Kel-Tec’s PMR-30

Guns and Gear | Contributor

By Will Dabbs, American Handgunner Magazine

In the Deep South any carbonated beverage is a Coca-Cola. By extension any aluminum container for a non-alcoholic drink is a Coke can. I am at a loss as to why I despise them so. My antipathy has deep roots and a near-insensate bias. At age seven, I would stack them on posts or suspend them from trees and torment them endlessly with countless thousands of BBs. As age and maturity facilitated better tools, the carnage began to assume the flavor of genocide. I freely acknowledge having willfully slaughtered these otherwise inoffensive items en-masse.

A pedestrian .22 LR round expended upon one of these hapless cylinders filled with water results in a most pleasant ventilation, followed by prompt, yet reserved exsanguination. A .22 Win Mag with an appropriate loading is a thermonuclear explosion in microcosm. The resulting devastation is sufficient to induce the gyrating fantods in shooter and bystander alike. At the very least for all but the most weary observer, giggles invariably ensue.

Visiting a little .22 Win Mag violence on the humble Coke can is comically destructive.

Visiting a little .22 Win Mag violence on the humble Coke can is comically destructive.

Outside The Box

Kel-Tec is a decidedly unique sort of mob. If ever there was a gun company living outside the proverbial box, it’s Kel-Tec. For starters, everything they make is encased in plastic. This plastic is not of the Happy Meal sort, mind you, but rather a high-tech, cutting-edge variety that ages like Dick Clark yet performs like Michael Jordan in his prime.

Their flagship shotgun carries 14 rounds and is little longer than your forearm. Their battle rifle looks like it stepped off the set of a science fiction movie. Their .22 pistol weighs less than 14 ounces and packs, count them, 31 rounds of high-velocity .22 Win Mag mayhem in a package small enough to tuck under a T-shirt.

To say certain aspects of the Kel-Tec PMR-30 design are conventional is like saying Albert Einstein used common hair care products to maintain his unique coif. There’s an ambidextrous frame-mounted safety in the position and manner of the 1911. A crisp single-action trigger in the 4- to 6-pound range, and a heel-mounted magazine release of the old European style adds to the kit. Everything else is from well outside the mainstream.

The Kel-Tec PMR-30 is a high-tech handgun launching small caliber, high-velocity bullets. It weighs less than 1 pound, unloaded. Note the light on the rail.

The Kel-Tec PMR-30 is a high-tech handgun launching small caliber, high-velocity bullets.
It weighs less than 1 pound, unloaded. Note the light on the rail.


The design incorporates an ingenious floating chamber facilitating reliable extraction of those preternaturally long cases. The sights sport colored fiber optic inserts for quick acquisition in proper light. Accuracy is easily minute-of-Coke can out to 10 meters. Anything closer and you’re going to get wet, just so you know.

The PMR-30 lacks any recoil worthy of the name, so rapid follow-up shots are painless. As such, grant your victims a moment of silence, top them off with water, and offer little blindfolds should you be so inclined. Then line them up on a fence or board, step off ten paces, and unleash recreational violence on a Near-Biblical scale. All for around $415 at full MSRP, by the way.

Feeding The Monster

The science of wound ballistics and bullet design is simply not the same beastie it was a generation ago. Where once the state-of-the-art was a solid bullet with a hole drilled in the end, nowadays there is molecular bonding between jacket and core, low-flash powders and meticulously designed weight retention. Maybe voodoo too.

Winchester was making munitions when George Armstrong Custer was still wondering if he should make the Army a career. Their ammunition fills magazines for soldier, cop and civilian alike by the untold thousands across the country and around the world. Their premium lines of Ranger and PDX1 ammo are designed to provide maximum performance in target tissue for law enforcement and civilian shooters respectively.

The characteristic feature of these premium rounds is their consistent deployment of sharp, blade-like appendages when fired into a soft medium, despite deep penetration and weight retention. Now with the addition of the PDX1 in .22 Winchester Magnum, they harness the same darkly frightening blades and petals of the larger caliber brethren, but in a rimfire package.

Now a word of heresy. I am intimate with the adage claiming any serious defensive caliber must begin with a “4.” This same axiom serves as a personal mantra. As a physician and soldier I’m also no stranger to gunshot wounds and have seen firsthand that bigger can be better. However, these little high-tech rascals punch deep and seem intuitively like they would bring some serious hurt downrange. Additionally there are a breathtaking 31 of them onboard when partnered with Kel-Tec’s bantamweight wondergun.

Practical Tactical

Premium defensive ammo is expensive and only the most gifted capitalist among us would consider expending it wholesale on Coke cans just to while away a pleasant Saturday afternoon. This is what standard bulk pack is for and if your mission is to keep the aluminum can population in check, the cheap stuff is more than adequate. Do note the PMR-30 has an affinity for hot ammo, and the documentation accompanying the gun spells out the brands and loads yielding maximum performance. However, the combination of the Kel-Tec PMR-30 and Winchester’s PDX1 defensive ammunition does make for a thought-provoking tactical package for the more imaginative.

We are all shooters. If you were a Mall Ninja video-game-poser-wannabe you would currently be holding a lesser magazine. Unleashing the PMR-30 with some proper ammunition against Coke cans filled with water is not unlike wielding a Star Wars Blaster. Were it not for my firm grounding in reality, the sensation of power might be inappropriately intoxicating.

As to whether you might consider this same combination as a carry gun or for home defense, I will leave that to the philosophers. As for me, the Kel-Tec PMR-30 simply spells doom for my nemesis, the humble Coke can. You should see the looks on their faces at the recycling facility.

For more info: and click on the company name.

Photos By Sarah Dabbs


Thanks to the team at American Handgunner – take a visit to their site


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