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Thread: Kel Tec 380

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    Regular Member theoicarry's Avatar
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    Kel Tec 380

    I have plans on purchasing an Kel Tec 380 pistol for my wife. She needs something smaller and lighter as she can not handle recoil of a 40 cal. My plans are for her using this for CC if this law ever passes. I have read good reports, but have never shot one of these. I assume the recoil is less than a 9 mil. Any negative comments and/or suggestions would be appreciated.
    Many thanks
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    Campaign Veteran GLOCK21GB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theoicarry View Post
    I have plans on purchasing an Kel Tec 380 pistol for my wife. She needs something smaller and lighter as she can not handle recoil of a 40 cal. My plans are for her using this for CC if this law ever passes. I have read good reports, but have never shot one of these. I assume the recoil is less than a 9 mil. Any negative comments and/or suggestions would be appreciated.
    Many thanks
    less recoil than a 9mm & virtually no stopping power. 380 is just a bad choice.

    take a look at this. http://ruger.com/products/lc9/models.html ...it's small, well made & a 9mm with the right loads - Federal 147 grain golden saber Hollow points you have an effective round.
    http://youtu.be/xWgVGu3OR4U AACFI, Wisconsin / Minnesota Carry Certified. Action Pistol & Advanced Action pistol concepts + Urban Carbine course. When the entitlement Zombies begin looting, pillaging, raping, burning & killing..remember HEAD SHOTS it's the only way to kill a Zombie. Stockpile food & water now.

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    Campaign Veteran GLOCK21GB's Avatar
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    or get her the old time tested 38 special revolver..
    http://youtu.be/xWgVGu3OR4U AACFI, Wisconsin / Minnesota Carry Certified. Action Pistol & Advanced Action pistol concepts + Urban Carbine course. When the entitlement Zombies begin looting, pillaging, raping, burning & killing..remember HEAD SHOTS it's the only way to kill a Zombie. Stockpile food & water now.

    Please support your local,county, state & Federal Law enforcement agencies, right ???

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    A .380 is better than nothing. I plan on using a .380 for constitutional carry once in a while. As far as stopping power goes Glock34 is right ... but if someone is fearful of or unable to control the recoil of a larger caliber ... something larger might not be very useful. When seconds count ... if one heisitates ... because of a larger caliber ...

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    Regular Member Krusty's Avatar
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    Virtually all adults can handle a .38 Special. Get a snub with a ported barrel if needed. I have a ported snubby .357 and it is very manageable. A sidearm does NOT need to be an auto.
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    Regular Member Irish_Dave's Avatar
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    I've had a Kel Tec P3AT (1st generation) for about five years here's my breakdown:
    Pros:
    Easy to conceal-I carry it either in an inside the pocket holster or an ankle holster with no problem. Also it's incredibly light.
    Easy to break down and clean
    Short money-you should have no problem picking on up around $250

    Cons:
    It's a .380
    Stove piping-after the break in phase it was still stove piping 1 round every mag. I had to send it back to Kel Tec to be fixed (lifetime warranty). It took about 2 months to get it back but now it's fine.
    Shooting comfort-if you put a hundred rounds through it the web of your hand definitely feels it.

    I only carry it a lot during the summer when other pistols will print too much, but it's not bad for a pocket gun

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    The whole stopping power thing really bothers me.

    Saying .380 doesn't have enough stopping power is like .45 people saying 9mm is like a real bullet set to stun. Do you want to be stunned? I sure don't. I don't want to get shot with a pellet rifle. I definately don't want to get shot with a .22 short. And I will go out to great lengths my entire life to make sure I'm not shot by anything larger than that.

    95gr at 1100 fps will kill you. It would kill you at 700fps. With today's modern hollow points, it is a highly effective self defense round; even with FMJ it is highly leathal.

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    Regular Member anmut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIGdude View Post
    The whole stopping power thing really bothers me.

    Saying .380 doesn't have enough stopping power is like .45 people saying 9mm is like a real bullet set to stun. Do you want to be stunned? I sure don't. I don't want to get shot with a pellet rifle. I definately don't want to get shot with a .22 short. And I will go out to great lengths my entire life to make sure I'm not shot by anything larger than that.

    95gr at 1100 fps will kill you. It would kill you at 700fps. With today's modern hollow points, it is a highly effective self defense round; even with FMJ it is highly leathal.
    A great site is http://www.theboxotruth.com/

    This guy shoots pretty much everything into water jugs and compares it to the FBI standards for stopping power. He backs up what the general view is on the .380, that it doesn't live up to the full stopping power of FBI standards.

    IMHO, a bullet is a bullet - either way you're going to do some damage. However I would still choose a 9mm over a 380 just for the extra piece of mind, especially for my wife.

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    Buy the gun your wife is most comfortable with, both carrying and shooting. Borrow some various models for her to try. A brand new concealed carry firearm is no good if it is sitting in a gun safe at home because it is too uncomfortable to carry or to shoot. It then has no stopping power. As far as stopping power goes there are some people that wouldn't be happy unless they were toting around a 30 pound 50 caliber Barrett. In my farming days I butchered many hogs and 1000 pound cattle with a single shot .22 long rifle. If your wife is comfortable with and likes to shoot the gun she picks, she is likely to practice with it more and become a proficient shot. Proper shot placement at 20 feet will compensate for a lot of so called "stopping power". Year after year the FBI reports state that the only time a bullet has "stopping power" is when it strikes the central nervous system. It is suprising how much trauma muscle tissue, including the heart, can endure and not cause immediate incapacitation. just look at videos of our soldiers wounded in war. Practice, practice, practice and shot placement is the key.

    My opinion.

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    Regular Member oak1971's Avatar
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    Kel Tech=Crap. I had one and it fell apart twice before I got sick of it and dumped it.

    .380 is a poor caliber for stopping.

    I now have Kahr MK9 in 9mm that is very compact, high quality and is chambered for what I consider to be the bare minimum for defense, 9mm. They make a polymer version for those who want to save weight.
    In God I trust. Everyone else needs to keep your hands where I can see them.

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    SIGdude hit it on the head. It'll work if need be. I read once that the #1 caliber for the mob hit men was the measly 22 LR, and they do all right. I second the motion that I wouldn't want to get shot with a .380. I wonder if the "experts" that are putting out all of the data are watching too many Steven Segall movies! I know he can take a couple in the guts from a .380 and keep on coming, but I gotta believe he's the exception to the rule.

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    I've owned a KelTec P3AT.

    The little beggers jump around in your hand a lot. The gun is tiny. A person can hardly get a grip on it. Even with the magazine extension for a third finger, the gun is still mighty narrow.

    The .380 may not be a powerful cartridge; but it is enough to make that mostly plastic little gun jump around a good bit. I never got off more than three to four shots without having to reposition it in my hand. Not great with a gun with low muzzle energy where you might have to empty the magazine to stop a threat.

    Also, the P3AT only has a three inch barrel. Meaning that after you subtract for chamber length, the bullet only has a little over two inches worth of acceleration lane. The .380 only has what? high 100's/low 200's in ft lbs of muzzle energy out of a four or five inch barrel. Lop off two or three inches of barrel, and I'll bet your muzzle energy is down in the mid-100's of ft. lbs. (Assuming I'm right with the 4-5" muzzle energies.)

    There is also the old advice that beginners and folks who can't or won't practice regularly are better-served with the simpler operations of a revolver.

    Unlike other posters, mine never gave me an mechanical trouble. I think it might be due to KelTec design and quality improving over time--worth checking into.

    If she is set on a semi-auto, I'd look also at one of the KelTec 9mm. They're only a little larger, but you get a better muzzle energy and something you can hang onto in a repeat-fire situation.

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    Regular Member oak1971's Avatar
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    The point is there is no reason, other than preference, to use .380. There are other platforms, just as compact, that chamber 9mm and .40 S&W. Kahr Mk9 and MK40, CM9 and CM40, Rohrbaugh 9mm, Kimber Solo 9mm.....
    In God I trust. Everyone else needs to keep your hands where I can see them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oak1971 View Post
    The point is there is no reason, other than preference, to use .380. There are other platforms, just as compact, that chamber 9mm and .40 S&W. Kahr Mk9 and MK40, CM9 and CM40, Rohrbaugh 9mm, Kimber Solo 9mm.....
    Good point. But, don't say that to Bersa owners.

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    Regular Member HandyHamlet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oak1971 View Post
    The point is there is no reason, other than preference, to use .380.
    There is one HUGE reason.

    Life is short.

    I'm not going to my grave having only tasted Vanilla... because the internet said so.

    "Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties."
    Abraham Lincoln

    "Some time ago, a bunch of lefties defied the law by dancing at the Jefferson Memorial, resulting in their arrests. Last week, a bunch of them pulled the same stunt and - using patented Lefist techniques - provoked the Park Police into having to use force to arrest them."
    Alexcabbie

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    Regular Member oak1971's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HandyHamlet View Post
    There is one HUGE reason.

    Life is short.

    I'm not going to my grave having only tasted Vanilla... because the internet said so.

    Oops forgot you had a 380. If you call it 9mm Kurz it sounds more

    You also get points for buying a Sig.
    Last edited by oak1971; 04-23-2011 at 08:12 PM.
    In God I trust. Everyone else needs to keep your hands where I can see them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anmut View Post
    A great site is http://www.theboxotruth.com/

    This guy shoots pretty much everything into water jugs and compares it to the FBI standards for stopping power. He backs up what the general view is on the .380, that it doesn't live up to the full stopping power of FBI standards.

    IMHO, a bullet is a bullet - either way you're going to do some damage. However I would still choose a 9mm over a 380 just for the extra piece of mind, especially for my wife.
    The only problem I have regarding FBI standards is they are held to the standard of an OFFENSIVE round. No, of course I wouldn't ever choose a .380 as my service round for going out and actively having a chance of getting into a gun fight where I need to shoot through a car door or a windshield, but I sure would use one to protect myself in a defensive situation.

    Saying .380 isn't an effective self defense round is ignorant. Saying you wouldn't personally use it is just preference. A 9x18 mak is 5gr heavier and 40fps faster than a .380, and that's killed plenty of people in wartime, with solid rounds. The .380 with gold dots will more than amply kill just about any soft target you engage within the distances we are talking.

    All the .45 in the world won't do anything if you cant hit what you are aiming at, and you can't miss fast enough to save your life. I'd rather put 6 .380s in someone than zero .45s because I left it at home since it wouldn't fit under my sun dress.

    Do I admit to the ballistac superiority of just about EVERY handgun round to the .380? Of course.
    Do I admit that it is an ineffective round for putting down a soft target? Absolutely not.

  18. #18
    Regular Member HandyHamlet's Avatar
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    Oops forgot you had a 380.

    Don't worry. You aren't going to hurt my feelings. You saw the hat I was wearing at Lizzy's!



    I guess I am weird. Cal means nothing to me. I even enjoy 22LR.


    Quote Originally Posted by SIGdude View Post
    Saying .380 isn't an effective self defense round is ignorant.
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    Last edited by HandyHamlet; 04-23-2011 at 09:48 PM.
    "Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties."
    Abraham Lincoln

    "Some time ago, a bunch of lefties defied the law by dancing at the Jefferson Memorial, resulting in their arrests. Last week, a bunch of them pulled the same stunt and - using patented Lefist techniques - provoked the Park Police into having to use force to arrest them."
    Alexcabbie

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    Regular Member oak1971's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HandyHamlet View Post
    Don't worry. You aren't going to hurt my feelings. You saw the hat I was wearing at Lizzy's!



    I guess I am weird. Cal means nothing to me. I even enjoy 22LR.




    Timeless "my penis is bigger"....
    My Hemi is better than your Rocket 350.
    My Harley is better than your rice burner.
    My Marantz is better than your Luxman.
    My PC is better than your Mac.
    My Play Station is better than your XBox.
    My Canon is better than your Nikon...
    I saw the hat but I can't recall what was on it.
    Last edited by oak1971; 04-23-2011 at 09:53 PM.
    In God I trust. Everyone else needs to keep your hands where I can see them.

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    Campaign Veteran GLOCK21GB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by duckdog View Post
    SIGdude hit it on the head. It'll work if need be. I read once that the #1 caliber for the mob hit men was the measly 22 LR, and they do all right. I second the motion that I wouldn't want to get shot with a .380. I wonder if the "experts" that are putting out all of the data are watching too many Steven Segall movies! I know he can take a couple in the guts from a .380 and keep on coming, but I gotta believe he's the exception to the rule.
    and the 22's the Mob uses are suppressed & they put two rounds behind the ear at point blank range.... A bullet behind the ear will turn anyone off like a light switch..

    I won't ever consider using anything less than a 9mm +p Hollow point or a 38 Special +p hollow point for defensive or offensive purposes.. I mean the object is to nullify the threat correct ??!
    Last edited by GLOCK21GB; 04-23-2011 at 10:26 PM.
    http://youtu.be/xWgVGu3OR4U AACFI, Wisconsin / Minnesota Carry Certified. Action Pistol & Advanced Action pistol concepts + Urban Carbine course. When the entitlement Zombies begin looting, pillaging, raping, burning & killing..remember HEAD SHOTS it's the only way to kill a Zombie. Stockpile food & water now.

    Please support your local,county, state & Federal Law enforcement agencies, right ???

  21. #21
    Regular Member HandyHamlet's Avatar
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    Shoulda coulda woulda

    What if?
    "Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties."
    Abraham Lincoln

    "Some time ago, a bunch of lefties defied the law by dancing at the Jefferson Memorial, resulting in their arrests. Last week, a bunch of them pulled the same stunt and - using patented Lefist techniques - provoked the Park Police into having to use force to arrest them."
    Alexcabbie

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    Regular Member oak1971's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HandyHamlet View Post
    Shoulda coulda woulda

    What if?
    Pretty much. Guys used to carry 25 acp back in the day. Any gun is better than no gun.
    In God I trust. Everyone else needs to keep your hands where I can see them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oak1971 View Post
    The point is there is no reason, other than preference, to use .380. There are other platforms, just as compact, that chamber 9mm and .40 S&W. Kahr Mk9 and MK40, CM9 and CM40, Rohrbaugh 9mm, Kimber Solo 9mm.....
    The guns listed above are about half to twice as heavy to carry as the approx. 9 oz. Kel-tec 380 and Ruger LCP. I prefer the Ruger reliability.

  24. #24
    Regular Member oak1971's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WD57 View Post
    The guns listed above are about half to twice as heavy to carry as the approx. 9 oz. Kel-tec 380 and Ruger LCP. I prefer the Ruger reliability.
    You are right. If weight is an issue, it's hard to beat a polymer 380. I was spooked by my Keltech P3AT self destructing and the safety recalls on the Ruger.

    The Sig 238 is decent compromise in a 380. Guess that's why they sell like hotcakes.
    In God I trust. Everyone else needs to keep your hands where I can see them.

  25. #25
    Wisconsin Carry, Inc. Shotgun's Avatar
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    I have a P3AT and I really like it. But:

    My research suggested that there was a 50/50 chance of getting one that was a dud or a beauty. The duds were prone to jamming and the others performed reliably. If that's true count me among the fortunate, because mine has been 100% reliable so far, with not a single malfunction.

    This gun is tiny, and even though it is shooting .380 rounds, it stings more than any .40 larger gun I've fired. To make matters worse, the finish-- if that's what you can call it-- is extremely rough. Sharp edges are all over and it is painful to shoot many rounds. Your fingers will get chewed up. Shooting an entire box of 50 rounds in one session leaves me more sore than 200 rounds of .44 magnum. Fortunately since these edges are plastic one may easily file the edges smoother, perhaps resulting in less injury.

    The sights are very rudimentary. However I found my P3AT to be amazingly accurate within reasonable distances for this gun-- around 15 - 20 feet.

    The trigger pull is fairly heavy and gritty, but this isn't intended to be a target pistol. And when used in combat one isn't going to be offering a critique of the trigger on this gun-- the only valid critique would be whether it went "bang" with each pull of the trigger.

    The gun is extremely comfortable to carry. It's not really an OC gun. It's more of a pocket gun. Even in a shirt pocket it's easy to forget you have it on you. I consider it a deep cover or BUG.

    Re: "stopping power" shot placement is far more an deciding factor in general. A well-placed .380 has more stopping power than a poorly-placed .357 magnum. This gun is intended for very-close up work. Most shootings occur close up. Despite the very simple sights, at the intended distances one isn't likely going to have the luxury of even using the sights, which would simply slow you down trying to acquire them.

    I certainly would not choose this gun with the intention of finding something that's "more comfortable to shoot" than a .40. It's more comfortable to carry, but not more comfortable to shoot. If your wife wants a lighter gun and less recoil than a .40, then maybe consider something like a S&W Airlite with .38's in it, or a medium frame .380 like the CZ83 or a perhaps a Makarov. Also think about the actual .40 ammo she's tried. .40 S&W comes in a wide range from mild to really hot stuff. Shooting Magtech Guardian Gold makes a .40 feel like you're shooting a magnum, whereas lighter loads make it feel like a standard velocity 9mm.
    A. Gold

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