Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kel Tec P32 Range Report

I went to the NRA range tonight, the day before Thanksgiving. After waiting for about half an hour for a lane, I got a chance to shoot. When i put my stuff down on the table, i saw the guy next to me had the new Kel Tec PMR30. While he was packing up his stuff, I asked him how he liked the new gun. He said it was great, then asked me if I'd ever shot one. I said no, then he handed me a full magazine. What a champ.

I shot the PMR30 and it was pretty awesome. It barely had any recoil. the magazine release is strange though, instead of being a conventional heel release, the heel has a button that must be pressed towards the magazine as opposed to the normal heel catch magazine release that requires the user to move the release away from the magazine.

Now, onto the P32. I shot my new gun with three brands of ammo. I first tried Prvi hollow points. The gun shot fine. After a magazine of hollow points, i decided to switch to Prvi FMJs. The FMJs did not work well. I went through a couple of magazines full of the FMJs and the gun just wouldn't fully eject. The gun wasn't stovepiping, but the brass was not fully ejecting from the gun. I also noticed a fair amount of unburned powder on the magazine follower after shooting this ammo.

Next, i went to try Fiocci FMJ. This was the cheapest ammo out of the bunch. The gun shot great with this ammo. Zero failures whatsoever. I'll be buying a lot more at 10.95 a box.

I was pleasantly surprised that the hollowpoints worked. I got a box at $16 as more of an experiment than anything else. I don't know if I will carry the gun with FMJs or hollowpoints. I debate the ability of 32s to expand in real world situations. I think an FMJ load would penetrate better. I'm honestly not worried about over-penetration with this caliber.

As far as the actual handling and shooting of the gun, I like it. The gun feels cheap. its very plasticky. If the magazine is not in the gun, I can squeeze the plastic grip panels together. The gun just feels very lightweight and fragile, a feeling I've never gotten from a Jennings/Bryco/Jimenez JA22. I guess I'm just oldschool when it comes to my love of guns that are made from metal and wood.

The trigger on the P32 is vastly different from any other small guns I've shot before. The P32 is double action.... kind of. After the slide is racked, the shooter can pull the trigger. The travel of the trigger is rather long, but it works in a good-feeling sweeping motion. I wouldn't consider it a true double action because when I think double action, I think of being able to pull a trigger, then pull it again. The P32 isn't like that. After the slide is racked, the trigger can be pulled resulting in the hammer going back then releasing it all in one fluid motion, but if you pull the trigger again for a follow up shot, the trigger does not work the hammer. I'm just very used to having a short single action trigger on small guns. This is similar in size to a Jennings or Raven, but the gun is vastly different. This is the smallest gun I've ever shot that doesn't have a fixed barrel. The floating barrel is cool, like a bigger gun would have, but it seems like an expensive way of building guns. George Jennings pioneered the small fixed barrel design in the late 1960s with the Raven pistol. Those Ravens could be made cheaply and cranked out by the zillion. I wish this Kel Tec had a fixed barrel because it probably wouldn't have cost so much.

Overall, I'm pleased with my $60 purchase. I will be carrying it often.

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