I understand when one has had a bad experience with any firearm it's hard to believe they can have such a good reputation over the long haul. The Tomcat does have the reputation of years of reliable service however. If they suffered a bad run on heat treating of slides, I hadn't heard of it, though it's quite possible a serial range got through quality control with that or more issues for some period of time.
I would suspect there is going to be an occasional quality control issue with any model of firearm, even the G19 glocks in certain serial ranges had issues due to quality control [ and yet we know glocks are known for reliable service ]. If one had bought a glock 19 in the serial range of problem guns, one would have a bad taste for glocks, specifically that g19 model ], yet we know the g19 is one very serviceable firearm and doesn't suffer from the problem as in the range of serial numbers that got through with a problem. At one point, no one would touch a g19, then over time, we all learned the g19 issue within a certain range of serial numbers and moved on with a reliable weapon.
I think if the tomcats at one time had issues within certain serial number ranges, they've long been resolved. I've not had one come back in the shop in two years of sales, unlike the Taurus clones that are returned far too often. Don't forget that the Beretta 92's had slides crack on the first run guns the military received as well and had to be upgraded after failures of slides leaving the frames on some of them. That gun had QC issues as well, but it design is sound and there are not many complaints of that model since from servicemen with the exception of caliber in ball ammo in combat.
I mentioned they were quite a bit wider than the keltecs as well. Still a very concealable firearm, but certainly not like the LCP's or Kelties. The Israeili teams didn't pick the Beretta [ though it's the 22 long rifle version they use ] for it's reputation of being an unreliable design ].
I'm also of the opinion similar to deadeyedick's, that "My personal policy is to never purchase a gun that has not been on the market for at least a couple of years and the design has already had all the kinks worked out."
and that's why I haven't bothered with the LCP yet. I did the same thing with the Kelties, but their reputation is of a reliable weapon overall.
You can still find people who hate them as they got one that didn't work well, or could not be fixed to their satisfaction by Kel-tec, yet the majority are not experiencing an overwhelming failure rate on those models. You have to go with the majority if you are picking a small firearm to begin with. The tolerances are more critical than on larger framed guns and harder to get right all the time, hence some quality control [ QC ] issues still get through. One takes their chances with the overall performance of a small gun and the reputation overall over years of service in choosing these pea shooters if they are prudent.
It's one of the reasons I carry the Seecamp .32acp as my backup if I carry a pea shooter backup at all. Many years of excellent performance, semi custom and handmade/hand fitted insures their stellar reputation over the long haul of being on the market. Yes, it a lot more expensive, but you buy quality and in the small pea shooters, I want that hand fitted quality as it errs on the side of caution where reliability is concerned.
I have a Keltie as well, but it's more a backup to a backup for me than something I'll rely on as a back up gun when the Seecamp is available to me. This thread brings to the forefront several mentionables.
1. Buy a gun that has a reputation for reliability and that means it's been on the market for some length of time.
2. Stay clear of the latest/greatest models to hit the streets in the gun rags.
3. Don't buy the gun rag writers testing and reports on new models as they are the least reliable source of information [ they get paid to write about the guns and they hardly ever write a bad review of any gun thats also paying for advertising in the same rag.
4. Buy the best quality firearm you can afford and that means researching/scouring the forums for posters comments on that model from personal experiences.
5. All gun makers can and will at times have quality control issues within certain ranges of serial numbers at some time or another in some models. Knowing that, it's even more imperative to understand you aren't buying just a "model" of a gun makers products offered, you should be buying the design based on reliability over an extended period of time.
Even the Keltie 380's had a design change with an upgraded extractor system and are into their second model of that design. The 380's initially suffered design problems and got a bad reputation, and many, hearing those recounts from dissatisfied customers steered clear of the Keltie alltogether for a time. The 32 never suffered the fate of the first gen 380 Kelties and thats when I purchased the two 32's my wife and I have. I wasn't going to take the chance on the 380, even the second gen upgraded extractor models until they'd been out for a length of time and I could get a sense of their worth through reports from members of forums first hand [ which you will get if you wait long enough ]. Now we know the 380's suffered quality control issues initially, and the LCP is no different.
The first 6000 LCP's were recalled for bad trigger pins that cracked/broke rendering the gun useless. That issue has been corrected for the most part, but there may be other issues down the road, and so the reports will verify if there are further complications at Ruger in getting this gun reliable in time.
I know of only two who have ever had an issue with the Seecamps in all the reports on that model/caliber over many years of being sold to the public. Seecamp took care of them straight away, and they haven't suffered any design flaws or been problematic.
You could do worse than trade the LCP in for a Seecamp in 32. I wouldn't recommend the newer 380's, for the very reason they haven't been out as long as the 32's and so don't have that stellar reputation over the long haul which I prefer before I purchase these small pea shooters. Just something else to consider in your choice of a pea shooter that's with you all the time.