The opinions stated in this article on the Keltec PF9 are the sole and independent opinions of me the writer, David Donchess. They are not necessarily opinions shared by the rest of the Spotter Up team of writers or the company, as a whole. The stated opinions are not intended to be used as advice, but merely as a platform for discussion. I understand that others may not share in my feelings or opinions.
It is no secret that the Keltec PF9 is a controversial pistol. It is marketed as being one of the most efficient concealed carry pistols on the market in terms of size, weight, capacity, and price. It is a pistol that fits snugly in the “budget” category for compact single stack pistols, and the original intent was to indeed have it set the standard for the previously listed characteristics.
The reputation of the Keltec PF9, both good and bad, has arguably influenced our perception of other pistols in the same price range($200-$400). But my perception of the pistol may be a little bit outside the box from other perceptions of this pistol. You see, I base alot of my purchases off of things slightly more practical, though at times I take the liberty to make an impulsive and emotional decision. This can sometimes get me into a pistol or rifle that is not exactly the most efficient or reliable, but perhaps misunderstood. I think this has alot to do with how the market is directed and controlled by those that others perceive as being knowledge gods.
With the market standard being guns like that Glock and Sig 320 series of pistols, I feel that there are innovative companies out there that just get brushed aside because they are either new and strange or they get a bad rap with impulsive reactions to natural growing pains. The problem is the market is unforgiving of new designs that don’t fit a dictated list of criteria that is centered around the mindset that your gear should make you a better shooter. In my opinion, this gear centered mindset is nothing short of dangerous and can have lethal consequences when put to the test.
The current market requirement for all guns tends to be unrealistic and even toxic when you think about it. If all companies catered to these supposed expert opinions, we would be handicapped as far as innovation and options. This desire to fit in and force guilt-based assimilation is where I see the community going and it is quite scary. There is little celebration for diverse opinion out there today and people seem to fear being a lone wolf and forming their own opinion based on individual standards and personal experience. People seem to have been transformed into sponges that expect others to dictate what they should do instead of learning on their own. The PF9 has unfortunately suffered because of this kind of mindset.
THE KELTEC OBLIGATION
Keltec, being the innovative company it is, always tries to be cutting edge and push the technology barriers and show that guns can be lighter and more high tech while retaining reliability, without costing an arm and a leg or losing functionality. Their extensive uses of high strength polymers and carbon steel have proven that guns do not have to be so cheaply made in order to be cost effective. If you look at firearms on the market, you may see a correlation between what Keltec designs and the newer guns and designs that follow. The bullpup rifles and shotguns they have developed obviously showed other manufacturers how much people enjoyed this kind of innovation. Basically, Keltec has been one of the companies that big gun companies keep an eye on for ideas on how to remain cutting edge. The weapons Keltec designs may not always be the most reliable on the market, but they are indeed the kings of current firearm design innovations. This is a standard Keltec must hold if they are going to maintain their prestige and reputation.
WHAT DOES THE PF9 OFFER?
The market standard for pistols is limited only by resources, technology, and the ability to attract buyers with a juicy price tag that can offer profit and the feeling of getting a killer deal. After all, what is the point in manufacturing products if you can’t make a living? There are bills to pay and everyone needs to get something in exchange for their services.
Now with the Keltec PF9, you are getting a pistol that is designed and built to follow a specific set of guidelines. It had the goal of being the lightest, flattest, and most cost effective single stack carry pistol on the market at the time. With those main features being the concentration, there are going to be obvious sacrifices such as increased recoil, smaller and more brittle parts, and certain features not being as convenient.
The Keltec mindset when building this pistol was not to make a super pistol that could endure a million rounds and never break a part. The concentration was on answering the demands of the market, which was mainly to get an affordable and reliable pistol in that size and weight that could be broken in, verified for reliability, and immediately carried. That was the reason I purchased mine.
I rarely carry small single stack pistols and was understanding of the durability shortcomings of the pistol, but realized it offered me something no other pistol offered. The benefits basically outweighed the negatives. The low cost of the parts and the performance I had with the pistol made it all the better when you combine it with the size and weight.
The important thing for me was to have a pistol I could trust to throw on my hip and be able to have it run reliably. That required a gun that required little practice to maintain skill and proficiency to remain effective. The natural grip angle and the characteristics of the trigger allow me to make accurate hits at any reasonable range. This was my standards and this is why the PF9 is my choice for a single stack 9mm.
Many people may argue that I am setting myself up for failure, but they forget that I have alot of experience with pistols and have seen all guns fail. The priority people dismiss is the importance of knowing the limits of their carry pistol. If I get the pistol to its failure point, I can establish a standard for what to expect and therefore form a decision on where the pistol will fit in. I think this should be the biggest take away for my readers. Be open minded, get experience, and learn how to shoot rather than how to shop for accessories that do nothing but handicap your growth as a shooter.