A few months back, we published my initial impressions of the KelTec P17. My feelings were lukewarm at best, but they are more concrete now. I do recommend that you read that prior article before finishing this one.
I've surpassed my goal of 2000 rounds through the P17, so what are my final opinions?
Ergonomics & Features of the KelTec P17
My opinions on the ergonomics & features of the P17 are largely the same. The magazine release, safety, and slide lock are all positioned well for use. The slide release still fails to actually allow you to chamber the gun, but it is in a good location for locking it open (which I've had to do a lot).
The grip texture is still fine, not great but not good. It can be a little slick when shooting with wet hands, but there's no recoil to really jostle your grip. The blocky-ness of the grip actually works pretty well to make the gun easy to grip. Kind of like shooting a crappier Glock.
The trigger is well, a trigger. Mine has stayed at the same roughly 3lb point, but it has gotten a little less mushy. Still mushy, but not the worst thing I've pulled (that was a Nagant Revolver, nothing is worse than that).
The accessory rail on the frame is nearly useless. The only light that would reasonably fit would be a Streamlight TLR-7, which I don't have. Both my TLR-1 and X300U's were too big to fit and lock on. I've seen reports of the gun's reliability dropping when mounting a light too, due to the construction of the pistol.
How'd the thing shoot after more testing?
Reliability of the KelTec P17
After my initial review, I put another 900-ish rounds through the P17. Below are the ammo counts:
- 650 Rounds of Federal Automatch (Jacketed)
- 333 Rounds of Winchester Bulk Pack (Jacketed)
- 600 Rounds CCI Mini-Mag (Jacketed)
- 600 Rounds Winchester Super-X (Jacketed)
- 100 Rounds Remington 40gr (Unjacketed)
So, that brings ammo count up and over 2200 rounds. The additional 900 rounds were fired over 4 range trips, with a cleaning being done to the gun between each one. I did have a ton of malfunctions though.
Most of the failures were "failures to feed", which meant that the slide needed assistance to strip the round off the magazine. Those are easily remedied with at tap to the back of the slide, but it is still a failure. Over the continued testing, I did keep having double feeds, stovepipe failures, and stuck casings, regardless of ammo.
During my last two range trips, I fired 200 rounds of Winchester Super X 40 grain, and 200 of CCI Mini Mag 40 grain. Among the 400 rounds fired, I ran into 35 failures to enter battery, 4 stuck casings, 8 stovepipes, and 6 double feeds. That's 53 failures for 400 rounds fired, making a 74% reliability rate with the gun. That's unacceptable to me.
Reliability on this gun sucks, even for a .22LR pistol.
Shooting the KelTec P17
When the gun wasn't bricking itself, it shot alright. The sights still shoot very high, but with a proper low hold, I felt confident in my hits.
I shot quite a few "The Tests" with the P17, all being good scores and times. Generally, when the gun worked, it was a pleasant shooter. It isn't snappy, it fits most hands well, and is simple to operate. It's really a shame that the reliability is the way it is.
Does it shoot better than a target .22 pistol? No, it doesn't. However, it doesn't weigh 3 pounds, and holds more ammo. The whole "working" part just needs some improvement.
My Final Verdict
I think that in concept, the P17 is a great idea of a backpacking gun. Lightweight, high capacity, good ergos, and pleasant to shoot. However, the reliability is a massive issue with the P17. If it worked, I think I would love this gun. Alas, it does not. There is not really anything that I dislike more than a gun that doesn't work.
The biggest bummer is that no other .22 pistol comes close to the footprint of the P17. I'm very much interested in the Taurus TX22, but that is full size, not compact like the P17. Maybe the new SIG P322 will be a P17, but working. KelTec seems to have pulled a KelTec, and sabotaged another great idea with mediocre build quality. I cannot recommend the P17 until it is fixed, but I doubt that KelTec will ever do it. I'm just happy to be finished with this absolute failure of a gun.