Did you know that Keltec makes two different versions of the P15 pistol? One is a polymer version called the P15, followed up by the P15 Metal. If I were king of the world, I would have named the newer metal version the M15, and kept the P15 for the polymer version, but I’m not the king of the world. I’m the Unpewfessional Himself, and I’m reviewing the P15 Metal today.
This is a handsome gun. It has a great classic look of wood and metal; there is a richness about it. Other than that, you can pretty much say the same things for both versions of the P15. They’re meant to be super lightweight, compact, striker-fired carry pistols. Even for a guy like me who shops in the big and tall section, the pistols 7/8ths of an inch wide slide made IWB concealed carry easy. Available in 9mm with a capacity of 15 + 1 or 12 + 1 depending which magazine you use, these American-made modular pistols could offer other grip modules in the future.
The frame of the P15 Metal is machined from Aluminum and, interestingly enough, uses the same Torx screws to hold the chassis in place as the polymer version. I not only love the look of the walnut wood grips, but find it comfortable to hold. The polymer version of the P15 features what Keltec calls Gator Grip texture, which I find too rough for my supple, soft, ladylike fingers to handle. This version doesn’t incorporate a manual safety; instead, it uses a grip safety. I can hear half the 2A community moaning that they hate grip safeties … but as a long time 1911 and Springfield XD shooter, grip safeties do not bother me. I like the added passive safety. If you take a proper grip, the grip safety deactivates, it’s simple.
That said, if you can’t get past the grip safety, Keltec heard you. They added a selector switch—no, not for full auto, but to allow users to customize the pistol’s safety mechanism. I don’t think any other manufacturers do this. Using a small flathead screwdriver, you can turn the selector clockwise, allowing you to disengage the grip safety and magazine disconnector, or just the magazine disconnector, or have both work…your choice. Please note that Keltec warns you only turn the selector clockwise. I personally did not test it, but if you force the selector counter- clockwise, you can break things.
The slide is a steel-and-polymer combo slide that has the option to mount an optic. Since the slide is so thin, it would be for mounting smaller compact optics like the Shield RMSc. A full-sized optic like a standard RMR would over hang the sides of the slide, defeating the purpose of the thin slide. I have looked and have not been able to find optic adapters yet for the P15, so I am pretty sure we will have to wait for Keltec to catch up. Instead of using a standard cut, Keltec has you remove the whole back end of the slide and replace it with the adaptor, so this will be a proprietary part only available from Keltec.
Last, but not least, the sights: One of my favorite parts of the P15 Metal are the sights. Every P15 comes with name-brand Hi-Viz fiber optic/tritium sights. During the daytime the front fiber optic is bright and easy to pick up. At night, the three night sight tritium vials take over for true 24hr. usage.
The polymer version of the P15 has an MSRP of $450, with a street price as low as $350. The metal version has an MSRP of $800, and the lowest I have seen it available for is 569. I understand that Keltec specializes in polymer guns and have perfected injection molding, but seriously? That’s Glock pricing. On the polymer version, there is a Picatinny rail to attach a laser or flashlight, and it sucks that Keltec did not include that on the Metal frame version, especially for the premium price.
How did it shoot?
Now I don’t have especially large hands, but for me the flush magazine was just about useless. I could not get a good grip on it and my bottom fingers just rode under the magazine. With the extended 15-round magazine the grip was a perfect length. Once I was able to get a good grip, my shots were more consistent and the groups tightened up.
The reverse was true for my wife, with her smaller hands. She preferred the short grip and shot it far better than the longer one. I guess the verdict is…you will need to see what fits you better. One thing we did both agree on is that the magazine release seemed too hard to push. You really had to make a conscious effort to eject a magazine.
Of the couple people I let shoot the P15 Metal, most of the inaccuracies were due to the trigger. The P1’s trigger is not heavy by any means, but for a striker it is long. For the average shooter, if you rush the trigger pull, the impacts tend to hit low and left. Once I had them do some coaching drills having them focus on just sight picture, the P15 is a straight shooter.
Is it a good buy?
The P15 Metal doesn’t have any “dealbreakers.” In fact, the pistol worked with all of the ammo we threw at it. The biggest drawback of the Metal version has to be the price … but if that price delta between the Polymer and Metal versions were a bit smaller, I would always choose the Metal version. The polymer version of the P15 can beat the hell out of your hands. The Aluminum frame reduced the felt recoil nicely.
Personally I think that if they released a 3-inch sub-compact barrel instead of the 4 inch compact, you would have a real winner. Add a small pinky extension on the flush magazine and the thinness means you could slide the pistol in a front packet. I would much rather carry a 13-rd. 9mm over something like a 380 Ruger LCP with 6 rounds. I hope that over time Keltic can make enough metal frames to bring the price down, and then I think you will see these becoming more popular.
—James Nicholas Mr. UnPewFessional Himself!
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