Educational Zone #123 – An Evaluation of the KelTec PMR-30 Pistol

My friend Liem wanted a Kel-Tec PMR-30 after we saw one at the SHOT Show over a year ago.

But they were kind of like hen’s teeth, hard to find.

So, he put in an order with a local FFL to look for him one, and about 9 months later, he finally got it.

Here it is.

Here it is.

The PMR-30 is a full-sized semi-automatic handgun in .22 Magnum (.22 WMR) caliber.

The empty pistol is extremely light weight and only weighs 13.6 oz.

The double stack magazine holds an amazing 30 rounds of ammo, and fully loaded adds 6 oz. to the total weight.


The magazine release in on the butt of the pistol.


The sights are a combination of high visibility orange rear sights and a high vis green front sight.

They are very easy to see and very effective.


The slide and barrel are 4140 steel, and the frame is 7075 aluminum.

The grip, slide cover, trigger, mag release, and safety levers are glass reinforced Nylon.


The barrel is very slim and is also fluted.

This allows for a light weight pistol and also helps with heat dissipation.

It includes a Picatinny accessory rail under the barrel.


The pistol has an ambidextrous thumb safety, much like a 1911 pistol, with a red insert to indicate it is ready to Fire.

It can be disassembled with the removal of one pin.

The slide locks open after the last shot and also has a Manual Slide Lock available for use.

The trigger comes from the factory set at 4 to 6 pounds and has a built in over travel stop.


The grip is long and a little wide, but is slim from side to side.

It is very comfortable in the hand.


Here I am shooting the pistol.

Here I am shooting the pistol.

There is almost no felt recoil at all.

The report is pretty loud for a .22 pistol, and you know it is a Magnum, not a standard.22 caliber.


Here’s Liem giving me some shooting lessons.

Here’s Liem giving me some shooting lessons.

And here’s a five shot group, from about 15 yards, unsupported.

And here’s a five shot group, from about 15 yards, unsupported.

The trigger is very crisp and light and you can run the gun pretty fast.

Here’s Liem shooting it fast, with 3 empties in the air.

Here’s Liem shooting it fast, with 3 empties in the air.

Ejection was very positive, with empties flying to the right rear about 20 feet.

How about penetration of the .22 WMR out of a pistol with a 4.3 inch barrel?

We will try a couple of different loads against the Waterbox O’ Truth.


Kel-Tec advises not to use any foreign ammo, due to inaccuracy in the standard head space of this ammo. We will try some American ammo today.

First we will try the Hornady 30 grain V-Max round.

It penetrated 4 jugs, or 12 inches of ballistics gelatin, but, surprisingly, did not expand at all, and only lost the little red plastic tip from the bullet.


Next we will try the CCI Maxi-Mag 40 grain HP.

It really busted the first jug.


It penetrated 5 jugs, for a total penetration of 15 inches of ballistics gelatin.

But it did not expand at all.

It looks like it would take a longer rifle barrel to get enough velocity to expand these bullets.



The PMR-30 is a nice shooting little pistol and would be the ticket on varmints or for plinking. And, it makes the FBI minimum penetration with the right ammo.

It sells for around $350.

It barks loud, but has almost no recoil and is a pleasure to shoot.

2 Comments on Educational Zone #123 – An Evaluation of the KelTec PMR-30 Pistol

  1. Dennis smith // January 10, 2016 at 12:58 am // Reply

    I Finally got to the range today to shoot my new Christmas PMR-30, After searching for two years and getting placed on I don!t remember how many shops waiting list I finally got an email stating they had one and if I wanted it I needed to come get it. I had placed my hands on a couple each time a show came to town but I refused to pay the premium markup the sellers were asking for them. Thankfully I got mine for suggested retail, at $450,00.. I fired a hundred rounds with zero failures to feed. I was shooting Hornady 30 grain vmax. I put all 100 rounds in a circle Smaller than a pie tin. Must was in a circle the size of a coffee cub. I got carried away with the last magazine and shot all 30 rounds as fast as I could pull the trigger so thr group opened up.
    I try to hit the range once a week and shoot 100 rounds through my favorite 45acp. Lately my wrist is throbbing and stiff after a 100 rounds of 45. I’m getting on up in age now and beginning to get a little recoil sensitive. The PMR was such a fun gun to shoot with no adverse recoil effects on my aging body.
    The only Gripe I have at this point is the availability of .22WMR. My local gub shop range had a good supply today but they were priced up to $25 a box and I passed them by. I should have got them because I drove all over the Charleston Metro area and made seven stops. All shelves were dry and I was told they didn’t know when they would be getting any in.
    I guess with all thats going on in today’s firearms market a dealer has got to sell what he can because tomorrow he could be forced out of business by the liberal gun haters. So I really should not get my drawers in a wad when a shop overprices hard to find guns and ammo but ten bucks a box markup is unethical.
    In closing I love my new PMR and when I get completely comfortable handling it the PMR will be my CCW side arm. I think that 3 – .22 diameter holes will bleed just as much as one at .451. I have no doubt I can place more .22 magnum rounds on target than I can with my .45acp.

  2. dr robert e whiting // February 26, 2016 at 3:54 am // Reply

    I have two PMR-30’s one standard and one with a 5 inch barrel and compensator. The later purchase has a better fit between the slide and frame. If you do everything right and use CCI ammo it is fairly dependable. With other ammo it’s not so much. It is a really fun gun, it’s light and accurate. I have some concerns about using it as a carry gun because these guns do have hair triggers. It has a nice manual safety, but off safety, you tap the trigger it shoots. I shoot a lot of Glocks, and SW40ve, these guns have a long trigger pull. Don’t mistake that on the PMR-30, it’s a hair trigger. The good side is, you can put 31 rounds on a target the size of a persons head in very short order. From a pure fire-power standpoint it is awesome and I certainly wouldn’t feel under-gunned carrying one for self-defense. At any distance where you would need to be shooting anyone as a life or death threat, you could take a head shot with follow ups, fast and on target. Anybody sprayed with one of these things is not going to be thinking of anything but medical help, that is, if they’re still alive, and that’s unlikely. These guns get a very high self-defense rating, right there with the best of pistols, and that’s why. A unique gun, I only wish I could still get rim-fire ammo as in the days before Obama.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.