Kel-Tec P3AT


Caliber: .380 Auto
Action: Semi-auto, double action, locked breach
Barrel Length: 2.5"
Magazine: 6+1
Overall Length: 5.25"

The P3AT is one of, if not the, smallest and lightest .380 pistols in the world. It's light weight can be attributed to its use of plastic in the frame instead of steel or aluminum, as well as its locking system, the same system designed by John Moses Browning and used on larger guns such as the 1911, Hi-Power and the XD. This locking system allows the P3AT to have a very light slide when compared to other small caliber blowback operated guns, such as the Hi-Point, Makarov, and other small junk guns (Loricin, Jennings, Raven, Bryco, etc.).

The P3AT is based on Kel-Tec's P-32, a .32 Auto caliber handgun. The two share almost identical external dimentions, while the P-32 has a slide lock and one extra round capacity in the magazine. Both of these changes were made to accomodate the larger .380 Auto round. The first generation of P3ATs were known to be buggy with function problems, which were remedied with the procedure commonly known as the "Fluff and Buff" -- basically, smooting out the rough internals and polishing contact surfaces. My P3AT is a second generation gun, which were less prone to the problems of the first generation. My gun functioned flawlessly straight out of the box and hasn't had a single malfunction, which makes me very happy.

While the .380 Auto cartridge is considered minimal for self-defense, there are times when the XD is just too bulky or too heavy to take along, and that's when the P3AT shines -- when small size and light weight are crucial.