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The Kel-Tec P-40 Pistol
by Jerry L. Cannon

The subject of a police backup weapon is almost blasť. Many agencies will permit an officer to carry one, while just a few make it mandatory. Almost all agencies require an officer to buy such a weapon out of his or her own funds, while only a very few supply this as in issue weapon.

The police backup weapon should be three things:
--It should be small and lightweight enough to be carried at all times
--It must be as powerful as its small size permits
--It must be simple to use and utterly reliable

Kel-Tec CNC Industries' P-40 encompasses all three of these ideas.

Holster or a Pocket
It should be small and lightweight enough to be carried at all times. Where revolvers once ruled the law enforcement community, the automatic is now king. One immediately advantage is its flat profile. The bulge of the revolver's cylinder is gone. What is left, in the case of the Kel-Tec P-40 is a small, flat rectangle. The P-40's size is 6.04 inches by 4.09 inches. It is only 1.04 inches thick. For comparison, it is roughly the size of an overstuffed wallet carried by many men. It also is smaller than the wallet/checkbook many women carry in the purses. The P-40 weighs only 15.6 ounces unloaded, which also is roughly the weight of many wallets. This small size will carry nicely and comfortably in an ankle holster or pocket.

Powerful but Compact
It must be as powerful as its small size permits. The P-40 is not a mouse gun. It is not a .25 ACP or even a .38 Special. The earlier P-11 has been available for a number of years as a 9mm - a cartridge that has been in law enforcement use for many years. But now the P-40 also is available in .40 Smith & Wesson. The .40 S&W is easily the leading contender to replace the .357 Magnum as the best all-around law enforcement ammunition. With the .40 caliber, Kel-Tec has not just made a new weapon - it has made what an official needs.

The P-40 can be purchased in .40 S&W, and the P-11 in 9mm. But for the officer who already has a P-11, a .40 S&W conversion is available. The conversion consists of a slide and barrel. Because of precision CNC machining, the P-11 only needs to be field-stripped for cleaning and then reassembled with the conversion components to make the caliber change. The same magazine is used for both calibers. The P-40 also can use magazines designed for the Smith & Wesson 5900 automatics.

Easy to use and reliable
It must be simple to use and utterly reliable. The P-40 is intended to be carried out of sight and out of mind - in an ankle or a pant or coat pocket. Most likely the P-40 will be subject to dirt, dust, lint, and possibly moisture.