Saturday, January 21, 2023

Kel-Tec Shows Optical System for P17 at Shot Show.

Kel-Tec P17 with Crimson Trace Optic and Suppressor at Shot Show 2023


Kel-Tec has announced the development of an optical mounting system for their P17 pistol.  The plan appears to be to have the optic mounted at the factory on a Kel-Tec slide, manufactured for the pistol. The entire system would easily be interchanged with the existing slide.  The optical system on the pistol at the Kel-Tec booth is a Crimson Trace, probably a CTS 1550 red dot sight. The suppressor does not come with the system. It is a GemTech Alpine .22 LR, privately owned by a Kel-Tec employee.

It is not certain, at this time, that the Crimson Trace optic will be the one bundled with the Kel-Tec slide for sale as an accessory.  A different optic might be bundled. The Kel-Tec slides will be lightened by laser cutting "KELTEC" in the slide with lightening cuts above and below the letters.

This correspondent waited for nearly three years before purchasing a Kel-Tec P17 at retail, for only a little over the suggested manufacturers retail price. They have been an incredibly successful pistol. The success has been helped by the boom in the firearms market over the last three years. With a suppressor, my P17 has been reliable with subsonic .22 ammunition. Subsonic ammunition out of a suppessor makes the good P17 into a serious pleasure to shoot. CCI Quiet-semi-auto comes out of the system at 771 fps, with a 45 grain bullet, right at the ballistics of a .25 auto. For a small pistol, this is decent performance. It is quiet and reasonably accurate to 50 yards.

It will be interesting to see how much the optic system makes shooting easier. It will probably make the P17 into a small game gun to 25 yards, if the shooter can hold that well.  Optics shine as making things easier for older eyes.  They allow a shooter to concentrate on the target rather than trying to keep three objects (rear sight, front sight, and target) aligned and in focus.  No eyes can focus on three objects at different distances, all at once. Young eyes, which are more flexible, and do a fair job of switching focus rapidly.  Shooters, starting out find red dot sights easier to use than either iron sights or telescopic sights. A red dot allows a shooter to use the sight with a larger diameter suppressor, because the dot can have a higher line of sight than the stock adjustable open sights.

With optics, you do not have to focus on the front sight. Place the dot on the target, and release the trigger with minimum movement. It is the key to shot placement.

With the lightening cuts in the slide, the P17 with optics will not weigh more than the P17 without. Fully loaded, a P17 weighs about 14 ounces.

A price for the slide and optics has not been decided.  It is expected to be less than $200. The Crimson Trace optic alone, has a suggested retail price of $180. It has been seen on sale for about $140. The sight, already mounted on a slide, available for under $200, does not seem unreasonable.

This correspondent has long believed a rifle deserves an optic which comes close to the value of the rifle. The price of a Kel-Tec P17, with an optical sight would be in the neighborhood of competitors without the sight. A reliable, reasonably accurate .22 pistol, with an optical sight, suppressor ready, which weighs less than a pound...

This correspondent thought is was possible. Kel-Tec is making them available for a reasonable price.

The reputation of Kel-Tec is: they show products, then people wait for months or years to obtain them. This is partly due to their success and the high demand for their product. At the Kel-Tec booth, they predicted the P17 optical system would be available by the end of 2023, possibly by the end of September, 2023.

The market for firearms is still strong. It is particularly strong for .22 pistols.

Unknown variables could delay market entry. It is much easier to delay entry than it is to accelerate availability.

©2023 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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