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This is a place where Kel-Tec owners can voice their opinions (and that's all they are) about the P-40. These are not "reviews" by gun "experts" -- just some honest feedback from people who paid real money for their guns and who actually shoot them. This may be especially helpful for those of you who are visiting this web site to learn more about the Kel-Tec P-40 in consideration of buying one.

If you'd like to add an opinion to this page, please email Chuck

Ted H.
1. When the P-40 Conversion Kit came out, the idea was to use the P-11 9mm magazine with the 40 S&W round. Some people had feed problems with the kit using the P-11 9mm magazine and the S&W 6906 and 5906 9mm magazines. The problems were usually failure to feed with the round's nose jamming into the bottom of the feed ramp . Generally we shrugged this off as startup problems with the 40 kit/round and worked trying to tweek the problems away with polishing feed ramps/magazine parts and cleaning/lubing mag parts.

2. When the P-40 GUN came out it had mags labeled P-40 but they were really in the configuration of the P-11 9mm mag in the lip area. Again the nose jam into the feed ramp problems were common with these P-40 mags and continued with S&W 6906 and 5906 9mm mags.

3. It was eventually recognized by Kel-Tec that the 40 S&W round was not coming up out of the mag soon enough to give a good feed into the chamber, thus causing the round to jam into the feed ramp. The solution to this problem was to provide a crescent shaped cutout in the P-40 mag lips so the 40 S&W round would pop up out of the mag sooner during feed. This cutout is located at the point where the mag lips turn from an upward slope coming from the front of the mag to a downward slope going toward the rear of the mag. This cutout modification generally cured the jam into the feed ramp but caused other problems for some folks in the form of the last round being left in the mag or jamming nose up into the barrel hood.

4. It was then determined by Kel-Tec that the dimension of the cutout was critical to good feeding. If the cutout was too large, it could cause the last round left in mag/nose up jam problem being seen in some P-40s. Some earlier P-40 mags with the cutout were found to have a problem with the cutout being too large. The solution was to ensure the cutout did not extend too far along the downward sloping lip toward the rear of the mag. You can probably tell if you have a BAD mag by measuring (with calipers) the distance from the back of the mag along the lip to where the cutout starts. If the dimension is much less than 0.445", say in the order of 0.422", then the mag is suspect, particularly if you are having the last round stay in the mag or jam nose up.

5. At about the time the Kel-Tec lip cutout mod came along, some of us recognized that certain S&W 40 factory mags had a similar lip cutout. Experimentation showed that the S&W Factory Stainless 4013 TSW and the S&W Factory Stainless 4006 mags were reliable feeders in the P-40. The 4013 TSW is like a 6906 9mm mag but only holds 9 rds of 40 S&W. The 4006 is like a 5906 9mm mag. The 4006 comes in an eleven round preban config; post ban is ten rds.

6. Bottom line is you need Kel-Tec P-40 mags with cutout lips of the proper config or S&W factory 4013 TSW or S&W factory 4006 mags to ensure reliable feed in a P-40.

7. Additionally one should be aware that the P-40 seems to be more sensitive to "LIMP WRISTING" than most guns. You must have a very firm grip in the gun to help absorb the recoil and muzzle flip or feed problems can result.

8. Also Cliff (KT Gunsmith) has indicated that ammo with 180 gr bullets may also be a contributor to the feed problem. It may be wise to avoid ammo with 180 gr bullets. This should be no great loss as it seems that the lighter bullets are better for self defense and there may be a related problem that could cause overpressure in rounds that would be worse with 180 gr bullets. (See Below)

Related P-40 feed problems to be aware of
1. A related problem with P-40 feeding that one should be aware of, particularly if you are a reloader, is that the sharp recoil of the P-40 tends to seat the bullet deeper into the case as it is apparently hit by the front of the mag during recoil and strong contact with the feed ramp during feed. When the round is finally fed into the chamber this seating is fairly significant. The ramp contact is generally hard enough to put a small SMILEY FACE on the bullet.

2. Rough experiment shows the last round in a full mag has the bullet seat further into the case by about 0.015". The SAAMI minimum/maximum cartridge OAL for 40 S&W is 1.085"/1.135". Thus if you start too close to the min OAL, you can seat below min during firing/feed and have a potential overpressure problem. Factory rds measured are generally in the area of 1.125" OAL so don't seem to be a problem. Also staying away from the heavier 180 gr bullets and using moderate loads would allow more margin if the SAAMI min OAL is violated. Because the P-40 has a chamber that leaves a small portion of the case unsupported, this is good reload practice for that reason as well.

3. This seating problem in the P-40 does not appear to be unique to the Kel-Tec mag as it was repeated with a S&W mag. Similar experiment with a SIG P229 showed no further bullet seating during firing/feed.

4. It has been determined that the bottom of the feed ramp in older P-40 barrels extended slightly beyond the frame into the magazine well area, thus causing the above SMILEY FACE problem with further bullet seating. The fix is a mod to the barrel feed ramp (referred to by some as the RAMP-ECTOMY) to prevent it from overhanging the frame into the magazine well. Cliff at KT advises (4/12/99) that newer P-40s will have this mod and returned P-40s will get the mod. Only the barrel needs to be returned to get the mod, per Cliff."

Serial Number where "Rampectomies" started

From:                   [email protected]
Date sent:              Thu, 29 Apr 1999 14:13:18 EDT
Subject:                Re: Current P-40 Serial Numbers
To:                     [email protected]

Sir,

66,000 is about when the change was made.  If you happen to get an
ealier model, send it to me and I will update it for you.

Thank you,
Cliff


Dave
I received my kit via UPS (adult signature required) in mid-March. I inspected the new slide and barrel, and removed what I thought was an excessive amount of grease applied to notch for the assembly pin. I polished the feed ramp and lubed the slide with Starbrite Trailer Ball Grease. At first it seemed as if the slide would not fit, but I soon discovered that I had not properly installed the guide rod and recoil spring. (the recoil springs are much stronger than the 9mm version’s springs and took a considerable amount of effort to get into place; I would advise caution as it is possible to launch the rod a considerable distance). Once the rod and springs were properly installed, the slide went on effortlessly.

I cycled the action several times checking for smoothness and all seemed well. I engaged the slide lock and found that it took a great deal of pressure to release it, at first. After working it a dozen or so times, it became easy enough to accomplish with only my left thumb, as intended. I suspect the notch on the slide just needed to be smoothed out a bit, and perhaps some attention with a Dremel on a new slide would be appropriate here, being careful not to change the shape of the notch, only smoothing it out.

I then took the new .40 to my local gun range. I immediately discovered that I could only get 7 rounds of .40 ammo into the 9mm MecGar magazine.. This is one less than I had been led to believe would be possible. Not a deal killer, just some minor disappointment. So now I have a 7-plus-1 .40 S&W P11. How did it shoot? Terrible at first. I couldn’t hit paper at seven yards. Upon really concentrating on keeping the front sight on target I found that the new .40, in my hands, is more accurate than the 9mm original. My tendency to shoot low with the P11 did bite me at first, but after a couple of mags, I found that my groupings were better than I have ever done with the 9mm. The recoil was not a problem, but was noticeably sharp. My wife, who was in attendance, opted not to try it, from just watching.

Inspection and cleaning at home revealed a burr on the left side of the slide where it is notched for removal of the assembly pin. I did not notice the burr before the shooting session and dremeled it smooth. Subsequent firings have not resulted in the return of the burring; it may have been there from the start, but I believe it was caused by the slide going back far enough during initial firings to strike the assembly pin.

My verdict, though, is that the .40 is going to be mighty popular. I have decided to carry the .40 version exclusively now and have relegated the 9mm slide, barrel and recoil springs to practice duty only.


G.R.
On advice of my local gun dealer ( and some good name-dropping by him too) I decided to give the P11 a try, even though I'd heard good and bad about it. I just got back a few hours ago from my first trip to the range with the new weapon; here are a few quick notes:

1. Contrary to what I'd been told to expect, the weapon only mis-fed ONCE using 9mm and that was due to the second shot I fired being a "limp-wrister". After firing 6 mags of 9mm, I changed to the .40 S&W assembly and proceeded to fire another 6 mags of .40 without a problem. That included 3 different types of 9mm ammo (Federal 115 gr. Hi-Shok, CCI Blazer 115 gr. FMJ, and Winchester 147 gr. Silvertip) and 2 different types of .40 S&W (Winchester USA 180 gr FMJ, and Winchester 180 gr XSUB40SW JHP). 2. Chambering the first round of .40 is a bit of a problem; I had to pull the slide all the way back and "slam" it home to get the first round to seat. I've been told this may work itself out once the weapon breaks in. Not a big problem, but an annoyance. 3. Recoil appeared to be well within reason, and actually there was hardly any difference in the noticeable amount of recoil between 9mm and .40 S&W. There was a bit more muzzle rise than I'd been led to expect, but the weapon is still very controllable and fairly comfortable to shoot.

4. The weapon wants to shoot low and to the right, 6" by 6'. At the range, I attributed that to the DAO long trigger pull and lots of "range rust". While cleaning and polishing, however, I noticed that the rear sights appear to be off to the right ; I'll try to reset them and see what happens next time out. I would like to see a little bit lighter pull, but not much. I think I'll try the trigger mods on the web site and see how much difference they make.

5. I tried Hogue Handall Jr. grips and the factory magazine finger extensions. The grips especially are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED if you plan on any serious shooting with this weapon!

Comments:

It's not a Sig, but then again it's not $800.00 either! :-)

All in all, I'm suspecting that the P11 is going to be well worth the approximately $500.00 I have invested in the weapon. That includes the basic P11 9mm weapon, the .40 S&W conversion kit, 3 spare magazines with finger extensions, and the Hogue grips. A bit more punch than the Colt .380 Pony I was originally looking at for $369.00 by itself!

Time will tell as to how well this weapon holds up, but right now it looks like an excellent buy for concealed backup / home defense. Definitely worth giving it serious consideration and a try.

Jim K
I purchased a P-40 never having owned a P-11. I wanted something easy to carry, easy to shoot and something with punch, and did I mention inexpensive? The Kel-Tec fit the bill in all respects. DAO pull takes a lot of getting used to, as does the increased recoil one feels in a weapon this small & light, but all in all I'm thrilled with my purchase.

With practice, I am able to keep all of my groups under 4" consistently. The gun shoots where I tell it to, especially after doing all the KTOG recommended "fluffing & buffing."

I liked it so much that while it's on vacation to Florida (night sights), I bought its younger brother, the P-11 to keep my pocket warm!

With the addition of the .357 SIG barrel I keep hearing about, The Kel-Tec family of firearms may well be my favorite weapons ever.