The Kel-Tec P-F9 is a popular little gun, produced as of 2006 by Kel-Tec. A 9mm (like the Sub 2000) which is not too expensive, and which gets the job done when it counts. It is not without issues, but all things considered it is one of the best choices out there, for beginners and veterans alike.

Kel-Tec P-F9 Review 2016

  • Caliber – 9mm
  • Action – short recoil operated, semi-automatic, double-action only
  • Weight – 12.7 oz.
  • Length – 5.85 inches
  • Barrel length – 3.1 inches
  • Magazine – 7 rounds
  • Width – 0.88 inches
  • Height – 4.3 inches
  • Introduced – 2006
Kel-Tec P-F9.

The Kel-Tec P-F9 was designed mainly as a concealed weapon for civilians, and as a backup for law enforcement personnel. It is a small gun with a powerful 9mm bullet, and if you are looking for a gun you can draw quickly and do some serious damage with – you should definitely look into it some more. Its frame is polymer, and it is hammer-fired. It has some recoil to it (as a 9mm should) – but that also depends on the ammo you use and your shooting stance. Those are significant, which is why training is such an important issue.

There is a wide range of concealable firearms, and they are normally broken down into the following (informal) classes of: so small you can barely shoot it; mouse/pocket guns; slim/subcompact; and compact. The Kel-Tec P-F9 easily fits into the slim/subcompact category, as far as I am concerned, though some may place it in a different category. Either way, it is a small gun, but on the other hand it is big enough to support a 9mm round. This is a major point of difference, since many people who carry a self-defense weapon don’t want to use anything below a 9mm. Other types of bullets are simply not as popular, at least not in the great scheme of things.

The P-F9 Broken Down.

The 9mm seems to be the absolute minimum for many of us with a concealed carry permit, who want some confidence in their weapon and the round which it carries. Many times, in emergency situations – and this is especially true if you have the element of surprise on your side – you only get one shot, so to speak, to make a move. In those “fight or flight” moments, you want to have a weapon which will be able to neutralize your target and take it down. That is what makes the 9mm so popular. Even if you do have more than one chance to shoot, you would ideally want a weapon which you count on, and which is strong enough to give you a real advantage, in any given situation.

The Kel-Tec P-F9 is a handy gun, and I mean handy. That is, if you have an average hand. It may be too small for some hands – and make no mistake, that could be a challenge – which is why the best thing to do would be to get out there and shoot the damn thing! There is only so much you can tell from videos and reviews, right? Sometimes, you don’t have a clear idea of a firearm until you literally feel it out and gauge its capabilities at the range.

The P-F9 In Hand.

The cost of a brand new Kel-Tec P-F9 is normally around $300, but you can find it for less. Immediately, the words “value for money” make their appearance in my head, because there really is a great deal of value in this neat little pistol. The price is right, and while there are many who may think that the inexpensive price makes it a cheap gun, that statement is true only to the price, and not at all to the performance of this little shooter. So yeah, there is real value in the P-F9, in my opinion.

When it comes to concealed carry / backup weapons, the most important thing to understand is that this is the weapon which is supposed to save your life, or the life of your loved ones. True, that could be said of any weapon there is, but backup weapons are unique. They are your fail-safe. They are not competition guns, nor are they exhibition guns. They are the type of gun which you pull out when you must, and they are designed in such a way as to provide the shooter with the greatest advantage possible, in any situation. That is why it is light, thin, small, and powerful. What I mean to say is that with a gun like the P-F9, it is not the look of it, or the feel of it, or even the recoil of it which will make the difference. It is its accuracy and dependability which will win the day.

The P-F9, Dollar For Scale.

Kel-Tec P-F9 Holsters

The Fobus Evolution.

As always, practice makes perfect, and this is true to a holster as well. Whether it is for open carry or concealed carry – take your time in finding the holster which you are most comfortable with, and train hard in order to get your drawing time down to a minimum. Civilians who draw their weapon draw to shoot, and not for any other reason. Once you have made the conscious decision to fire, you need to be able to get to that weapon, and fast. Holsters were invented to keep weapons secure on one’s person, and they become an absolute necessity for those who carry weapons in concealment. When you carry a hidden weapon in your pocket, small of back, ankle, shoulder, or on the outside or inside of your waistband, you need to be certain that it is secure. Holsters equal confidence, because a concealed gun is – by its very definition – always invisible. It’s not the same story as an open carry weapon. Also – some guns, like the P-F9, weigh so little, you could literally forget you are carrying a deadly weapon. These are a few holsters which can help keep your P-F9 secure, and provide a quick draw.

  • Fobus Evolution – weighing only 2 oz., this is a right hand holster with a rubberized paddle, and an adjustment screw. It has a steel-reinforced rivet attachment, and it really feels as though it was designed specifically for the P-F9, although it fits a wide range of other guns.
  • Federal Holsterworks – this one is a hip holster, with a built-in magazine pouch. Talk about convenience! It is made of strong nylon, is ambidextrous, and can be a clip-on or work on a belt. Very light and useful.
  • Barsony IWB Holster – With a single mag pouch, meant for open or concealed carry. Leather backing, steel belt clip, and you can order left or right hand draw. Can also be worn in small of back. This holster is also designed for a wide range of other subcompact 9mm weapons, but it fits the P-F9 perfectly.
  • Barsony Nylon IWB Holster – Meant for open or concealed carry. This one, too, is meant for many subcompact guns in 9mm, .40, and .45 calibers.
  • Barsony 6-position Ambisextrous Concealment Pancake Holster – As the name suggests, this is one holster which was designed specifically for concealed carry purposes, and there are several ways in which the carrier can choose to hide the weapon. It is also designed for the Kel-Tec P11.
  • Barsonly Leather Pancake Holster for Small 9mm Weapon – It is lightweight, has very precise stitching, and is built to last. Available in black, dark brown, saddle tan, and burgundy. Can be worn in a variety of ways, for maximum convenience and better concealment.

These are only a few options, of course. You may need to try out several holsters, before you find the one with which you are most comfortable. Remember, holsters do need a break-in period, but if you find yourself constantly having to adjust and play with it, don’t use it. A concealed weapon is not really concealed, if you keep on fiddling with the holster.

Kel-Tec P-F9 Accessories

The P-F9 With Laser Sight.

Let’s get this out of the way right now: Weapons accessories are not there to make you (or your weapon) look cool. If they do that, hey, that’s great. But, their primary function is to help the shooter stay safe, and to maximize performance of both the shooter and the weapon. If you don’t need it, do not use it. End of story. With a gun like the P-F9, this becomes even truer, since it is such a small and lightweight gun to begin with. Kel-Tec does accessories well (as seen in the accessories for the celebrated KSG shotgun) in general, but they really have a lot to offer for the P-F9.  There is absolutely no need to overburden it with bulky attachments and unnecessary toys. There are some accessories, however, which are very useful, and which can help you increase your aim and precision. Here are some of them.

  • Laser/ Light – this accessory can be a game changer. While it is true that many armed encounters will occur within very short distances, a laser or light of some kind can improve your chances of neutralizing your target. In rain, fog, or low light conditions, it can be a difficult call – even at relatively short distances. You need to make that shot count, and a light source or laser can help you out a great deal.
  • Trigger Replacement – this can be very useful for those who experience trigger bite from the P-F9’s trigger. When faced with an emergency situation of some kind, you probably won’t be thinking of your finger. But, this accessory does help in the long run, since you will be practicing and training with the P-F9 for as long as you have it. Statistically, most gun carriers will never have to draw and fire their weapon, but training goes a long way, which is why trigger replacement can be crucial.
  • Grip Sleeve – unlike a magazine extension, which gives you some pinky room, a grip sleeve facilitates the rest of the hand’s grip. With a sleeve on the pistol grip, you will find that it is easier to maintain control of the weapon. Like any and all accessories, this one will fit everyone. However, if you feel like you could use an extra measure of security with your grip, don’t think twice. Grip sleeves are relatively cheap, and they can make a big difference.

Kel-Tec P-F9 Grip / Magazine Extension

The P-F9 With Extended Mag.

The Kel-Tec P-F9 is small and effective. If you want to use it, but are having trouble with your grip, a grip extension may be in order. Kel-Tec have designed their very own grip extension for P-F9 magazines, but many other companies also design and sell them. Some of them offer a +1 addition to your round count, and others offer a better grip without extending your count. The use of a grip extension comes at a price, though, in the form of a loss of some concealability. But, it pays off. Your grip is a lot tighter with your finger curled around a grip extension, as opposed to riding free under the magazine. Whether you are using an extension to increase your round count, or in order to get a better grasp on your weapon, it is an accessory which can improve your shooting. This is why it is considered a valued addition to your P-F9.


The Kel-Tec P-F9 is a slim, sturdy piece of weaponry. There are many others in its class, and people who are elitists (Talking about you, SIG Sauer owners!) may look down on it. However, it remains a great little gun, and it is the choice of many civilians and those in law enforcement. Whether it be a primary weapon or a backup gun, it is easy to use and it gets the job done efficiently. No weapon is without disadvantages, but the P-F9 trumps any issues which it may have. Also, Kel-Tec provide its customers with a lifetime warranty, which is only valid to the original owner of the firearm. Any defects in material and workmanship are covered, but for more precise terms, see the back of the owner’s manual or go to Kel-Tec’s website.

Interested in more great Kel-Tec guns? Check out our PLR-16 review, right here at Gunivore!

Nate M.


  1. Hi Sam,
    Thanks for a great review!
    I know recoil is a subjective thing but is the recoil close to a jframe with regular 38 special ammo or would you say closer to plus p ammo. I have shot a shield in 40 cal and had no issues. I am trying to decide if I should get one. I have a p32 Keltec and love it. Any input would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Hi Art,
      We’re glad you enjoyed our feature.
      Kel-Tecs have a tendency to be a bit snappy, but if you’re comfortable with a 38 spl. J-Frame and .40 Cal Shield then you should be able to manage with the PF9. Follow-up shots are pretty solid, considering it’s a 9mm. You may also want to consider the Taurus Millennium G2.

      1. Thanks Sam for your quick reply, I think I will get one!

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