How Will You Use Your Kel-Tec PMR-30?

By Todd Burgreen

Why did Kel-Tec introduce a 30-round capacity .22Magnum (.22WMR), 4.3-inch barreled, polymer semi-automatic handgun into the market? Is it for personal defense, a trail/kit gun, target shooting, or dare we say just for fun? The PMR-30 seems counter-intuitive, especially when compared against other semi-automatic pistol “understudy” types most often chambered in 22LR that are modeled after a centerfire “big brother.” The “understudy” 22LR handguns offer similar feel and balance while being chambered in 22LR versus 9mm, 40 S&W, 45ACP, etc. These types of 22LR handguns are ever increasing in popularity. This is based on facilitating more economical practice/training and making sure the fundamentals of trigger control, sight alignment, grip and all the other marksmanship tenants are followed without the interference of muzzle blast and recoil; all the while maintaining similar feel and operating controls of their full-power “big brothers.”

The Kel-Tec PMR-30 stands alone and defies easy categorization. It rejects being labeled as only an “understudy.” It is easy for the Kel-Tec PMR-30 to separate itself from the competition with its .22WMR chambering and ultra-high capacity alone. However, additional PMR-30 features further add credence to its uniqueness in terms of design and construction. The PMR-30 does not pose as an understudy since controls, grip angle and other intangibles of feel do not mimic any other handgun out there. Do not take this to mean it has no value as an introductory handgun. While the PMR-30’s muzzle blast will surprise with a signature more typical of a centerfire cartridge, recoil is minimal and thus manageable by all shooters. Though popular as a manually operated rifle and revolver round, few manufacturers have attempted to build a semi-auto rifle or handgun in .22WMR. This stems from various reasons such as .22WMR cartridge length standards, the case rim specifications and variations in pressure levels of different brands of .22WMR ammunition. However, Kel-Tec decided to tackle these issues in creating the PMR-30.

Some History

Initially founded in 1991 as a machine shop, Kel-Tec CNC Industries, Inc. started manufacturing firearms in 1995. Kel-Tec prides itself on specializing in innovative rifle and...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V23N2 (February 2019)
and was posted online on December 14, 2018


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