Kel-Tec P11


The Kel-Tec P-11 is a semi-automatic small-frame pistol chambered in 9mm. The P-11 uses a locked-breech system where the backwards force is absorbed by a spring in the slide instead of the frame. It has a double-action only trigger that sets off the action with a nine-pound pull. It doesn’t have a safety, but it’s less likely something other than a trigger finger will pull a double-action trigger all the way back, so this kind of balances out the no safety. It has an aluminum, composite frame that’s very lightweight putting it around 1.25-pounds loaded. And it has fixed three-dot sights.

Kel-Tec recommends the P-11 for concealed carry.

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Caliber: 9mm
Grip: Composite
Capacity: 10
Sights: Fixed three-dot sights
Features: Locked-breech system
Action: Semi-auto
Material/Finish: Aluminum frame<br />Steel/blued, parkenized and hard chrome barrel
Size: Small
Trigger: Double-action only
Website: http://www.keltecwea…
Weight: 0.875 pounds
Trigger Pull: 9 pounds
Barrel Length: 3.1"
Length: 5.6"
Height: 4.3"

Editor Review

A Face Only a Mother Could Love

The Kel-Tec subcompact pistols are delightfully pure in their intended purpose.  They are easy to use, reliable, highly concealable, and effective close range weapons.  While Kel-Tec is a relatively new company as gun companies go, their guns are made in the United States, and cost a fraction of what most other American made guns cost.

I bought a Kel-Tec P-11 back in 1997.  I didn’t know much about guns at the time, but I had a concealed carry permit and a need to carry.  The P-11’s bare bones simplicity and the ease with which it disappeared under my clothing were most attractive.

But the gun was oddly frustrating.  I spent a lot of time at the range, running rounds through the thing, wondering why I couldn’t get decent groupings.  The 3” barrel should have shot straight enough.  By my estimations, it should have shot better than the 2” .38 Iver Johnson revolver that I had grown up shooting, but it didn’t. 

To me, the Kel-Tec felt too light.  The P-11s are made of aluminum and plastic and steel.  The barrel kicked up at an odd angle during ejection and the gun was jumpy.  I finally accepted that I needed to pull the targets in close and practice reflexive, defensive shooting.  That was why I had bought the gun.

Like I said, I didn’t know much about guns.  I didn’t understand that many people want a light weight concealed carry gun.  The simplicity of the gun (no external safeties) seemed unusual to me.  Since I wasn’t really comfortable with guns, I wanted as many safeties as I could get.  I wasn’t satisfied with the 10-round magazine either, so I bought extenders and made the grip long, which defeated the purpose of its compact design.

And here is rub.  I carried my P-11 for a while and never needed it, so I stopped carrying it.  What good was it then?  I took it to the range and hated that.  I didn’t need to practice with the gun because it shot straight—I knew that much—so I sold it.

Now, when I look back, I have more respect for the gun.  In the years since, whenever I have needed a concealed carry gun, I regret not having my old P-11.

After all—a double action only pistol with no manual safeties will shoot when the trigger is pulled.  The P-11 can hold 11 9mm rounds.  That’s better than 5 .38s.  But pistol is not pretty—but it doesn’t need to be either because the P-11 proved to be a great back-up gun, perfect for concealed carry, designed to require very little thought during use, and is dirt cheap American craftsmanship from a company with a solid business model. 

So why only four stars? 

I’m still a sucker for a pretty gun.