Kel-Tec P-3AT

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Kel-Tec P-3AT
TypeSemi-automatic pistol
Place of originUnited States
Production history
DesignerGeorge Kellgren
ManufacturerKel-Tec CNC Industries, Inc.
Produced2003–January 2022
Mass8.3 oz (240 g)
11.1 oz (310 g) w/loaded magazine
Length5.2 in (130 mm)
Barrel length2.75 in (70 mm)
Width0.77 in (20 mm)
Height3.5 in (89 mm)

Cartridge.380 ACP
ActionShort recoil operated, locked breech
Feed systemDetachable box magazine; capacities:
  • 6+1 rounds (standard)[1]
  • 7+1 rounds (extended)[2]
  • 9+1 rounds (extended)[3]

The P-3AT is a locked breech, double action only, .380 ACP pistol introduced by Kel-Tec in 2003 and 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,[4] weighing only 8.3 oz (240 g) empty, and is roughly the same size as many .22 and .25-caliber pistols.

Design details[edit]

The P-3AT standard cartridge capacity is 6+1,[5] and Kel-Tec also makes extended 7+1-[6] and 9+1-round[7] magazines for it. Trigger pull is 5 lbf (22 N). These attributes have made it popular for civilians with concealed carry permits and with police officers as a back-up or off-duty pistol. The P-3AT omits a slide stop 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 2004 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."[8] However, competitors soon introduced models with very similar features, including: the Ruger LCP,[9][10] Kahr P380, S&W .380 Bodyguard[11] and the Taurus 738 TCP.[12]


  1. ^ "P3AT-36 6 rd standard magazine".
  2. ^ "P3AT-313 One Round Magazine Extension".
  3. ^ "P3AT-37 9rnd Magazine".
  4. ^ "Comparison of Pocket Semi-Automatic Handguns". July 20, 2006. Archived from the original on November 14, 2006. Retrieved November 29, 2006.
  5. ^ "P3AT-36 6 rd standard magazine".
  6. ^ "P3AT-313 One Round Magazine Extension".
  7. ^ "P3AT-37 9rnd Magazine".
  8. ^ "Kel-Tec P-3AT." Guns & Ammo. 23 September 2004
  9. ^ Quinn, Jeff. "Ruger’s New LCP Lightweight .380 Pocket Pistol." 29 February 2008. [1]
  10. ^ "Ruger had simply copied the Kel-Tec 380's design..."
  11. ^ S&W Product Page
  12. ^ Taurus Product Page Archived 2010-03-16 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]