The Most Innovative Gun of 2019: The KelTec CP33 Reviewed

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.

The CP33 is sure to make any range day enjoyable with its large magazine capacity and ease to shoot.

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.

With the muzzle threaded 1/2-28 TPI, it is possible to install a variety of muzzle attachments.

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 sights on the CP33 are very easy to use and line up intuitively when the gun is raised.

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.

The non-reciprocating charging handle is located on the back of the gun, straddling the rear fiber optic sight. The safety can be seen in this picture as well, in the fire position.

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.

At the range, I function tested a variety of ammunition which showed that the CP33 is not a picky eater.

Range Results

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.

This is the bolt of the CP33 after nearly 1,000 rounds of suppressed 22LR. The carbon buildup is pretty extreme and it had begun to cause some reliability problems at this point. Pretty impressive if you ask me. A simple clean and it went back to working normally.

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.

This is the chamber of the CP33 after almost a thousand rounds through the gun, suppressed. At this point, it was just starting to become too dirty to run 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.

The magazines of the CP33 are an accomplishment of modern engineering as far as I am concerned. This idea is so perfect and simple, it is one that makes me think, “Why didn’t I think of that!?”

Accuracy

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.

Specifications

  • 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

Final Verdict

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.

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About the author: Riley Baxter is an avid and experienced hunter, shooter, outdoorsman, and he’s worked in the backcountry guiding for an outfitter. He also get’s a lot of enjoyment out of building or customizing his firearms and equipment. Check out Riley’s Instagram @Shooter300

{ 39 comments… add one }
  • Troop emonds December 16, 2019, 12:39 pm

    Have a PMR 30. Like it very much. Very accurate. Wish they made it in .22 Lr

    Don’t like the long rear receiver on the new 33.

    Looking to get P-17. Hope for accuracy inthat. Could they puta longer barrel on the P-17 ?

  • Steve Eisenberg December 16, 2019, 6:12 am

    This looks like an interesting firearm. I’ve had good luck with my P3AT with no malfunctions or breakage even with Buffalo Bore’s hard-cast solids. Beats the hell out of my hand, though.
    This one looks comfortable to shoot.

  • Willie-O October 28, 2019, 12:14 pm

    I tried their little pocket .380acp and every 2nd or 3rd round it failed to return to battery – had to bump the rear of the slide with the heel of your off-hand. Clean, dirty, lubed, dry, several types of ammunition – made no difference. Strike 1. I tried their PMR30 and out of the first (2) magazines I had at least a dozen rounds that failed to feed into the chamber properly. I read the manual. I used the recommended ammunition and I loaded the magazines as instructed – made no difference. Strike 2. There will be no strike 3 – I simply won’t own another Kraptec.

    • Steve Hughes December 16, 2019, 11:14 am

      Well gee, Willie-boy… After all the THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of really positive reviews, any chance your problem is OPERATOR ERROR…? Or BIG HEAD gettin’ in the way…? Maybe it’s NOT KrapTec… but KrapWillie…?

    • Archangel December 16, 2019, 11:46 pm

      To Willie-o
      In my first 500 rounds, I only had 2 issues, one was a feeding issue that happened in the first magazine and the other was an iffy primer in the rim and there was a hefty rim strike, however that round did fire after rotating it.
      My PMR 30 is wonderful, and there was a barrel redesign that might have cured your issue if you had an early model, assuming it was not you being biased causing the issues.

  • David October 17, 2019, 7:07 am

    It never fails too amaze me how people spew negative like there is a reward in it for them. It takes three too ten positives too overcome one negative. With that being said I own over fifteen 22 handguns and one of the biggest reasons you can afford too shoot them a lot and you should it’s some of the best fun you are ever going too have with your pants on and with some of the comments you wonder if they have ever had them off. This kel-tec cp33 is an absolute riot too shoot! No fails amazing trigger accurate and put a smile on my face. Well worth buying! We only get so many trips around the sun guys so while your on the porch pulling something I will be out getting some action and loving every trigger pull. I can worry about the cost of things when I’m dead…

  • Archangel October 16, 2019, 11:39 pm

    I’m not a fan of plastic guns but I did buy a PMR 30 if only because it had more than a 10 round magazine. After 500 rounds fired from new, I only had I FTE (low powder charge?) and one FTF, (first round in the magazine) and one dead round with a decent rim strike, (bad priming job) so 2/3 were most likely only an issue with the ammo.
    I only load them to 25 as the last 5 are a PITA to load, but still, 100 rounds in 4 magazines is not bad.
    I have called Keltec since the PMR 30 cam out and harassed them for a PMR in 22lr.
    Nice to see that finally got around to it.
    Now I can finally buy a semi-auto in 22lr!
    I’ll probably only load those to 30 instead of 33

  • Twain Covington September 22, 2019, 8:55 pm

    What kind of material am I what kind of plastic is it made of is it durable I mean if you drop it when it bust I know I’ve gotten a Kel-Tec 2000 40 cal that’s a nice ass rifle is the materials like the Kel Tec 40 caliber

  • Twain Covington September 22, 2019, 8:53 pm

    How much is this pistol

    • gilaponte December 16, 2019, 3:34 pm

      very interested in this gun what is the price and does is hold a silencer

  • gunbob July 21, 2019, 1:36 am

    Far to much $$ for a plastic .22 as is/was the pmr 30. Great for Keltec, I’m happy for them that they can produce these cheap plastic guns and the demand is what it is and that demand supports a ridiculous price as it seems to.

    The new Ruger Mark IV Hunter stainless is a bit more but in 100 yrs it could be owned and used by my great great grand kids while this plastic CP33 or the PMR30 keltec will have long ago crumbled to dust.

    I just don’t see the value in this CP33 or the pmr 30.

    I don’t hate Keltecs, 5 yrs ago I bought a Keltec PF9 and it turned out to be a great little pistol and I carry it every day. It was just over 200.00 and this is what these two plastic wonder pistols should be going for.

    I am trending away from plastic guns altogether though. Recent acquisitions are a SA 1911 and a CZ 97. Soon a few more metal CZ guns will also be added. Though did recently trade for a CZ P10c and do like it.

  • Stugotz July 18, 2019, 7:15 pm

    Guns are dangerous, you could put your eye out.

    • Tony P. July 23, 2019, 1:02 am

      You definitely got the right name! I hope you feel that way when scum-bag attacks you, or one of your loved ones, and all you can do is stand there like a mindless libtard going Duhhhh! You really are “Stugozzi”, even a bit spustod!
      FIDELIS AD MORTEM

      • Archangel October 16, 2019, 11:43 pm

        Tony P?
        Does the P stand for Putz?
        Stugotz was obviously joking.

      • Steve Hughes December 16, 2019, 11:29 am

        Lighten up, Tony…!
        Son, you gotta learn to differentiate between serious and humorous…
        and yer-ass-n-a bag-o-turds…

        Oh, wait…! Yer ass IS a bag-o-turds……….….
        Relax. Enjoy the shoot.

    • Steve Hughes December 16, 2019, 11:18 am

      LMAO….

  • Jake July 17, 2019, 11:33 am

    Strange comments. .22’s are usually about fun or small game and perhaps target like Bullseye. This appears to be a lot of fun and has everything you could need for all of the above. Would the naysayers also be knocking things like the 5″ Walther PPQ M2 .22 for $400? I can only imagine the howls at the idea of an S&W 617 revolver at $700+. Those concerned the .22 isn’t enough for defense should consider that outside of war there have probably been more people killed with .22’s than anything else. I can’t imagine anything besides a bear or feral hog that 33 .22’s in a few seconds wouldn’t defeat. Probably wouldn’t take that many. Let’s face it. In a bug out situation am I going to take a .45 or 9mm or a .22LR pistol or revolver with two bricks of ammo in my pack or coat pockets? When all that matters is the weight I am taking 1,000 rounds of .22 over 100 of anything else.

    • Archangel October 16, 2019, 11:49 pm

      The 22 rimfire handguns will be bugging out as an addition to the 45 and 9mm because if couple dozen of the 22lr or 22 WMR don’t either kill them or scare them off, the 45 or 9mm will.

  • Sivispace July 16, 2019, 1:38 am

    Sorry but rimfire handguns don’t excite me. I’ll put my money in a Springfield Armory XDM 9mm. It is a tack driver and shoots a reasonable defensive round.

  • Michael Fassari July 15, 2019, 4:20 pm

    No! Kel-Tec makes the PMR30, a very similar handgun, in .22 mag

  • Jon July 15, 2019, 3:54 pm

    It amazes me how many people complain about how expensive this is or that’s just too much for a plinker like most of these guys are going to war with their 9s and 45s that they spent the same amount they’re complaining about. Most people that say they can’t justify spending that much on a plinker when all that 1911 you have is for plinking anyway. To each their own I guess.

  • Mike Villers July 15, 2019, 1:53 pm

    Hey Chris:

    Had to share the following with ya because of the odds of the same acquisition, time frame, and posturing vs yours re:
    I too bought a Mark 2 right around 1985. Instant favorite and remained unchallenged of that to present day (less my new Mark 4 22/45 Lite turned completely race gun). But the M4 isn’t apples to apples for me vs the classic M2 that just won’t quit and too many too accolaids to list here.
    About a year ago I decided to start customizing the amazing accuracy (out the box) and non fussy nature to about any ammo type. My decision came about after the 3 digit number of cleanings since new and my frustration of re-assembling after take downs with the only really downside to the M2 (which I know you’re aware of) though I did develop a method with a custom tool I made to assist keeping that swinging pin and getting it to stay and lock into the receiving hole to put the gun back together. (Honestly probably the worst design on about any SA SA 22 around).
    Between Tandem Kross and Volquartzen and about 20+ new custom parts bought and installed on the Mark 2, it is now so improved, I wouldn’t consider a single other 22 anywhere on the market? Take downs and re-assembling are now as easy as any 22 in its class, and with customs like the Ring charging handle, about every operating part upgrade internally including the 3lb trigger group with a flat faced trigger, pre and list travel screws and a reset nearly invisible to the onlooker (again, too much to list), and all for such cheap prices compared to larger caliber pistols, the custom grips with built in thumb rest, etc etc, I have a hard time locking the safe after returning from putting 200-300 rounds each weekly outing from the separation anxiety I get, lol. The M2, being such an annovative and Ruger flagship of its time is now a timeless, unchallenged by any other 22 of its type in the market. Did NOT do all this from the gun being any part becoming functionally absolete, or warn out (less the need to rid of the reassembly original set up). And now, it somehow retained the original personality ya get with the design of a true iconic 22 pistol but is 10 fold that of a performer and without doubt even more accurate and tighter groups not so different than going from a run of the mill larger caliber SA SA pistol to the likes of say an STI comp model 9 or 45.
    Never thought I would accomplish that much an increase in most every way, and did it all for no more than the retail of a M4.
    Sorry, but the Keltec write up alone (not counting my distaste of lacky ergonomic looks ergo the giant fear end) has more language involved of shortcomings than the true facts of the performance out the box of my 35 year old Ruger Mark 2 in stick state.
    “where are the new 22s and write ups that 35 years time should give way to marked improvement on a gun like yours or mine?”
    Just a first impression void of personal experience with a Keltec and ownership of many 22 SA pistols of notoriety as well.
    Mike in AZ

  • paul howell July 15, 2019, 12:27 pm

    Will this weapon fire .22 magnum rounds ?

    • Archangel October 16, 2019, 11:53 pm

      Paul howell, for that you need the PMR 30.

  • wiscogunner July 15, 2019, 11:58 am

    The price on new Kel-Tec guns is always sky high for the first two or three years. If you are patient, you will get this gun for low $300 range. Look at the PMR-30. People paid over $700 for it when it first became available. Then, $550 was considered decent. Today, you can get one for $330 and even less. Same with the CMR-30 carbine. I saw someone buy one on GunsAmerica for $1125! Then the price settled in around $700-$750 for about a year. Last year, most people were paying $550-$600. Today, you can buy one for $375-$450 if you shop around. This CP33 being a 22lr will do the same price drop as Kel-Tec gets production out to dealers. Shoot what you’ve got and let others pay the premium until the scalping period is over.

    • Wallacem December 16, 2019, 8:23 am

      You are dead on.

  • John Rogers July 15, 2019, 11:50 am

    Bill, the “who needs” mentality is what we’re up against with our liberal politicians, and other gun owners right now. It isn’t about a need, it’s about a choice.

    So, you’ll pass on a firearm because it holds too much ammo. Interesting perspective.

  • Keith Kyle July 15, 2019, 11:49 am

    Have been asking Shoot straight and Sportsman Guide about purchasing said CP33. No one seems to have the pistol for easy sale. What gives Kel-Tec?

  • 454Casull July 15, 2019, 9:46 am

    Looks like a lot of fun except on the Left Coast.

  • Troop emonds July 15, 2019, 9:00 am

    I own a PMR-30. Love the gun great sights,trigger.accuracy. Why not make the PMR-30 in .22 Lr.? Give it a 6.5” longslide barrel.

    The new .22 Lr gun looks horrible with the long, back end receiver.

    I’m not going to buy the new offering.

    Would buy a .22 Lr. Version if built like the PMR-30 no matter the price.

  • LJ July 15, 2019, 8:47 am

    I was very intrigued when I first read about this gun after the press release, and after contacting one of my local dealers about getting on a waiting list I was quoted a price $130 OVER the MSRP. I realized then this was probably going to end up being another PMR30 fiasco, at least as far as sells and availability. There’s no way in hell I’m paying over the MSRP for any KelTec.

    I haven’t held one yet, but based on the above photos I definitely question build quality. The charging handle design looks flimsy, as do the magazines. Cleaning looks like it’ll be a nightmare, what with all the nooks and crannies and it’s modular design.

    So 3 shot group accuracy averaged about an inch at 15 yards … seriously? One inch at 45 feet? That’s considered good? If you would have told me it grouped an inch at 50 yards I would have been impressed.

    I love .22 plinkers, especially if I can suppress it, but based on the stamped steel, cheap plastic, inaccuracy, and ridiculously high price I’ll pass on this one.

  • Lon July 15, 2019, 8:37 am

    The safety looks awkward. Though it saves you a couple seconds in mag swaps, 33 rounds takes 3+ times as long to load as 10 rounds, and at the cost of a much bigger pistol. A novelty. I’ll stick with my smaller, lighter, cheaper M&P 22 Compact.

  • Chris Baker July 15, 2019, 7:56 am

    I’m curious that you did not fire any higher velocity rounds through the gun, such as CCI velocitors or Stingers.

    That said, I think I’ll stick to my old Ruger Mk II and my AMT copy of a Ruger. Paid $125 for that last about 35 years ago from a dentist here in Arizona just to have it. Still have the box and original magazine.

  • Frank S. July 15, 2019, 7:26 am

    I have a hard time plopping that much down for a .22 pistol myself. That\’s why I don\’t have a Browning Buckmark or Ruger Mk III or Mk IV either. What I do have is an old Tanarmi .22 single action revolver. I think it\’s the same company that makes the Heritage revolvers? Might not be… was imported by some Florida firm in the 80s. I bought it at a pawn shop way back in 85, don\’t remember what I paid for it. Just wish the .22 mag cylinder had been with it. A new Heritage revolver can be had for around $150 (plain, 4.75\” or 6\” barrel). I don\’t normally go for a Phoenix, but their .22 auto with a 5\” barrel is a good plinker, 10 round mags, under $200. GSG Firefly and Chiappa 1911-22 are both right around $200. Beretta Neo is under $250.None of those are innovative — except maybe the Neo — and only have 10 rounds or less magazines. The only thing the Kel-Tec has going for it as far as I\’m concerned is the novel 33 round magazine. With the time and trouble to load, it\’s not that much trouble to get a couple extra mags and have 30 rounds available in one of the other autos. I bet you can load then fire three 10 round mags as fast as you can load then fire that 33 rounder. Might get the 33 rounds off a little quicker, but not enough to be worth the premium price.You can sell something at a high profit margin and a fewer, or a higher volume and lower price. Don\’t know what the manufacturing costs are, but I bet Kel-Tec is going with the former, and I can\’t blame them. Once the novelty wears off it will either go out of production or the price will plummet.The price isn\’t bad for a serious plinker, and the long sight radius is a plus for target shooting. I just have a hard time paying $400-500 for a .22.

  • dennis new July 15, 2019, 7:19 am

    I have a kel tec PMR 30 in WMR. When cleaned and properly stacked you can empty a 30 rd mag as fast as you can squeeze the trigger (also a hair trigger less than 3 lb pull). Mag rounds much louder (2000 ft per second) and large flames coming out of the barrel is pretty impressive at the range. It does require frequent cleaning to run well. If you want a gun that literally gives you more “bang” for the buck go with the Kel Tec 30. There is a video on Youtube called “90 rds in 25 seconds” where a guy unloads 3 mags of this weapon in 25 seconds.

  • Clyde Messinger July 15, 2019, 7:05 am

    It would be great if it was chambered in 5.7×28…

  • Bill July 15, 2019, 6:52 am

    I can see why this would appeal to some people. For me, however, it seems silly. Ammunition isn’t the dirt cheap commodity it used to be, for one thing, and who needs that kind of magazine capacity? Not me…….. I’ll pass.

  • scott beverly July 15, 2019, 5:52 am

    Being a huge fan of 22lr plinkers of any types I may have to pass on this one. If manufacturer suggested retail price is anywhere close to street price that’s out of range for most of our check books. Sure it’s unique, but the price tag is hefty for a 22 fun gun plinker.

  • Will Drider July 12, 2019, 9:35 pm

    Style appears closer to the CMR carbine than the PMR. I would speculate that the “next” version of this will be carbine. It takes much less engineering to make that jump than from the PMR to CMR.

    Prices on PMR & CMR are still inflated years after the start of production. This one will not be any different so I won’t bother with it either.

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