Range report: Kel-Tec, Ruger, XD-40
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Old 11-03-2008, 02:49 PM   #1
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Default Range report: Kel-Tec, Ruger, XD-40

Hi Guys,
My daughter and son-in-law came up for the weekend, and Saturday Duane and I went out back and punched a lot of holes in paper. He brought his Kel-Tec P3AT, his new Ruger LCP and his SA XD40 SC. I took out my Kel-Tec P11, my SA XD40 SC, and my Remington 870. I shot my guns and as always the P11 was an abusive, but fairly accurate little gun and my XD-40 was a pure delight to shoot with absolutely no problems and great accuracy. The Remington did exactly what it was supposed to do even with #5 game loads (ie. shredding the targets).

Three times while Duane was shooting his new Ruger, it jammed on him. One time the bullet was lodged in the barrel so bad we had to disassemble the gun to get it out. It did have a solid strike pattern on the primer, but didn't go boom. The other times it jammed, it appeared that when he was shooting hollow points the edge of the bullet would hang up on the feed ramp. He only shot 2 mags of hollow points and had problems with both mags. When he was using FMJ,s they cycled smoothly. The P3AT shot every round without any drama (other than raining the cases down on our heads).

Then we got to the point where he asked me if I wanted to shoot his mouse guns. I tried the Ruger first, and all I can say is . It has a very long, heavy trigger pull, with very indistinct break. The recoil wasn't a problem, but the trigger in my opinion was horrible. If I had spent a lot of time with it and got accustomed to the trigger, I might have somewhat tolerated shooting it. But for me to shoot it for practice or fun, in my opinion, won't happen.

Then I tried his P3AT. I had shot it several years ago and wasn't particularly impressed with it, but I could get in the ten ring after a mag full of practice. Sat. right after shooting the Ruger I had the perfect opportunity to compare the two. To be honest I didn't like either one, but the Kel-Tec had a lot more manageable trigger feel and I was able to hit what I aimed at. I guess the bottom line is that I wouldn't bet my life on the Ruger with it's FTF problems, but the Kel-Tec would be better than sticks and stones. So I guess I'll stick with my P-11 for summer carry and my XD40 for heavier clothing carry and all around shooting fun. It's hard to believe how much better the XD feels, shoots, and functions, than the 2 mouse guns, until you shoot them one after the other.

I respect everyone's opinion on these guns, and this is just my opinion, nothing more. If you have one and love it, congratulations, I'm happy for you. If you are thinking about getting one, I would suggest that you spend some time on the range with either one of these mouse guns before plunking down the money.

If you would like my opinion on the Springfield Armory XD-40 Subcompact or the Remington 870 12 ga shotgun, I give them both my full endorsement. the XD-40 has a smooth relatively light trigger pull. Recoil is minimal, accuracy is excellent, and the feel and comfort is superb. Double taps are easy to do and would have deadly consequences with the accuracy and controllability displayed. The Remington 870 Express has very smooth action, very accurate, strong recoil, and devastating outcome to anything in the path of it's projectiles. I did install a Remington 20" barrel, a Choate magazine extension and a Limbsaver butt pad.

Regarding the Kel-Tec P-11, it's a nice gun that goes bang every time and has acceptable accuracy within it's intended range, and the price won't break the bank. My biggest complaint with it, is that when the gun fires, the back of the frame comes down on the second knuckle of my thumb with enough force to make me want to stop shooting after about 5 - 10 mags full of ammo. I also spent a lot of time improving the feed ramp, the trigger pull, and smoothing out the slide so it works better. Someone that doesn't have the tools or skills to do that, may be disappointed with the P-11 as it comes out of the box.

Please remember that these opinions are just based on my experience and there are absolutely no scientific, political, or astrological bearings on the validity of the outcome.

But the best part of the day was just getting out and shooting, then spending time with the little granddaughters and my daughter.

Keep smiling, this current constant barrage of political nonsense will be ending tonight, and we have all day tomorrow to prepare for the next wave of political nonsense to start.

Joe

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Old 11-03-2008, 03:37 PM   #2
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Hey Joseph, I appreciate your straight up on the mouse guns! But please be advised that neither gun are made to be frequent or even "fun" shooters. Their are several reasons for the LONG and heavy TRIGGER pulls you experienced. Both the P3AT & LCP are DAO without safeties. They are intentionally made this way to;
(1) Eliminate the need for a safety, IE: hammer is not capable of being cocked & locked.
(2) Makes it safe to keep a round in the pipe.
(3) Firing requires a DELIBERATE and long trigger pull everytime.

My having a lot of experience with both guns, I have to agree (WITH YOU) that it's DIFFICULT to put your life on the line with either one. Even though the P3AT may display a little more reliability.

I do carry my P3AT sometimes because it is light weight, compact, and VERY easy to conceal. However given the opportunity, I MUCH PREFER to carry a CZ75B 40 S&W, or my Ruger P345 45ACP.

THANKS for the EXCELLENT POST!!!!

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Old 11-04-2008, 12:39 AM   #3
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Hi Mark,

I'm aware of why they are designed that way by the bean counters and the lawyers. Law suits can cripple a company very quickly. But given the trigger feel and the inherent pull to the side when squeezing off a round, I don't see how the gun could be much of a factor when the adrenaline is pumping and all heck is breaking loose around you. Trying to focus on the bad guy, aim, and manipulate the heavy trigger while the SHTF may be more than a lot of people can accomplish while their blood pressure is sky high and their adrenaline is going crazy.

On a gun that light, I think you need a light trigger if you plan on any accuracy in a panic situation. If they would design it with a 6 lb. trigger and a safety, In my opinion they would have a much more useful gun. But like I said that is only my opinion and that and a dollar bill may still get you a cup of coffee.

On a somewhat related note, are there any tricks to dealing with the temporary deafness that accompanies firing a pistol without proper ear protection. Earlier this year I shot a raccoon with my XD40 and in the excitement of the moment I forgot to put on my ear muffs. It was a week before my hearing returned to near normal in my right ear. This situation would be many times worse inside a house if you were defending yourself from the bad guys. I had read somewhere that when a real life threatening situation arises, you would automatically tense up the muscles in your ear drums and you would not have the associated hearing loss. I was not under much stress when dealing with the raccoon, just short term memory loss and advanced old farts syndrome, so I don't know whether that would apply to my situation or not. Has anyone gone through a situation like that and not had any hearing loss?

Thanks for putting up with me,
Joe

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Old 11-04-2008, 01:19 AM   #4
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Unfortunately, I have taken some hearing loss damage over the years from shooting situations. As kids, we shot 30-06, 30 30, 12 ga, and other long guns without hearing protection. Then later on, I shot a lot of high-powered handguns. I'm paying for it now...

Your hearing will recover (usually) but the damage is accumulative so be careful and use hearing protection whenever possible. In a Self Defense situation, well, you can't avoid the bang bang and your ears will be ringing for some time afterwards.

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