At 13.6 ounces unloaded, the new Kel-Tec PMR-30 is a…

At 13.6 ounces unloaded, the new Kel-Tec PMR-30 is a light weight dream pistol. Along with two loaded 30-round mags, this .22 Mag is ready for a long stay in the backcountry.

While lever, bolt, pump, and single-shot rifles, even revolvers, have been chambered for the .22 Mag rimfire round for many years, semi-autos were a little slower coming. For a short time AMT and Grendel both offered pistols for the round, but neither is still in production. Given I’m a longtime fan of the .22 Mag in both rifles and handguns, Kel-Tec’s introduction of the PMR-30 (Pistol, Magnum Rimfire, 30-round) in 2010 was exciting news. Actually getting my hands on a pistol took a little longer, and it was almost a year later when I finally had a chance to try the new handgun out.

The PMR-30 offers outstanding fiber optic front and rear sights. The front sight can be drifted for windage, while the rear sight is fixed.

Gun Details
For the first couple of decades after its introduction, Winchester ammunition, in either a jacketed hollow point or a full metal jacket round, was about the only option a .22 Mag shooter had. While the choices in .22 Mag ammunition have dramatically increased, it often seemed like those trying to design a semi-auto often stayed focused on the original Winchester loading. In fact, it was very common to find a note in the box of any new semi-auto .22 Mag pistol stating “Winchester ammo only.”

The detachable mag packs 30 rounds of .22 Mag within the comfortable grip frame.

So I considered it good news when I heard Kel-Tec’s “hybrid floating chamber” was specially designed to function with a wider range of loadings. On the other hand, I didn’t exactly know what a hybrid floating chamber was, so I asked Kel-Tec. Their explanation was as follows: “The barrel is allowed to float forward and backwards a small amount in the frame. There is no mechanical locking system in the gun itself. The locking mechanism actually comes from the cartridge case locking to the barrel during firing. If the pressure in the cartridge is high enough, the friction will cause the case to stick to the chamber of the barrel, and the barrel will recoil with the slide until the pressure drops, just like in a locked breech firearm. If the pressure is low, then the barrel stays still (or barely moves), and the slide recoils just like in a blowback firearm. This hybrid system allows for the use of a large range of various power ammunition, and does not require chamber friction reducing methods like a fluted or ported chamber seen on other .22 Mag autoloaders.”

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  • harrison

    my kal tec shoots like a dream,, no problems it is one of the newer ones, 100 yards , yes … the only gripe is loading the clip,,, its a lot harder than it should be ,,, a thumb ? to pull the spring down would work just fine ,,,,, if you dont like it sell it ,, there are people waiting to purchase..

  • If your one of the unlucky people that bought a PMR-30 then you know how much of a piece of junk they are. I don’t want to hear all the bla bla bla and excuses people are making for these things. Kel-Tec is really turning out to be a joke of a company and it doesn’t matter how good the customer service is if its junk they are selling. I bought a new PMR 30 2 days ago 9-25-2012 and right out of the box this thing is nothing but dangerous! There is no way to tell where the bullets are going to go when they come out of the barrel tumbling! I was shooting at a 2′ square box at 10′ and missing!! When i finally did hit they were keyholes!! I went thru 3 different good brands of shells with the same outcome!! This is suppose to be the updated version??? Come on Kel-tec get it together!! Also the PF9 i bought new wouldn’t chamber a round from the clip, had to order a replacement piece!! I have bought 3 Kel-Tec guns new and 2 of them didn’t work out of the box, 1 of them i repaired and the PMR-30 can’t be repaired cause KEL-TEC has been screwing around with the design of the barrel for 3 years now and its clear they don’t know how to fix it but they keep shipping them!! If you give the PMR-30 a good review then its clear that you like making excuses to make something seem to work. I just hope that if someone uses this for home defense that a loved one is not close by cause who knows where this thing will shoot.

  • tim

    my pmr 30 is shooting to the left. i dont know what size of torx or screwdrives is needed to loosen the front sight. can anyone help,,thanks

  • Ben Andris

    Hi Steven
    I really enjoyed you review of the Kel-tec PMR-30. I too have enjoyed shooting handgune in the 22magnum. I have one of the original 22magnum AUTO mags. it had a lot of problems , but still was fun. I will never see one of the Kl-Tec’s as I live in the Country known as California.
    But my reason for dropping this note is to thank you for talking about the “curse of the southpaw”. You really hit the nail on the head, for years I have thought it was just a quirk of my grip. I wish someone would write a story about that. I know others that have to make the “adjustment”
    Thanks again for the review and the “confession”
    Why are lefties treated like lepers????
    Valley Springs, California