Gun Review Spot's Kel-Tec PF-9 Pistol Reviews

Kel-Tec PF-9 Sub-Compact Pistol

Kel-Tec PF-9 Sub-Compact Pistol

First Reviewed November 23, 2010
Found in Kel-Tec, Pistol Reviews, Sub-Compact Pistols

Overall Value3.853.853.853.853.85

The PF-9 is a sub-compact 9mm pistol which incorporates the best design features of the company's popular P-3AT pocket gun. After ten years of concealed carry shooters toting around heavy double-stack guns and all-steel single-stack 1911s, there was a demand for something both thinner and lighter. A few single-stack guns such as the Taurus Model 709 Slim were brought to the market, but the big players such as Glock and Springfield Armory were reluctant to tool up to bring their own slim-line polymer guns to the market.

Where there is a demand some company is going to start looking to meet that demand to make a profit. Thus the birth of the PF-9 sub-compact pistol. The gun is small enough to be carried in an IWB holster or an Ankle Holster. It's thin profile means that carrying the gun is less of an intrusion than other more bulky pistols.

A quick glance at the controls of the Kel-Tec PF-9 will allow most people familiar with guns to notice that there is no external safety of any type. No thumb safety, no trigger safety. It does come with an internal hammer-block safety which is automatically engaged each and every time the trigger is pulled. The result is that the gun cannot fire if the trigger is not pulled. As with the Glock, the absence of a thumb safety implies that the gun needs to be carried in a proper holster that protects the trigger from being manipulated inadvertently. The trigger itself is setup in a double-action-only format, so each trigger pull requires a long strong pull for the gun to fire as well.

Kel-Tec PF-9 Pistol Gallery

Kel-Tec PF-9 Pistol Gallery

The front sight is integrated into the slide in a permanently fixed position. The rear sight, however, is a new design unique to Kel-Tec and is adjustable for windage. The slide itself is made from forged steel as is the barrel.

The pistol is produced in three different finishes, blued, parkerized, and hard chrome. Each of these is mated to the polymer frame and while black is the most commonly sold color for the frame the gun is offered with grey and green lower receivers as well.. The frame itself features an integrated rail system, but the gun is so short that only one locking groove is available limiting the number of attachments which will work with the gun.

Reviews of the Kel-Tec PF-9 sub-compact pistol can be found below with the newest reviews at the bottom of the page. Please write a review of your own if you have used this gun in the past and can shed some light on its overall performance and value. Please send photos of your gun to and we'll be sure to include them in the PF-9 Photo Gallery once your review is approved.

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15 Reviews for “Kel-Tec PF-9 Sub-Compact Pistol”
  1. gunlover says:

    I am a newby to shooting but I love the PF9. although ,due to being a lefty I have released the mag during a course of shooting.Will continue to practice,but may have to look for compact w/an ambi-mag.

  2. Cecil says:

    Had to polish the rough feed ramp to stop feed problem with some types of ammo. No problems since.

  3. Thomas says:

    Been shooting all my life, fairly new to this class of pistol. Picked my pf-9 up for 300 with two clips with pinkie extentions and a belt clip included; I’ve put about 250 rounds through it so far which seems to be about the learning curve for it. 4 stars for performance because the gun is slide heavy and has a high center of gravity resulting in a snappy recoil that is difficult to control. Also the polymer trigger has a pretty aggressive slap-back that hinders rapid shooting. That being said, the ergonomics are good and the action is smooth. 3 stars for durability because I’ve noticed some sheering on the outside, bottom edge of the slide rail near the front. I’m afraid this is evidence that the slide itself is a harder steel than the rail, which will shorten the life of the firearm. 5 stars for concealability; its a 9mm the size of a 380 and small for a sub compact, enough said. 5 stars for value because it’s a great gun for the price and keltec has amazing customer service. Buying a keltec means you will get that support, something a lot of people take for granted. Overall I give the pf-9 4 stars.

  4. F.O.G. says:

    Morning ritual. Dress then watch, cell phone, PF-9 for just about 2 years now. Mine rides in an OWB pancake. On the day I bought it, I stopped at the range, removed it from the box and put 300 rounds down range (200 ball, 100 HP’s). it will take anything I feed it. It has had about 2000+ rounds through it to date. One of he things I like most about it is, my first carry piece was a S&W 442, this trigger is very much the same. Recoil? snappy, but nothing a little 5’4″, small handed girl can’t handle (and she puts ‘em where they belong all day long)If you are looking for a used one, find one with the metal mag release. I have a friend that had an issue with him hitting the mag release during practice, the plastic one stuck a bit too far out.
    All in all? I would HIGHLY recommend the PF-9 to anyone. Have a GREAT Day Y’All!!

  5. SJW says:

    I put it on in the morning and don’t take it off until I put it on the night stand when I crawl into bed. I’ve been caring it with N82Tactical’s IWB original tuckable holster since 8/2011. This pistol is a very accurate, very thin, light weight 9mm (under 15oz loaded). It holds 7 in the mag and 1 in the chamber. There is no external safety. The sights are steal, 3 dot sites and the rear sight is adjustable. Mine was dead-on accurate out of the box so I’ve had no need to adjust it.

    The manufacturer does not recommend using anything but standard pressure rounds (no +P or +P+). Federal Champion 115 gr FMJ work extremely well for range practice, never an issue of any kind. Hornady 115 gr FTX Critical Defense also works very well for my SD round; again, no issues (very expensive SD round). The one round that I’ve tried that the PF9 does not like is the Remington 115 gr UMC FMJ. After only 10 to 12 rounds I get multiple FTE, FTF, and strike problems. The UMC is very dirty and poorly packed and spews carbon everywhere. I can reproduce the problem every time. I hope to try the Federal Personal Defense 115 gr JHP #C9BP (used to be called the Federal Classic 9BP) for my defensive round. It has proven, over many years in police departments around the US, to have the best stopping power of any other HP 9mm on the market.

    I picked up a new, parkerized version at a gun show for $270. You only want the versions with the metal mag release. If you have a plastic release you can call Kel-Tec and they will send you a metal one.

    Breakdown is very simple, but there is a small trick to reassembly. After everything is assembled, but before the slide is pushed back to insert the breakdown pin, you must push the barrel down while pushing the slide back or the assembly will not align correctly.

    Extra mags are easily purchased and you should always carry at least one.

    I have a friend who has carried his PF9 for a couple years. Put hundreds of rounds through it and never cleaned it. He has never had a single issue ever, but he has also never fired a Remington UMC round.

  6. Dolittle GFFG says:

    Hi there, well like the rest of us americans out there, I finally decided to protect my 2nd ammendment right and get a ccw. I had to get Florida’s, I live in Illinois and we don’t have ccw….yet. I carry the PF9 almost everywhere, either in my iwb tuckable or the desantis pocket carry in the front pocket. Little gun has never failed me, and have put at least 600 runds downrange. I liked this lil gun so much I bought his baby brother the .32acp. I always carry this one in my front pocket in a simple cheap pocket holster. These guns, made in America by the way, are the best for the money. You should do yourself a favor, head to your indoor range, rent one then go buy it!

  7. shooter514 says:

    I bought mine for $280. I got the blued one, and the bluing is so thin it has started to rub off. Get parkerized ! The first time I went to the range I brought some win. 115gr fmj and it would not fire more then 3 rounds without FTE double feed. I put my 147gr HP golden sabors in and no problem…(no limp wrist here ) I took it home and polished the feed ramp and took a file to the slide rails to remove all the machine marks. It seems to be a lot better but it still not 100% with cheap light weight ammo. no problem for me cuz I don’t carry without a good defense ammo but makes me concerned.

  8. Dkg says:

    Bought mine for $240 (blued). I bought this to replace a Ruger LCP. First 2 times at the range I began having feed problems after about 60 rounds. Cleaning seemed to correct the issue. Third time at the range, the magazine started falling out after almost every round. I call Kel Tec and they sent a new mag release and spring. Mag problems were fixed, but immediately had fte issues after almost every round. Called Kel Tec again and they sent a new extractor. I also polished the feed ramp. Seems much better. Shot about 40 rounds today and only one fte. I’ve fired about 200 rounds through this pistol so far, so the break in period may not be over yet.

    Pistol is accurate. I really like this pistol and the customer service from Kel Tec is great. No cost for the parts or shipping. It does seem to prefer 124 gr ammo. Re-assembly is tricky until you do it a few times. Right now I don’t have a lot of confidence in this pistol, but more range time may help provided I have no more issues. I’ll give it another 200 rounds and if I continue to have problems, I’ll find something else.

  9. Matt S says:

    Broken 3x. Including, firing pin, magazine catch and trigger assembly. To name the problems while the pistol was in firing condition, out of each 7 rd magazine I’d probably get 3 to 4 fte/ftf. The pistol is so light that after a few boxes of shooting your hand gets raw from the recoil. The only good quality would be the size for concealment. But, I wouldn’t feel safe on it’s reliabilty. Accuracy out of box is very far off. The gun is so small and unbalanced that a 7 yard target is tough to shoot consistantley. This is just my honest opion and experience with the weapon.

  10. ron evANS says:

    i had it for 4 months something jam up dont work not to happy ka teck wont fix it tell after new year a month from now

  11. rick says:

    Just bought a pf9 about a month and a half ago. Really love the size and feel and the lack of a safety. I have several other pistols. LC9, LCP,etc when i first started carrying i felt better having a pistol with a safety but soon realized that if I ever got into a life or death situation that safety might get me killed.

    Some friends have the pf9s and recommended them. Very happy. Got the parkerized version because of the better finish. Shoot quite a few rounds thru it. Only problem i had is the winchester white box ammo wouldnt shoot more than 3 rounds without jamming. I bought some remington and shot it as fast as I could and didnt have 1 jam. Very happy with my purchase.

  12. superadmin says:

    Thanks for the advice I went and purchased one today cant wait to post my feedback!

  13. Steve says:

    Purchased mine and went to the range to run a few boxes through it. First shot out of the box, dead center. Shot consistent tight groups at 7yds. I am a big guy with big hands, the grip feels small, but, the recoil was completely managable and comfort was not an issue.

    I chose to keep my gun dirty awhile and carry as backup just as a test to see how it would react to not being cleaned after a few boxes and then carried for a week. Took it to the range and it worked flawlessly for another 100 rounds. Carried it another week without cleaning and went back to the range. Again, it performed well, had one stovepipe which I blame on not gripping the gun well, again, I have large hands and this is afterall a sub-compact pistol.

    One issue in 300 rounds right out of the box with no mods or cleaning. I’d say after I finish breaking it in and properly maintain it with a cleaning after each trip to the range, this gun should be very reliable.


  15. Dan says:

    I’ve had my PF9 for a couple of years now. I rarely carry or take it to the range. I clean my firearms when I buy them and every time I take them to the range. My PF9 jams after about 60 rounds. The third time at the range, the pistol jammed and I could not pull the slide back. I ended up taking it home and after some effort I was able to disassemble it. The underside portion of the barrel that holds the assembly pin sheared off. I have never shot anything but factory ammunition almost exclusively Winchester 115 gr and some Blazer 124 gr.

    Kel Tec lived up their reputation for customer service. They replaced the barrel and polished the feed ramp. It took some time, but I can’t complain about the service. I seems fine now, but I just don’t have any confidence in this pistol. It’s a shame as I really like the features in this pistol. With the steel side clip, this is extremely easy to conceal and the accuracy is fine.

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