Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Keltec's P17: It's a very good handgun, if you can find one

In April I put up a "first look" article about Keltec's new P17 .22 pistol.

If you missed the earlier article, please read it before continuing, as this review continues from that point and doesn't repeat the same information.

The great thing about this pistol - and it really is a great thing, compared to some of its rivals - is that it's boringly reliable.  Many .22 firearms are very "picky" about what ammunition they like.  Some will shoot well with this round, but not with that one.  The "pickiness" may even be visible among pistols of the same make and model.  Not so with the P17.  I've fired seven different rounds through it so far:
All performed without a hiccup through the P17, which surprised me.  I was expecting at least a few mis-feeds or failures to fire, on the basis of many years' experience with .22LR pistols.  This one didn't even blink.

The P17 also shot relatively "clean".  .22LR rounds are notorious for leaving powder and lead fouling behind them, requiring some pistols to be cleaned after a few hundred rounds in order to continue functioning smoothly.  (That happened to me most recently with a Ruger Mk. IV, which surprised me;  earlier marks had not given rise to that problem.)  The P17 got dirty, sure, but its function never wavered, and its action remained as smooth as ever, even during a thousand-round torture test run over several days without cleaning or lubrication.  That's a good sign.

The sixteen-round magazines (three are provided with the pistol) are a big plus point.  Most .22LR pistols I know are sold with 10-round magazines, and only two of them at that.  There's nothing wrong with that, but it means more frequent reloading in high-round-count usage.  The P17 can shoot 48 rounds to an "average" pistol's 20 before needing to reload its magazines, a 140% improvement over the lower-capacity weapons out of the box.  That's very useful.

Accuracy was fine, well up to industry standards.  The P17 isn't a target pistol with finely-adjustable sights, but it's well up to plinking use, and I wouldn't object to an informal target-shooting competition with it.  The trigger is very controllable, with an easy let-off that makes accuracy easier.  The checkering on the grip isn't anything to write home about, not providing much friction against your hands;  but we're talking about minimal recoil here anyway, so that's not an important factor to me.  Certainly, I've found the gun very controllable through hundreds of rounds.  If you want something with greater friction, you can install a grip sleeve, or add something like skateboard tape to the front and rear straps.

Perhaps the nicest thing about the P17 is its price point.  Its recommended retail price, complete with 3 magazines, is only $199.99!  That's astonishing value for money in today's market.  It definitely vaults the P17 to the top of the list of rimfire pistols I recommend to others.

For another perspective on the P17, here's a brief review from the NRA Gun of the Week channel.

I really can't think of any negatives about the P17.  Keltec has come up with a winner here.  I'll put my name on the list to buy a couple from my local gun shop, when they eventually get them in stock.  The current shortage of firearms, thanks to panic buying following the coronavirus pandemic and George Floyd-inspired riots, means I'll probably have to wait a long time . . . but the P17 is worth waiting for, IMHO.

In case you're wondering, no, I'm not being compensated in any way to do this review.  I value .22 pistols very highly as a training tool, and as a defensive weapon for disabled shooters who can't handle the recoil of anything more powerful (see my earlier article on the subject).  That's why I wanted to review the P17.  Now that I've done so, the two review guns (generously donated by Keltec) will be passed on (free of charge) to two disabled shooters, who need them far more urgently than I do!



greg said...

Good review. After reading your original writing about how much more easy it is to get hits with a 22 pistol, I heeded your advice. First I tried carrying LCP in front pants pocket. That lasted about 5 years, but had problems. Then I switched to G19 in belt holster. That also created problems working a physical 12hr long day. The gun is heavy. So I reluctantly switched to the G44 in 22lr. No more fatigue and annoyance from day after day carrying due to the weight. Another point is practice. I take the 22lr and shoot it 500 times in one range day, 20$ ammo. It's too expensive to do that with centerfire for me. I believe if I did shoot the 9mm as much as the 22 I would be good with it. But between ease of accuracy and carry, the 22 is it. And the 2 glocks are interchangeable in the holsters. I will try out the P17 since you like it and price is so low. 22 is the caliber of choice for practice when ammo is scarce. thank you

Old NFO said...

Nice little trainer and for those who can't handle recoil.

TheAxe said...

How easily does it come apart/reassemble for cleaning? Hope it's not like some pistols where you have to do the hokey-pokey and wish upon a star for everything to align.

scamorama said...

I realized they're different rounds, but considering how picky the PMR-30 is with ammo, I wonder how much that knowledge helped Kel-Tec design this to be, shall we say, "promiscuous".

Tim said...

The KelTec PMR30 in 22 WMR is awesome with it's 30 round Magazine. I haven't found anything it won't feed. The other great part is the weight, very light with a full magazine.

Michael said...

A few of my friends tell me the Second Gen PMR 30's run much better but the company still recommends 40 grain ammo for proper operations. I've fired a few 30 round mags with my friends, I found no malfunction issues if loaded correctly (rimmed rounds) except for someone who thought mounting a Large Sight on top of a blow back operated 22 was a good idea. I think the extra mass of that holo sight messed with the pistols operations.

But like all interesting guns hard to find. 22 Mag ammo so far is not hard to get. When I was younger poachers, err varmint hunters preferred the 22 Mag as a truck gun as it dropped hogs and err, ah such very well.

Ritchie said...

Unfortunately, the 16 round mag makes it a non-starter in the P.R. of Colorado.

michigan doug said...

Cheap enough to be a throwaway,if you can get one.

emtgene said...

Another one to consider is the Taurus TX22. Two 16 rd mags, laser accuracy, G19 size. I will look for the KT and purchase one when I find it. .22 is rapidly becoming my favorite caliber.

Ritchie said...

Also, it kind of looks like a 5 & dime store ray gun water pistol.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.