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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”
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. 

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