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Thread: One More: Kel-Tec P32 vs P3AT

  1. #1
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    So what do you guys have to say about these two?

    Which is better and why?

    .32 is smaller with 7+1
    .380 is bigger with 6+1

    Other than that, they're virtually the same, right?

    How about recoil? Jamming? Best ammo? Etc.?

    And what's this parkerized finish? I'm trying to do some research on that now but I'm sure you all could explain it better. I know blue vs stainless but am now just coming across parkerized.

    ONLY interested in hearing about the P32 or P3AT; don't care about other guns or calibers.

    Thank you,

    Todd



    *SIDE NOTE: I find it interesting that the old P3AT owner's manual is virtually identical to the P32's manual but the new, revised P3AT manual now adds "As with any firearm, a break-in period may be required (50-100 rounds). During this break-in period, some failure to feed and failure to eject or extract malfunctions may occur."


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    My wife carries a P32. Went for that over the 3AT because I was going for low recoil for her. If you're not worried about recoil, I would go for the bigger round. Bigger is always better, especially when you're playing in the defensive load basement.

    Some Keltecs need a little break-in, others are fine out of the box. A fluff and buff won't hurt either way.

    Here's a link to all things Keltec:
    http://www.ktog.org

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    When I was comparing these two a couple of years ago, I liked that the P-32 slide would lock back. But I chose the P-3AT because of the slightly larger/more powerfulrd. despite the absence of a slide lock. I haven't fired the .32 but I enjoy shooting the .380 enough to trust it as a BUG.

    In spite of it's small size in my medium/large hands it is quite comfortable and recoil is pretty easy to regain sight picture for follow-up shots. It never leaves my side. So as the saying goes a small gun in the hand is better than a larger gun in the safe.

    Be prepared that there may be a .32 vs. .380 stopping power flame war to follow. But whichever gun is more comfortableto you for your reasons is the "right" one for you. Hope this helps.



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    Thank you both and I'm curious to see what others have to say as well. I was wondering if I'd start the .32 vs .380 debate but it's always fun hearing peoples' thoughts. Of the two I think I'm leaning towards the P32 with a parkerized finish. I know it's a smaller caliber so if I'm in that kind of situation... I'll just use my extra bullet! :P So far I'm liking the slide lock, extra bullet, ever-so-slightly smaller size/weight, lower recoil, reviews on a lil' better reliability, and, um, I guess that's it.

    I'm still curious about the real life experiences with blue vs parkerized though.





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    Todd Hardy wrote:
    SNIP I'm still curious about the real life experiences with blue vs parkerized though.
    Get the parkerized, or better, stainless if offered.

    If blue was a better finish, the military would never have bothered with Parkerized for the 1911A1, etc.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. (Because that is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--for each other and everybody else--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.)

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    Two years ago I was looking at both Kel-Tecs and picked the P32. It came down to the existed mag. The P32 mag gives you 10+1 an room for your fingers to hold the gun.

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    I have a P3AT. I never even considered the .32 because of the under powered round. In fact, the .380 isn't the best round in the world either, but it's better than the .32. The .32, compared to the .380,doesn't have enough of an increase in velocity to make up for the loss in mass. Thismeans that notonly does the .380 make a bigger hole, but it simply hits with more energy.

    Anyway my P3AT has been 100% reliable since I purchased it new, and I haven't had to give it anything but a good cleaning. It seems that the newer models don't have the issues that the earliest ones did.


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    MAGSAFE PERSONAL DEFENSE AMMO


    *To be used in steel frames only. No alloy frames.
    **This item is NOT to be used with Kel-tec P-3AT Pistols.


    This is my problem with the Kel-Tecs. They are not rated for the high velocity defense ammo out there. Just thought I'd point that out.


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    redlegagent wrote:
    MAGSAFE PERSONAL DEFENSE AMMO


    *To be used in steel frames only. No alloy frames.
    **This item is NOT to be used with Kel-tec P-3AT Pistols.


    This is my problem with the Kel-Tecs. They are not rated for the high velocity defense ammo out there. Just thought I'd point that out.
    That ammo is not recommended for any firearm that doesn't have a STEEL frame. That says frame, not slide. There are a whole lot of .380 firearms that have other-than-steel frames. I'd bet they just added that extra warning for the P3AT because it is such a popular handgun .

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    All good info! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    And Citizen, good call on the Military! Point made.

    Parkerized it is. Stainless is nice but I want it all black. Parkerized seems to be a happy medium.

    Still think I'm leaning towards the P32. I'm not Clint Eastwood or anything and hopefully I'll never even have to fire it at anything other than paper. And if I did, I'd fire more than once. I understand the one-shot stopping power thing but has anyone ever done any studies on the effects of emptying a mag in someone? I'm guessing they stop? I mean, unless they're on super-drugs; in which case I don't think it would matter whether it was .32 or .380. Hell, anything less than .45 probably wouldn't work in that situation.

    But hey, either one's better than a .22 or .25, right?



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    Todd Hardy wrote:
    All good info! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    And Citizen, good call on the Military! Point made.

    Parkerized it is. Stainless is nice but I want it all black. Parkerized seems to be a happy medium.

    Still think I'm leaning towards the P32. I'm not Clint Eastwood or anything and hopefully I'll never even have to fire it at anything other than paper. And if I did, I'd fire more than once. I understand the one-shot stopping power thing but has anyone ever done any studies on the effects of emptying a mag in someone? I'm guessing they stop? I mean, unless they're on super-drugs; in which case I don't think it would matter whether it was .32 or .380. Hell, anything less than .45 probably wouldn't work in that situation.

    But hey, either one's better than a .22 or .35, right?

    I'd rather carry a .22 than a .32 for personal defense lol.

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    I've owned both; one P32 and two P3AT's. I currently own a second gen P3AT and will not sell this one.

    I would strongly advise the P3AT over the P32 for the simple fact that it fires a more powerful cartridge. And keep in mind that the .380ACP is generally considered to be the minumum load for a defensive round. Load it with the CorBon 90gr JHP. Better that a hammer and much better than the P32. As for recoil, it is negligible.This is strictly a close-in piece.


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    Something that nobody has mentioned concerning the P32 and one of the main reasons I personally went with the P3AT is the potential for rimlock. Since the .32 caliber round has a rim, like the .22lr there is a potential for the top round in the magazine to catch on the round below it if you load the ammo improperly.

    If you disregard the fact that it is a controversial round (where effectiveness is concerned), then rimlock alone might be enough to sway you. That being said, I HATE the recoil/controllability on my P3AT (this is my opinion). I carried it in my pocket for a year before I couldn't stand it anymore, and upgraded to a Kahr P9 (so much easier to shoot). The P3AT is now a nicely worn safe queen.

    References (2 second google search):

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=1924925

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kel-Tec_P-32 (search for rimlock)

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    The Parker phosphate finish is more durable than old-style bluing, but I still prefer bluing esthetically. I don't care for the .32 caliber either. JMO.

    -ljp

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    I haven't had any issues with rimlock, however I'm VERY careful how the rounds are loaded making sure that they are "staggered" upward so that the rim of the upper round sits in the groove of the one below it.

    I told my wife to think of the 32ACP as really strong pepper spray and to use it the same way. Basically, stick it up his nose and pull the trigger until empty.

    As to accuracy, my wife (who has hands the size of a 5 year old child) is near surgical. But I can't get my finger positioned properly on the trigger, so I'm all over the place.

    I wouldn't feel unarmed carrying it, but prefer my PF9 for a small weapon.

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    Ok, the .380 champions won. I purchased my P-3AT today. Didn't bother with the fluff & buff; wanted a good one right out of the box so I simply oiled it and crossed my fingers! I put 50rds of Magtech FMJ's through it without a hiccup. Quite accurate too! I'm very satisfied with it. Does kick like a mule compared to other pistols but once I got used it it, it became a moot point. I plan on putting a couple hundred rounds of Winchester FMJ's through it this weekend (Wal-Mart special). I'll rest assured after 250 flawless rounds.

    A slide lock wold have been nice but it wasn't a deal-breaker. Reliability is a big issue so thank you for mentioning the rimlock issue Diesel. Other dealers in town mentioned that too. And it seems that on the newer P-3AT's, the ejection/jamming issue has been corrected... I'll let you know. Also, went with the blued finish. It was prettier and my dealer assured me it would be just as durable as the parkerized or stainless. I was told that nowadays they're all the same. It's just a matter of color. He said that if it wasn't, or if I wasn't satisfied, he'd trade it out at no charge for up to 6 months! Even put it in writing. With a guarantee like that, I got what I wanted!

    A big THANK YOU to all for your input. It went a very long way in helping me decide what to purchase for my new, everyday carry gun.

    Lastly, SouthernBoy mentioned CorBon JHP's; anyone else have any input? I've always liked Hornady TAP but they don't make it in .380. I'll be loading two JHP's, followed by 4 FMJ's for pocket-carry.



  17. #17
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    Todd Hardy wrote:
    Ok, the .380 champions won. I purchased my P-3AT today. Didn't bother with the fluff & buff; wanted a good one right out of the box so I simply oiled it and crossed my fingers! I put 50rds of Magtech FMJ's through it without a hiccup. Quite accurate too! I'm very satisfied with it. Does kick like a mule compared to other pistols but once I got used it it, it became a moot point. I plan on putting a couple hundred rounds of Winchester FMJ's through it this weekend (Wal-Mart special). I'll rest assured after 250 flawless rounds.

    A slide lock wold have been nice but it wasn't a deal-breaker. Reliability is a big issue so thank you for mentioning the rimlock issue Diesel. Other dealers in town mentioned that too. And it seems that on the newer P-3AT's, the ejection/jamming issue has been corrected... I'll let you know. Also, went with the blued finish. It was prettier and my dealer assured me it would be just as durable as the parkerized or stainless. I was told that nowadays they're all the same. It's just a matter of color. He said that if it wasn't, or if I wasn't satisfied, he'd trade it out at no charge for up to 6 months! Even put it in writing. With a guarantee like that, I got what I wanted!

    A big THANK YOU to all for your input. It went a very long way in helping me decide what to purchase for my new, everyday carry gun.

    Lastly, SouthernBoy mentioned CorBon JHP's; anyone else have any input? I've always liked Hornady TAP but they don't make it in .380. I'll be loading two JHP's, followed by 4 FMJ's for pocket-carry.

    No problem! I'm glad you found such an awesome dealer to buy from. Careful with that thing; it's bound to get lost in a pair of pants and go through the wash if you aren't careful . One other thing I can recommend is the Desantis pocket holster (http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpag...eitemid=115445). Worked wonderfully for me, and it's cheap!.

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    Diesel,

    Thought you might like to know that I picked up the Nemesis today. Tried all four sizes of Uncle Mike's in-the-pocket holsters and didn't like any of them. Also got a Tagua back-pocket holster. And I also have my open carry-concealed holster that found at the flea market! ----->>> http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/view_to...jump_to=318265


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    Todd Hardy wrote:
    Diesel,

    Thought you might like to know that I picked up the Nemesis today. Tried all four sizes of Uncle Mike's in-the-pocket holsters and didn't like any of them. Also got a Tagua back-pocket holster. And I also have my open carry-concealed holster that found at the flea market! ----->>> http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/view_to...jump_to=318265
    I saw your post in the other thread, and didn't connect the dots! Nice gun (and open carry-concealed holster)!

    I hope you like everything, the Nemesis and Kel-tec are hard to beat for the price.

    I think it's common practice for some people to wear a band-aid on their trigger finger when practicing with the Kel-tec to prevent lacerations/scrapes. I never did, though.

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    After 150rds today, that's not a bad idea!



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    Todd Hardy wrote:
    After 150rds today, that's not a bad idea!



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    I have a P3AT that I have been pocket carrying for over a year. I have never had it jam while practicing at the range.

    I found the best way to control muzzle flip from the little beast is to get a Hogue Handall Jr and trim it down until you get what looks like a heavy rubber band with a finger rest. After you have trimmed most of the grip sleeve away and sliding it on the gun you need to squeeze some glue (something like RTV or The Right Stuff etc...) between the sleeve and the grip in several places. Then, before the glue sets, grip the gun as if you where firing it and push the finger shelf up against your middle finger. I made the "finger grove" a little smallish so that my middle finger would fit snugly between the trigger gaurd and the finger shelf on the grip sleeve. This alone drastically reduced the muzzle flip on my gun, getting the hooked magazine floor plates adds even more "follow-up shot ability". I hope that makes sense I don't have a profile pick of my P3at to show you what I mean.

    I load a Buffalo Bore 90gn Gold Dot in the chamber and the rest of the mag is Remington 95gn FMJs. Try a box of the Buffalo Bore http://www.buffalobore.com/ammunition/default.htm#380 first one I fired I was :what: Its definitly not for plinking with the P3at!

    I also added night sights to my P3at by drilling divits into the "sights" and filling the divits with a thick mix of 2 ton epoxy and glow in the dark powder http://glowinc.com/detail.aspx?ID=42




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    Doubled!

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    diesel556 wrote:
    I think it's common practice for some people to wear a band-aid on their trigger finger when practicing with the Kel-tec to prevent lacerations/scrapes. I never did, though.
    You can use a blade or file to smooth the rough edges on the trigger. I use this method to smooth or remove molding seams or flash (excess plastic from the molding process) from the entire gun. It's an old habit from my model airplane building days. Be careful not to mar the finish.

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    I bought a used 1st gen P-32 Kel Tec off a buddy that was upgrading to the P3AT...and I carry it as a BUG ( backup gun ) in my boot topwith my Para Ord P12-45. I must say that Kel Tec makes a good product at a good price...so much so that I bought a brand new PF-9 and hooked up a LaserLyte aiming guide on the picatinny rail. It's a sweet combo...





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