The KelTec CP33 was one of the most hyped products of SHOT Show 2019 and I couldn’t help but fall into the excitement. However, I was a bit skeptical about its reliability with the radical quad stack magazine design. That said, I want to kill any doubts that you may have because I found this pistol to be extremely reliable, run any standard velocity ammunition, and it was easy to load. This gun quickly became a favorite of mine to bring to the range, take out varmint shooting, and just carry around in the pickup for impromptu target practice.
Initial Impressions and Noteworthy Features
Right out of the box, this gun got my blood pumping. The CP33 arrives in a hard case for convenient storage. It comes standard with two 33 round magazines which totals up to 66 rounds of fun before needing to be loaded up again. This is handy for competitions, range day fun, and varmint shooting alike. The magazine release is on the bottom rear of the grip. The magazine does not fall out when the release is depressed but requires you to pull the magazine out by hand.
This gun looks a bit different from anything that you may have seen before but it feels good in the hand nonetheless. The sight radius on this gun is a whopping 9 inches, which makes it precise and very intuitive to point for a handgun. It comes from the factory with adjustable and highly visible fiber optic sights, making it even easier to shoot. The integrated Picatinny rail adds the option of mounting a myriad of different optics if you should choose to do so. You could also add other attachments using the M-Lok slot located under the barrel.
The trigger is a crucial factor that can make or break a handgun or any gun at that. This trigger is far better than I would have hoped. It has no creep or takeup, overtravel is very minimum and the reset is positive and extremely short. I measured the trigger pull weight on my CP33 to average 3 pounds using my Wheeler trigger pull gauge. With how crisp this trigger is, it feels to be much less.
This gun is almost completely ambidextrous with a safety selector on both sides, magazine release at the heel of the grip and charging handle in the rear. The bolt release, however, is only on the left side of the gun. The ambidextrous thumb safety is in the perfect place to operate without shifting your grip during a course of fire but it is out of the way if you choose to not use it. As with most single action hammer fired guns, this safety only works when the gun is cocked. This pistol is very straightforward to operate, the only other user-operated function being the charging handle in the rear of the gun which is non-reciprocating and very ergonomic to work.
When it came time to deep clean the CP33, all it took was the removal of one push pin and everything came apart so that I could access the components that needed to be cleaned and oiled. Once done, it was just as simple to reassemble the handgun.
The first thing that I wanted to do at the range is to check what ammunition this pistol will or will not cycle properly. I am extremely happy to say that I did not run into any supersonic ammunition that would not run this handgun reliably. Now to address that caveat, *supersonic*. Because of the threaded barrel, I know that many of you will want to add a suppressor to the CP33 and shoot subsonic rounds for ultimate smiles and quiet pews. I was hoping to find that this handgun would run subsonic rounds, and it did… for the most part. All standard velocity 22LR ammunition (being around 1050 FPS) is subsonic and this ammunition ran fine. Once I started using ammo that was slower than that, I found that it would not cycle some rounds. The CCI Quiet did not cycle any rounds but was indeed quiet. Now that I have said that: I am aware of a certain, extremely popular YouTuber who released a video review of the CP33 who shows his particular handgun to run these subsonic rounds reliably. I would say this is probably going to vary from gun to gun based on this.
After shooting the CP33 so many times suppressed, it would become filthy. Even with all of the carbon and lead gumming up the gun, I found that I only needed to give it a good cleaning at around 500 rounds in order to keep it running reliably.
Because of the unique design of the magazines, I found that loading them took care. There are a lot of incorrect ways to load bullets into these magazines but once you get the feel for pushing one bullet down, thumbing it over to the side to begin the stagger and then seating it all the way to the back of the magazine, it becomes very easy and rather quick. With a reasonably clean gun and standard velocity ammo, I did not run into any function issues with a correctly loaded magazine.
I did not accuracy test until I had fired around 1,000 rounds through the CP33, but the results from this test are very impressive. The following pictures show the groups that were shot at 15 yards using a variety of common ammunition. I will not claim to be the best pistol shooter, so you may see better results with it in your own hands. However, I am sure that you will find my results to compare to existing reviews.
- chambered in 22LR
- 1.5 pounds unloaded
- 33 round capacity
- 10.6-inch overall length
- 9-inch sight radius
- fiber optic sights
- Picatinny rail for mounting optics
- M-Lok attachment point under the barrel
- 5.5-inch barrel length
- 1/2-28 TPI
- 1:14″ twist rate
- totally ambidextrous controls
- $475 MSRP
I thoroughly enjoyed every moment that I spent shooting the KelTec CP33. It is chambered for a cheap, common round that does not recoil and you have the option to keep pulling the trigger to shoot until your finger gets tired: so it seems. With a suppressor mounted, it was the kind of fun that just causes you to giggle for no other reason than your extreme happiness. This handgun quickly became a favorite of my not-so-gun savvy girlfriend for these reasons alone. The magazines took a little bit of trial and error to figure out how to load correctly, but once I had this down, the CP33 ran reliably and loading 33 rounds took no time at all. This 22 seemed to be more accurate than my hands were capable of shooting it because I always hit where it was pointing. Taking apart the CP33 was extremely simple and I found out that I could neglect cleaning this gun for a long time before it needed to be tended to. The MSRP on the CP33 is set at $475 and I have found that it is available in store for around that same price or more due to the large demand. This is a gun that I would recommend to anyone who may be interested in buying a 22 pistol for the smiles.