Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Gunday: An instructor shoots the PMR-30

I realize y'all are probably getting sick of all these PMR posts, but I have the gun for review, and by golly, I'm gonna review it. I may not be a professional reviewer in a national gun magazine, but hopefully I can get by on my cute demeanor and a willingness to be ridiculously thorough.

Anyway, last weekend I took the PMR out to the range where my Gun Store Guy (hereafter known as GSG) takes students for qualifying shoots after their class on concealed carry. He's a certified instructor, has taken several armorer courses (not entirely sure which ones -- let me know if you need to know more), works behind the counter at the gun store and is generally a stand-up guy.

I loaded the magazines for him to demonstrate how they worked (he was shooting 40 grain CCI Maxi-Mag FMJ, the same as I shot during my test firing), gave him a basic tutorial on how the gun worked (he kept forgetting to disengage the thumb safety, amusingly enough) and then let him shoot it.  I didn't shoot the pistol at all.

He was shooting at target at 15 yards. I regret that I didn't get any pictures of it afterwards, but I was too busy getting a free trigger job on my Glock and by the time I got done, he'd already taken it down and thrown it away. I can tell you that while he didn't score shots exclusively in the 10 ring, he was consistently hitting a head-sized target at that range.

Interestingly enough, we didn't experience a single keyholing issue this time around. I don't know if this is due to variation of ammo batches, or of the barrel just needed some "breaking in."  Either way, I'm pleased to report that the problem seems to have disappeared.

Here are his thoughts on the PMR-30.
  • What I liked most about the pistol was that it felt really easy to use. It felt like one of those guns that you could take to the range and shoot all day. I'm a big advocate of hi-cap mags and the 30 round mag in a pistol can't be beat. There is next to no recoil and a little bit of muzzle rise. Fiber-optic sights picked up the target quickly on follow-up shots. I would compare the feel of this gun to a FN 5.7 but without the price tag. [1]
  • The only negative to the gun is the magazine. You need practice to load it because the rounds can get stuck in the mag. I understand that Kel-Tec has procedure for loading the mags so that would be the only learning curve on this gun. [2]
  • The biggest negative is with Kel-Tec itself, and not the gun. They are always behind on production. Since the gun came out , I have only been able to get my hands on two PMR-30s and one KSG to sell in the store. [3]
  • At this moment I see no changes I would make make to the PMR-30. The gun is light, accurate, nice trigger and sights. If I were to make any changes they would have to do with the magazine,  but the .22 WMR is a rimfire gun so I don't know how they would get around it.
  • I would recommend this gun to everyone and every shooter. Working at gun store I find that a lot of female customers have a hard time with pulling the slide on a semi-automatic, but I think pulling the slide on the PMR is something the majority of female consumers can do. I think it's a little too big for a conceal carry piece, but I do know people who conceal carry full-size 1911s. It's a great gun for the range and for home defense!
Editor's Notes:[1]  I keep hearing "It's like the FN 5.7, only cheaper and with more ammo." It's almost a mantra among people with more experience than I have with pistols. I'm not sure if this is praise for the PMR or an indictment of the 5.7 -- take that as you will.
[2]  We had a magazine that would consistently jam at the 21 round mark during loading. Rounds 1-20 were fine, and the magazine fed properly. We just couldn't load it to full capacity.  What's interesting is that when I got home and fed it with 40gr CCI hollowpoints, it loaded without difficulty. I don't know if this was an oddball batch of FMJ ammo, or if the slight differences between HP and FMJ were what caused the jam, or if the magazine is just defective.
[3]  Again, a common complaint. Kel-Tec needs a larger production pipeline. 

Two other guys shot the PMR as well: GSG's father-in-law and the guy who did my trigger job. Again, their responses were typical:  very accurate, no recoil to speak of, fun to shoot.  There was also lots of oohing and ahhing about the fireball the magnum rounds made. Watching it from the side, I was reminded of the flare from Robocop's hand cannon.

Trigger guy gave me this interesting tidbit:
  • "Great trigger -- it's smooth all the way back and has a consistent pull."
Now if I can just get my mom to shoot this thing, we will have a nice full-spectrum review of the piece. 


  1. Well. The 5-7 has very low recoil, and I've heard that they've lowered the trigger pull to something less military strength. But even with the old version you can fire very fast and accurate series. I've only touched and fired with it once (out of the military blue box, which contains the most common military firearms in circulation now and what's expected to be in the near future. Although we payed considerably more attention to the soviet block stuff).

    It does feel toylike in weight and recoil (firing a fairly light round and being constructed mostly from lightweight polymers), you can hardly believe that it fires a round that can shred anything but the heaviest kevlar variants. Also, the PMR, it has a pretty huge magazine (20 rounds standard).
    If people say it's like a cheaper Five-Seven it's a compliment. Although as a gun for defensive purposes it's not. The 5.7x28mm might be lightweight, but it penetrates deeper than even +P rounds (and like most lightweight military rounds it tumbles once inside the target).

  2.  "Working at gun store I find that a lot of female customers have a hard time with pulling the slide on a semi-automatic, but I think pulling the slide on the PMR is something the majority of female consumers can do."

    No offense intended but this, right here, should not be used as an endorsement of the gun. Teaching a female shooter to work the action on a semi-auto to load it or lock back the slide on an empty gun is more a matter of technique than pure strength. (It's frustrating that more male instructors don't understand how to teach female students the best technique for them while every female instructor I've met understands it)

    While I also run across many female students who initially have problems working the action on a semi-auto after a few minutes instruction on the correct technique almost every has learned how to do it sucessfully with no problems. (The exception was one student with severe arthritis and hand strength issues who just couldn't manage any pistol larger than a .22 both for loading and recoil control - The PMR might work for her, but for the vast majority of new female shooters they'll be better off learning the correct technique to open up the possibilites for other, more effective, guns).

  3. Please continue talking about the PMR. Heck, if I get a new gun I like, it is all I shoot or talk about. Until the next one.

  4. I  like these types of posts, you are thorough, yet honest, something some gun reviews lack.

    I went to a recent gun show.  I was itching to buy something.  I went to one seller that had QUITE the collections and said I was thinking of adding another defensive piece.  He immediately chimed in with "oh, heres a little .380, a lot of women buy these".  He is probably still wondering why he didn't make a sale.

    There were a  M1917 and  a few 1911's.  Geez, what's a girl to do?

  5. Aww shucks, Miss B, you'll swell my head. :D

  6. Hey, I just wrote what he said. When and if my mom ever shoots it, we will find out if it's easier for her to cock. 

  7. Thank you for the review--I'm "in the market" for a new handgun, and have bone issues in my dominant hand, so recoil is a big time factor.   This is very helpful.

  8. You really ought to check out this guest post from a lady who carries the PMR as a self defense piece because she has nerve damage from a broken neck. 

  9. I've shot a FN FiveseveN pistol and the two guns are very comparable in size, shape, and overall ballistics.   FiveseveN retails for around $1,000,  probably has a better overall build quality (tho both guns are NOT heralded as amazing feats of engineering) and the 5.7x28mm probably has a few foot-pounds of energy at muzzle out of the Pistol than .22 WMR.

    That being said the PMR30 holds 10 more rounds,  costs a ton less.  Ammo can be had at any Wal-Mart or sporting goods store, and is MUCH cheaper.  The sights are LOADS better,   and my initial impressions on picking up both guns for the first time,  the FiveseveN feels like a standard polymer pistol, the PMR30 feels like a Wal-Mart squirt gun.    Now since the PMR30 I've shot WORKS,  that "Cheap" feel actually means its light can easy to carry, so victory there.

    Really the big advantage of the FiveseveN is you can actually FIND them.  I generally have seen one at every gun shop I've walked into outside of Massachusetts where they can't be sold.

    Again Kel-Tec,  start cranking up your production!  People will BUY THEM!

    Even with their reputation for QC,  Taurus still manages to sell guns like crazy out the door,  and I'd trust my life with a Kel-Tec long before I would bother with a pistol from Brazil.

  10. Marine Corps tested the FN FiveseveN at Quantico.

    Terminal ballistics (wound profile, depth, etc.) in ballistic gelatin were indistinguishable from .22WMR.

    So, unless you absolutely need the armor piercing capability (which you can't, as a civilian, buy the ammo for), there is no advantage to the 5.7mm round over .22WMR.  (If you DO need the AP capability in a handgun, buy a Tokarev TT33 or Czech Vz52, and load milsurp ball -- good penetration AND a better wound channel than 5.7 {chuckle}.)


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