KelTec PMR30 Full Review and Clear Ballistics

My total round count through the PMR30 was 1250 rounds. Just like every article, I like to start with my findings, then work my way back up with what I really liked. The PMR30 had one “mechanical” issue - if you can call it that - in addition to having a general knack for causing cheap ammo to shoot like... well, cheap ammo.

Problems mixed up with common sense?

The disassembly pin on the PMR30 snapped in half. Interestingly enough, I have only found 2 other people online with this issue, both of whom reported that they changed the pin and never had another issue. This causes no safety concern and on top of that, KelTec has resolved the issue by creating a less aggressive notch in the center of the pin for retention. We sent this back to KelTec for inspection and they did not discover any other concerns for the gun and happily replaced the pin and shipped it back to me with no issues and constant contact through the process. Given the state of the market I find that to be pretty impressive.

One thing to keep in mind is that 22 Magnum ammunition is not really meant to be used in a semi-automatic magazine-fed handgun, it was designed for pump, lever and bolt action rifles, so not all ammunition is created equal for this particular firearm. All of it works but you may have to load your magazine with 25 rounds instead of 30 if you’re shopping the bottom shelf.

When going back and looking through my notes I noticed one thing to be very obvious: If you buy cheap ammo, you will have more problems than when buying quality ammo. Well, now that I have stated the obvious I will explain. CCI 22 Magnum is a good benchmark for quality, the case is a little thicker and less prone to denting which is why I didn’t have a single issue with them out of the 500 rounds I shot. I bought the cheapest Remington 22 Magnum I could find, which seemed to be the source of the feeding issues as the casing would almost bend in half when getting to the last few rounds loaded in the magazine.

I have seen a lot of reviews pointing out feeding issues and I think it is a big miss on everyones part. “A good gun should cycle every type of ammunition” is a comment that I hear often in reference to the PMR30. Remember, we are using 22 WMR for something it was not initially designed for. Cheap ammo means it is cheaper to produce. Cheaper production means things like thinner brass and less expensive means to create a product that is in a way different, or in this case inferior, for its purpose. Any owner of a 22LR or 22 WMR will tell you their gun never has issues with one type of ammo or another… you’ve heard it whether you’ll admit it or not and this is no different than anything else in its class.

Something else I discovered when reviewing another highly-critiqued KelTec firearm is that KelTec does a fair amount of research. If you listen to them and pay attention to the details they provide, you will have fun at the range and have a perfectly functioning firearm.

The Like List

Let’s move on to what I loved about this gun (go get a cup of coffee this is a long list). We can start with the trigger. I would die a happy man if I could put the PMR30 trigger on every gun I own and/or will ever own. This thing breaks super smooth, with a light pull and super-short reset. The trigger on the PMR30 is something to be proud of, competition grade and a light pull normally take another $200 out of your wallet for the upgrade but with this trigger I wouldn’t change a thing.

One big question we have gotten is “How is the recoil compared to a 22LR?”. The PMR30 is definitely between a 9mm and 22LR, though I feel it scales slightly closer to the 9mm and the recoil is very manageable. That makes this a much better training round in my case since it is cheaper than 9mm. And with a 30 round capacity I can spend more time working on shooting mechanics and less time reloading magazines.

The PMR30 sights are all fiber optic with a green dot on the front and two orange rear dots. The sight picture is perfect for shooting with both eyes open and since they have two separate colors it makes it a great gun for training yourself to move from one eye closed. The sights are clean, crisp and yet again another feature on this firearm I would not change anything about. In regards to sights it is also worth mentioning that you can mount a red dot directly to the top of the slide.

One argument I have heard time and time again is that 22 Magnum loses its effectiveness with a 4.4 inch barrel and wouldn’t be any more effective than a standard 22 LR. I’m not going to write anything about this here because we did a small ballistic comparison and well…. go watch the video and then you can come back. I’ll give you a pep talk and we can continue on with the review.

The PMR30 is deemed a novelty by quite a few people who may not have looked hard enough. The “wow” factor is there with all of KelTec’s “off the wall” firearm creations. Something about blasting through a 30 round magazine with a fireball spitting handgun that sounds like an AR15 gets a lot of heads at the range facing your direction. You cannot ignore low recoil, 30 round capacity, highly accurate, reliable with almost all ammunition, great trigger and nice fiber optic sights on a gun anyone can operate. The big miss is dismissing it as a range toy when it has clearly proven to be a viable self defense option in addition to being the most fun I have ever had at the range with a handgun. This is yet another thumbs up review for KelTec for both their product and their prompt customer service in a booming industry that presents a lot of challenges.

  • Chuck C

    Thank you for the review. Been looking at getting one and your review closed the deal. Thanks again.