Kel-Tec's PMR-30 Pistol-Lightweight, Compact, .22 Magnum Powerhouse

The PMR-30 is an excellent pistol with a price point that can put it in the hands of most shooters.

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In a previous evaluation of the Kel-Tec PMR-30, I referred to this interesting and useful pistol as a sort of "poor man's 5.7x28" pistol. When you compare the price difference between the three guns ( $1495 for the FN, $749 for the Ruger, and $455 for the PMR-30), you can see where the "poor man's 5.7" appellation came from. But, let's look at the PMR-30 in depth and see how close it comes to that claim.

About Kel-Tec's Guns

The PMR-30 is a prime example of the brilliant engineering that comes from Kel-Tec Firearms. Kel-Tec is well known for creating innovative firearms that rely heavily on polymer construction to keep both weight and costs down, without sacrificing quality and reliability. The PMR-30 is probably the most innovative design in the current Kel-Tec lineup.

PMR-30 Specifications

Weighing in at only 14 ounces, the PMR-30 is quite conventional in operation. Barrel length is 4.3 inches and there is a molded in rail up front. The PMR-30 features ambidextrous 1911-style, frame mounted safeties, left-side slide release lever. While the magazine release button is of the European heel type style-located at the bottom rear of the grip-making it fully ambidextrous. While a pistol with a heel magazine release isn't as fast to reload as a pistol with a push-button release, how fast do you need to be with a 30+1 round capacity pistol? The PMR-30's trigger-pull weight is a crisp 5lbs. Width of the PMR-30 is a trim 1.3 inches, and overall length is 7.9 inches. Hi-Viz sights-green front, red on a fixed rear-are mounted atop the slide. Two 20 round magazines are included, which by the way, are interchangeable with the CMR-30 Carbine-which will be reviewed in my next post.

Keltex PMR30 Pistol Specifications

Caliber .22 WMR
Magazine Capacity 30 Rounds
Barrel Length 4.3 inches
Overall Length 7.9 inches
Weight 13.6 oz


A couple of additional words about the PMR-30 before I tell you how it shot. First, while I referred to the PMR-30 as the "Poor Man's 5.7", the .22 rimfire Magnum, a fine cartridge in its own right, is not equivalent to the centerfire 5.7x28mm round. The profile of the 5.7x28's Spitzer bullet is distinctly different than that of the blunt shaped .22 Magnum bullet and much more aerodynamic, giving it much better downrange performance. In my previous testing, I found that the Hornady 30 grain V-Max round when fired from the PMR-30 registered an average speed of 1609 FPS-which is 100 FPS less than the 40 grain Hornady V-Max 5.7x28mm round. Kinetic muzzle energy generated is 172 FPE for the .22 Magnum vs. 259 FPE for the 5.7x28. Some of the top 27 grain 5.7x28 loads I've tested in the Ruger 57 pistol generate 340 FPE! There is no way a .22 Magnum can generate that much power.

The other aspect of the .22 Magnum that makes it not a direct equivalent of the 5.7x28mm is the fact that it is a rimfire cartridge, not a centerfire one. Rimfire cartridges, as wonderful as they are, are not as sturdy as centerfire rounds-and the rimfire priming system is not as reliable as the centerfire system. Rimfire cartridges also require more attention to detail when loading in a magazine because of the case rim-especially in double-column magazines such as those used by the PMR and CMR-30.

So now that the differences between the two rounds have been laid out, how did the PMR-30 shoot?

Range Time

Before you begin loading. If you are not familiar with the PMR-30 pistol, I suggest that your read the directions first as they relate to loading the magazine. Failure to understand and follow the directions will result in failures to feed into the chamber.

I loaded up the PMR-30 magazine with CCI 40 grain Maxi-Mag JHP ammunition, and sent the target down range to the 21 feet, distance for some warm-up time, which allowed me to get re-acquainted with the PMR-30. My first shots showed me I had forgotten how snappy the .22 Magnum is when fired in a handgun this light. It also has a bit of muzzle blast. The first shots caught me a bit by surprise, so my first groups at 21 feet were nothing to write home about.

After I had fired about 20 rounds, I moved the target down to 30 feet, and began some slow fire work, shooting six shot groups. In short order, I was rewarded with a 1.5 inch six-shot group-which shows the excellent accuracy potential of the PMR-30. Functioning was flawless.

Wrap Up

The PMR-30 is an excellent pistol with a price point that can put it in the hands of most shooters. It's light weight and relatively compact size make it potentially a great trail companion, home defense or concealed carry piece. At 14.5 ounces, it can be carried all day long without fatigue. Attach a quality weaponlight to it, especially a lightweight model, and you are ready for home defense. It might even make a great understudy for those of you with a Ruger or FN 5.7x28mm pistol.