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Kel Tec P11 9mm Test

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     As you know by now I like the cheap ones. Well at @ $249.00 new this one is a deal. The gun came with the gun it self and one mag. The mags are of the 10 round abbrievated kind that allow the grip of the gun to be very compact. It also came with a lock. And of course a very well thought out illustrated manual. Another very good thing that they have changed down at Kel Tec is the containers that they ship their guns in. I was impressed that this gun came in a lockable hard plastic case with soft foam lining, instead of the old cardboard box.
     One of the things that makes this gun so popular is the fact that they will accept Smith&Wesson 15 round mags of the 5900 series. And the mags from the 6900 models as well. This gun was designed with law enforcement officers in mind, as a back up gun to the ones that carried the S&W5900s as a duty weapon. If for some reason they lost use of their primary weapon they could use the Kel Tec. And when the mag was depleted of rounds they could use the spare mags to their full size wepons in the back up Kel Tec. And I've got to say that this gun is light. Empty it tips the scales at a meager 16ozs. Thats light.. For us civilians that carry for personal protection ,you can carry it very descreetly. Add a couple of high caps on the belt and your set.
     Kel Tec also offers quite a few accessories for this gun. The one I like is the steel clip that pins onto the side of the gun and allows you to carry it inside your waist band with no holster. You simply replace the grip pins with the ones provided. They have threads in them that alow you to bolt the clip onto the gun with tiny allen screws. Whats nice is that if for some reason you don't want to use the clip any more just unscrew the two allen screws and away you go. You don't have to change out the grip pins. They also offer grip extenders for the pinky finger to rest on that replaces the bottom of the mag. They also have +2 extenders and sleeves that slide over the high cap mags that blend the extended mags to the bottom of the grip.
     The Kel Tec pistol is a 9mm locked breech system that incorporates the Browning type tilting barrel lock up. The front, top of the barrel hood locks up to the slide in the same fashon as the well known and liked Sig pistols. It has a kidney shaped slot in the bottom of the barrel that cams the barrel down via the take down pin, during recoil. After about 3/16" of rearward travel the slide and barrel seperate to allow the slide to continue to the rear ejecting the spent cartridge. The fact that this is a locked breech and not "blow back" make for a very light and strong  package.The P11 has a plastic guide rod and double recoil springs. It is very hard to "rack the slide" on ths pistol unless you have a good grip on the slide. The trigger pull is also very heavy. My scale showed 11 pounds. I found that it was best to pull the trigger evenly through the trigger stroke right to the end. Unlike a Smith revolver that you can "stage" the trigger, I found that if you try to stage the trigger on the Kel Tec you throw your shots every time. By the way, Kel Tec does not reccommend that you dry fire this pistol.  The trigger on the Kel Tec was not any worse than any of the double action semi autos on the market. And it does get better after you put some rounds down range.
     The frame is made of aircraft quality 7075-T6 alluminum that houses the firing mechanism. The slide rails are milled into the frame as well. The serial # is engraved onto the top, back of the frame. The grip is made of polymer and incorporates the trigger guard and magazine well. The only controls on this pistol is the slide stop, magazine catch and assemly pin. The slide stop is in the usual place on the upper left side of the frame. I found that it is almost impossible to drop the slide on a loaded mag by use of the slide stop lever. It's just too stiff and small for my hand. I just pull back on the slide and release, to get the first round in the chamber. The mag catch is also in the usual place, left side of the frame, just behind the trigger. The take down pin or "assemly pin" as they call it is on the let side of the grip, just above the trigger. After unloading the pistol, remove the magazine, lock the slide to the rear and pop the assembly pin out. the manual says to use the rim of a 9mm cartridge so that is what I use. Then release the slide carefully off the frame. to put it back together, just revearse the procedure.
     I took the gun from it's case and cleaned it well before I took it to the range. This gave me a chance to give the gun a good going over. As I expected from a gun of this price range, the finish was serviceable. Not spectacular, but , not bad.. The barrel hood and barrel itself looks almost like galvenized steel. But it is not. It's actualy 4140 ornance steel heat treated to 50 HRC. It just has that look. On my gun ,I took a dremmel and a polishing weel and spent a couple of hours on it. Now it looks like polished stainless. I also polished the feed ramp just because I think that this is one of the most important upgrades you can do to make feeding hollowpoints more reliable. I think that it would have functioned just fine without doing this, it's just a personal preference. Fit was very good. Every thing was tight, some things too tight, I'll get to that later.
     I took it to the range with an assortment of 115grain loadings that included winchester and federal JHP, and some other ball ammo. Most of the ball or FMJ was by Remington that I purchased in 100 count boxes. I loaded the gun by pulling the slide to the rear and letting go, then dropped the mag and topped it off. Just then a friend showed up before I could Shoot And wanted a closer look at it, so I dropped the mag and went to pull the slide back to expell the round that was in the chamber when I noticed that I couldn't pull the slide to the rear. I finally got the slide to recipricate to the rear with a lot of force. I inspected the gun but couldn't find any thing noticable that would cause this to happen. I figured that it was from being new and very tight. I was right. After about 200 rounds through the gun, it did loosen up so that it didn't require a wrestler to eject the round manualy.
     At 7 yards the gun kept all rounds in a 3" circle. Someone with better eyes than I could have done alot better job than myself. I am in my early 40's and lets just say that my arms just aren't long enough any more. To read without the aid of reading glasses, is impossible. But the gun did keep all ammo in this 3" circle at 7yards. I didn't go out to 25yards because I don't think that this gun was intended for this distance. It is a back up, close and personal weapon. I am talking about rooms length. I am not by any means saying that this gun won't shoot that far accurately, I'm just saying that I'm not going to try.
     I had no failures to feed, extract or eject any of the 430 rounds that we put through it that day, and when I say we I mean that the friend that stopped by helped me expend my ammo with pleasure. By the way it was around 10degrees F. out that day with over cast skys. I only included that because most of he gun rags that you read for some reason think that we care. I don't!
     Recoil is stout but not manageable. No more than a snub 38. revolver. I did however put some +p rounds through it that day and let me say that it will recoil.. I don't recomend +p amo for this gun and Kel Tec puts that in wrighting in their manual. But if you have to have the hotest round, around, go for it. But I would only use it for carry, not plinking.
     I highly recomend this pistol. I carry this pistol more than any of my other's. It's just easier. It's small, light and packs 11 rounds of your favorite 9mm hollwpoints. If you are on a budget but want a quality pistol, the Kel Tec P11 is the gun for you.


This is the Kel Tec P11 with the O.D. green grip. The grips are interchangeable. And they are cheap to purchase.