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Kel Tec PMR-30 Review [Updated 2020]

The Kel-Tec PMR-30 is unique and special for many good reasons. For one, it comes with a magazine that holds a whooping thirty rounds. Kel Tec have employed some innovative engineering that makes it a lightweight pistol that many different shooters will love to own. In this Kel Tec PMR-30 review, we shall discuss different aspects of the pistol, including its background, features, specs, performance, and much more.

Kel Tec PMR-30 Review
Photo by Rezz Guns (AZ GUNS-R-US)

So, sit back and enjoy the ride…

Kel Tec PMR-30 Background

The popularity of the PMR-30 pistol is primarily because of how different it is from other handguns on the market. The pistol is chambered in .22 WMR and, as mentioned earlier, features a 30-round magazine. And why the .22 WMR, you may ask? The .22WMR rimfire cartridge has high velocity and is cheap to produce.

In Search of the Perfect Kit Pistol

Kit pistols are utility weapons and can be stored in a kit. You can slip them into a glove box or tackle box and can be used for self-defense or to shoot varmints. The advantage of kit pistols is that they are lightweight, accurate, and reliable. Most kit handguns are chambered in .2WMR.

So, how good is the Kel Tec PMR-30? This article will attempt to answer this question, so let’s get to it…

Specs

Kel Tec PMR 30 Specs
Photo by Rezz Guns (AZ GUNS-R-US)
  • Model: PMR-30.
  • Manufacturer: Kel-Tec CNC Industries.
  • Chambering: .22 Magnum.
  • Frame: reinforced black polymer.
  • Action Type: recoil/blowback-operated, semi-automatic handgun.
  • Barrel: 4.3-inch; six-groove, 1:11-inch RH twist.
  • Slide: 4140 alloy steel.
  • Trigger: single-action; 3-lb., 8-oz. pull.
  • Sights: fixed; green fiber-optic front, red fiber-optic rear.
  • Weight: 13.7oz.
  • Magazine: 30-round detachable box.

Construction of the PMR-30

The PMR-30 is a slim profile handgun with a full magazine and a long sight radius. It measures 1.3 inches wide, 5.8-inch-tall, and has an overall length of 7.9 inches.

With a capacity of 30 rounds and a 4.3-inch barrel firing 30-grain bullets at a speed of 1,513 fps, this pistol is highly reliable for self-defense. Being a single-action handgun, the PMR-30 takes advantage of the lightly textured polymer frame and hybrid blowback operating system to reduce weight. For this reason, the pistol weighs 14 ounces.

The 4.3-inch barrel includes a flash suppressor, which sticks out a little further than the stock barrel. So, if you are looking to add some barrel length to your PMR-30, Kel-Tec has you covered.

The mix of materials used in manufacturing this pistol makes it lightweight — both the barrel and the slide are made of steel. The rest of the pistol is made of other lightweight materials. The frame, for instance, is made from aluminum, while a few other components are made from molded Zytel, which Kel Tec describes as glass-reinforced nylon.

The PMR-30 is incredibly strong and you can hardly believe that it is not all made of steel.

Hi-Viz Sights

The PMR30 has exemplary target acquisition because of the front and rear sights, as well as the fiber optic. There is also an integrated accessory rail for mounting a firearm light, ideal for those evening sessions.

The fiber optic sights form three dots – a green dot that is located on the front post and two red dots on the rear notch. The backsight is fitted into the slide while the front one is dovetailed to allow for windage or replacement. Overall, the sights are fast enough at acquiring a target.

Hi-Capacity Magazine

The magazines are double-stack and hold 30 rounds of .22WMR.

Kel Tec PMR 30 Safety
Photo by Samar Mohanty

Magazine Release

The gun’s European style magazine release button is a heel-type release. This means that it uses a pushbutton to prevent accidental firing, in case of the pistol being dropped. The release button also facilitates magazine retention. The position of the release button takes some getting used to and makes it a two-handed procedure.

The only problem with this magazine release type is that it is not ideal for fast reloads. Plus, it takes a lot of time to load the rounds than loading a normal 30-round rifle mag. You will also need to knock the mag against your hands after several rounds to make sure the small rims remain aligned.

Safety

The PMR-30 features an integral safety system with a safety lever that is located at the base of the frame. When you push the safety to the “safe” spot, the trigger disconnects and deactivates the sear, stopping the hammer from dropping. You can only engage the safety once the hammer is fully cocked. This allows the handgun to be stored or carried in a cocked and locked manner.

The safety is ambidextrous and consists of a slider release. A right-hand shooter will find the gun’s controls easy to use with the thumbs of either hand. If you are left-handed, you can use the safety with your left thumb with your left trigger finger on the slide release.

Recoil

We can only say one thing about the recoil – it is soft. When analyzing the pistol, we hardly observed any recoil or muzzle flip. We put the pistol to the test, fired all 30 rounds on a steel target that was 25 meters away, and were amazed by the high degree of accuracy.

One thing we noted with this pistol, however, was the ability to score hits on the target repeatedly. As you may already know, high-caliber pistols such as the Ruger Super Redhawk have high recoil, which makes it hard to hit a target with numerous follow-up shots. On the contrary, a low-recoil pistol allows more shots on target with less effort.

Grip Sleeve

The PMR-30 features a grip sleeve that improves the feel and control of the handgun. However, we were not entirely impressed by the factory grip. We feel that it will reduce the time necessary to get a good feel for the PMR-30.


Kel Tec PMR-30 Review – Accuracy

.22WMRBullet Weight (Gr)Muzzle Velocity(fps)Standard DeviationAverage Group(in)
CCI Maxi Mag V-Max301,5181042.33
Winchester Dynapoint HP451,160202.50
Remington PSP401,209502.50

The impressive 5 pounds trigger, the 4.3-inch barrel, the Hi-Viz sights, and a platform to mount optics all play a key role in the accuracy of this handgun. And the pistol will do a great job if you pay attention to the fundamentals.

Ballistics

A standard 40gr .22WMR cartridge achieves a velocity of up to 600m/s (2,000fps) at about 355 ft/lbs of energy when shot with a rifle. However, the energy and velocity is considerably lower when shot with a pistol because of the shorter barrel.

Note: Energy= velocity^2 / 7000 / 32.1750 x .5 x weight

On the other hand, a standard 40gr .22WMR cartridge shot by the PMR-30 is equal in energy and velocity to a standard 40gr .22LR shot from a normal rifle. At 370m/s (1,200ft/s), it equates to 127ft/lbs of energy.

Lighter projectiles and different .22 WMR ammo with rapid burning powder exclusively designed for use in pistols can be projected to produce more energy and reach higher velocities.

Kel Tec PMR-30 Performance Comparison Table

LoadVelocity (fps)ESSDBest Group (in.)Average Group (in.)
Aguila Silver Eagle 40-gr. JSP13135118.831.39
Winchester Super-X 40-gr. JHP134346151.391.63
CCI Maxi-Mag 40-gr JHP130450141.511.89
Hornady Critical Defense 45-gr. FTX120043121.652.05
Fiocchi 40-gr. JSP134947161.762.06

Firing the PMR-30

When firing the PMR-30, you will quickly realize two things: an impressive fireball at the muzzle and a deafening report. The fireball appears because of the powder burning inside the .22WMR before the bullet exits the barrel.

The PMR-30 was made for use with 16-inch and longer barrels to attain maximum performance. As a result, some propellant tends to burn outside the barrel and chamber, reducing projectile velocity. This is the reason Kel Tec now provides a threaded replacement barrel with an inbuilt flash reducer.

Kel Tec PMR 30 Fire
Photo by gina boone

However Kel Tec discourages the use of a suppressor…

This is because the PMR-30 handgun has a unique locking action and features a lightweight barrel and slide. Therefore, using a suppressor will increase gas volume and pressure, which may force the slide to unlock prematurely.

Subsequently, gases will increase, and residue will be expelled in the direction of the shooter. It could also rapture the case. So, make sure you have adequate ear protection before you shoot the PMR-30 as it is dangerously loud.

Another thing you will notice as you fire the gun is the mild muzzle lift. This along with the fiber optic sights improve accurate downrange performance and target acquisition, especially during rapid fire sessions and exercises.

Disassembling the PPMR-30 Pistol

The PMR-30 pistol is easy to field strip and requires no tools to do it.

So, here is how to disassemble the handgun…

To begin with, remove the magazine and manually rotate the slide to make sure the chamber is empty before engaging the safety. Next, remove the assembly pin by using a small pointed object, simply push out the pin to remove it.

Push the slide assembly forward to separate it from the lower grip assembly. The recoil springs are located beneath the slide assembly, and to access them, you must turn the slide assembly upside down.

Next, compress both springs to separate the guide rod from the barrel block. After that, raise the spring assembly to release tension. Put the assembly aside. Then take out the buffer from the front of the slide. Next, slip the barrel block forward and move it out of the slide. Turn over the slide, and the barrel will be free from it. You can now clean your weapon or repair it.

Reassembling the PMR-30 Pistol

Reassembling the PMR-30 handgun is straightforward and quick. Firstly, push the barrel into the slide until it is on the same level with the muzzle, while the latter protrudes out of the slide. Insert the barrel block into the slide rails via the cutouts at the front, and ensure the recoil spring slot is pointing forward.

Then shake the barrel a little to make sure the block settles in place. Force the barrel block towards the extractors and put in the buffer, but make sure its edges are pointing towards the slots at the anterior of the slide.

Next, slide the squared-off end of the recoil spring assembly through the slot in the buffer and into the hole in the slide. Squeeze the springs and force the assembly inside the barrel block port.

Now place the upper slide assembly on the lower grip assembly and make sure that it aligns with the barrel block and the grip. Insert the assembly pin fully and manually cycle the slide – it should be able to move smoothly.

Kel Tec PMR-30 Review Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Incredible fiber optics sights.
  • Little recoil, making it easy to lay rounds on a target faster.
  • Effortless to use.
  • The magazine can hold up to 30 rounds.

Cons

  • The polymer magazine is not reliable.


Kel-Tec PMR-30 Recall?

The first generation PMR-30 had issues with the barrel, and the manufacturer did a full-scale recall. However, they published a press release that required customers with default fluted barrel to contact their customer representatives.

Those whose barrels had issues got new straight barrels, which came with an updated rifling twist minus the fluting. The models that are currently on the market most likely have new barrels. However, it is important to note that the first-generation models had issues.

More Pistol Choices

The Ke Tec PMR-30 has a lot of competition in the pistol marketplace. So if you’re not sure if it’s the perfect pistol for you, check out our reviews of the Best 380 Pistols, and the Best 1911 Pistols currently available.

You may also be interested in our comparisons of the MP Shield vs XD S, the Taurus PTIII G2 vs SW Shield, the Sig Sauer P938 vs Kimber Micro 9, the Sig Sauer P320 vs Glock 19, and the MP Shield vs Sig P938.

Kel Tec PMR-30 Review Conclusion

The Kel Tec PMR-30 pistol has become popular because of its 30-round capacity magazine. However, the handgun would still be an impressive weapon if it were a 10-round capacity. It boasts an innovative system of operation, and it is easy to fire.

The pistol is also great value for money. Even with a powerful operating system, the PMR-30 is cheaper than most pistols on the market. So, if you are looking for a trail gun, a kit handgun, a plinking pistol, or a handgun that can use 30 rounds without reloading. Then it’s well worth strongly considering the Kel-Tec PMR-30.


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