PMR 30-6

Kel-Tec PMR-30

I have it on pretty good authority from ol’ G.L. that Han Solo was looking for more than a mere blaster cobbled together from a C96 Mauser. He was looking for something that shot a hyper light bullet at extreme velocities with a large capacity magazine. This set up would be a most useful tool to combat the Empire. Personally Kel Tec may be somewhat responsible for Darth whats his face for making it through so far in the series.

Ok, so truthfully I made all of that up and hope I don’t get sued, but I do like Star Wars and since the PMR-30 looks to be something straight out of a space battle, I thought that would be a great segue to introduce this pistol.  If you are unfamiliar with the PMR-30, here are the high points. The slide and barrel are 4140 steel and the receiver is 7075 aluminum.  Slide cover, trigger, grip, mag release and safety levers are glass reinforced Nylon (Zytel), similar to other Kel-Tec pistols. The magazine is made from Zytel and has 30 round capacity. The PMR-30 has dual opposing extractors to increase extraction reliability, European style magazine release at the heel of the grip, dovetailed aluminum front sight, Picatinny accessory rail below the barrel, urethane recoil buffer, and captive coaxial recoil springs.

I was able to secure enough 22 WMR ammunition to test how well this pistol could be an evil defeating future gun.  Lead trumps special effects all day long.

Initial range trip.

22 mag-12 - Copy

I took the PMR-30 out with a couple boxes of .22 WMR and went right to it. One thing is for sure, the 22 mag gets good to you quick and even thirty rounds goes fast. There is no denying the “fun factor” on this pistol, especially running through two, thirty round magazines as fast as you can. We tried that a few times and got the little pistol pretty warm. Yes, it is fun but let’s look at the practicality. Being a mere 13.6 ounces it is easily carried, there is almost zero recoil, and it holds plenty of ammunition in a single magazine. Is the 22 Magnum a viable defense round? Well you can decide for yourself by clicking this link to my .22 WMR ballistic test.

22 mag-15

The Kel-Tec is quite loud and includes an impressive muzzle blast.

By the day’s end we had run around 350 rounds of various configurations without any issues. The fiber optic sights were excellent and were easily acquired. Even in the shade they glowed bright enough to contrast against the pistol and target. With such a great trigger and sights the pistol was easy to shoot well. The only thing I did not like about the PMR-30 was the slide stop. It is really minor but me being used to shooting a Government Model my preferred method of dropping the slide from slide lock on a fresh magazine is by using the slide stop. The slide stop on the PMR-30 does not really have a ledge for your thumb so that method is tougher than just pulling the slide back and using the “sling shot” method. Like I said, not a big deal but this did stick out for me. The magazine catch is in an odd spot but is easy to get used to.

22 mag-5

22 mag-1

Clinton and Allison, friends of mine, took turns shooting the pistol and smiles all around told me they approved.

PMR 30-12

Here you see the muzzle and front fiber optic sight.

PMR 30-11

The right side of the ambidextrous safety, shown in the fire position and the rear fiber optic sight, which is drift adjustable.

PMR 30-1

The left side of the ambidextrous safety.

PMR 30-8

European style magazine release at the heel of the butt and raised grip are on the handle. The raised grip helps you keep a firm purchase on the pistol.

PMR 30-3

The ejection port and standard Picatinny rail

PMR 30-5

The top of the slide, denoting the 22 WMR caliber.

PMR 30-4

The rear of the slide

PMR 30-2

The trigger, about 1/8″ of take up and it broke very clean at 4 pounds with little over travel.

PMR 30-7

Another shot of the muzzle.

pmr 30-1

The PMR-30 with an accessory pistol light attached.  The light held fast and remained so during usage.

pmr 30-1-2

The PMR-30 easily field strips by pushing out a disassemble pin, sliding the slide forward off the receiver, compress the captive recoil spring by hand, slide the barrel block to the front and pull it out, and lastly remove the barrel by pulling it out of the slide from the bottom. The pistol ships in a nice clam shell box with the instructions, an extra magazine, and the trigger lock.

PMR 30 accuracy test

The Kel-Tec PMR-30 is an accurate little pistol. These three-shot groups were shot at twenty-five yards using a solid rest.

Truthfully the .22 WMR is a hot little round and was able to penetrate deeply in ballistic gel and several rounds did expand. With this pistol being easily manipulated and controlled, even under rapid fire, I can see where it could serve as a viable carry pistol for some.  It could also be a good companion on the trail or fishing trip. The PMR-30, having many polymer parts and some of the steel parts covered in polymer, it should hold up well against the weather or the confines of a tackle box.  So no matter what you think on the .22 WMR as a defensive cartridge there is no denying it is a pile of fun, even at distances that shame the 22 Long Rifle. The PMR-30 is also an excellent training aid for the uninitiated on the auto-loader. After the 350 some rounds, .22 WMR ballistic test, and two other shooters we all have grown very fond of the little Kel-Tec. It preformed well and was dang accurate.

Revisit of the PMR-30 almost a year later



JC’s Firearms for donating a pile of ammunition.

Jamie from Kickin Grass for donating ammunition

Gabriel Nelson of f/stop Grooves Photography

Clinton Jamieson for donating ammunition and helping out with the entire test


Technical specs

Calibers: .22 WRM 9.22 Magnum)
Weight unloaded: 13.6oz.
Loaded Magazine: 6oz.
Length: 7.9″
Height: 5.8″
Width: 1.3″
Barrel length: 4.3″
Sight radius: 6.9″
Energy (40gr): 138ft-lbs
Capacity: 30 + 1 rounds
Trigger pull: 4 lbs
MSRP $415.00

By Hunter Elliott

I spent much of my youth involved with firearms and felt the call early on to the United States Marine Corps, following in my father's and his brother's footsteps. Just after high school I enlisted and felt most at home on the rifle range, where I qualified expert with several firearms and spent some time as a rifle coach to my fellow Marines. After being honorably discharged I continued teaching firearm safety, rifle and pistol marksmanship, and began teaching metallic cartridge reloading. In the late 1990s I became a life member to the National Rifle Association and worked with the Friends of the NRA. Around that time my father and I became involved with IDPA and competed together up until he passed away. I began reviewing firearms for publications in the mid 2000s and have been fortunate to make many friends in the industry. Continuing to improve my firearms skills and knowledge is a never ending journey in which we should all be committed. I am also credited as weapons master on a few independent films.

2 thoughts on “Kel-Tec PMR-30, Han Solo’s first choice”
  1. […] Can the .22 WMR be used as a defensive cartridge? If asking literally, any cartridge can be used as a defensive cartridge. But is it viable? Well, we set out with a brand new Kel-Tec PMR-30 test sample, a CED chronograph, two blocks of ballistic gel, and ten different rounds that offer a good cross section on what is available. Using the same protocols as I have in past ballistic tests we attempted to offer some information on the round so people could make a more informed decision. No one can tell you what is the prefect round for you to carry but seeking out information can help you narrow down the choices. The point of the .22 Winchester Magnum ballistic test is to provide some of this data. You can find the Kel-Tec PMR-30 review by following this link. […]

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