Testfire: The 9mm Parabellum Kel-Tec PF-9 Pistol

The PF-9 in a Blackhawk! size 4 nylon pancake holster. The pancake is the most comfortable and concealable holster style ever designed.

The PF-9 in a Blackhawk! size 4 nylon pancake holster. The pancake is the most comfortable and concealable holster style ever designed.

The rear sight can be adjusted for windage if necessary. The frame features a rail for a laser sight or a flashlight in the modern style. I don’t like either, especially on a subcompact pistol where they add bulk. Flashlights and lasers, like tracers, draw return fire. In my opinion, a laser’s not something to be wildly flashing about in the dark.
Unlike many guns I have known, the PF-9 disassembles fast and efficiently.

Unload the pistol and pull the slide back, locking it open by pushing up the slide stop. With the rim of a cartridge, pull the assembly pin out of the gun. Holding the slide firmly, release the slide stop and allow the slide to move forward off the frame. Remove the recoil spring and the barrel and you are done. Do not loosen the extractor spring screw.

The Kel-Tec PF-9 shown between a Colt .32 and a Savage .32, two of the most popular pocket pistols of all time. The PF-9 is shorter and thinner than both – and it’s a 9mm.

The Kel-Tec PF-9 shown between a Colt .32 and a Savage .32, two of the most popular pocket pistols of all time. The PF-9 is shorter and thinner than both – and it’s a 9mm.

To put the gun back together, put the barrel back into the slide, push the recoil spring guide with springs into their hole in the slide, and hook the base of the recoil spring onto its half-moon cutout in the barrel. Make certain that the barrel and recoil springs are well-centered when putting them back in the slide. Push the slide onto the frame until the back lines up with the grip. If the slide does not go on easily, make sure that the hammer is half cocked and the barrel and recoil spring guide are centered.

While pushing down on the top of the barrel, pull the slide back all the way, compressing the recoil springs, and push up the slide stop to hold the slide in place. Looking into the assembly pin hole, align that hole with its cut in the barrel and insert the assembly pin until it snaps onto the spring. Pull the slide back to release the slide stop and release the slide, working the slide a few times to check the action. Do not dry fire this pistol because you can damage the firing pin and extractor spring screw by dryfiring.

A modern polymer frame pistol, the PF-9 is also very reasonably priced, as are all Kel-Tec firearms. Suggested retail price is $333 for blued guns, $377 for parkerized, and $390 for chrome finished guns. I would recommend the parkerized finish for any pistol that will see hard service. Unlike most specialized pistols, this one can reasonably serve as a family’s only pistol, doing double duty as a carry gun and a bedside burgler gun in the same manner as the old topbreak S&W and Iver Johnson revolvers have done for over 100 years.

Since the PF-9 is a pocket pistol, and a very good one, some will choose to carry it directly inside a jacket or pants pocket. I prefer a holster, both because of the extra protection it offers and because it keeps the pistol oriented for immediate access. I have always found the pancake holster design to be the best for comfort, concealment, and gun security. I tried carrying the PF-9 in a Blackhawk! size 4 nylon pancake holster and was well pleased with the combination.

It fit well on both the gun and me. Made from a multi-layer nylon laminate with polymer hardware and stainless steel or brass snaps, the Blackhawk! is ideal for use in wet marine or humid environments. It features an adjustable safety strap system that lets it work on multiple guns within a certain size range. The two polymer safety straps have velcro fasteners on them that, with the aid of a special tool that comes with them, adhere to the velcro in the slots in which they’re inserted. They are then permanently in place unless the tool is used to seperate the velcro layers. The system actually works quite well.

Of course the Blackhawk holster works well in everyday concealed-carry service, too. It’s an interesting modern answer to age-old holster problems and offer a solution that will give good service in all conditions at a most reasonable price. It’s are available from Blackhawk Products Group, 6160 Commander Parkway, Norfolk, Virginia, 23502. You can also check it out at www.BLACKHAWK.com.

While the 9mm Parabellum lacks the authority of the .45 ACP as a manstopper, it holds its own quite nicely with the various .38s and even the .357 Magnum. It nicely eclipses the performance of the 9mm Makarov and the .380, .32, .25 and .22 LR and can be made in a thinner and lighter package than the .45 ACP.

Like the 1911-A1, the PF-9 holds seven cartridges in the magazine and one in the chamber for a total of eight rounds. Compare that to the five or six in a bulkier snubnosed .38 and the case for the PF-9 becomes clear. It’s available from Kel-Tec CNC Industries, Inc., 1475 Cox Road, Cocoa, Florida, 32926. They probably won’t mind if you visit their website at www.kel-tec.com.

This article appeared in the 2011 65th Edition of the Gun Digest annual book. To order your copy of the World’s Greatest Gun Book, click here.

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2 thoughts on “Testfire: The 9mm Parabellum Kel-Tec PF-9 Pistol

  1. Ceapea

    Maybe I missed it but, where is a 357 Magnum mentioned in the article?
    I have shot two different PF9’s and I would have to dissagree with the light trigger pull though.

  2. Wheelgunner

    Wow. He compares it to a .357 magnum?!? Does it take down small to medium sized aircraft as well? I have two Kel-Tecs, so I’m not bashing the company, but the old story of gun writers not biting the hand that feeds them sure comes to mind after reading this article.