Kel-Tec PMR 30…..ultimate bug out gun?


Kel-Tec PMR-30 22 Magnum Semi-Automatic Pistol

I have wanted the PMR-30 since it’s release in 2011. Having been an owner of the Automag II – which was a horribly performing 22 Magnum semi-auto pistol from many years ago – I was intrigued with the PMR. At a proposed $415 suggested retail and a magazine holding 30 rounds I imagined hours of plinking fun with this futuristic looking pistol. Well – reality slapped all of us in the face when typical Kel-Tec production failed to keep up with demand and secondary suppliers jacked the price up.


I purchased the PMR in early 2015 for $600. An insane amount but I have been known for going insane now and again.

Many look at the PMR-30 as a “poor man’s” 5.7×28 FN Five Seven. I concur.



From a fit and finish perspective the Kel-Tec resembles something that can be found in the toy department at Wally World. It is really the weight of the PMR that causes immediate comparisons to toys by most everyone that has handled mine. It is incredibly light at only 13.6 ounces empty and right under 20 ounces with a full magazine of 30 rounds. Compare this to a Glock 17 weighing 25.06 ounces it is understandable the utter shock when it is first picked up.

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Overall quality of the PMR is good – not fantastic. This is no Kimber. There are minor molding marks where the two halves of the frame are joined together. Other than that looks on par with any other polymer framed modern pistol.

Grip feels good in my average sized hands. The raised textured squares on the grip do little to increase gripping and would like to see an improvement there. Many place strips of grip tape on the grip. Regardless, no issues with holding the gun. The slide is easy to grip near the rear sights for pulling the slide back. There is little to grab up front past the ejection port. There is a long picatinny rail for attachment of lights and lasers. It is very robust and rugged.

Overall the fit, finish, and feel are great.





The PMR-30 is fitted with high visibility TruGlo-type sights front and rear. They are excellent and are very easy to acquire in low light conditions. I plan on adding similar sights to my M&P9.


The safety is ambidextrous and functions much like a 1911. Flip up to put on safe and down to fire. It is color coded to show red when off safe(red is dead). The safety fits almost flush against the slide and is not very easy to engage. It is smooth and round which certainly is an advantage as far catching on clothes but activating while under pressure  – I’ll pass.


The magazine release is European-style in that it is located at the heel of the grip. I found the magazine release very easy to operate and although two hands are needed very quick. The opening of the mag well provides for easy and quick insertion.

The PMR’s 30 round magazine works phenomenally. The magazine is double stacked and is polymer constructed. The construction provides a very stiff and rigid magazine which at first glance appears to be aluminum. Per Kel-Tec’s owner’s manual the magazine requires a special technique to load. Basically insert the first 5 rounds, slap the back of the magazine against a hard surface to seat the rounds. After that every couple of rounds loaded tap it and load some more.

The single action trigger is fantastic with a very smooth let off and lightweight pull.




Shooting the PMR is an absolute ball. While aiming this super light handgun downrange while pulling the trigger it seems as though the magazine is never going to run empty. Sending a target to the maximum 25 yards at the local indoor range I was amazed at the accuracy. Groups around 3-3.5″ are not uncommon as long as I do my part. The excellent trigger really helps with the accuracy.

Reliability is not on par with most modern combat pistols. Then again, the PMR is not a modern combat pistol. The rimmed feature of the .22 Magnum does not lend itself to reliable feeding in a magazine fed semi-auto. Due to some excellent engineering from Kel-Tec the PMR is extremely reliable.

In addition to the already mentioned proper magazine loading ammunition selection is important when it comes to reliable feeding. In my testing the absolute most reliable ammunition is Hornady Critical Defense. In over 150 rounds the Critical Defense has been perfect. I have shot several hundred rounds of CCI Maxi-Mags and it has done well but not perfect. I would have to say out of approx 400 rounds I have had 4 failures. All failures were a jam coming out of the magazine going into the chamber. All 4 could very well have been from misloading the magazines. I also have shot some Federal 30 round hollow points and all 100 rounds went off without a hitch.




Is the PMR-30 the ultimate bug out gun? I don’t think it is the ultimate anything. It is a great option for a bug out bag/survival kit. Consider that the gun along with 3 magazines provides 90 rounds of capacity. Its light weight makes it a natural for inclusion in a bug out bag where longer distances have to be traveled. The reliability is not the most desirable when it comes to defense unless proper ammunition is used.

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The thing is an absolute blast to shoot. Fun factor is way up there.

Final thought? I love it!



Calibers: .22 Magnum (.22WMR)
Weight unloaded: 13.6oz. 386g
Loaded Magazine: 6oz. 170g
Length: 7.9″ 201mm
Height: 5.8″ 147mm
Width: 1.3″ 33.0mm
Barrel length: 4.3″ 109mm
Sight radius: 6.9″ 175mm
Energy (40gr): 138ft-lbs 187J
Capacity: 30 + 1 rounds
Trigger pull: 4-6 lbs 17.8-26.7N
MSRP $454.55





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