Ruger LCP - Kel Tec P3AT - Other

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by jimmrik, Jul 31, 2010.

  1. jimmrik

    jimmrik New Member

    Feb 26, 2010
    I am in the market for a mouse gun. I have been carrying a small J-frame for years with a pocket holster, but the heat this summer has me looking for something smaller. I have been wearing very light clothing and the revolver is all of a sudden feeling a little heavy/bulky.

    I have been looking at the various mouse guns out there and have found the Ruger LCP and Kel Tec P3AT to be good candidates for my front pocket carry.

    Please comment with a preference between these two or suggest another. I am interested in your experiences. I am looking to go with .380 in whatever I buy.

  2. Gun Geezer

    Gun Geezer Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2009
    Central Florida
    I have been pocket carrying a Kel-Tec P3AT in a DeSantis Nemisis holster for several years now in the Florida heat. In most any pocket of cargo shorts, it is very comfortable and completely hidden. The leather holster and the thinness of the gun makes it nearly impossible to print.
    I had some reservations prior to actually purchasing the P3AT because of the mixed reviews regarding its reliability. My own experience at the range has been 100% problem free with a variety of different ammo. While definitely not a range gun, it needs to be shot to break it in, test its reliability and learn to handle it properly. More than a few clips will result in a sore thumb from its sharp re-coil. You need to overcome a tendency to limp wrist it to ease the re-coil. Limp wristing will definitely lead to fte's or ftf's. I also ordered the new higher capacity mag. recently available from Kel-Tec. It gives it a more solid feeling grip at the expense of a slightly wider profile. I guess I could carry with the stock mag. and carry the higher cap. one as a spare. I gather from my research that Kel-Tec factory service is excellent with a lifetime guarantee. As yet I have zero problems. The longer and heavier trigger pull that many complain about doesn't seem to be an issue with me and it gives me a more secure feeling when pocket carrying not having to worry about AD, that concerns me when carrying my Glock 26.
    I have previously limited my collection of .380's to my P3AT and a Walther PPK in because of the limited availability of ammo. Recently, however, I have been finding all that I want.
    My only real concern is the stopping power of the .380. I would love to find a more potent round in a equally concealable gun, say a .9mm or .45.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010

  3. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    there is no difference between the kel-tec p3at and the ruger LCP. They are the same piece of chocolate in two different wrappers;)

    As for preference, i prefer to spend less money for the same thing, so id go with the kel-tec...:)
  4. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    Also. If youre looking for a top o the line .380 that will carry nice and shoot great look into a CZ 83. They are THE best .380 made today
  5. roadkingsteve

    roadkingsteve New Member

    That CZ 83 kinda looks like a Walther PPK copy. I'll have to check it out. Looks cool.
  6. Slabsides

    Slabsides Member

    Jul 22, 2009
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    LCP, Kel Tec, TCP, Hellcat, Diamondback, S&W Bodyguard 380. All basically same thing. Bodyguard has built in laser which is neat (and of course costs more) If you like the Glock design, check out the Diamondback.
  7. ponycar17

    ponycar17 Active Member

    Feb 17, 2005
    South Carolina
    Actually, I have to disagree a bit with that assessment. I own the Kel-Tec P3AT and have since 5/05. I love the little gun and carry it everywhere I'm allowed if I can't conceal a larger pistol in my attire for the day. ;) It's an excellent little mouse gun and functions flawlessly with the right ammo. It is a bit ammo sensitive. For instance, Siver Tips work flawlessly while Hornady Critical defense will not eject properly. I don't know why but you do need to find the right ammo for the gun. It also has a break-in period to loosen up the slide. Once broken in with the right ammo in hand you won't be disappointed.

    With that said, the Ruger has a better surface finish, is more ergonomic in handling and most importantly holds the slide open on the last shot; the P3AT does not. This could be a VERY important feature in the event that you need to rapidly chamber a round from a fresh magazine. That one feature is the reason I've considered purchasing an LCP to replace the P3AT. I know 6 folks who own the LCP and really love them. I don't think you could go wrong dropping the extra $50-60 on the LCP. :)
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2010
  8. I own a Kel Tec 3AT. My brother had the same dilemma when he wanted to purchase a gun like mine. Correct me if I am wrong, but it is my understanding that the Kel Tec's are rated for +p ammo. The Ruger's are not. By the way I am very happy with mine, seems to shoot everything I feed it so far.
  9. They have both had their problems and both had their recalls, but, if you follow the break-in advice given by Gun Geezer you should be just fine. These little guns either like, or don't like certain ammo, so try several brands and loads until you get the results you want. Either one is going to be a handful with +Ps.
  10. ponycar17

    ponycar17 Active Member

    Feb 17, 2005
    South Carolina
    I don't believe that there's a SAAMI specification for +P in a .380 ACP load. Some manufacturers such as Cor-Bon offer ammo that is rated to 20 ft.-lbs. (220 total ft.-lbs. to be exact versus others at 200 ft.-lbs.) more than other defensive ammo manufacturers but I wouldn't call it "+P" because there is no SAAMI spec for +P in .380 ACP. Simply put, it's a hot load. With that said, I've been dumb enough to shoot the Cor-Bon stuff in my P3AT and it was not a pleasurable experience. The muzzle flip was so harsh that it ended up spraining something in my trigger finger as the muzzle and trigger guard flipped upwards and pushed my finger up in an awkward motion. I'd have to question how much benefit any hot load in .380 ACP would provide when shot out of a 2.5" barrel as well. It's not likely to increase anything but muzzle flip and flash given the short distance for expansion.

    Given the relatively thin barrels of both the Kel-Tec and Ruger I wouldn't recommend repeating my experiment with either gun. :eek: Regular self-defense ammo should work just fine. ;)
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2010
  11. Terry_P

    Terry_P New Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    Let me go in a different direction. I bought a Ruger LCR this spring and have pocket carried all summer. At 13 1/2 oz empty it isn't a burden for me to carry and stoked with Buffalo Bore 158 g LSWCHP-GC 38Spl +P's it gives me a good sd load to carry and is only 4 1/2 oz heavier than the LCP.
  12. ponycar17

    ponycar17 Active Member

    Feb 17, 2005
    South Carolina
    The LCR is essentially a bit lighter J Frame Terry P, which the original poster was trying to get away from... Besides that, an LCP or P3AT is INFINITELY more concealable than a J Frame revolver... :D
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2010
  13. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2006
    The Ruger LCP does NOT lock the slide back on the last shot. It has a MANUAL hold open.
  14. ponycar17

    ponycar17 Active Member

    Feb 17, 2005
    South Carolina
    Well Bill, I've seen you looking at the thread for about 7 hours. Why wait until now to drop the bomb?....But if that's the case you're essentially correct along with others that the Ruger is an equally attractive proposition. :rolleyes:
  15. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2006
    Equally attractive, more expensive, thicker, and heavier.
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