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:
- Federal Champion bulk pack;
- Federal Automatch bulk pack;
- CCI Mini-Mag;
- CCI Standard Velocity;
- Remington 22 Golden Bullet bulk pack;
- Aguila 22 Rifle Match Competition;
- Eley Action Plus bulk pack.
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!