The Kel-Tec P3AT is a double action, locked-breech .380 ACP pistol modeled after the Kel-Tec P-32. The frame of the P3AT is made of polymer with an aluminum insert, and the barrel and the slide are steel.
The P3AT is the lightest .380 ACP production pistol in the world. The weapon weights in at 8.3 ounces empty. The pistol measures only 5.2" long, 3.5" high and .77" wide however the pistol is approximately the same size as many diminutive .225 and .22 caliber pistols. The cartridge of the P3AT capacity is 6+1, and there is also a one-round magazine extension on the market. The 5 lbs. trigger is relatively light. These diminutive attributes have made the Kel-Tec P3AT a favorite for law enforcement officers as a back up or off duty carry / conceal pistol as well as civilians with concealed carry permits. In order to keep the size similar to the P32, the P3AT does not have any sort of slide stop.
The P3AT was subject to intense criticism directed at its nearly all polymer construction and coupled with the weak performance of the .380 ACP ammunition that the weapon fires. Officers and private owners state that because most self defense situations happen within seven yards or approximately 21 feet and therefore the P3AT is adequate. The weapon has experienced strong sales for civilian conceal and carry, home defense and law enforcement backup or off duty service.
The weapon included the cartridge .380 are consistently marketed towards women because of the compact size and the relatively small recoil. The small size however coupled with the low weight creates a bit greater intensity of recoil. The recoil is frequently described as being snappy and is sometimes stated to be a sting agains the fingers vs. the push that a larger caliber handgun gives to the body.
Finnish of the Weapon
The P3AT can be purchased in either a black and parkerized or matte chrome slide, and an olive drab or grey polymer frame. Currently the weapon is in teh second generation and has made big improvements in reliability and performance from the first generation. A key distinction from the first generation is the extractor. The second generation extractor has a buton head hexagonal screw towards the backend of the extractor. this is at an angle on the side of the gun. The first generation has a conventional external extractor parallel to the side of the gun.
Female Conceal and Carry
The P3AT and its close relative, the P32, are extremely popular weapons for conceal and carry with women shooters because of their light and small size as well as their double action pull. The P3AT is extremely well suited within a defensive role because it is small enough to fit in purses however packs the .380 ammunition which is notable for stopping power. This weapon will effectively penetrate the 12 inch depth required to meet FBI standards.