Should you buy a P-11 and/or P-32/P-3AT for Concealed Carry?

Back to Kel-Tec stuff

In my opinion yes, I have a P-11 and P-32 and am very pleased with each.
Here are my reasons so you can decide for yourself:

Wealth of Info and support I have found a lot of information on the KTOG board, and now the KTRange
Price It is a fairly inexpensive firearm for initial purchase.
Size vs Power They are each among (if not) the smallest and lightest of their respective calibers to maximize concealability.
Customer Support (warrantee) KT (Kel-Tec) will warrantee the firearm for life weather you bought it new or used (although the warrantee states only if you buy it new, they do not enforce this). The gunsmiths at KT will talk to you about your specific problem on the phone. You can buy replacement parts and upgrades directly from KT. They are also "Mod Friendly" which means that they will not void your warrantee for modifying the pistol. Many KT owners have in some way. Many times they will help you try to fix it over the phone if you wish to attempt to fix the problem yourself and save shipping cost (and if it still does not work, you can always send it in)
Double Action Neither weapon has a safety to have to worry about remembering to turn off, the safety is the double action only nature of the weapons. They are not going to go off unless you pull the trigger, and you can carry them confidently with a round chambered. The hammer is not in the cocked position with a round chambered, like a double action revolver, pulling the trigger both pulls the hammer back, and releases it to fire. I personally would not carry a single action semi (like my 1911) without putting the safety on, but then that is an extra step I would have to do if I were to need it (taking the safety off). To me a DA/SA (double action and single action) semi would be ideal, to allow the first shot to be double action and follow up shots single action (not to mention single action at the range), but that would require more external levers (like a decocker) and probably drive up the price, size and weight. So for concealed carry (which is what the P-11 and P-32 is really designed to be) Double Action Only is ideal
Mags The P-11 can accept S&W 12 and 15 round mags. Although I have heard that even quality aftermarket mags (like promag) that function correctly in a S&W do not function correctly in a P-11. So I have only used original S&W mags in my p-11, with Wolf extra power mag springs, and all has worked well (15 round mags did not function correctly with the weak worn out stock spring that came with them, the new springs corrected the problems though). The p-32 can take the stock mag, the stock mag with a +1 extension, or 10 round mags (that sick out the bottom of the gun and extend the grip). I use the +1 extension on a stock mag and all works well, but the 10 round mags have not fed correctly for me yet, and wolf does not offer an extra power spring for this mag...
Jack's Plating you can get either plated by Jack Fuselier for $25 or get the F&B done and plated by him for $60.
KT's Crome Slide Exchange You can send in your slide and barrel to KT and for $20 they will send you back a chrome slide (and maybe barrel, not sure if they chrome that or not). But this is an exhange. You will not get your slide back! So if you have done work to it, send it to Jack (I did).

Out of the Box Reliability I would not recommend taking the gun out of the box and going to the range for 3 reasons. First because I have heard (not totally positive about this) that the oil and or grease they put in the new guns is only designed to keep them from rusting during shipping and not designed for actual use. And second because I have heard reports of metal shavings from the manufacturing process in new guns. Third, new metal parts are rubbing together (like the slide to frame contact). Both surfaces are not perfectly smooth, but will eventually wear to each other (the "break in" period). This can be sped up dramatically by smoothing things out a bit before trying to fire it. Plus out of the box reliability can be increased dramatically by doing a little bit of smoothing and cleaning of the internal parts, known as the F&B (fluff and buff). So I would, and did, take it out of the box, smooth, and polish a bit, clean and lube it, then went to the range.

It is true that KT may have a few more quality control issues than other companies, but I have no means of comparison... But what I do know is that they will stand behind their product 100% and will fix any problem (including replacing pieces) forever for free. That does require sending it back (which will cost you shipping) but it is not that much.
Shipping Cost If sending in a complete gun (or at least pieces containing the frame) you cannot legally just mail it to them by USPS (but you can send it legaly by UPS gound). So shipping it back to the factory for repairs repeatedly could get expensive.
Accuracy because of their small size, double action nature, short barrel, light weight and the p-32's poor factory sites, neither gun is very accurate as a target pistol, but it was not designed as a target pistol. With a trigger stop and some practice they are each more than accurate enough for self defense (can keep all shots in a silhouette at 10 feet). Different people have had many different results in accuracy (largely due to gun mods, practice, and the shooter I believe) but I have not heard of any reports that would make it not accurate enough to use as a self defense situation (point and shoot).

Info for a new KT owner

KT's web site (also the place to buy parts and accessories)

New Gun Prep

links for F&B Instructions:

Links for lubrication instructions:

Light strike help:

Reassembling the P-32

Info any that owns a P-32 should know:
Rim Lock Expalined
FMJ vs. HP in 32acp
Flyer Wires

I would recommend at least doing the F&B (Fluff and Buff) to smooth out the machining marks in the metal from manufacturing, clean it and properly lube it (lube instructions here and here). This helps the break in of the gun. I would also recommend (as with any CC firearm) to test fire many rounds of your carry ammo and not be happy until you have a perfect record with that ammo. If a problem does show up, address it, fix it, and start over. You can fix most your self if you wish or you can call KT describe your problem and send it to them to fix it.

If you are not inclined to do the F&B your self a gunsmith (Jack) will...

only draw back with him is that it does take a while to get it back, but you get back a gray/silver plated slide (much better protection than a blued one) and he will do the F&B on it for you.

I would also recommend the wolf extra power recoil springs.
for the p-32, this helps with feeding issues of the semi rimmed case (see my explanation of rim lock).
For both (P-11 and p-32) it helps reduce the felt recoil, and keeps the slide from slamming into the frame so hard when you fire.

All in all it sounds like a pain, but I did the F&B myself, sent it to Jack to get plated, got the wolf springs and the only problems I have had, have been directly mag related (p-32 10 round mags not feeding correctly, but I don't carry those. And 15 round S&W mags not feeding correctly, but Wolf extra power springs took care of that). Others have had success with less mods, some took it out of the box and had good luck, but I took the route of fixing any potential problems before I saw them, and my P-32 with FMJ (mine has never seen HP's) and standard +1 mags mine has been 100% (only problems have been FTF with 10 rounders) and my P-11 100% with standard mags, HP, FMJ, and 15 rounders with the wolf extra power springs.

one more note about the KTOG board:
yes you may see a lot of problems on this board, but think how many people with no problems would go looking for a board to post on? then think how many had a problem then went to look for an answer and found the board...
so I would not use this board as a true representation of the percentage of people with problems, but there are a few people there that can help.