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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As promised, I am posting a range report on my Kel-Tec PF9. Since it was a Christmas present, I wasn't able to fire it until yesterday. I put over 150 rounds through it, including a few defensive loads, to see how well it handled. (More importantly, how well I can handle the gun.)

I'm going to break this into three separate posts. This first post will be my overall impressions of the gun. My second post will be a look at a few technical issues with the gun. The final post will be a critique of ME with the gun.

First Impressions of the PF9
I'd heard lots of good and bad about this gun. Google "Kel-Tec PF9" and you'll find no shortage of criticism of the muzzle flip, uncomfortable grip, and "mechanical problems" with loading and firing. That wasn't my experience at all. I found the gun fairly comfortable in my hands. I fired 150+ rounds stopping only to reload. I have no blisters or calluses. No stinging. No trigger finger bites. If I were planning to shoot more than a few hundred rounds, I'd probably want to wear a shooting glove. Otherwise, it wasn't hard on my hands.

It took a little adjustment to find a comfortable grip that gave me good recoil control. There is a fair amount of muzzle flip. The gun is light, several ounces lighter than the Glock 26 I had been shooting, so there's more felt recoil. I was well into my second box of ammo before I became comfortable getting the gun back on target between rapid shots. (I'll need lots more work.)

Overall, the gun had only one misfire in 150+ rounds (for me). It was a failure to fire. There was a clear firing pin indent but the round didn't fire. I reloaded it and it did fire the second time. I had no misfeeds or FTEs in 150 rounds. (My wife DID experience an FTE and a misfeed. I think it might have been an difference in our grips.)

I like this gun for the reasons I bought it. I can conceal it easily. Other than the FTF, I had no problems in 150+ shots. I'll need more work before I will feel as good with it as the Glock 26. The gun jumps a good deal more between shots than the Glock and (for me) requires a much firmer grip to control, but it works for me so long as I do my part.

I did have one other problem with the gun, but I think it can be corrected. After 115 to 120 rounds, the slide failed to lock back on an empty mag. I'll post more about this in the technical report to follow.

- Str8Shooter
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Technical Report -- KelTec PF9

Here's where I get into the nitty-gritty of the gun itself. Christmas Day I examined the gun to see how much fluff and buff I wanted to do. The slide ramp was already close to a mirror polish, so I decided to shoot it without the F&B to see how it performed. Also, all of the surfaces I would've F&Bed (except for the feed ramp) are Parkerized. By shooting it first, I can CLEARLY see where the parts are rubbing now and will probably do some touch-up work.

The PF9 has a fixed ejector pin. It rubs severely against the inside of the slide. The flat black parkerized finish on the inside of the slide has a deep silvery groove in it where the ejector rubs as the slide moves.

Of the complaints I've read from others about this gun, the biggest and most frequent complaint (other than those related to limp-wristing or snappy recoil) is the slide failing to lock back on an empty mag. I had not expected to experience this so soon. About 120 rounds into shooting this brand new gun, the slide failed to lock back on an empty mag. The problem is (IMO) a design flaw. As with most semi-autos, the magazine follower engages the slide lock lever applying upward pressure against the lever when the mag is empty and the follower at the top of the mag. The magazine spring applies this upward pressure against the slide lock lever, which causes the slide to lock when the last round is fired. On the PF9, the inside tab of the slide lock lever is very small. It overlaps the recessed notch on the front left corner of the magazine follower by the tiniest margin. There is sufficient lateral freedom of motion in the slide lock lever for the tab to slip off the recessed notch in the mag follower, even in a new gun. There is also a tiny amount of lateral play in the follower. (This may be necessary to keep the follower from binding in the mag.) Because this is a single stack magazine, and one of the thinnest 9mm single stacks on the market, there just isn't much room for the slide lock lever to overlap the magazine follower. Worse, after the slide lock lever slips off the notch on the mag follower, it digs into the softer plastic of the follower and grabs it. This causes the magazine not to drop from the grip when the mag release is pressed; it then must be pulled from the grip while the mag release is pressed.

I think this problem can be remedied. I'm going to call Kel-Tec next week to ask whether they've got a fix for it. I've seen suggestions of an aluminum or stainless mag follower, although I think any material, machined to the same dimensions as the stock plastic follower, will experience the same problem. The better fix (IMO) would be to reduce the lateral play in the slide lock lever and (very slightly - a few thousandths of an inch) to widen the magazine follower to reduce lateral play without causing the follower to bind in the magazine. Alternatively, a slide lock lever with a slightly longer tab on the inside to engage the magazine follower would also work, provided it wasn't so long that it interfered with the feeding of rounds into the chamber. (I bet it won't be long before there's an aftermarket slide lock lever with a slightly larger tab to solve this problem.)

Those two technical issues aside, I had no problems with the gun that weren't likely operator-related. (My wife had a few problems, but I think this was because her grip was not as firm as mine. A round failed to eject and a second one jammed feeding from the magazine when the first did not fully eject. It caused everything to bind up and I had to lock the slide back and remove the mag to clear it.)

I fed 150 rounds of 115 gr FMJ through it with only one misfire. It was a light primer strike. There was a clear impression from the firing pin in the primer, it just did not ignite. I loaded the round into the next mag and it fired without incident. I fed a mag of defensive ammo through it, without any problems. (Speer 124 gr JHP, standard pressure. I will take a few mags of my Federal Tactical HST 124 gr JHPs to the range next time, as that is what I intend to use when I carry.)

- Str8Shooter
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Shooter Issues -- Me and my KelTec PF9

It's going to take some work for me to be able to shoot the PF9 with close to the same accuracy I achieve with the Glock 26. Having spent a good deal of time at the range with the Glock, I'd worked through my flinch problem. It's back now, though I know it's all in my head. At first, I had trouble shooting a tight grouping with the PF9. The first few shots were decent, then I started hitting all over the paper when I started to anticipate the trigger break and tensed up just before it released. The PF9 does have more muzzle flip than the Glock, but it's not so bad that I can't learn to control it.

By the end of my range session, I was shooting fist-sized headshot groupings from 7 yards when I took the time to aim. I was even able to shoot Mozambique drills with some consistency, though not will the level I had achieved with the Glock.

To reassure me that the problem was ME and not the gun, I fired a mag with my elbows resting on the bench and managed to get them into a grouping about the size of a business card.

I will say that the PF9 caused me pick up a flinch I had beaten with the Glock 26. The longer, firmer trigger squeeze of the PF9 will take some adjustment on my part. Also, the break is easier to anticipate than the Glock. Being DAO, the trigger squeeze is exceptionally consistent from one shot to the next - long and firm with increasing firmness just before the trigger breaks. I did not have the problem reported by a few shooters of not letting the trigger reset fully between shots, not even with rapid fire.

Overall, I still like the gun. I'll work out the slide lock issue and let you know what I find. Meanwhile, I'll be spending more time at the range until I'm able to shoot this gun better.

- Str8Shooter (though not quite as straight as with my Glock 26) :)
 

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Keep us posted and THANKS! I'm a G26 guy too, and have been thinking about the Kel-Tec for a bit more concealability

BTW what holster/carry are you using????
 

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Great report. Thanks for both the technical and the, er, "user/shooter" issues. Gives us all something to think about and remember when we take the new toy to the range. :thumsup
 

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Very nice 150 round review, Please let us know if the issues you've experienced have sorted itself out when you get another 150 rounds through the gun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Keep us posted and THANKS! I'm a G26 guy too, and have been thinking about the Kel-Tec for a bit more concealability

BTW what holster/carry are you using????
I'm trying two set-ups. Desantis Nemesis for pocket carry and a Fobus OWB paddle at 3:30. I've found the gun is thin enough to disappear under a lose fitting shirt with the Fobus OWB setup.

When I recover financially from the holidays, I'm going to spring for a nice IWB holster. Probably something tuckable.

- Str8Shooter
 

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Fobus paddle is what i use for the G26... Me likey their stuff:thumsup
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I like the Fobus paddle holster, but it only works for me when I'm wearing a jacket, sweater or a baggy untucked shirt. I don't get many opportunities during the work week to use the Fobus. As much as I dislike pocket draws, if it's the difference between carrying and not, I'll use the Nemesis in my right front pocket.

- Str8Shooter
 

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Str8Shooter would you say (based on your initial experience) that given the tradeoffs of the Keltec vs the Glock26 you would ever make the Keltec your EDC. I can see my lady wanting to carry the thinner pistol everytime because of the way she dresses. I'm just worried about the reliability factor of the Keltec. Please keep us informed as you put more rounds through it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Str8Shooter would you say (based on your initial experience) that given the tradeoffs of the Keltec vs the Glock26 you would ever make the Keltec your EDC.
So far, the gun itself has proven nearly as reliable (in my hands) as the Glock 26. I've still not learned to shoot it as well as I shoot the Glock. I think that'll improve with practice. The KelTec will become my EDC as soon as my license arrives. For now, it's already my glovebox and nightstand gun. (The Glock 26 is really my wife's. She wants it back.)

I can see my lady wanting to carry the thinner pistol everytime because of the way she dresses. I'm just worried about the reliability factor of the Keltec. Please keep us informed as you put more rounds through it.
I think the feeding issues may be shooter related. I had no misfeeds at all, but I use a very rigid grip with this gun to control the recoil. My wife's grip was not as solid/stable and may have contributed to the feeding problem. Only time (and 1,000 more rounds or so) will tell. If your wife ever wants to switch to the PF9, I recommend having her shoot one sometime to see how well it shoots for her. My wife was not nearly as happy with the PF9 as I was.

The slide lock issue really warrants a recall in my opinion. There's no way a magazine redesign alone will fix this. They just need to make the slide lock so that it has a tad less lateral play and lengthen the tab that overlaps the magazine follower by a few hundredths of an inch.

I'll post another update after I've put more rounds through it. 150 rounds isn't enough for a good review of the gun. I had another 500 I'd planned to shoot, but stopped when the slide lock quit. I wanted to know why it failed before I kept feeding ammo into it.

I'm also going to call KelTec to see what they can do about the slide lock. If they aren't working on a fix, I may order a spare slide lock from them and try to fabricate one that fits my specs. :)

- Str8Shooter
 

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Nice report. I have a couple hundred rounds through mine now and am also working on the anticipation "jerk". Like your wife, LOL, I have managed to get it to "stovepipe" once and need lots of work on rapid fire.


this link shows a holster I bought and like alot for front pocket carry in most slacks and jeans. My other is a fobus paddle specific to the PF9 and it works fine for most times.

http://www.pocketholsters.com/Kel-Tec_Pocket_Wallet_Holster/kel-tec_pocket_wallet_holster.html


Scroll down to the PF 9 specific wallet holster.

In defense of my marksmanship problems, I have been spoiled by a Glock 17 for some time and the weight difference is probably the biggest culpret along with the grip size.
 

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Great report. My wife has been looking at getting a gun, never thought that would happen. She has very small hands and can't reach a Glock trigger. So the PF9 is on the list of possibilities. Keep up the good work, it's really appreciated.
 

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Thought this illustration would interest some of us folks.
 
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