Kel-Tec P11 Maximized
by Ralph Mroz
The Kel-Tec P-11 pistol appeared on the scene a few years ago and created quite a stir. Here was a PPK-sized pistol in a real caliber - 9mm. Furthermore, this polymer-framed gun held 10 rounds in the magazine and weighed only 14 ounces unloaded and 21 ounces fully packed. There is a certain set of dimensions and feel that makes a gun truly a small gun or a pocket pistol. The Kel-Tec clearly had (and has) it. Up to then, no one who a) knew what they were doing, and b) had any choice in the matter, carried any gun smaller than the 2-inch series of S&W 5-shot .38 revolvers. The Kel-Tec, like the S&W snubbies, shot a real bullet, so it was an acceptable primary gun, and it was small enough to function effectively as a backup or deep concealment gun. Except now you had 11 rounds to your credit. The P-9 was also reliable and inexpensive. The world was about to change.
Subsequent to the P-11's introduction, several other companies came out with their own versions of a pocket-sized full-power gun. Many of these guns are excellent guns per se, but many are also not excellent pocket guns. Some are heavy; some are thick; most are just too darn big. Kel-Tec has not stood still either. They soon followed the original 9mm pistol with an innovative and well-received 9mm carbine, and a .40 pistol.
Nothing's free, however. Generally, you make the same compromises with the Kel-Tec relative to a full-size 9mm as you do with a lightweight snubbie relative to an all steel 4-inch revolver. That is, practical accuracy suffers, and felt recoil increases. Let's put this in perspective. Several others have reported that the P-11 shoots into about 3 inches on average from a bench rest at 15 yards. That's been my experience, too, with a wide assortment of ammunition. By any standard, that's not bad for inherent mechanical accuracy. As a light pistol, it does kick more than a larger one, but not unreasonably so.