New Gun Prep

Back to Kel-Tec stuff

origonaly posted by Chan Bates on the KTOG message board.

7/03 With new P-3AT's hitting the market and new subscribers arriving at this forum, I thought we might review the specifics of prepping any gun (new or used) for your first round of firing. These tips have been discussed here through the years and are gleaned from numerous posts. I like to do a complete Fluff & Buff (also can be found here) for every new Kel-Tec (described elsewhere), but at a minimum I think experienced members recommend the following:

The last thing you want to do is run out and shoot your gun and experience a preventable malfunction which immediately decreases your confidence in a gun you intend to carry. Take the time to prep it, even though many guns, including most KT's, will work fine right out of the box.

There is no one right way to do this, and there are various valid opinions that hold true for different guns, but remember, KT's are a bit of a special breed because they are so small and light, and they benefit from a diligent prep procedure more than some other guns that are bigger and heavier and do not require attention to their functioning "balance".

Making sure the gun is unloaded, check functioning by dry firing a few times. Try to use a snap cap appropriate for the caliber. Work the slide enough to produce small wear spots (20-30 times) that will be visible upon inspection.

Any gun from any manufacturer can have a defect that slips through quality control. While it is rare, the little time it takes to field strip and carefully inspect any gun, new or used, before firing it provides good insurance and peace of mind. You need to learn to field strip a gun to clean it anyway, so do it.

Clean the whole gun to wipe away manufacturing oils, machining particles, and even test firing dirt in the barrel. Same for the mags.

After cleaning, inspect closely (magnification) looking for burrs, roughly machined areas that slide against each other, scratches, cracks in critical spots, sharp edges.

If you find rough spots, smooth them with a fine file, wet/dry sandpaper or your electric rotary tool--including the insides of mags and the sharp edges of the mag retention cutouts. If the filed part was blued, clean w/rubbing alcohol and cold blue to protect against rust.

Now comes the most important with a Kel-Tec, and really important with any gun. While some manufacturers show proof their guns will function without any lubrication, that is not the way to gain ultimate reliability and longevity from a self defense weapon. Metal sliding against metal--especially a steel slide against an aluminum frame as with the KT pistols--requires lubrication that will stay in place and provide high speed, high heat protection. That is not oil. That is grease. You do not need a lot, just a thin film of hi-temp wheel bearing grease will do fine, but if you want to spend $$$$ to buy fancy stuff that might be marginally better, go ahead.

I grease everywhere metal slides against metal, and a very thin coat protects better on bluing than oil, which disappears more easily. I do use oil on some hard to reach places such as parts of the trigger mechanism or other internal parts.

Yes, grease and oil attract dust and dirt, the enemies of smooth functioning. Concealed carry naturally exposes guns to this debris, so whether you fire your weapon or not, you will need to clean it from to time.

I am a fan of the metal bonding lubricants such as Militec-1 and SS-2. (Edit to add, I also like FP-10) By putting a thin film of these materials on metal parts and heat bonding the materials to the metal (hair dryer or lowest oven setting for 10 minutes), you achieve better and longer lasting protection than with standard applications of grease or oil. Using these products I can clean less often, and cleaning is easier. I even use them inside my barrel.

Now reassemble your gun, function test it again with a snap cap, even many multiple times to get a feel for the weapon, then go to the range. Keep a little notebook about the gun to show what you have done, record any anomalies and their diagnoses, try different ammo, but break it in for 100-200 rounds with good old FMJ (different types) for reliable feeding. Then start testing your carry ammo for another 100-200 rounds.

At the end of this period you will have a good feel for the gun, good knowledge about it and maintaining it, and you will feel confident in it as a self defense weapon.

Two more thing with KT's: adjust to the triggers, which really are very good for DAO, and do not limp wrist (hold the gun firmly to help with the slide action).

Enjoy your new (or used) gun! CB3

To stress the need for inital cleaning this is what I found in my new P-3AT:

For tips on the next step, improving accuracy, look here.