The Kel Tec P-3AT is one of the most under-recognized compact pistols out there. It is the lightest .380 auto pistol around but, as you know, little guns are still great for packing a punch. Being a leading pistol among both concealed carriers and law officers, a good holster is needed to go along with the Kel Tec P-3AT. While I am excited to talk to you about a few great options, I want to start by sharing my favorite.
The Desantis Ambi Nemesis Holster is my top choice when it comes to the best Kel Tec P-3AT holster. Being a pocket gun, the pocket holster works great for it and is virtually undetectable and you will hardly be able to feel that it is there.
Of course, there are many other options to go over that might work for you, if you’d prefer something else. Before moving on to talk about those other options, however, I would like to go over the issue of accidental and negligent discharge.
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Accidental and Negligent Discharge Due to Holsters
Did you know that a common reason for unintentional discharge has to do with the holster? According to an article by usa.carry, “One of the most common sources of negligent or accidental discharges is something entering the trigger guard.”
While it may seem unlikely that this will happen, you’d be surprised by the amount of stories there are where the holster played a part in an accidental or negligent discharge. In order to avoid such a situation, let’s go over a few different ways this is possible, and what needs to be done to prevent it.
The design of the holster plays an important part in firearm safety and the prevention of sidearm malfunctions. If your holster is not right for your gun, not only will you experience difficulty in it fitting, you can also experience dangerous trigger accidents or damage to your firearm.
Holster Fit with Aftermarket Parts
If you like to add snazzy aftermarket equipment to your gun, it is now something entirely different than it was before. This means a holster that might have fit previously might not now due to the added features.
You want to make sure you pick a holster that will fit your firearm, even with these aftermarket features. The results of one that is even slightly off can be an accidental discharge due. If the trigger was affected by the changes you’ve made, the retention device may not sit right and the results can be catastrophic.
Modifying a Holster
Holsters are built a specific way for specific types of guns. Any changes to its structure will affect the functionality, shape, and overall safety. Be sure you or someone with you has experience with this kind of thing.
Making modifications to a holster, especially beyond the recommendations of the manufacturer, can be dangerous if not done properly. Always stay within the recommended allowance, for your own safety.
Leather holsters are known for being stiff when first bought as brand new, and they often need to be broken in. That is why it is a pleasant experience to get one already worn in. However, if buying a used holster, you’ll want to check it for any excessive wear.
Things like missing stitches, a flat holster, or misshaped form are red flags that tell you to find another one. The retention flap or or strap is another issue to watch, as it can fall into the trigger guard.
If the leather bends or folds because it is too soft, this can also get caught in the trigger guard and ultimately cause a discharge.
One example is a man who was in the car with his wife after breakfast one morning. The sound of his gun going off startled them both, and after making sure no one was fatally injured they inspected the situation. It turned out his holster had folded into the trigger guard and sent a round off.
Just like everything else out there, holsters can have recalls on them due to manufacturing error. These can be very serious problems, as issues involved can cause your a discharge whether your weapon is holstered or being drawn.
Always do your research before buying a holster. It’s not too hard to find recalls, whether you punch in a quick search, check forums, or the manufacturer website. It is better to prevent a problem now rather than after-the-fact.
Things in the Trigger Guard
As I stated at the start of this section, the main issue with accidental discharges while a gun is holstered is due to something being in the trigger guard. While I have mentioned leather holsters folding and the strap getting caught in the guard, there are other factors to consider.
Wearing your holster between a tucked-in undershirt and another garment can cause an issue if you are not careful. The materials can fold and bunch, thus getting caught in the trigger guard.
Another cause could be a drawstring from a hoodie or the likes. Regardless of how obscure that may seem, it is possible and that is why it is important to be aware of what is near your holster.
Avoiding Negligent Discharge
While you have read a few ways of preventing the issue of negligent discharge in this article already, there is one other very important step to take in preventing the occurrence of something like this.
That is frequent inspection of your holster and firearm. Negligent discharge happens in many ways aside from holster issues, but the holster itself cannot be ignored. That’s why it is important to check the retention mechanisms, materials, stitching, and overall structural integrity of the holster on frequent occasion. Along with that, never procrastinate inspecting your gun as well.
Our Top Holster Picks for Kel-Tec P-3AT
Moving on to talk about a few different holster types, let’s see what some of the best ones there are for the Kel-Tec P-3AT.
This holster became one of the topmost innovative pocket holsters. It will protect your .380, obscure the shape, and allow for a smooth draw.
- Firm positioning
- Pack cloth interior
- Foam in core
|Smooth draw||Gun may slip out|
|Gun is undetectable||May create imprint|
|Holster stays put|
A secondary model of the Nemesis, this one is another good pocket holster made for the Kel-Tec P-3AT. It is a simple but efficient holster that will obscure the shape of your gun and conceal it well. Being an ambidextrous option, you won’t have to worry about draw side preference.
- Black stick cloth material
- Removable/Reversible outer flap
- Pack cloth interior
|Made for front or back pocket||Some clothing may allow slight visibility of gun|
|doesn’t print in jeans||Constant wear over time may create printing|
|Gun stays put even in looser clothing||Slightly bulkier than previous Nemesis model|
If you prefer something other than a pocket holster, this one is a good choice. The great thing about it, in my opinion, is that it has the appeal of a belt holster with the ease of a clip-on. The fit is perfect as the holster is molded.
- belt loop/clip on combo feature
- layered nylon material
- magazine pouch
- reinforced thumbreak
|Clip-on and belt loop appeal||Bulky for concealed carry|
|Molded fit||Not very versatile|
This IWB is another good variety option if you’re looking for something away from the pocket holster. It’s lightweight and has a few draw options that make it handy and versatile.
- Suede style material
- Lightweight open style
- IWB belt clip
- Strong side, crossdraw, or back draw
|Metal belt clip (versus plastic)||Gun sits deep (barrel may protrude)|
|No print||Firearm may move around in holster|
|Gun may touch skin|
Holsters for the Kel Tec P-3AT – Conclusion
While these are all wonderful options that I like, I stick with my original statement in saying the Desantis Ambi Nemesis Holster is my favorite. It suites the features of the P-3AT, and being a pocket gun I prefer a pocket holster. Smooth and quick draw is a priority to me, which is another main reason I chose this holster.
I hope this has helped you come to a conclusion on a holster to pick, or inspired you with some ideas. There’s a variety of styles and features out there, and we strive to present the best that we find.
Do you have a favorite holster for the Kel-Tec P-3AT? Leave a comment telling us which is your favorite, or let us know your experience with any of these holsters we’ve mentioned.