Jody Lewis shares his experience with Kel-Tec’s 30-Round .22 Magnum Semi-Automatic pistol.
It is no secret that I’m a Kel-Tec fan boy. It first started when I bought their all-metal rendition of the SUB-2000, dubbed the SUB-9 a few years ago. Kel-Tec is the 3rd largest firearms manufacturer in the U.S. and its Swedish owner and Chief Engineer George Kellgren has a long history of designing truly unique firearms including the Intratec Tec-9.
You don’t have to look at the PMR-30 for very long to realize the amazing design and engineering feat accomplished by Kellgren and Co. They’ve created a small footprint with a hybrid blowback-locked-breech action with a double stack .22.
- Street Price: $600+
The PMR is extremely light at 13.6oz and just over a pound fully loaded with 30-rounds of WMR. The slide and barrel are 4140 steel; chromium, molybdenum, manganese containing low alloy steel. It has high fatigue strength, abrasion and impact resistance, toughness and torsional strength with a melting point 2,580 degrees. 4140 is often used in aircraft where strength and weight are a concern. its also the same material Swiss firearm manufacturer Sphinx uses in its $2,000 custom guns.
The frame is bedded with 7075-T6 aluminum instead of the less expensive 6061. The PMR’s grip, slide cover, trigger, mag release, and safety levers are glass reinforced Nylon (Zytel). The PMR magazine is also Zytel and holds 30-rounds, with round count ports.
Overall fit and finish of the PMR is outstanding and features a Euro-style heel magazine release, fiber optic front and rear sights, and provisions for mounting an optic such as an RMR. Other features include: dual opposing extractors for reliability, heel magazine release to aid in magazine retention, dovetailed aluminum front sight with fiber-optic insert, Picatinny accessory rail under the barrel, Urethane recoil buffer, captive coaxial recoil springs.
The PMR is super fun to shoot and leaves you with a smile on your face. The loud boom followed by a fireball from the muzzle was surprising and trilling at the same time.
The PMR comes with two magazines and we found one of the magazines supplied with our test gun to have a sticky follower. Upon closer inspection via removal of the baseplate, the follower was getting hung up on the inside of magazine and causing feeding issues. A quick touch with some 400 grit sandpaper to the inside wall took care of the problem and we were back to work shooting. The other magazine supplied functioned without issue and the PMR ate everything we could feed it. We ran a variety of ammo from CCI and Winchester without any issues.
Loading the magazines is very specific and you must follow the directions outlined in the manual or you will experience FTF (Failure to Feed) issues. Kel-Tec suggests load the first 15 or so rounds and then smack the bottom of the magazine on a hard surface after every 1 or 2 additional rounds, which become increasingly hard to push into the mag.
Recoil was similar to that of a .22 LR with minimal muzzle flip.
The PMR’s trigger came in right around 4-pounds and was very smooth, short and crisp. However, the reset leaves a little to be desired.
We didn’t do any fancy accuracy testing beyond shooting at a 25-yard target. We had no problem putting rounds on the target with a consistent grouping around 3-inches. The 4.3-inch barrel does a good job of stabilizing a 40-grain bullet at speeds up to 1,800 ft/sec.
Kel-Tec has had a few running changes in production since the PMR’s introduction. Most notably is the redesigned barrel to improve feeding reliability. If you have a PMR-30 with the fluted barrel, Kel-Tec will almost certainly ship you a new upgraded barrel at no cost.
The stock sights are good and certainly very easy to pick up in most situations. I wouldn’t mind upgrading them or trying an RMR on this bad boy, just to say I did it.
The PMR-30 quick and easy to disassemble for cleaning with the removal of a single pin.
The Kel-Tec PMR-30 is everything that I had hoped it would be. Its lightweight, reliable, accurate, easy to shoot, and priced at about half the cost of its closest competition.
I often hear the complaint that Kel-Tec’s are hard to find and way above the advertised MSRP. But, I can tell you from my conversations with Kel-Tec that they’re cranking out thousands, not hundreds of these each month. Keep your eyes open and don’t pay stupid prices. Aside from the magazine flaw, the only thing I would wish different is the availability of ammo, which of course is not going to happen anytime soon.