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Kel-Tec PF-9 Review

Kel-Tec PF-9 Review by member Lewisipso

Kel-Tec PF-9

It’s always a good holiday when receiving a new gun as a present. My family presented me with the newest member of the lewisipso gun family on Christmas day. Behind the wrapping paper was a new Kel-Tec PF-9/9mm pistol. I had been on the hunt for a slimmer, easier to conceal handgun as a back up weapon for some time. Knowing there are a lot of sub compact weapons on the market, the choice was not easy. It was however narrowed down by my stature. Those of you who know me, being the small person that I am, concealing something like a sub compact Glock, as an on duty back up gun never was going to happen despite my best efforts. After some searching around and different considerations I found the PF-9 worthy to check out.

I know, I know, the 9mm is considered by some to be a mouse load but I have carried and depended on the 9mm for several years as my primary caliber. I am a .45 man as a primary choice off duty and a .40 cal by on duty policy so I am not worried about carrying a 9mm as a secondary at any time.1262366496

My Kel Tec came in a simple black plastic box, a trigger lock (that won’t be used), an allen wrench, and a magazine finger extension. The magazine base plate was no easy feat to change either I might add. Once on it won’t come off by accident. The magazine did not seem to want to seat easily upon initial insert and appeared to hang up on the release mechanism on the inside of the pistol grip. I will mention now that this issue was temporary and with use has self corrected.

The Kel-Tec website, relating to the PF-9, says it will be available in blued, parkerized, and hard chrome finishes. Grips will be in black, grey, and olive drab. My weapon is an all black version with the slide being the blued or parkerized. The technical specifications, again according to the website, are as follows. Calibers: 9mm Luger 9x19mm Weight unloaded: 12.7 oz. 360g Loaded magazine: 2.8 oz. 81g Length: 5.85″ 149mm Height: 4.3″ 109mm Width: .88″ 22mm Barrel Length: 3.1″ 80mm Capacity: 7 + 1. Another reviewer’s claim is that the PF-9′s trigger pull is at 5 to 6 pounds. If that’s true it’s the hardest 5 to 6 I’ve ever pulled. Needless to say the term ‘accidental discharge’ and PF-9 should not go together. That’s a plus in my book since in a “it’s gone to hell in a hand basket” situation you won’t care what the trigger pull is and probably won’t notice. The frame/receiver is, of course, polymer/plastic, whatever term floats your boat. The only thing I have seen so far that I don’t care for is the full length guide rod. It is made of plastic and I am not a fan of that.

I greatly appreciate the feel of this weapon and it’s weight. Of course that is also because of my stature. My small hands fit this weapon just fine. Those of you with large hands may not care for it. The finger extension makes the weapon fit my hand perfectly although I wonder if a person with large hands would like it at all. Keeping the flat magazine plate and letting the lower part of the hand fall below the grip may be more comfortable. I have yet to be uncomfortable carrying it in a pocket or IWB holster. Ditto for the way I carry it on duty. If you want to know how I do that then contact me personally in the forums. That isn’t information I publish for just anyone to see.

The first trip to the range held another surprise. 100 Winchester target rounds was the meal of choice and I was hoping it was hungry. I loaded the first 7+1 and stepped up to the target and got busy. Boys and girls I’ll tell you quick that my wife doesn’t have an attitude like this pistol does. And my wife is very outspoken. Just ask her and she’ll tell you. Good grief! This thing kicks like a Missouri mule and feels like the hoof hit your hand. As far as recoil goes, well, I’ve had more fun at a funeral. Alas that is the price you pay for a small, lightweight and concealable pistol. Having a proper grip and not locking your elbows does makes it quite manageable but still noticeable.

I was also pleasantly surprised at the accuracy for a 3” barrel. At 10 feet I was able to put 3 rounds right on top of each other. At 50 feet I was able to put 3 rounds in the black of the head and 3 rounds in the 9 ring. I want to try that again before I call it broken in. I think I can do better at the 50 foot distance.

The weapon managed three failures to feed. Two were failure to completely seat the round in the chamber and one was a failure to pick up a round from the magazine. I was not impressed at all with that but for the remainder of the the shooting time I could not make the malfunctions repeat. I thought perhaps I was applying too much downward pressure on the magazine with the magazine extension. It also may be a faulty magazine or release. Either way it did not happen again. I will definitely keep an eye on this. A simple miss feed drill was all that was needed to put the weapon back in service each time.

Not everyone is a 9mm fan and the recoil may be a deterrent for some potential owners. However on weapon overall I have to say I’m impressed. This may not be a daily carry for some but for me I will keep this weapon in the forefront. As long as it continues to perform as it did on its first outing, and I expect better with time, it will certainly be my choice for a BUG.

Here is the target I mentioned. The circled area is the 3 rounds from 10 feet.


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  1. Jenna Says:

    “This thing kicks like a Missouri mule and feels like the hoof hit your hand.” LOL! :D

  2. Mack Says:

    Nice weapon, Lew. I still swear by my Glock 17 though, lol.

  3. BalkanDeputy Says:

    I like big slow moving hot pieces of metal coming out of my gun. Nothing beats a colt 1911

  4. spyderhead Says:

    It’s a perfect compromise pistol. And to respond to BalkanDeputy, almost everything beats a big old boat-anchor of a 1911 when one has to haul it around and hide it from public view all day.

  5. Don Montalvo Says:

    I have a Glock 17. I needed a concealable pistol. I wanted to stick with 9mm. I researched and decided on the Kel-Tec PF-9. It is small. It does kick. It jammed 3 times in the first 100 rounds. I will check the serial number to make sure it’s not an early version that was prone to jam.


  6. Bob Reed Says:

    Only thing I don’t like is the long trigger pull.

  7. shoneywell Says:

    I bought this for a Summer CCW. I added both the bolt on belt clip and Crimson Trace Laser and it has worked out really well for concealment. Out of 300 rounds down range I’ve had two fail-to-feeds. However, both of those were my fault as I had accidently hit the magazine release just enough that the next round didn’t strip off. This was around shot number (125). Once I realized and corrected my grip placement I have had no problems. I would definitely buy this little pistol again.

  8. jeremiah Says:

    Not a gun for the range but that’s not what It’s for. Only problems I have had is with cheap ammo if you buy medium grade or better your cool. I like the size no holster needed fits great in the watch pocket of your blue jeans.

  9. john Says:

    Where can you get aftermarket mags for this pistol. I have one and LOVE it for CCW. Do you have to get mags directly from kel-Tec?

  10. rednosepittbull74 Says:

    I prefer the p11.holds more rounds,little bit less recoil,and thickier grip.

  11. Scott Says:

    I’m looking forward to trying a PF-9 out. The recoil sounds like it might be an issue, but I’m suspecting it will not rise to the level of my other carry piece… Ruger SP101 .357

    If it’s more manageable than the .357, it’s in.

  12. michael Says:

    i just bought my first hand gun pf-9 it does kick alot but were i was pointing it hit from 10 feet away

  13. Norm Says:

    I just bought a pf 9 and shot about 50 rounds through it and cleaned it. After reassembly it feels a tiny bit loose if gripping frame and reciever,just doesn’t fell right. Anyone have any similar issues or solutions.

  14. Xiphos Says:

    Norm, you might get more responses in our forums. We have a bunch of range instructors with lots of experience with firearms.

  15. Don E. Says:

    I bought a new PF9 Dec 2011. Fired 200 rds for break in. Started getting magazine drop issue. It would drop out of battery about 1/4 inch after several factory non +P rounds. Sent it back to keltec. They replaced mag catch spring, new mag followers. From other blogs this is a fairly common problem. Since mag catch spring replacement, no drop issue. I also removed magazine base finger extension thinking to much finger downward pressure on mag during firing. Again no issues thus far. 115 grain bullets only recommended by many due to 3.1 inch bbl length. I have found this to be true vs 124 grain bullets.
    I get better accuracy. Hope this helps. Retired LAPD.

  16. Don E. Says:

    Ha ha, make that purchase date Dec 2010. Senility…

  17. duncan32244 Says:

    If you purchase the pf9, there is a possibility that the gun will fail initially. There has been several problems that are well documented. I brought a pf9 that was manufactured in February 2011 and it FTF right off the bat. Luckily for me, the store gave me 100% trade value and I got an XD sub 9mm and that gun functioned flawlessly. The PF9 is a flip of a coin. Nice gun but your chances of failures and problems are high to say the least.

  18. Bud M. Says:

    I rented the PF-9 to see how the recoil would be in a small pistol. If I spent the day at the range, I would wear a glove. Impressed with the groups fired at 15-30 feet. Trigger pull takes getting used to, but after 15-20 rounds, no more surprises. For price, for a 9mm, 8 rounds, for concealment, I’m looking to getting one soon.

  19. trey Says:

    i rate the pf9 a one star only and thats too many. i bought the keltec pf 9 due to the reviews i read online. do not get this gun…the reviews are not true. i bought the gun brand new at cheaper than dirt in mckinney tx. the price on the gun is great. i loved the weight, the slim build, the ease in which it can be broken down and cleaned, and the ease to conceal and carry. their customer service is grade A. But thats the only thing good about them. after about 100 to 150 rounds the magazine started falling out and causing the gun to jam. i emailed keltec and they responded quickly. i thought maybe the magazine was faulty. but they said i must have gotten an older model prior to the “upgrade”. so they sent me free of charge a mag release, release spring, ejector and ejector spring. i had the parts put on and the gun worked flawlessly for 50 rounds. i was so happy i bought a hogue grip, an extra magazine, and two 1+ mag extentions. i cleaned the gun after each use and oiled it regularly. i even tried several different types of ammo. i bought another box of shells a week later and the mag started falling out again, and jamming. omg i was pissed, emailed keltec again and havent heard back from them. dont take my word on this issue, simply look at youtube. so i went back to cheaper than dirt and bought a ruger LC9. i told the sales lady at the counter about my problems with the pf9, and she smiled and said that has been a problem with keltec, that they already knew that. i asked her why they didnt tell consumers before purchasing the gun, and she said they couldnt talk bad about any manufacturers. shame on you cheaper than dirt!! you should inform consumers of any potential problems with the guns you sell. i spent over $300 on this gun, could only get $175 for it. people trust cheaper than dirt to be truthful about products. i will write a review on the LC9 after i shoot another 100 rounds through it. i work part time at a jail and asked an officer about the pf9 and he said they werent allowed to carry one as a back up due to the history with the mag falling out….i hate keltec now.

  20. Brandon Scott Says:

    I’ve had a PF9 for several years now and would recommend using a polymer tipped hollow point for your primary defense ammo. Regular hollow points seem to have more trouble in the PF9′s feed mechanism, and I’ve found polymer tips fire flawlessly. It seems that the regular hollow points have just a little to jagged of an edge to them to feed perfectly every time in this gun. That being said, I love my PF9. The recoil is awful, but that’s expected in a gun this size. I often keep it in a pocket holster and don’t even notice it’s there.


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