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Kel-Tec PMR-30 Review [and Problems]

The KelTec PMR30 might have been on the market for a while now, but there are a lot of people overlooking the quality of this gun in favor of more traditional self-defense pistols. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive review of the gun’s specs, performance, key features, and flaws. Yes, the Kel-Tec PMR-30 has some problems (no gun is perfect). 

KelTec Firearms Logo

Our goal is to give you everything you need to know to decide if the Kel-Tec PMR-30 has a place in your collection. Let’s take a closer look. 

Kel-Tec PMR-30 Specs

First, let’s take a look at the raw specs. These will give you some idea about what kind of gun the Kel Tec PMR30 is, and then we’ll talk about performance and the pros and cons of this particular gun.

Caliber22 WMR
Firing TypeSemi-automatic rimfire
Capacity30 + 1
Overall Length7.9”
Height5.8”
Barrel Length4.3”
Unloaded Weight13.6 oz
Magazine Weight1.6 oz
Kel-tec PMR-30

If you looked at these specs and got a little confused, you’re not alone. The truth is that the PMR-30 is a strangely lightweight gun. Fortunately, that works to your advantage in ways we’ll discuss in just a moment. 

It’s worth noting here that there are a couple of other features you should know in advance. The PMR-30 features a European-style magazine release, located at the bottom of the grip instead of along the side. Despite that space-saving feature, the triangle grip is pretty broad front-to-back and takes up a lot of space. 

That can feel odd when you’re first holding the gun, but don’t worry. The PMR-30 offers surprisingly low recoil, which helps to balance the strange shape of the grip. 

KelTec PMR-30 Features And Performance

The first time you pick up a Kel Tec PMR 30 you might be forgiven for thinking that you’re holding a toy gun instead of the real thing. That’s thanks to the super lightweight design and the plastic sheathing over most of the metal components. 

Don’t worry too much. The PMR-30 is very much the real thing. 

Keltec PMR 30 Pistol on Dark background

Some users complain that the PMR-30 feels fake or cheap because of the plastic coverings. Fortunately, even after putting hundreds of rounds through the barrel, these components hold up incredibly well. PMR hardware failures are rare, and it doesn’t need much in the way of maintenance either. 

Once you’ve shot the PMR the feeling that you’re holding a toy goes away fast.

Why? Because the PMR-30 is loud and belches a respectable fireball every time you fire. This gun is straight-up fun to fire. Better yet, its lightweight design helps reduce arm fatigue and improve your accuracy during a long day at the range. 

Most lightweight guns suffer from one problem the PCR-30 doesn’t have, heavy recoil. There just isn’t much recoil when you’re firing this weapon. It’s downright easy on your hands and arms. 

Combine that with semi-automatic reloading and the featherlight 3lb trigger pull, and you’ve got a weapon that’s incredibly easy to use with a big and flashy payoff. 

Speaking of the trigger on the PMR-30, the action is incredibly smooth. Experienced marksmen and beginners will both appreciate the easy pull on this trigger. It’s not perfect, the gun doesn’t make the trigger reset obvious or satisfying, but it’s not difficult to get into the firing rhythm of the gun. 

KelTec PMR30 Pistol in Holster

In terms of accuracy, the low recoil of the gun helps make up for any awkwardness of the overlarge grip in your hand. Grouping size does depend quite a bit on what ammo you’re using, but the PMR-30 is more than accurate enough for self-defense or B.O.B. use. 

At the range, the PMR-30 isn’t fantastically accurate, but it isn’t bad either. This gun is a reasonable option for small game in addition to self-defense. It packs a much bigger practical punch than the low weight and flashy design would lead most gun owners to believe. 

Kel-Tec PMR-30 Problems

We mentioned at the beginning that this gun isn’t perfect, and there are a few important things to note as problems with this design. 

Rimfire Reliability

Let’s get the most obvious problem out of the way. Rimfire just isn’t as reliable as centerfire for several reasons. That’s not a problem that’s exclusive to Kel-Tec, but it does limit the performance of the PMR-30 once you’re talking about consistent fire. 

Now, we’ve never heard of anyone having misfiring problems more often than about once every 50 rounds, and it’s common to go 100-200 rounds or more before you have any problems with a round. But even that low rate of misfiring can be a problem in some contexts. 

Kel-Tec does seem to have overcome the inconsistent power of rimfire loads though, the PMR-30 does reload incredibly consistently for a gun of this design. 

Magazine Reloading Difficulties

The main other problem is with the magazines themselves. To get a consistently reloading mag on a rimfire pistol, Kel-Tec has opted for incredibly strong magazine springs. That’s great news for consistent firing, but it does mean that reloading the magazines can be a bit of a challenge. 

The springs do relax over time. But even so, a lot of users end up loading only 20 rounds into their 30-round magazine until they’ve broken it in. 

Bulky Grip

Lastly, while the grip is strange but comfortable in most hands, it might be more of a problem if you have smaller hands or want to use the PMR-30 as a first gun for a new shooter. The shape is just bulky enough that it may be hard to get a good grip with shorter fingers or in the hands of someone who doesn’t know what to expect when you pull the trigger. 

The Final Word On The Kel-Tec PMR 30

Overall, the Kel-Tec PMR-30 is a great gun. It’s a lot of fun to shoot, powerful and accurate enough to be practical in a self-defense setting, and reasonable for small game and protection when you’re outside or walking in the woods. 

This gun is reliable to fire, reasonably accurate, and incredibly easy to use. Suitable for marksmen of all ages and experience levels, the light recoil on this gun is particularly appealing for seniors and young shooters who can’t handle a more aggressive gun. 

Ammo is widely available and reasonably affordable as well. Even during some recent ammo shortages, the .22 WMR is one caliber that tends to be easy to find, and you’ll only pay about $.20 per round on average for high-quality ammo. 

While there are definitely some flaws to the Kel-Tec PMR-30, the joy and fun of firing this gun, its effectiveness as a practice gun on the range, and practical use as a self-defense weapon more than make up for those flaws. 

30 thoughts on “Kel-Tec PMR-30 Review [and Problems]”

  1. My pmr 30 jambs consistanly. I have tried 40 grain and 30 grain bullets. Looks like a feed problem as the unfired round coming from the magazine always jambs when it tries to enter the chamber at such a steep angle. I love the gun, what is the fix?

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    • NONE. I have tried every trick in the book. Two gunsmiths later it still jams. Hornady, CCI, Winchester, etc.. ammo, same fail to feed. Polished ramp, retro fitted latch on magazine, deburred magazine, no results yet

      Reply
      • Look up “mcarbo” on the net. They have a tune-up kit that makes it run s-m-o-o-t-h.
        It is a female-dog to install the kit but worth the effort. They recommend polishing the feed ramp, which I did. Also get their mag loading tool and follow the directions on loading the mags.

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      • The only way to consistently load the magazine is with the speed loader. Kel-Tec recommends CCI Maxi Mag 40 gr WMR. Do this and if you still have problems come back.

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      • Mine, as well. I love the gun. A guy at a local gunshop advised me against purchasing it, said it was “unreliable”. Now I know why. Hope we can find a solution. I love the gun other than jamming. Good luck

        Reply
    • Buy the mcarbo kit. I’m lucky I guess, but I’m running it factory everything and don’t have reliability issues fortunately. I just shot off 125 rounds of CCI maximag hollow point and 50 rounds of Speer gold dot with zero issues. It also cycles Hornady critical defense flawlessly.

      Reply
  2. Bummer,was looking forward to purchasing this gun but now I’m not so sure,nothing more frustrating than jamming up,feed problems.,stove piping ,ect..When the manufacturer tells you your gonna have issues I’m not so sure I wanna deal with it..Damn it man!!
    Anyone else experiencing these problems?
    A 30 rnd mag 22 sounds like a ball but then again…dont need another frustrating day trying to fix kel tec problems. I have 2 of their KSG tactical bullpup 12 ga. shotguns,love em,they shoot nearly ever time .with exception of 3 in long shells ,not wanting to eject completely.,much better than UTAS 15. Somebody tell me they’re PMR 30 shoots good with no problems, I can handle every now and then but all the time,nnnuuuooo. Thanks

    Reply
    • Buy the Kel-tec speed loader and CCI Maxi Mag 40 gr WMR ammo. I have had zero issues as I approach 500 rounds. It’s very accurate out to 50 yards and it’s a lot of fun.

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    • My kel- tec pmr 30 won’t even fire any more. Firing pin don’t even make a make on the round. I have maybe 500 rounds total threw it.

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    • Sorry Steve. I have been frustrated from the start with my pmr 30. That is how I got here. 4 years later, every different ammo. I am searching for a cure. I was a butcher, who used a 22 mag rifle for slaughter on site. I lost partial vision and could no longer see both sites at the same time on the rifle. I can see sites on a pistol. Killing for slaughter is up close, scopes are useless. This pistol was perfect for killing animals for slaughter. I kilked many cows, pigs, even a few buffalos. I really want to fix this issue. It is not safe for self defense. It literally renders it unusable except to practice getting faster at clearing jams on the range, lol. Nice neon glass sites

      Reply
  3. I loved it when I first bought it. It looked great and it was light weight. The problem of jamming is real, however, I found the problem and fix. It is because the recoil is so minimal that it does not force the next round to chamber. You have to lock your grip in and use the isosceles grip when handling the weapon. If you use the weaver or single hand strong fire, it will not gain enough momentum to chamber the next round. Good luck and I hope it helps you.

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    • Thanks for the tip Steven! You’re right about your grip playing a huge part in jamming – I think that is true for any gun model. I’ve seen this problem especially with inexperienced shooters who sometimes don’t prepare for the recoil and it results in a jam.

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  4. I haven’t experienced the feed issues others talk about. Mine even cycles the short barrel (SB) ammo just fine! What I have had a problem with is the magazine release button. I seem to inadvertently press the button while gripping the gun or it gets pressed while it’s holstered causing the magazine to become unseated or disengaged from the catch. Anybody else have this issue and some sort of a cure?

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  5. Very satisfied with my PMR-30. Use the recommended ammo and buy Kel-Tecs speed loader. Zero failures as I approach the first 500 rounds. This is the most accurate pistol I have out to 50 yards. It’s really fun as hell to shoot.

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  6. Replace the plastic feed ramp with a Carbo rounded stainless steel feed ramp (M-Carbo…$40), and load less rounds until the magazines get broken in.

    Reply
  7. I love my PMR-30. However the weapon always seems to jam once or twice every time I go to the range usually after 30-50 rounds have been fired. When the weapon fails I examine the chamber and always the same, the previous round has failed to eject and the new round is half way our of the magazine. Always use the recommended CCI 40gr Mini-Mag ammo. Clean the weapon after every trip to range. Usually shoot 150 – 300 rounds. Welcome and comments on a fix. Thanks

    Reply
  8. Brian
    I’ve had my PMR 30 for 6 months and I’ve shot many rounds rounds through it of various brands of ammo. The one I’ve stay with not only with no feed problem but availability is the CCI Maxi Mag wmr 40gr. This is one of the ones recommended by Kel TEC in the manual. I keep stats of rounds I shoot by brand and reliability. The Maxi Mag have been fired 500 times with only one mis feed and that is when the gun was brand new and I was struggling to load 30 in the magazine. Since then I only load 25 per mag and have no issue with the brand. I haven’t tried 30 rounds since so they might load easier now but my thoughts are 25 rounds is plenty.

    Reply
  9. Sorry Steve. I have been frustrated from the start with my pmr 30. That is how I got here. 4 years later, every different ammo. I am searching for a cure. I was a butcher, who used a 22 mag rifle for slaughter on site. I lost partial vision and could no longer see both sites at the same time on the rifle. I can see sites on a pistol. Killing for slaughter is up close, scopes are useless. This pistol was perfect for killing animals for slaughter. I kilked many cows, pigs, even a few buffalos. I really want to fix this issue. It is not safe for self defense. It literally renders it unusable except to practice getting faster at clearing jams on the range, lol. Nice neon glass sites

    Reply

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