Gun Review: Kel-Tec PF-9

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

[ I am pleased to present the first post in the series of guest posts that will run for the next couple of weeks. This post was written by Aaron Spuler. ]

I’d been looking at the local gun shops over the past few months, but they only have so much selection. The Saxet gun show is in Austin, Texas every third weekend of the month. Hadn’t been to a gun show in a while, and knew that it would be a good opportunity to not only see but get some hands-on time with a variety of different pistols. Specifically, I was looking for a reliable, compact every day carry pistol. I’d been planning on carrying my Bersa Thunder 380, but it is just a little heavy and large for daily carry. There is a variant of the Bersa Thunder 380 intended for concealed carry, but I just own the standard version. So I put together a list of different pistols to take a look at and did some online research before going to the show.

Kel-Tec PF-9

I was a little disappointed as the selection was not as varied as I’d hoped – predominantly Glocks and Sigs, with small amounts of others thrown in the mix. I did, however manage to get to handle a Kel-Tec
PF-9. That was at the top of my list of pistols to check out at the show. The three vendors selling new Kel-Tec PF-9’s were selling them for anywhere from $15 – $65 over MSRP. In other words: not good. I’m glad I did a second look at one table, because there was a PF-9 on the table that I missed the first time around for under MSRP. Purchased the brand new Kel-Tec PF-9 for $302.85, including tax.

After the show I purchased an extra magazine, a Hogue Handall Jr. grip sleeve, and some Hornady Critical Defense 115 grain JHP ammunition to go along with the pistol. I already had a Desantis Nemesis holster, originally purchased for the Bersa Thunder 380, that the PF-9 fits into nicely.

I took the PF-9 out to the range on Saturday and put 130 rounds through it at a target posted 30 feet away. I tested a combination of 115 grain PMC FMJ and Winchester JHP. Both the FMJ and JHP ammunition cycled and fired flawlessly – I experienced zero errors (failure to feed, failure to fire, failure to eject).

The PF-9 does not possess an external safety, and relies instead on a double-action only (DAO) trigger. The trigger pull distance is slightly long, but the pressure is spaced evenly throughout, rather
than a heavy jump right before the hammer is released. The trigger pull weighs in at a reasonable 6 pounds of pressure, similar to that of a double action revolver.

Surprisingly, for such a lightweight gun, I did not notice any issues with the recoil, and neither did another shooter that put 8 rounds through the PF-9. Perceived recoil may be slightly more than a full
size pistol, but at 15.5 oz (fully loaded), that is to be expected with this size of pistol. Recoil is considerably less than that of a Ruger LCP, which weighs in at 9.4 ounces and fires the smaller .380
ACP cartridges.

The sight picture is a traditional 3 dot system, and point of aim is very natural. I could close my eyes, bring the PF-9 up to aim, and open my eyes to find the sights very near their intended location.

I tended to take up the slack in the trigger to about 80% and then jerk the remaining 20% during the first magazine. Although I was able to maintain a good sight picture, jerking the trigger caused groupings to be in the 8 – 10 inch range. After correcting that issue by maintaining a steady pull on the trigger all the way through, I found that the PF-9 is capable of more accuracy than I am. I was able to consistently get 8 round groupings that could be covered by the palm and fingers of one hand. The final 8 rounds fired for the day were in a grouping approximately 3 inches in diameter.

Weight (unloaded)12.7oz
Weight of a loaded magazine2.80oz
Barrel Length3.10″

Once I have my license to carry (waiting on the state to finish processing my application) I’ll be carrying this pistol with me everywhere I’m legally able to.

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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