. Is there any truth to this?

Normally I wouldn't consider carrying anything smaller than 9mm/.38 special. But this pistol type (should I buy it) would be a BUG (back-up gun) and size is an important consideration. It will most likely be carried in an ankle rig and will supplement my larger caliber pistol riding on my hip or in an IWB holster. It would also be nice to know that it can ride there in deep concealment when the larger gun would become too difficult to conceal. Again, I would rather stick with 9mm but would consider the .32 ACP if I could find a small and reliable platform for it. So, does anyone have any recommendations based on my list? Are there others I should be looking at?

Thanks,

-Charging Handle

Link Posted: 7/6/2003 12:33:15 PM EDT
I can't say which is better, but if you put Kel-Tec's P32 up there you may as well put the P-3AT up there, too. It's almost identical in size to the P32, but it's chambered in .380ACP.
Link Posted: 7/6/2003 1:21:22 PM EDT
I have a P-11 that has been 100% reliable. I think it has something like a 123 lb trigger, but that's a good thing in a deep concealement pistol with no external safety. It disappears nicely into a front pants pocket holster and any IWB holter. Very light and carries 10 +1 rnds of 9mm and can usually be found anywhere for under $250. It's a package that's very hard to beat.
Link Posted: 7/6/2003 1:30:28 PM EDT
LOL @ the 123 lb trigger comment! I suppose I better consider a trigger finger strength training program if I choose the Kel-Tec! Haha. But as long as the trigger is smooth, I can tolerate the heaviness. Again, this is mainly to be a back-up gun for up close use should my primary fail or be unavailable. Any other opinions on the Kel-Tec? So far I like it better for the purpose in mind than anything I have seen. It's simple, cheap and small and if it generally works well (not many lemons) then I may just pick up one of these.
Link Posted: 7/6/2003 2:14:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/6/2003 2:54:15 PM EDT by jtw2]
This is the best site for all things Kel Tec:
www.ktog.org/
They have specific articles for sweetening up your baby boomer.
Link Posted: 7/7/2003 11:02:44 AM EDT
Its impossible to beat the size and weight of the P32, or the new P-3AT, which is basically the exact same size as the P32. I've never had any problems with mine, and I feel comfortable carrying it.

If my mouse gun was any bigger than those two, I might as well carry the usual G19.
Link Posted: 7/7/2003 12:30:24 PM EDT
Just bought a NAA Guardian .32 ACP from a fellow member on the EE board. Great "summer gun"!

Link Posted: 7/7/2003 3:26:47 PM EDT
I have or have owned each of the guns you listed... I would say that the Kel-Tec P3AT/P11 and Kar P9 are the top runners in that group.

Here are the pro's and con's for eac IMHO:

P3AT
Pro's= very concealable, reliable (after a little performance tuning), very inexpensive. Kel-Tec's customer service is excellent (from my 3-4 times dealing with them).

Con's= Kel-Tec is known for having some handguns leave the factory a little rough. They function great and will spit out most all ammo, but will need a few things done most likely like polishing feed ramp, clearing any burs from production, etc.

P11 (my personal main ccw)
Pro's= Inexpensive, one of the lightest functional 9mm handguns available. Accurate once you get accustomed to it.

Con's= same as P3AT above.

Kahr P9
Pro's= very reliable, is the "nicest looking" stock from the factory.

Con's= around $125-150 more than P11 in my area. IMHO, does not feel as comfortable as the P11 carrying IWB style.

All three above are excellent choices. If you are looking for the smallest most comfortable package, I would say go with the P3AT. If you are set on a 9mm I think it comes down more to what feels right for you. Hope you don't mind me throwing another monkey-wrench in the mix, but have you considered the Springfield XD Compact 9mm? I just recently picked one up and might switch my main ccw to it. But I would definately say to stay away from the Tomcat.

Link Posted: 7/7/2003 6:37:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/7/2003 6:40:41 PM EDT by SGB]
The Kahr P9 and the Keltec 9mm are the only serious contenders. The Kahr P9 is the only one that I would carry. Although my Kahr is actually my wife's and it's a P40

The 9 x 19 is a serious cartridge suitable for self defense.

The others listed are indeed mouseguns as they are chambered for cartridges suitable only for Mouse hunting, or maybe an anemic chipmunk
Link Posted: 7/8/2003 11:03:16 AM EDT
The .32 Keltek and the new .380 Keltek fit in your pants pocket in a $10 Uncle Mikes #1 or 2 holster and you don't even know they are there. My .32 has been ultra reliable despite some abuse and is more accurate than seems possible for such a tiny thing. The sights suck but they are definitely priced right.The Kahr PM9 is nice, but it is substantially larger and heavier than the mighty mite KT's. Best, TommyB
Link Posted: 7/8/2003 10:27:29 PM EDT
i have the taurus pt111 titanium and really like it as a ccw.. 1oz heavier than the keltec p11 if you like that.. comes in around $450 comes with built in trijicon night sights and 2 different safeties(sp?). check it out if you're craving a safety.

IMHO and from all the ballistic reports i read when first purchasing a handgun i wouldn't bother buying anything smaller than a .380. but that's just me YMMV. at half the weight of the 9mm i may pick up one of those keltec p3at's. you all like it?

Link Posted: 7/9/2003 4:59:38 AM EDT
I have a Kahr MK9 which is an excellent gun.

If you want an accurate, very concealable carry gun with a great trigger the Kahr is at the top of the list.

If you dont plan to put a hundred plus rounds per week of full house ammo through it, as I do, the PM9 will serve you well.
Link Posted: 7/9/2003 12:56:15 PM EDT
Kel Tec P11, S&W 442, Glock 26 are as small as I'll go.
Link Posted: 7/9/2003 2:59:51 PM EDT
Your missing out on some really good choices. Have you considered a Makarov 9X18 probably Bulgarian as they are the cheapest at about 150.00 out the door from:: http://www.southernohiogun.com/surplus_hand.html

These are very fine and accurate to a fault. Even a Walther's PP 32acp at around 260.00 out the door from::
http://www.centerfiresystems.com/

You can't go wrong with either choice.

Gary
Link Posted: 7/9/2003 3:05:53 PM EDT
Maybe the Kahr...But I'm a Makarov fan so my real answer is NONE. Try a mak the Top of the line East German and can be had (a C&R too) for 300 bucks.
Link Posted: 7/9/2003 4:47:14 PM EDT
Kel Tec P11. The long, hard trigger pull is a safety factor on this pistol with no manual safeties. When you want to shoot it, it'll shoot, but you have to mean it. I think that's a good thing on a pistol designed for personal defense only. When considering pistols in this size and weight class, you must sort them by type. The Kel Tec and Taurus Millennium have similar operating systems (in effect), but the Taurus also has a thumb safety that flips down to fire, like a 1911. Neither gun has what you would term a 'hammer', and neither one can be cocked except by operating the trigger through it's full cycle (cock and fire). An advantage to this system is that you can pull the trigger over and over to try to fire a misfire, which I understand usually go on the second hit. Basically, the loaded gun is an inert object until that trigger is pulled. It also has a firing pin safety which is disengaged by the trigger, so it can't fire no matter how it's hit or dropped. The P11 9mm is a pocket rocket, with a solid kick and a big fireball. They offer different height sights to adjust point of impact. The slide is relatively easy to retract to load (or unload), and the external extractor gives a raised feel with a loaded chamber. In the same size, you can also have the P40 in .40 S&W. I love the Kel Tec, as it's the only pistol I feel absolutely comfortable traveling with or carrying. If you want to shoot it every week, get another pistol for the range and save the Kel Tec for business.
Then, you have the 'hammer' pistols in double action only, double/single action and single action (cocked and locked). All are available in calibers up to .45 ACP and single-stack to double-stack magazines. Quite a field of choices. As much as I love a 1911 or Hi-Power, I just don't feel right having a cocked gun stuck down my pants, but I certainly appreciate the fact that many others do this every day.
The Tom Cat is interesting because people with a problem in racking a slide (arthritis, etc.) can load it with the flip-up barrel. I could see carrying a Walther PPK (or FEG PA-63) because they're double/single action, and the Makarov would come in there, too. I'd offer that .380 would be about the lowest power I'd want to carry. After all's said and done, I'd have to second the poster who mentioned the Taurus PT145. To have .45 ACP power, 10+1 capacity and all the safety of a Kel Tec plus a thumb safety would be hard to ignore. This pistol loaded would be a little heavier than the 9mm Kel Tec, so it's just a question of what you want - there are some great choices.
Link Posted: 7/9/2003 10:26:04 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/9/2003 10:34:54 PM EDT by Charging_Handle]
Thanks guys for all the comments. I realize that there are other small guns out there besides those I mentioned. But the ones I mentioned are the ones I have tried that are small enough and thin enough to conceal in the manner I will be carrying it. The Glocks and XD's are good guns, but they are too fat. The Makarov is also too big. Remember, I am seeking a tiny gun capable of riding in an ankle holster comfortably without much bulge. I also want something light. I have found in my experience that the smaller, thinner and lighter the gun, the better the performance in ankle rigs.

This gun is only gonna be used as a BUG and I will have better firepower on me elsewhere or nearby, or both. I think at this point I have narrowed it down to the Keltec P11 or P32. These two best exhibit the features I want, plus the P11 is a 9mm which doesn't hurt. If it needs a feed ramp polishing, I can handle that. The little Guardian is also a nice looking little pocket gun. Does this thing work well with certain ammo types more than with others? I plan to use ball anyway in a .32 ACP should I get one and just want to make sure it is accurate enough. Thanks again.

-Charging Handle
Link Posted: 7/10/2003 8:56:05 AM EDT
I think the Kel Tec P32 is the lightest and thinnest .32 out there. I would love to have one, but just haven't yet. There are some special rounds made for .32 which may give you enough confidence to use it for an ankle gun. There's no doubt it's the perfect size and shape for it. I have the perfect excuse for getting one - my wife asked me if I would teach her about guns and shooting. After I woke up from the faint, I immediately thought of the P32. I have another gun that I'll start her on, a 1925 Colt .22 auto (pre-Woodsman). This pistol was given to me by her dad, and had been bought new by her grandfather and also used by her grandmother around the farm. Probably the sweetest-shooting .22 of all time.
Link Posted: 7/10/2003 6:24:08 PM EDT
CH,

I try to carry either a G27 or 342PD when I can, but there are those times especially in the summer when they just don't work. For that I have a P32 that I've had for 2 years now. I've got about 300 rounds through it with only a few malfunctions from one box of ammo. None before or after so suspect it was ammo. It prints a little right at 25 yards but will hold 3" if you take your time. I did do the fluff and buff (go to KTOG) and even had the slide teflon coated. I carry it most of the time in one of several pairs of shorts that have a patch pocket on the outside of the front bellows pocket. Just put wallet in outer pocket to break up the outline and don't put anything else in the pocket.

However, I've been lusting after a Kahr PM9 lately but don't have the $500 the shop wants. Only paid $210 for the P32.

Good Luck!
Link Posted: 7/12/2003 1:01:51 AM EDT
Ok I had the same issue but went a different route. I looked first at the caliber. Then
the pistol. I bought a S&W 637 in 38 +p and
a Glock 30 in 45 acp.

Based on what you listed I would go with the Kahr 9mm. If you carry the 32 you may as well
have a rabbits foot all its for is to make you feel lucky. If you need it you may wish you could run like a rabbit.
Link Posted: 7/24/2003 3:31:02 PM EDT
Charging Handle.

I have a question for you. the Kel-Tec P-3AT, as stated by some, is about the same size as their .32 and it is .380. Why would you not consider the P-3AT at .380 being about the same size as the .32? Just curious.
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