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The P11's "Grandfather": The Grendel P12 grendelcomp1.jpg - 15971 Bytes

grendelcomp2.jpg - 15618 Bytes

All of the postings regarding the "grandfather" of our beloved Kel-Tec P-11, the Grendel P-12, aroused my curiosity. I planned on going to a local gunshow on July 4th and look for one. Unfortunately, unforseen circumstances arose which prevented my attending the gunshow. Luckily, on the 4th, Tom LaFrance posted to KTOG that he had a P-12 for sale! I immediately sent a post to KTOG saying "DIBS!"

Below is my "report" on the P-12.

1. Appearance -- as can be seen from the graphics, the P-12 bears a strong resemblence to the P-11. The trigger guard is different ... larger and more square, but the grip (especially the checkering) almost identical. (Interestingly enough, the P-12 displays the "Recycled" icon on the polymer parts; the P-11 doesn't.) The slide is very similar, but there are some differences, primarily the sights. Both the front and rear sights are integral to the slide (i.e., part of it and not adjustable/replaceable). The magazine release is on the bottom of the grip, and it is used by moving the vertical lever towards the front of the weapon. The mags holds 10 rounds of ..380. At least I can get 10 rounds in them; however, the mags function better with 9 rounds inserted. I don't know if the actual capacity is 9 or 10. The P-12 is 5 1/4 inches long, right at 4 inches high with mag installed, and 1 inch thick. I haven't weighed it.

2. Function -- I fired 100 rounds total, broken down as follows: 20 rounds of UMC 95 grain FMJ. (I do not normally use UMC, but had these in the gun bag.) The P-12 does not like the UMC ammo (neither does my P-11). First round jammed with its nose against the bottom of the feedramp when I released the slide. I had 2 other failures to feed with the UMC ammo. Muzzle flash was large and bright. As a matter of fact, I could see the flash between the slide and the frame rails (i.e., I could "see through" the P-12 to the muzzle flash. Recoil was minimal. 50 rounds of Fiocchi 95 grain FMJ. I had four failures to feed (new round either nose against the bottom of feedramp or new round stovepiped with the slide closed against it. (I have never seen this kind of failure to feed before.) 20 rounds of range reloads (I don't know the weight). I bought 50, but gave the other 30 back to the range. In the 20 rounds, I had 6 or 7 failures to feed. In these failures, the slide failed to pickup the next round in the mag. I thought they were light strikes, so waited 30 seconds and pulled the trigger again. No bang. Waited 30 seconds then dropped the mag and opened the slide. No round in the chamber, so I counted rounds in the mag and discovered that the slide had not fed the next round. I doubt this was caused by the range reloads, but it did not happen with any other rounds. I also fired 5 Glaser Safety Slugs and 5 CorBons, even though these rounds are frowned upon by the range. Since there was no one else using the range, I asked the owner if I could. He said OK. The Glasers worked fine. Of the 5 CorBons, I had one stovepiped live round as with the Fiocchi (above). I suspect most of the problems feeding rounds were caused by the mags, but am not sure. I will take them apart soon and clean and inspect them.

3. Accuracy -- Despite the problems, the Grendel P-12 was very accurate. Good groupings at POA at 7 yards. At 15 yards, the weapon (or me) hit low from POA, but all the shots (except 1) were on the paper with most of them within the silhouette. For central body cavity hits, I aimed at the head.

4. Disassembly -- Since I had heard so many horror stories on KTOG about detail stripping the Grendel, I did not attempt that. Removal of the slide is difficult (as is reassembly). It is very similar to the AMT Backup .45 in that there is a pin which must be punched out. The hard part is aligning the holes on both sides of the slide with the pin. With the slide lock engaged, the holes are too far back, so I had to manually position the slide and hold it while using a punch to push the pin out. Let me tell you, for a .380, that sucker has a STRONG recoil spring. I found it very difficult to hold the slide in the proper position. During reassembly, the pin must be reinserted properly (i.e., the correctly sized end must be inserted first). Unfortunately, that end of the pin is not marked in any way (at least not that I could find). I plan on painting or polishing or scoring that end of the pin somehow so it is easily identifiable.

5. Overall impression -- I am certainly glad George Kelgren developed the P-11!! I would not carry the P-12 as a self-defense weapon right now as-is. Perhaps the choices of ammo made a difference in the function of the P-12. Perhaps the problem is with the mags. I will continue to "play around" with it to see if function can be improved.