Smith & Wesson 5906 and the Kel-Tec P11


This is the Kel-Tec P-11 and it’s one of the best little junk pocket guns you can buy. Kel-Tec has been the punchline in a lot of jokes and they’re known more for showing off guns that never seems to make it to your local gun store counter but one gun you can always find is the P-11. The Kel-Tec P11 has been around since 1995, designed by George Kellgren of Intratec and Grendel fame, this guns was sold as a pocket gun/backup gun. This model was bought used for $250 with pinky extensions and a belt clip attachment.

The neat thing about this gun is that it also takes the S&W 5906 magazines. So you can easily find 15 or 30 rounders to fit this.

Initially Kel-Tec targeted the LE market trying to lure officers away from backup revolvers and into a small gun that would take their duty magazines. At that time, the two standard Officer sidearm in the United States was the Smith & Wesson 5906 and the Beretta 92. Overtime the Smith & Wesson lost market share to the Glock 17. The gun has changed little in the 21 years it has been on the market.

The mag interchangeability also meant you could use pre-ban magazines in the gun, since the Clinton crime bill didn’t mandate guns not being able to accept mags of more than 10 rounds.

The new price for these guns has always been in the $249 range, I’ve seen them for as little at $219 new online but this doesn’t take into account shipping fees.

Now, this gun has a horrible trigger. The pull is long and it’s heavy at about 12lbs. The trigger also breaks hard – like hurts your finger hard after a few dozen rounds “breaks hard”. The finish on this gun is certainly not fine. There are rough lines of polymer, left over from the molding process, that you may want to file or buff down.

This is not a gun you’d buy as a range toy and do much shooting with it. It’s rather uncomfortable to shoot. But, hey, you’re buying a pocket defensive gun for like $250 so what did you expect? It only needs to go bang a few times in a defensive situation and the Kel-Tec P11 fits that role nicely.

In the past owners have complained about feeding issues that were solved by buffing and polishing the fed ramps. This seems to be less of an issues on the newer made guns. While it seems like I’ve given you all the reasons not to buy one, and if it’s going to be your only gun then you shouldn’t buy one, but there’s something about these guns that’s loveable. They are like an ugly puppy. They aren’t fun to look at but there’s just something you end up loving about them.

Kel-Tec owners seems to be very loyal to the brand despite a history of vaporware guns being advertised and some quality issues. The P-11 is easy to find and the little upgrade parts are cheap and always available from Kel-Tec.

Oddly enough, finding Kel-Tec firearms has historically been tough as their production level doesn’t keep up demand. Kel-Tec had an interesting statement on why they wouldn’t borrow a few years ago to meet a temporary surge demand. They are committed to remaining a debt free business and I respect that.