Thursday, March 15, 2012

Things I thought I'd never say:

Poor George Kelgren.

There is an entire segment of the gun industry that consists of nothing but small shops turning out fairly blatant copies of the P-11 and the P-32/P3AT (to say nothing of Ruger using KelTec as their pocket gun R&D lab these last few years.)

I'm pretty sure he doesn’t have any patents on the design, but surely he could lawyer up and go after all these companies on “trade dress” grounds?

25 comments:

Joseph said...

I always kind of assumed Ruger was paying them under the table with the stipulation that the payments weren't disclosed. Perhaps he just doesn't care or doesn't want to put a law firm's kids through college.

Odysseus said...

Coming soon a bull-pup Ruger shotgun with dual magazines.

pdb said...

I've always had a soft spot for Keltec's pocket blasters. I really liked my P32 while I had it.

Kelgren is a truly talented designer, I just wish he'd put a little more effort into that whole QC thing. But looking at the current state of the service pistol industry (Gen 4 Glocks not working, SIGs (lol) and S&Ws that you have to replace the entire lockwork to use well), I guess he was leading the way there too.

Robert Fowler said...

OK, I'm old enough to remember the little AMT backup in .380. That's the one I measure the rest of them by. I always thought it was a great little gun. I sure miss AMT.

John Richardson said...

Sebastian had a review of the two a while back. He mentioned that Ruger actually had paid a licensing fee to Kel-Tec before they came out with their LCP.

http://www.pagunblog.com/2012/02/16/review-ruger-lcp-v-kel-tec-p3at/

Tam said...

Robert Fowler,

"I sure miss AMT."

Well, mom always said that if I couldn't say anything nice about a gun company, I shouldn't say anything at all, so...


;)

ExurbanKevin said...

I have argued (and will continue to argue) that Kellgren is the most innovative gun designer in a post-Glock world.

Mr.B said...

I have a CPX1...not bad, actually. Not my carry gun, but they make nice car guns (I have one in each vehicle)

And each has had over 500 rounds through it with no issues.

For budget guns, these little plastic pistols are excellent for what they are.

Bram said...

Why didn't he patent his work?

I want to try the RFB when they start making them with target barrels.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Not just Small Companies. Ever pull the Slide off a Taurus Millennium-line pistol? Lots of Similarities in the Guts of both Pistols. And funny how Magazines can interchange also.

But since Smith 59 Series mags fit and function perfectly in my Keltec p-11, and Taurus and Smith were once owned by the same Parent Corp, I just wonder how much sympathy there should be for Keltec?

Kinds like Sig using the AK Bolt in their 500 series Rifles. Do they pay the Russians a Royalty?

Well, at least it's not as Blatant as the Chicoms Cloning every firearm they can get their hands on, like Farmer Frank reported from the IWA show.

Tam said...

Les,

"But since Smith 59 Series mags fit and function perfectly in my Keltec p-11..."

Look at when the P-11 was released; that was a feature in 1995. Only an idiot would have released a double stack pistol without some backward magazine compatibility. (Take common Beretta 92 mag, drill hole for release, and you have an otherwise impossible-to-find 15-rd mag for an XS2000/XD9 back in 2001.)

Fred said...

I think a large part is the hit or miss QC Kel-tec reportedly has (I've never used one, so I only know what I read on the interwebs...) plus their ability to under produce their stuff. If the customer simply can't get it from you, they'll look somewhere else.

Kristopher said...

Robert:

The reason AMT's Automag grip panels had a small set of serrations near the top and bottom was because that was where employees gripped them with pliers while stretching them under a heat gun.

The injection mold they had made was exactly the same size as the prototype grips, so the end product was always a bit too small once they cooled.


All of the used AMT products you got to play with had had time to be corrected at someone else's expense.

I had a nice used AMT II in .22 mag ... it had also been heavily worked over before I had paid for it.

Pakkinpoppa said...

I hadn't thought of using a Smith mag in the XD, I accidentally figured out the SIG 226 mags not only worked, but had a convenient hole right where the mag release needed to be, just did a little filework, and voila...

CTone said...

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Mr. Kelgren has to be smiling about all this.

With that said, his QC could use a little work. I've never had an issue with my P3AT, but I know some who definitely have.

Sebastian said...

@John Richardson:

I should note I put an update on that post to clarify that it was speculation that there was a licensing agreement. There were a number of other stories in the comments, and it seems rumors have been floating around for a while.

Sebastian said...

I rubbed the finish off my P3AT from two years of carry. Rust started becoming a problem. I figured I'd give the LCP a try, since I was willing to pay a little extra for better fit and finish. I had to send the barrel back on my original P3AT purchase because it literally looked like it took a significant whack with a heavy machine tool on the outside, and it went all the way through to dimple the inside. I'm glad I check those kinds of things out before firing.

They fixed it... but Ruger's QC is a bit better. It's basically the same gun, but with better fit, finish and QC. Oh, and the slide can be locked back.

Sigivald said...

Bram: Patents are supposed to be for novel inventions. I'm not sure there's anything "not obvious to a skilled practitioner" in the P-32 design.

Good, solid improvements and tweaks? Not patentable.

Tam: Trade Dress protections only work when they're causing consumer confusion.

The differences would make such a suit hard to win - especially in a gun world filled with open clones of other guns with the only real difference being the name on the slide, such that consumers that care about brand always check the name rather than the generic shape of the gun.

Hard to convince the jury that "looks the same shape as a Kel-Tec" means consumers think "that's a Kel-Tec" rather than "that's another tiny .380".

And if it doesn't cause consumer confusion as the the producer, you'll never win a trade dress suit.

(Even more, the things that you protect with trade dress must be purely cosmetic, not functional - and the cosmetics are precisely where the difference is here.

So I think Kel-Tec isn't suing because they know they can't win - and Ruger licensed it because that was easier than starting from scratch, not to protect themselves legally.)

Old NFO said...

He's a good designer, no question. His QC sucks though! I need reliable, not wondering if the damn gun is going to work when I need it, so I've never bought one.

Buzz said...

No QC issues with my P11 and it makes a tidy front pocket 9, but the trigger is so ridiculously long it feels like I'm pulling a clown kerchief.

Ed Foster said...

Does the Hellcat have an improved ejector? I've had to replace three of the little beggars for various Hartford P.D. cops who have lost them during cleaning.

Netpackrat said...

Have you got a link or any other evidence to show where Ruger paid anything to Kel-tec in the form of licensing? Because it was my understanding that they did not, and that Mr. Kelgren was anything but happy with them.

Anonymous said...

I have an LCP, a friend has a Kel-tec. His is 6 for 6 on one-shot kills of marauding racoons and other objectionable critters. He ran one or two mags through when new and carries it every day, in a pocket. No QC issue there.

Thomas said...

Grendel P10 was my first carry gun, after my first victimization, and before formalized CCW laws. Dicey times.

Kerodin said...

I wrote Kel Tec after reading your comment, and asked them: Why haven't you sued the snot out of Ruger for infringing your P-32?

I signed it "A satisfied Kel-Tec fan"

In my past I owned a P-32 and found it perfect for its intended task.

Kel-Tec CS wrote me a quick little reply this morning: Freedom of design, I guess… :)

Yes, they included the smiley.

Just an FYI.

Kerodin
III