Kel-Tec PF-9 9x19mm Pistol

By Fred Huddle

Kel-Tec PF-9 Pistol.
Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm Pistol Illustration courtesy of Kel-Tec CNC Industries, Inc.

I purchased a Kel-Tec PF-9 9x19mm semi-auto pistol a couple of months ago. I looked at ten different pistols for concealed carry, but finally decided on the PF-9 because of its tiny size, lightweight and low price. So far, I really like it. The PF-9 is built with a DuPont ST-8018 polymer grip and trigger guard, a 7075-T6 aluminum frame that houses the firing mechanism and SAE 4140 ordnance steel slide and barrel. Here is how Kel-Tec describes this miniature pistol:

"The PF-9 is a semi-automatic, locked breech pistol, chambered for the 9 mm Luger cartridge. It has been developed from our highly successful P-11 and P-3AT pistols with maximum concealability in mind. The PF-9 has a single stack magazine holding seven rounds. It is the lightest and flattest 9 mm ever made. Firing mechanism is Double-Action Only with an automatic hammer block safety. The PF-9 will be available in blued, parkerized and hard chrome finishes. Grips will be in black, grey and olive drab. The PF-9 accessory rail will accept the latest compact weapon lights and lasers.”

“The PF-9 retains the best features from our P-11 and P-3AT pistols combined into the flattest and lightest single stack 9mm configuration ever made. The barrel, locking system, slide stop, assembly pin, front sight, recoil springs and guide rod are adapted from the P-11. The PF-9 is nearly identical to the P-11 in length and height and shares the same exterior controls. The shorter trigger system with integral hammer block and the extraction system are adapted from the P-3AT. Just like the P-11, the PF-9 will accept +P ammunition, however, not with continuoususe.”

“The rear sight is a new design and is adjustable for windage with the supplied Allen wrench as well as for elevation with the use of shims (not included). The included seven round rectangular magazine is supplied with a finger extension base plate and numbered holes. The under barrel accessory rail shares the dimensions of the MIL STD-1913 picatinny rail although there is only one locking notch in the forward position."



    9mm Luger

    9X19 mm

    Weight unloaded

    12.7 oz

    360 g

    Loaded magazine

    2.8 oz

    81 g


    5.85 ”

    149 mm


    4.3 “

    109 mm


    .88 “

    22 mm

    Barrel Length

    3.1 ”

    80 mm

    Magazine Capacity

    7 rounds


    Trigger Pull

    ~5 lbs.


    2008 MSRP



    -  Blued Finish



    -  Parkerized Finish



    -  Hard Chrome Finish






I have fired about 500 rounds through my PF-9, consisting of CCI Blazer 115 grain FMJ (aluminum case) and Remington 9mm Luger 115 grain JHP (#L9MM1, brass case) and there were no malfunctions at all. I use Federal Personal Defense 9mm Luger 115 grain JHP (#C9BP) ammo for concealed carry and have shot about 20 rounds of this through the PF-9 pistol. To date, I have experienced no shooting problems. I have been extremely pleased with the operation of this pistol.

I was pleasantly surprised that the recoil was not nearly as bad as I had imagined. I was told by the dealer and in reading many blogs that, although this gun is good for what it was designed (i.e. deep concealment, personal protection), it was not a lot of fun to shoot because of the recoil. I was also told that the serrations on the back of the handle would be uncomfortable on my hand. However, I did not find the recoil to be a problem. I have smallish hands and the pinky finger of my shooting hand does not rest on the grip. I use the finger extension base plate and am happy with it. I did cut a piece of bicycle inner tube and put around the handle to soften the effects of the serrations on the handle. I also eventually sanded off the slight ridge where the two halves of the polymer grip come together. Despite this, I found the gun to be very manageable.

The other thing I liked about the Kel-Tec PF-9 was that I could shoot it accurately, at least by my standards. The barrel is only about three inches long, so I did not expect it to be an effective long range gun. After familiarization and practice, I am able to put eight rounds (one in the chamber and seven in the magazine) inside a three-inch circle at 7 yards and inside a five-inch circle at 15 yards. Beyond 25 yards, my shot groups get inconsistent and large, about 15 to 20 inches, perhaps more. This is my primary Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) and I expect not to have to use it at more than 25 yards and most probably at only about 7 yards. My shooting results are, by my standards, just fine.

One thing I am not in love with about this pistol are the sights. They are fixed ramp front and windage-adjustable rear, both with white dots. I would prefer Tritium sights, especially on the front, to help at night and in low light. I did put a Crimson Tract LG-435 laser sight on the pistol and I have come to treasure it so much that I put laser sights on my other self-defense gun (a .45 caliber 4” XD-45).

I am happy with the Kel-Tec pistol as a CCW gun. It is small enough that I can have it on my person at all times. It is eminently concealable. I use a Quik Grip pocket holster, modified to fit the Laser Sight. I have been very happy with this pocket holster by the Norinco, CA, company. It was inexpensive but effective. It was easy to modify, taking out one line of stitching and re-sewing to fit the added laser grip. This makes carry it in my pocket easy and effective.

As a CCW caliber, the 9x19 is potent enough for self-protection in a defensive situation. I would not carry anything smaller than the .380 caliber, and at that caliber, the Kel-Tec P3AT is an excellent choice. However, the PF-9 is nearly as small and the caliber is heftier.

The PF-9 is proving to be a very reliable weapon. As previously stated, I have had absolutely no problems with mine. Comments on blogs and user groups indicate that Kel-Tec is quick and responsive to problems and complaints. I do not anticipate needing to return my pistol to them (I have been impressed with its reliability and utility), but if I needed assistance I would not hesitate to contact them.

Price is a consideration in CCW. In the case of the PF-9, the cost is low enough that almost anyone could afford it. The fact that it uses 9mm Parabellum (Luger) ammunition is another affordability factor; it is much less expensive ammo to shoot than .40 S&W or .45 ACP calibers. In addition, the PF-9 is made in the USA. Keeping our dollars on-shore is a factor for some and for others the “Made in the USA” label is an indication of quality.

Finally, the PF-9 is a relatively simple pistol. It features Double Action Only (DAO) operation and there are few controls to remember. If one carries it with a round in the chamber, all you have to do is draw, aim and pull the trigger. Reloading is as simple as pushing the magazine release button, slamming home a spare magazine (which Kel-Tec sells but does not furnish with the gun), pressing the slide release and pulling the trigger. One reason so many people like revolvers for CCW is their ease of use. The PF-9 is just as easy to use. Cleaning and maintenance is similarly simple.

I’m glad I bought my PF-9. It has proven to be a reliable, concealable, lightweight and responsive pistol that I can carry all day, every day. If you need a weapon with these characteristics, make sure you check out the Kel-Tec PF-9.

The Kel-Tec web site can be found at The Qwik Grip web site is and their mailing address is P.O. Box 7882 or P.O. Box 5614, Norco, CA 92860.

NOTE: This review is mirrored on the Product Reviews page.

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Copyright 2008, 2011 by Fred Huddle and/or All rights reserved.