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Kel Tec PMR 30: First Look

What if I told you that there was a pistol on the market that weighted under a pound unloaded, was made of polymer and could hold 30 rounds of ammunition for under $400.00 ? What if I told you that pistol was made in the United States and had a trigger pull of only 4 pounds ? Would that get your attention ?

That’s exactly the case with today’s installment of our First Look series, the Kel-Tec PMR 30 pistol chambered in .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire or .22 WMR as it’s more well known.

Since 1991 we have watched Kel-Tec go from making affordable pocket pistols like their PF-9 and P-11 to manufacturing shotguns and rifles like their KSG and Sub 2000 folding rifles. There have been a few growing pains and bumps along the way but these things are to be expected when companies develop firearms that haven’t been seen before.

Sometimes It’s part of the cost of innovation and adaptation to changing market conditions. The evolution of that history of innovative design and concepts led me to seek out this pistol after putting off the decision for the last few years. Lets break down the Kel-Tec PMR 30 by the numbers and see if we can learn why this pistol has been so hard to get.

European style heel mag release
Photo:Rick Dembroski


Manufacturer: Kel-Tec Firearms

Place of Manufacture: Florida, United States

Model: PMR-30

Caliber: .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire (.22WMR)

Capacity: 30 Rounds

Magazines Included: Polymer 30 Round Magazines (Two Total)


  • Weight Empty: 14 oz
  • Overall Length: 7.9″
  • Barrel Length: 4.3″
  • Height: 5.8″
  • Width: 1.3″

Frame Material: Zytel Polymer

Barrel & Slide Material: 4140 Steel

Barrel Twist Rate: 1:9″

Colors Available: 

  • Black
  • Tan

Warranty: Lifetime

MSRP: $445.00 but can be found for $399.00

Comes ready for optics
Photo:Rick Dembroski

Range Time and Impressions

In order to get this article up as soon as possible, I hit the range with the ammunition on hand which was only 250 rounds of Federal Game Shock. One of the key components of any weapon is the magazine, because without a functional magazine you have, at best, an inefficient single shot. The magazine for the PMR-30 is polymer just like the majority of the pistol which wasn’t an issue to us.

Due to the length of the rounds and how they  are positioned in the magazine, the company recommends an unique loading method. The manual recommends that when loading the magazine should be tapped on it’s spine every five rounds. According to Kel-Tec this is to help ensure the .22WMR rounds are seating correctly, and decrease the chances of failure to feed problems. In our tests I followed the suggestions and didn’t have any feeding issues.

During our range time the pistol’s Hi-Vis sights made target acquisition quick and easy, that was to be expected. What I didn’t expect was how exactly how soft and smooth the 4 lb trigger was. The combination of a soft trigger and bright easy to acquire sights made for a very fast range session of ringing shots off our Defense Targets 3/8″ RST Target.

While 250 rounds for the first range session might be a bit on the short side, we were honestly excited to see if this little .22 Magnum lived up to the hype and the stories we had heard. It did. It’s nice when the hype surrounding a gun actually proves to be true.

Controls & Recoil 

The Kel-Tec PMR-30 magazine release is not located on the side of the frame like many other pistols. This pistol uses a traditional European style magazine release located at the bottom of the frame. This design facilitates magazine retention. The large button is covered in horizontal lines to aid the user in the reloading process. It’s a clean feature that works well for this pistol.

When it comes to the safety and the slide release, Kel-Tec used an ambidextrous safety and a slide release mounted on only one side of the pistol. If you are a right handed shooter you will find both of the controls easily workable with the thumb of your shooting hand. Left handed shooters will be able to utilize the ambidextrous safety with their left thumb and the slide release with their left trigger finger.

Recoil can be summed up by one word : Soft. The .22 Magnum isn’t a barn burner of a cartridge so no one expects fireballs or a loud report from firing this pistol. What we observed was hardly any recoil or associated muzzle flip from the Federal Ammunition that we used in our tests. This allowed both me and the other firearms evaluator to put all 30 rounds from the magazine on the steel target at 25 meters with a high degree of accuracy, even from two guys who aren’t particularly great pistol shooters.

Hard to argue with that trigger pull
Photo:Rick Dembroski

Closing Thoughts

In the very short time I’ve had this pistol I have put just over 800 rounds through it without any major issues and honestly; I am loving it right now. The pistol comes with a reasonable price tag, lifetime warranty and is made in the United States. If you take those facts and toss it a weight under one pound with a 4 lb trigger you have a lot of value in a very light package. I know the .22 WMR is more expensive to shoot than its smaller rimfire brother the .22 Long Rifle but I can say that this pistol makes me forget about that added cost.

The great thing about being a gun writer is that every once in a while you come across a gun that makes you remember why you fell in love with shooting in the first place. For me, the Kel-Tec PMR-30 is one of those guns. Simple, lightweight, and affordable are the highest superlatives I can toss at a firearm and this one earned all three.

This pistol has been out for several years and quite a few have been sold since it’s inception. We would love to hear your ideas, impressions or experiences with the Kel-Tec PMR-30. Are you thinking of getting a new pistol ? Is the PMR-30 something you would consider ? Send us your stories, pictures and thoughts we would love to hear them. Is the PMR-30 a solid hit or a miss ?

About the Author /

Rick Dembroski spent 10 of the best years of his life as a USAF Civil Engineer, traveling the globe, drinking beer, and causing chaos. His superiors dubbed him "King of Useless Knowledge" a title that he still loves to this day. After his military career he chose to stay in the frozen north of Alaska and currently works as an Emergency Management Specialist combining his love of chaos with preparedness to ensure people know how to survive disasters.

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