Alright coppers, be honest, when was the last time you got excited about any rimfire pistol? Once we’ve graduated to full-bore, centerfire pistols and self-loading black rifles, .22 rimfire pistols don’t exactly blow our skirts up. I’m with you one that one. Or at least I was until recently. This is an “Officer” column. So why talk about a .22 rimfire? It’s simple; this particular model is one of the most coveted rimfires in existence.
George Kelgren, the founder and engineering brains behind Kel-Tec CNC of Cocoa, Florida, has never been one to replicate others. From the get go Kel-Tec has put out many unique firearms designs. Add to that list the new PMR-30. You don’t need to be a CIA code cracker to decipher “PMR”: Pistol-Magnum-Rimfire. The number 30 indicates the round count for the magazine. Yes, the PMR-30 holds a full thirty rounds of .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire ammunition.
Like the majority of all Kel-Tec firearms, the PMR-30 uses a great deal of high-impact polymer in its construction. This makes the gun very light and less expensive to manufacture. As for specifics, the PMR-30 is a semi-automatic, single-action pistol with an internal hammer/striker. A 4.3 inch barrel guides the projectile to their target. Overall length is 7.9 inches and the height is 5.8 inches. The empty weight is only 13.6 ounces. A loaded magazine weighs a mere six ounces. This means that fully topped off the PMR-30 is still less that a pound and a half.
Kel-Tec has installed fiber optic front and rear fixed sights onto the pistol. The front color is yellow/green and the rear is orange/red. As for controls, there are few; the trigger, ambidextrous safety and slide lock lever. The magazine release is a European style heel release at the base of the grip. The slide and barrel are constructed of 4140 steel. Also, a 7075 aluminum internal frame supports the polymer grip frame. Each pistols ships in a padded hard case with the obligatory trigger lock and two magazines. The magazines are constructed of high-strength polymer.
As you would expect, an accessory rail is located underneath the dust cover area of the frame. Atop the slide you will note a four screw heads, this area is designed for a mini red-dot optic such as the Docter™ or similarly threaded units. This mount can be purchased separately from the Kel-Tec on line store.
When it comes to rimfire ammunition I learned many years ago that not all brands and loads are created equal. For decades my default rimfire ammunition provider has been CCI. I can’t remember ever being disappointed by a rimfire load from CCI. Not that there aren’t other good loads out there. For this review I would follow Kel-Tec’s printed advice and feed the pistol CCI “Maxi-Mag” TNT hollow-point ammunition.
From the 4.3 inch barrel the jacketed hollow-point bullets were averaging 1287 feet per second over my Shooting Chrony F1. From a distance of ten yards five shot groups held in the one inch range. Out at twenty-five yards they did open up a good bit to around 2.5 to 3 inches.
Shooting paper is not exactly what the .22 Win. Mag. is all about so I decided to have some fun. Filling up 16 ounce water bottles from the tap I placed them around the range. The results were spectacular. The trigger rated a “very good” on the “feel scale”. It broke crisply in the 4 to 5 pound range.
During my testing sessions my range partners and I put somewhere in the area of 150 to 200 rounds of ammo through the pistol. During that time I can remember two times that a piece of spent brass didn’t quite make it out and got stuck in the action. A quick “tap-rack” cleared it each time. Both of the included magazines fed the pistol from capacity without issue.