I Carry: Kel-Tec P3AT in a Blackhawk TecGrip Holster

posted on July 20, 2018

Welcome to another episode of "I Carry," Shooting Illustrated's weekly video series covering the guns and gear needed to put together a potential everyday-carry kit. Today, we have a Kel-Tec P3AT in a Blackhawk TecGrip pocket holster. We also have a CRKT Tactical pen, an LA Police Gear flashlight and a SOG Knives folding knife.

Kel-Tec P3AT (MSRP: $338.18)

While Kel-Tec may or may not have been the “origin of species,” there’s little argument that the company’s ground-breaking P3AT paved the way for the super-popular micro 380 trend. Yes, its little brother the P32 arrived on the scene some 4 years prior, but the upgrade in power from the P32’s .32 ACP to the P3AT’s .380 ACP gave the upstart pistol instant recognition. Weighing a scant 8.3 ounces unloaded, the P3AT represented a sea change in pocket pistols.

With 7 rounds of .380 ACP, the P3AT represented a slight increase in capacity over the mainstay .38 Special revolver at about half the weight. With the diminutive dimensions of the Kel-Tec, it fit into pockets and lifestyles better than any firearm since the Baby Browning, while still chambered in a respectable round. The .25 and .32 ACP offerings of the previous century were better than harsh language, but the P3AT brought Walther Arms PPK power to Colt Vest Pocket portability.

While the P3AT has been joined by micro-380 offerings from most major manufacturers and a number of smaller ones, it remains the little gun that kicked off a big revolution in concealed carry. As the expression goes, better to carry a small gun than to leave a big one home, and something the size of the Kel-Tec P3AT leaves little room for excuses why you can’t fit it in your EDC kit.

Blackhawk TecGrip Holster (MSRP: $18.95)

Blackhawk’s TecGrip line of holsters features three-layer laminate construction with a sticky outside, smooth inside and closed-cell foam in the middle. This keeps the holster firmly anchored in the pocket, allows for a rapid presentation of the pistol and gives a good measure of protection and comfort when the firearm is holstered. While Blackhawk promotes this line for inside-the-waistband carry, I prefer my IWB holsters to have a secure belt attachment. They work exceptionally well as pocket holsters, though, as the texture tends to catch the inside of a pocket quite well.

CRKT Tao 2 Tactical Pen (MSRP: $69.99)

If you’re carrying a micro 380, chances are good you’re looking to save space and consolidate gear. The Columbia River Knife & Tool Tao 2 Tactical pen allows you a less-lethal option that can also serve as, well, a pen. Even in today’s digital age, having a pen on your person is pretty commonplace, and the solid construction of the Tao 2 make it a formidable pain-compliance less-lethal device that won’t arouse suspicion.

LA Police Gear Flashlight (MSRP: $23.99)

In keeping with the smaller theme of this EDC kit, the LA Police Gear LP1 pocket flashlight is a great addition. At only 3 and 7/8 inches long and 1.4 ounce weight, the LP1 will fit into any pocket or gear bag. High, low and strobe settings are toggled via a standard tail cap, with 80 and 20 lumens of light for high and low respectively. One triple A battery powers the LP1 for three to five hours depending on setting. There’s even a loop for adding it to your keyring to make it even easier to have with you.

SOG Cash Card Knife (MSRP: $47)

The last bit of gear is the SOG Cash Card pocket knife. Capable of being used as a money clip, the Cash Card (get it?) offers a satin-finish, clip-point blade constructed of 8Cr13MoV steel measuring 2 and three-quarters inches long with a weight of only two ounces. The blade deploys using a thumb hole-type slot on the blade for purchase and closes via a standard liner lock. The incredibly thin profile makes the Cash Card quite easy to carry, and at an MSRP under fifty bucks, it’s not a strain on the wallet, either.


pistol with smartphone
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