The Kel-Tec P-3AT pistol
|Place of origin||United States|
|Manufacturer||Kel-Tec CNC Industries, Inc.|
|Weight||8.3 oz (240 g)
11.1 oz (310 g) w/loaded magazine
|Length||5.2 in (130 mm)|
|Barrel length||2.75 in (70 mm)|
|Width||0.77 in (20 mm)|
|Height||3.5 in (89 mm)|
|Action||Short recoil operated, locked breech|
|Feed system||6-round detachable box magazine|
The P-3AT is a locked breech, double action only .380 ACP pistol designed and manufactured by Kel-Tec based on the P-32. The frame is made of polymer with an aluminum insert, and the slide and barrel are steel. It is the lightest production .380 ACP pistol in the world, weighing only 8.3 oz (240 g) empty, and is roughly the same size as many .22 and .25-caliber pistols.
The P-3AT cartridge capacity is 6+1, and trigger pull is 5 lbf (22 N). These attributes have made it popular for citizens with concealed carry permits and with police officers as a back-up or off-duty pistol. The P-3AT lacks any sort of slide stop—it was omitted in order to keep the size similar to the P-32. The similar size and weight of the P-3AT results in increased felt recoil over the P-32 due to the more powerful .380 ACP cartridge (the P-32 fires the smaller .32 ACP cartridge).
The Kel-Tec P-3AT is available with blued, parkerized, or matte chrome slide. The polymer frame is available in black, grey, navy blue, or olive drab green solid colors, as well as 'Urban Blue/Grey' and 'True Timber' camouflage. Current production is the second generation model, with improvements over the first generation. The most easily distinguished difference between generations is the extractor. The first generation has a traditional external extractor parallel to the side of the gun, while the second generation has a button-head hex screw to the rear of the extractor, which is at an angle to the side of the gun.
In a Guns & Ammo review, Wiley Clapp said, "Ingenuity is often nothing more than a combination of existing principles applied in unique ways. Kel-Tec's new P-3AT has no single feature that is not established in modern pistol design, yet it has no competition in its niche." Since Ruger's introduction of its LCP pocket pistol, some reviewers have characterized the Ruger offering as comparable to the P-3AT. Other reviewers such as Gun-tests.com have said things like "Ruger had simply copied the Kel-Tec 380's design..." Kahr Arms has introduced a similar pistol, the Kahr P380, that sells for significantly more. At the 2010 SHOT Show, Smith & Wesson introduced their S&W .380 Bodyguard and Taurus introduced the 738 TCP. SIG Sauer offers the P238 with an all-metal frame in competition to those mostly plastic-framed pistols.
- "Kel-Tec P-3AT." Guns & Ammo. 23 September 2004
- Quinn, Jeff. "Ruger’s New LCP Lightweight .380 Pocket Pistol." GunBlast.com. 29 February 2008. 
- Gun-tests.com "Ruger had simply copied the Kel-Tec 380's design..."
- hueysgunsight.blogspot.com, 2009 "the LCP is basically a copy of the Kel-Tec"
- Police Forums & Law Enforcement, Ruger LCP or Kel-Tec P-3AT "The keltec was good enough for Ruger to copy..." 25 posts - 17 authors, Retrieved Sept 11, 2013
- thehighroad.org discussion forum on July 2, 2008: Know what bugs me about the LCP vs P-3AT? "Not a single [magazine article] mentioned that it was a copy of the Kel Tec." Retrieved Sept 11, 2013
- http://www.thektog.org, discussion forum: Kel-Tec P-3AT vs S&W Bodyguard vs Ruger LCP - Page 3 on Mar 15, 2012 - 10 posts, "I am not sure how Ruger copied so much and changed so little without..." Retrieved Sept 11, 2013
- S&W Product Page
- Taurus Product Page
- Official site
- Instruction manual
- Kel-Tec owners group
- Review of the Kel-Tec P-3AT from American Rifleman
- Mousegunner's Review of his Kel-Tec P-3AT