4 Kel-Tec P17 Problems You Should Know

Users consider Kel-Tec P17 “good if it works”. So, it is clear that it has some known issues. In this article, I am going to talk about Kel-Tec P17 problems.

Among all, the feeding problem, magazine problem, jamming problem, and ammo failure to get into battery position are the common ones.

This compact 22LR pistol is not that bad as there are solutions to the problems. The detailed discussion here will help you enjoy this firearm to its full potential.

Features & Specifications of Kel-Tec P17

Barrel Length3.8”
Magazine Capacity16 rounds
Overall Length6.7”
Rear SightAdjustable
Front SightFiber Optic
Dimensions 5.3” H; 1.2” W
Weight0.7 pounds (unloaded)
Trigger Pull3 pounds
Common Kel-Tec P17 Problems
Kel-Tec P17

Common Kel-Tec P17 Problems and Solutions

From the above table, you have got a summarized idea of the problems and possible solutions. Now, let’s discuss them in detail.

Quick Overview of the Problems and Solutions

Feeding FailureContact Kel-Tec or a gunsmith to solve it.
Magazine FaultTrim the contact point of the magazine and slide the stop bar about 0.5cm.
Rounds not Going into BatteryClean and apply Deep Creep on the extractor. Leave it for about 12 hours and reassemble.
Jamming IssueAvoid limp wristing, fix bending or dragging along the rail, and inspect the magazine for irregularities.

1. Failed to Feed

Let me explain the nature of this problem which is very common in a P17 firearm.

Lots of users complain that their guns couldn’t chamber a round resulting in feeding failure.

It doesn’t happen to all rounds; maybe 5 or 6 out of every 50 rounds.

When this happens, the user has to slide back manually and release the shell.

Or, you have to punch the slide forward with a little bit of force using the heel of your hand.

Some may think that it gets solved when the gun breaks in after shooting about 100 rounds.

But the problem occurs in both new and used P17s.

The Fix

According to the users who have faced a similar issue, it is better to call Kel-Tec to fix it.

If your gun’s warranty period has expired, you will have to contact an expert gunsmith who has enough experience with P17s.

2. Magazine Issue

The symptom of the P17 magazine problem is the slide being locked after shooting a few rounds.

The user manual of the gun mentions that one should clean and lubricate the firearm when this type of incident happens.

Even after following the manual, loading the magazine, and shooting 3 or 4 rounds, the slide can suddenly start getting locked.

The high frequency of occurring this issue can be frustrating.

Taking off the magazine, and carefully inspecting several components, you will probably notice that the magazine was the culprit.

One possible reason is the slide lock getting raised a fraction after inserting the magazine causing it to malfunction.

The Fix

The best practice here is to call Kel-Tec and seek their take on this issue.

Or, you can try the solution suggested by the user who faced this issue.

He simply trimmed the magazine part where it contacts the slide stop bar. Let me show you the picture.

Source: https://www.thektog.org/threads/p-17-magazine-issue.273618/

The top magazine in the image is the original one, and the bottom one is the trimmed piece.

I don’t have the exact numbers or measurements (maybe 0.5cm or so) of the trimmed part.

So, you have to go through a series of trials and errors before making it work smoothly.

The best part of this fix is that the user confirms its workings. And, the magazine now allows various ammunitions without any problem.

3. Ammo Not Going into Battery

Have you ever seen that the rounds are not going into battery without nudging the side forward?

It happens with the Kel-Tec P17 sometimes. A few users complained that their new P17s can’t load the bullets almost half the time, and the gun was new.

While trying different solutions, the users cleaned, lubed, and tried the gun with different brands of ammo.

The situation improved in this scenario slightly but the problem persisted.

Taking it to an expert, it is possible that the extractor of the firearm is getting stuck causing this issue.

Seeking expert suggestions, I have seen that the best practice is to send the gun back to Kel-Tec and let them take care of it.

The Fix

It was a great suggestion to take the help of the manufacturer to fix this issue.

But one user wanted to take one last shot at solving the matter. He took the gun to his home, and put some Deep Creep on the extractor after cleaning.

The next morning, he reassembled the gun and the problem was gone.

Nonetheless, everyone having the same problem may not get lucky. So, letting Kel-Tec solve the problem will always be a better option.

4. Jamming

We all know that new guns often have problems that get solved over time. After shooting 300 or 400 rounds, it becomes smoother.

But some units can be faulty even after the break-in period.

I have seen some users complaining that the slide of the gun suddenly has become stiff.

It may feel like something is binding causing the slide not to go backward and jamming the cycle.

One probable reason is “Limp Wrist”. If you want to know more about the term, you can click this Wikipedia link.

Other than that, burrs or dirt buildup inside the gun can cause this problem too.

The Fix

If you are a beginner, you have to practice a lot to ensure a firm grip and straight wrist.

Make sure that the frame of the firearm doesn’t travel rearward at all costs. Otherwise, it prevents the operating cycle from completing.

Other than that, you have to consider two possibilities and seek solutions accordingly.

  1. Inspect the slide for any kind of bending or dragging along the rail.
  2. And, check the magazine for any irregularity, broken, or wear-out parts.

And, don’t forget to use high-speed ammo on this one.

User Feedback on Kel-Tec P17

The overall impression on P17 is positive in more than 80% of reviews. However, it has a common jamming problem that lots of users face.

From the comments, I have seen that people like the fact that Kel-Tec has stuck with the aesthetics of previous models.

Compared to Taurus TX-22, the P17 is lighter, has a better trigger pull weight, and comes with more visible fiber optic sights.

Those who are planning to shoot larger caliber pistols in the future can choose P17 for the transition period.

Considering the features, performance, and quality compared to the price, it is one of the best value-for-money 0.22 pistols on the market.

If you are still hesitating about the reliability of the gun, you can check out the comments in this thread.

Nonetheless, you should keep in mind that P17 has a break-in period. When the gun is new, you may face some issues that get solved over time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Kel-Tec P17 reliable?

Despite some issues, the P17 is fairly reliable.

What bullets does a Kel-Tec P17 take?

16 rounds of .22LR

How much does a Kel-Tec P 17 cost?

About $200

Does the Kel Tec P17 have a threaded barrel?


Is Kel-Tec still making the P17?



That is all about the Kel-Tec P17 problems and their respective solutions. What do you think about the gun?

Figuring out the problems, you can rely on this simple and affordable gun.

The mixed reviews tell us that some units are faulty and some work smoothly.

So, can you understand the statement I have made in the introduction?

“P17 is good if works.”

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