GUN TESTS GRADE: A- (BEST BUY)
KelTec CNC Industries, Inc., aka KelTec, is the brainchild of George Kellgren. A Swedish engineer and designer, he started KelTec in 1991 and has been manufacturing firearms since 1995. Located in Cocoa, Florida, the company is well known for innovative designs. In 2008, Tobias Obermeit, KelTec’s chief engineer, conceived the concept for and started working on a semi-auto 22 WMR pistol that held 30 rounds in a flush-fit magazine. His PMR30 was introduced in 2010 to a great deal of fanfare and is, appropriately, our third player in this trio of hyper-velocity 22s.
|Semi auto, hammer fired
|17.8 oz. with 31 rounds Federal 40 grain
|Slide Retraction Effort
|Front Strap Height
|Back Strap Height
|Grip Thickness (Maximum)
|Two 30-round polymer
|Fixed red fiber optic
|Green fiber optic in dovetail
|Trigger Pull Weight
|Lifetime for original owner
We like full-sized 22s and have had the pleasure of working with a number of them. For many years, the Carl Walther-made Smith & Wesson M&P22 has done yeoman service for us as a first pistol for new handgun students. By all appearances, the new Glock Model 44 22 LR should also do very well in that task. So, we are accustomed to lightweight polymer-framed semi-auto 22s. We weren’t ready for the KelTec PMR30. Weighing in at a wispy 13.8 ounces (compared to 21.6 ounces for the S&W M&P22), this pistol seems to almost float in your hand. The pistol case that the PMR30 shipped in was marked “PMR30 CK-TTNM.” We wondered if the company had done something different and introduced a model with a titanium slide, so we emailed KelTec. Nope. The slide is Cerakoted in a color that looks like it could be a different alloy, but not so. According to our sources at KelTec, the PMR30 is made of 4140 steel and Zytel. The sub-pound weight is standard for this full-sized pistol.
The top end is steel with a polymer cap covering the working parts and held on by four screws. An excellent fiber-optic rear sight is molded into the cap that mounts red LitePipes (HiViz’s term) we measured at almost 1 inch in length. HiViz tools and cleaning instructions accompany the pistol. The front sight has a green pipe mounted in a dovetail and held in place by two set screws. The reciprocating mass is minimal and allows for a fairly light recoil spring.
Actually, it seems that everything is held on this pistol via screws. The frame is literally a two-piece design held together by six screws. The heel-mounted magazine release is held in by two screws. The ambidextrous thumb safety, which completely blocks the sear from rotating when applied, is held in by two screws, and parts of the action are secured in the frame via two more screws.
The trigger is a hinged unit that breaks at a fairly crisp 2.0 pounds with very little travel. We never really thought we would say this, but the trigger might actually be a bit too light. Just remember Rule #3 of gun safety — keep your finger off the trigger until it is time to shoot and you have decided to shoot. The magazine release is a “heel-style” seen more commonly on European-made pistols of old. No problem. Use the support hand to press the release with the thumb and pull down on the front lip of the magazine with the index finger.
Disassembly is very simple and is covered well in the manual. Read the manual. Obviously, check to make sure the pistol is empty before you do any of this. A single transverse pin is pushed out from left to right as viewed when the pistol is held correctly in the hand and the upper assembly slides off. Lift up the recoil spring from the rear so it, the buffer, and the barrel can be removed. The instructions emphasize not to shoot the PMR30 without the buffer installed correctly. Reassemble in reverse order.
Once again, recoil was very light, and we could keep all the shots in the “A” zone of an IPSC target just about as fast as we could press the trigger. Accuracy was good, especially when considering that this pistol uses rimfire ammo instead of centerfire ammunition for the other two. Reliability was perfect when we did what we were supposed to do. When we started on the go-fast drills, we had a couple of failures to eject with the 30-grain Hornady V-Max ammo. We had read the manual, but remembered a bit too late about the instructions from KelTec to use high-velocity 40 grain ammunition. We went back to using the Federal 40-grain FMJs and the PMR30 ran perfectly. That malfunction was on us.
We tried three different brands of ammo and all hit 4 to 5 inches high and left. The front sight is drift adjustable, so moving things to the right was easy, but we would like to see a slightly taller front sight to get the elevation point of impact closer to the natural point of aim.
Our Team Said: The PMR30 is incredibly light. So was the recoil, and the KelTec carried 30 rounds in a standard-sized pistol.
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|Federal 40-grain FMJ AE5728A
|Armscor 40-grain JHP FAC22TCM1N
|Rock Island 1911 22 TCM
|CCI 30-grain JHP Maxi-Mag TNT
|KelTec PMR30 22 WMR
|Hornady 30-grain V-Max 83202
|KelTec PMR30 22 WMR
|Federal 40-grain Champion FMJ 0737
|KelTec PMR30 22 WMR