November 2011

Lightweight, Very High Capacity, Pistols from Kel-Tec and FNH

An amazing fact: With the Kel-Tec PMR-30, if you were beset by six attackers and put three rounds on each of them, you would still have 12 rounds left. FNH’s FiveseveN ain’t bad either.

In March 2005 we looked at the FN FiveseveN IOM model pistol (hereafter referred to as the 5.7). At the time, there was nothing else on the market to compare it to, so Contributing Editor Roger Eckstine covered it as a one-gun "Range Bag" report. In that review, he said, "Designed as a companion to the FN P90 Submachine gun, the FN Five Seven pistol is a lightweight polymer pistol chambered for 5.7×28mm ammunition. The 5.7×28mm round features a necked-down case similar to but smaller than the 223 Remington round…." That report continued, "Initially, sales of the Five Seven pistol were intended to be limited to military and law-enforcement [IMGCAP(1)]personnel because the 5.7×28mm ammunition is available with armor-piercing bullets. However, the FN Five Seven pistol is now available to civilians.

"We loaded our 10-round magazines with the FN-supplied 31-grain open-tipped FMJ rounds and headed to the range. We found the FN Five Seven to be a very lightweight pistol, weighing only 21 ounces unloaded. To house the overall length of the rounds, the grip was longer front to back than those found on most pistols, making it a little harder to connect the hands when using a two-hand grip. Right-handed shooters had to work a little harder to get their thumbs around to press the magazine release. In fact, the safety release and the slide-release levers were in opposite positions from what we are used to. The slide release was to the rear, and the ambidextrous thumb safety was located above the trigger so that the shooter had to use the weak-hand thumb or trigger finger to operate the safety. All levers were polymer, just like the frame and top-end shroud."

And the money graf from the original report: "Buy It. We’re not entirely settled on the fight-stopping capability of the civilian-issue 5.7×28mm ball ammunition, but we feel FN did an excellent job of bringing together design features such as a fine trigger, manual safety, a first-class accessory rail, ease of maintenance, and foolproof accuracy in an ultra-lightweight package."

Well, that was then, and this is now. In the last year, Kel-Tec CNC Industries of Cocoa, Florida, has brought out the PMR-30, chambered in 22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire, a gun influenced by Swedish designer and Kel-Tec founder George Kellgren’s Grendel P30 22 Magnum autoloader. But even the P30 was predated by earlier 22 WMR autoloaders by AMT (the AutoMag II is now made by High Standard) and Excel Industries (MP-22, www.ExcelArms.com). All in, the PMR-30 is slightly lighter than the 5.7, and it has a 30-round magazine, 10 more than the FN’s 20-rounder. They both fire 40-grain projectiles of nearly the same diameter, but at different velocities. Before we get to the guns, let’s examine how the cartridges compare.

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