I have always had the greatest respect for KelTec firearms. Affordable and useful, there is nothing quite like KelTec. In my opinion, the finest pistol it has manufactured is the new metal frame P15. I was led to the metal frame P15 by good experience with the original P15 polymer frame handgun.
These pistols are very much the same where it counts, performance — reliability and accuracy. While the polymer-frame gun is a phenomenon, the aluminum-frame pistol is a stunner. I don’t say that lightly.
The Florida made 9mm guns are a product of the fertile mind of George Kellgren, noted designer and owner of KelTec Weapons. The P15 is the company’s first striker-fired handgun. The P15 is intended to be the slimmest, high-capacity 9mm handgun on the market.
To the best of my knowledge, this is true. The pistol isn’t really similar to the Glock 43 9mm, but it isn’t much larger or wider. The P15 holds 15 rounds in its extended magazine and 12 rounds with its flush fit magazine.
When firing the original P15, I found a controllable, accurate, and reliable handgun. At only 14 ounces, it is (of course) a lightweight. Coupled with the front strap’s aggressive, open slots, the result is a handgun that may be uncomfortable in long firing sessions. Fifty cartridges isn’t a problem.
For some with younger, stronger hands, the aggressive grip isn’t a problem in longer firing sessions. It is simply a tradeoff, all things considered. For those who practice and fire the pistol often, the P15 offers a good blend of light weight and efficiency. For those who do not practice and choose sub caliber handguns… It’s your hide, but I wouldn’t sell your life insurance.
In my estimation, based on value for the money and performance, the KelTec P15 is going to be a leader in the compact 9mm market. The aluminum-frame version offers class, style, and more. The aluminum frame adds about 1.5 ounces in weight.
The pistol wears nicely checkered wooden grips. The trigger is the same smooth rolling, double-action-only trigger of the polymer frame pistol. The pistol also features the same control dial that allows you to turn the grip safety or magazine safety off. Deactivating the magazine safety is OK. I would never deactivate the grip safety.
When holstering the handgun, or when the P15 is at ‘home ready,’ the grip safety offers good peace of mind. The metal frame doesn’t have a light rail. Very few of us carry a light mounted on a concealed carry handgun. If you do, the metal frame P15 isn’t for you.
When firing the P15 9mm metal, the difference in comfort and control is noticeable. A little weight couldn’t make this difference. A slightly wider front strap and nicely checkered front strap are the factors in play.
The P15 Metal proved reliable, accurate in fast paced firing drills, and comfortable to fire. The P15 Metal features the same three-dot fiber-optic sights as the original. These sights are as well designed a set of sights as is available for personal defense.
It is important to proof a handgun with a wide range of ammunition. Brand loyalty took a bashing during the ammunition shortage. A handgun should be reliable with good quality ammunition. Most of the loads expended while proofing the pistol were Blazer brass case 9mm, Remington UMC, and Federal American Eagle. I also used the remarkably clean burning Federal Syntech.
Personal defense ammunition is even more important. Testing ammunition munitions and cartridges is complicated by any standard. Research and development begin in the ballistics lab and continue into field experience after the loads have been fired into gelatin for personal defense testing. The combination of science is demanding.
The load must operate at a safe pressure for the given cartridge while providing maximum performance. This means careful powder and primer selection. A full powder burn, and good accuracy, are desirable. Wound ballistics are at a high level of reliability. Over the previous century, tests have been conducted using dry cadavers, pine boards, European glue, wax, water, wet newspaper, and most recently ballistic gelatin. Gelatin is the closet media we have to flesh and blood and human and animal tissue, yet it really isn’t close at all. Just the same, a load that performs well in the laboratory should be effective.
I tested the KelTec for reliability with four modern hollow point loads. These included the Speer 124-grain Gold Dot, Federal 124-grain HST, Remington 115-grain JHP, and Federal 124-grain Hydra-Shok. All fed, chambered, fired, and ejected normally. Accuracy was good.
I fired the pistol for accuracy from a solid, braced, barricade position. At 50 feet, any of the loads tested will cut a 5-shot two-inch group. The KelTec P15 M is a reliable handgun well worth its price. Practice often, and you will be as well armed as you can be with a handgun.
I carried the KelTec P15 M in a Crossbreed TACO holster. This colorfully molded holster is a typical Crossbreed with excellent fit. A Kydex holster is rigid and offers a good mix of security and speed. A supple leather backing makes for good comfort. The twin belt clips are adjustable and offer a good bite of the belt for security.
You make the call. Do you prefer the polymer KelTec P15 or the KelTec P15 Metal and why? Share your answers in the Comment section.
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