Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kel-Tec: Why I Warn People To Not Buy Them

A lot of people own guns made by Kel-Tec. I bought a Kel-Tec PLR-22 right hwen they came out. I assume I got one of the first ones off the factory floor considering I got it about 2 weeks afte rhte product was released. The serial number was extremely low as well, which leads me to believe it may be part of the first batch.

The PLR-22 really appealed to me. I saw a scary looking 22LR and had to have it. The gun was a huge disappointment. I paid about $315 for it at a local gun show. The dealer i bought it from had only one and i was lucky enough to get it. I wanted to be the first kid on the block with this gun. I wanted people at the range to ask me what it was. I love having the newst thing which everyone is taking a look at while I'm shooting. There is a price to be paid for being the first kid on the block with the newest gun...

I should know better than to buy something right when it comes out. It is a better idea to buy something when it has been on the market for a little while because you want a good, reliable product that works. It sucks when a company uses its first consumers of a particular product as a guinea pig. That makes for unhappy customers and a tarnished reputation. Comapnies just don't spend enough on quality control or research and development.

I really think Kel-Tec dropped the ball on the PLR-22. The design isn't great. When the gun jams, brass commonly goes above the bolt and gets lodged behind the bolt. With a piece of brass behind the bolt, the bolt can't go back far enough to function correctly. Having to take the gun apart multiple times on the firing line to get rid of stray brass was nothing short of embarassing. Also, the chamber is extremely tight. Rounds do not fully go into the chamber. Because of that, the gun routinely fires out of battery, causing shards of brass to fly out of the ejection port.

It is a bad design to make a gun that will fire when the bolt is half open. The firing pin is inside the bolt, but there isa hammer behind the bolt which is part of the trigger assembly. The hammer can be released when the bolt is most of the way open actually. Not safe and definately not cool.

I contacted Kel-Tec to return the gun for warranty service. I explained in my email exactly what problems the gun was having. If i wanted to ship it to them for service, I had to pay the freight to get it to them. Since I am not an FFL holder, I would have to send it overnight to the warranty department in Florida. This would cost me over $50. Wow, $50 spent on a gun that should have worked in the first place is pretty frustrating. My $315 gun all the sudden was going to cost me $365.

THat isn't the only horror story of Kel-Tec. A good friend of mine got a PF9 right when it came out. THe gun was pretty sweet on paper. A relatively high capacity 9mm pocket pistol that's super slim and relatively small in size. It sounded pretty sweet, but it wasn't. The gun's magazine release was made of plastic. Because of that, the magazine would start to release itself while firing after a period of 200 or 250 rounds. No gun should be failing like that at such a low round count. This problem made the gun unusable aside from being a single shot firearm. As a carry gun it was worthless because it would only fire one shot.

The story of the PF9 got better. After my friend shot the 250 rounds or so, he took it apart to clean it. There was a portion of the frame which had broken away. The representative from Kel-Tec told my good friend to not worry about the broken portion of the frame. On newer PF9s, this portion of the frame has been removed. The PF9s I've seen at local gun shows have that portion of the frame removed, but it was obviously done later in production, as an afterthought. The gun looked as though someone had hacked out the problem area with a dremel tool. The finish around this area was obviously hacked away by a small die grinder, after the metal had been finished.

Word on the street is that new PF9s are being sold with a metal magazine release. I guess it took a bunch of pissed off customers to get Kel-Tec to make that magazine release metal, what it should have been to begin with.

Because of the failures I saw between my personal PLR-22 and my friend's PF9, I can't reccomend a Kel-Tec to anyone who asks me about them, soeley because of my first-hand experience with Kel-Tec products.


  1. Wow. Plastic pieces? On something so important??

  2. yeah. i bet using plastic saved them a few bucks per gun. then they had to pay someone to fix all the guns that came in for warranty work as well as pay the freight to ship the customers their guns. not a smart move. there are plenty of great plastics on the market, but its not a good idea to use the material as a magazine release.

  3. The firing pin on my PLR-22 has broken twice. The service department gave me a hard time about just mailing the firing pin out to me. If you mail the gun in, it sits on their shelf for 6 weeks.

    I wish Hi-Point would make a .22 that would take blackdog mags. Hi-point, never, ever gives me a hard time for parts I need. I just give them the serial number and they mail the part out immediately.

    I like the plr-22. I would be fine with an occasional problem if they would just ship the parts out without busting my balls. As it is now, the service is bad and I will not buy another Keltec.

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