The Kel-Tec PMR-30 is a widly popular pistol and supply hasn’t yet caught up with demand, but we can’t hold back the review of this incredible gun indefinately. If you want one, put yourself on a list with your local dealer and eventually you’ll get one.
It is an awkward looking gun that you might ask yourself, “what do I need this for?” Just as a plinker it is a fun gun, but when you really look at the PMR-30 it is great for small game hunting, backpacking, and even self defense.
You will want to buy more than one box of relatively inexpensive .22WMR. One box wont’ even fill your magazine twice.
But unlike many pistols, once the PMR-30 heats up, you don’t need to worry about accuracy falling away. For this test we started with a hot gun and put 30 rounds rapid fire into the target at 10 yards. Most shots are in less than 2″.
Note the ambidextrous safety, and the heel magazine release for those of you who always ask about left handed versions. Sometimes we wonder if you walk up to hot dog stands and ask if they have a left handed version.
Our trigger pull seemed to lighten up over the course of several outings. We recently measured it at just under 4lbs. The break could be more prounounced, but you get a feel for it as you shoot it.
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It is amazing that one of the most scarce and in demand pistols today is the Kel-Tec PMR-30. You can’t get one, and many gun dealers have even created sign-up lists for customers to get them as they come in. The PMR-30 isn’t a cheap gun. The MSRP is $415, yet the demand for the PMR-30, after literally years, seems unquenchable. But if I asked you to play word association on guns, and my hint was “plastic 22WMR pistol with orange and green fiber optic sights and a 30 round magazine,” what would you say? Nothing, right? Nothing comes to mind. So what on earth is this gun for? That’s the point. The PMR-30 is for just about everything.
We first got this gun in for review over a year ago and we have been afraid to publish a review because of the negative comments about Kel-Tec not being able to produce enough of them. By now we figured that the demand would catch up, but that is not the case. You can’t blame Kel-Tec though. They have steadily increased manufacturing capacity over the last two years, but there is an unprecedented demand for their guns. Any faster and they would have to compromise quality control, which is unacceptable. Demand has only increased during that time for the PMR-30, as well as all of their pocket guns, the .223 rifles and pistols, Sub-2000, RFB, and the KSG. This speaks volumes for the company mission of Kel-Tec. Put yourself on the list and eventually you’ll get a PMR-30, at a normal price. A lot of people have already commented on our KSG article that they have been able to get them for MSRP, and the PMR-30 is rarely priced over normal retail price.
Our test gun has now been shot repeatedly with dozens of shooters of the course of the last year or so and it has never failed to fire with just about every brand of .22WMR available. It seems to like the Hornady 30 grain V-Max the best, but the 45 grain Critical Defense has been close in accuracy. Inexpensive range ammo from Federal, Winchester, Fiocchi and CCI at less than $10 a box has been almost as accurate, and perfectly acceptable for most jobs you might find for the PMR-30.
That list, of what the gun is good for, is as long as any pistol we have ever tested. It is perfect for small game hunting and as a truck or under the front seat gun. For self defense, the nearly recoil free PMR-30 is ideal for small framed shooters and especially the elderly who can’t handle any recoil, and can’t rack the slide on a regular semi-auto handgun. One round of .22WMR is devastating. Thirty should just about do the trick if someone crashes through your front door in the middle of the night. It is a slightly awkward gun to handle because of the thick grip, but once you get used to it the feeling is very intuitive. We have had several women with small hands shoot the gun and not one have complained that it didn’t fit them.
Perhaps the most unique job for the PMR-30 is as a ranch gun. Just yesterday Dwayne Powell, our resident guide at Kissimee River Hunt & Fish, shot the gun for the first time. His reaction was “this gun could save my life.” He doesn’t always carry a rifle on his hunts with clients because, between blinds, seats, callers, and other gear, there is just too much to carry. This little PMR-30 will most likely stop a charging hog or gator in a pinch, and with 30 rounds there is plenty of room in the magazine to miss a few on a moving target. You can practice shooting at moving targets on the range, but there is nothing like the tunnel vision and adrenaline of facing a charging deadly animal in real life. Moving faster than you might think they can, the more times you can miss a charging killer and still have more bullets in the magazine, the better. Things don’t always go the way you think they should.
What is truly incredible about the PMR-30 is its accuracy over the course of the 30 round magazine with a hot gun. It gets boring showing a five round group for most pistols. Guns are so good now that most are pretty close when it comes to accuracy on a cold gun. Heat the gun up and try the same test and more than not you will find that the same gun sprays bullets into a much wider circle. But on the PMR-30, you can put magazine after magazine through the gun and it will hold its groups and shoot to the same point of aim. You see here that just yesterday we put over 200 rounds through our test gun then shot a 30 round target with it still hot. Most shots fell into a 2 inch ragged hole at ten yards. That is incredible.
One thing you may not like about the gun is that the sights are not at all adjustable, except for a drift-able dovetail in the front. Our test gun shot a little low at 10 yards, but it is centered to point of aim. This was with the Hornady 30 grain V-Max. In prior outings, at 25 yards, similar testing has been more centered to point of aim. When you get your PMR-30, like any fixed sight gun, you’ll have to see where it shoots and get used to adapting your point of aim for the ammo you plan to use.
Other details you might want to know about the PMR-30 are that it weighs under 14 ounces empty and about 20 ounces full. Our test gun had a trigger pull around 4 pounds and breaks clean, but could have a little more of a tactile stop before it fires if you want to be picky. The magazine release is in the heel, not a button. The action on the gun is unique and automatically adjusts itself to the ammo between locked breech and straight blowback. This is probably why some ammo came out more accurate than others. The safety is ambidextrous and uses the 1911 style up/safe, down/fire. It takes down for cleaning with a single pin.
It is hard to do an article on a gun that is difficult to get here at GunsAmerica Magazine & Blog. We currently email over 600,000 subscribers, and though the PMR-30 is a widely known gun, more people are going to know about it now. A lot of you are going to want it and won’t be able to get it right away, but don’t worry, the PMR-30 doesn’t need impulse buyers. It is a timelessly good gun and will be around for a long time. Kel-Tec will eventually find a way to meet the demand, and all of our safe’s with then have a PMR-30 for plinking, small game hunting, and even self defense and out on the ranch. This is a great gun, and if you can find one, grab it. No, ours is not for sale.