Kel-Tec PMR-30: Is This the World’s Ugliest Submachine Gun?

The Kel-Tec PMR-30 pistol is a pretty cool looking gun. While I’m about as big a fan of a .22 caliber pistol for self-defense as Hammas is for celebrating Yom Kippur, any gun that can alternate between blow back  and locked breech operation depending on internal pressure gets my respect. And I love what they’ve done with the Sub-2000! (I keep almost buying one.) But this, this is hideous. The recently re-activated apolitical gun blogger at firearmsblog.com has a nice little Q & A session with Kel-Tec designer Tobias Obermeite. Toby addresses the critical question about the weapon potential effectiveness against an adversary: WTF?

I do not believe that a single .22WMR out of a pistol is adequate…but I do believe 25 to 30 .22WMR’s are adequate. It’s not ideal, but the total amount of bullet weight in a full 30 round mag is 1500 grains (if 50 grain bullets are used). This compares to 10 rounds of 147 grain 9mm, or 13 rounds of 115gr. Of course bullet weight alone is not enough, but the velocity out of the PMR-30 is still quite good. (1230fps for 40 gr)

Holy leaky bad guy Batman, that’s a lot of holes! Yes Robin, and getting the miscreant to stand still long enough to make those holes could prove problematic. Geez Batman, I never thought of that. That’s alright old chum. You smack your palm with your fist a lot and we’ll call it good.

comments

  1. avatar Roy Hill says:

    It certainly is ugly, that's for sure.

    But is it more ugly than the PPsh 43?
    http://www.trapperindustries.com/akmain/ppsh43.jp

    Or is this like discussing, "Which would you rather be bitten by? A 12-foot Great White, or a 12-foot Tiger shark?"

  2. avatar Chris Dumm says:

    When would you arm yourself with a weapon that would require possibly dozens of hits to incapacitate an attacker? When you can score all those hits with a single pull of the trigger! I.E., with a shotgun.

    .22 rimfires can be highly deadly against humwn-sized targets, but this lethality is typically caused (slowly) by blood loss. Mountain lion hunters love the .22 magnum for its ability to slowly bleed out these pelt animals without agitating them excessively. They usually just sit in their tree and bleed out.

    This is not how you want to disable an attacker. Incapacitation by organ trauma and neurological shock (or extremely rapid catastrophic blood loss) is the way to end an attack quickly and defend your life.

    Such incapacitation would typically require multiple hits from a gun like this. These projectiles, at this velocity, CAN cause instant incapacitation in the form of #4 buckshot pellets. One trigger pull equals 27 small hits. And usually equals nearly instant death.

    But you’re kidding yourself if you think you’ll be able to put 30 quick successive hits into your aggressive target in a stressful situation. Even a bump-fired AK takes three or four seconds to empty 30 rounds into a hillside, good luck putting more than a handful of those into a target.

    This gun might be a great plinker, but skip it for self defense in favor of something capable.

    1. avatar DeeDeeMao says:

      Why arm yourself with something that requires multiple hits? For the same reason that a dog licks himself.

      Because you CAN. Gun nuts these days are so locked in to the bogus concept of “The One-Shot Stop” that they forget that in a defensive situation you need keep firing until the threat is neutralized, and that that is what high capacity firearms are for. I never used to think that the 9mm was adequate until the advent of the hi-cap wonder nines.

      And yet most people think that the nine is now adequate entirely by virtue of magic bullet technology. But I feel sorry for any who has to try to survive a shoot-out while limiting themselves to firing only one or two shots in the belief that that’s all it’s going to take as long as they have magic bullet ammo.

      In my opinion, that would be a case of faulty mindset in a situation where mindset is critical.

    2. avatar SteveO says:

      In most self defense situations. I completely agree a larger caliber weapon would be preferred. But if you put yourself in a attackers shoes. After being shot once or multiple times. Is what caliber bullet hit me going to be what you’re concerns are. Or just getting the hell away going to be the new mission!!!? Lol I know if it were me that was the bad guy after getting shot id go from attacker to a crying help me please victim instantly!!!! Lol..just My 2 cents worth.

    3. avatar Drewschlosser26 says:

      I agree a shotgun is a WAY better home defense weapon. that being said, handguns really only make bad guys yell and run away. 9, 40, 45 all do “about” the same “run away” damage. A handgun is NEVER a more effective fight stopper than a shotgun or rifle. If you know your going to get in a gunfight i wouldn’t pick a pistol, I’d get a 12 ga with slugs or a Barrett 50cal! Handguns are carried because there easy to conceal and it’s convenient. It’s just not practical to carry a shotgun or rifle around. The PMR30 full loaded weighs about 1.22lbs where an EMPTY glock 19weighs 1.31lbs and the M1911 EMPTY is 2.44lbs. You could do worse, again I don’t recommend it and wouldn’t carry it myself but it’s a low recoil, high capacity handgun. Some even call it a poor man’s FN5.7 pistol.

  3. avatar @NCGunOwners says:

    Not for self-defense… but I think it's pretty cool looking!

  4. avatar Chris Dumm says:

    It looks like more fun than a box full of kittens! But why a highly-regulated and expensive SBR configuration? And why a .22 WMR? That ammo costs more than 9mm practice loads…

  5. avatar Richard says:

    I don't think this gun is ugly at all. It looks quite functional with 3 extra mags. in the butt stock. Function is beautiful.
    Defensive use? That pretty much depends upon the user and the circumstances. Recreational use? Sure. Why not especially with that holographic sight on top. Heck. I just love guns.

  6. avatar Duray says:

    Kel-tec claims that the gun was just built as a one of a kind demo to show how reliable their feed system is (ie, 30 rounds in ~a second and a half) It's not like they're trying to sell this to police departments or something.

  7. avatar axwhipmaker says:

    As a PMR-30 owner: This is by far the most fun gun you can ever own. Pick one up, shoot it and you'll understand. Love it or loathe it – this gun isn't good – its great. Now, if fonly olks would pick one up, tested it and then blogged about it….

    Btw, the gun doesn't only look like it was made by Mattel – it feels like it too :). Until you make it go boom, and again, and again……..

  8. avatar Tinytacohead says:

    Looks pretty badass to me, those who feel otherwise are both blind and mentally challenged!

  9. avatar Hlaode says:

    Looks like a really fun gun to shoot. Wouldn't be too hard to empty a magazine in 5-6 seconds so it is probably deceptively expensive.

  10. avatar mike says:

    It fires the 22 magnum round which is the ballistic equivalent of the 5.7 FN centerfire round. It will put a hole in you and kill you. Maybe not dead on the spot but as with any pistol its shot placement that will finish the deal and the 22WMR will kill with decent shot placment.

  11. avatar Cymond says:

    First, .22WMR is NOT equal to 5.7×28 and thefirearmblog has discussed this in depth. 5.7 out of a pistol is comparable to .22WMR out of a rifle. Second, the PMR-30 is not intended for human targets. The gun weighs a little under 14 ounces unloaded, and something like 20 ounces loaded with 30 rounds – that’s about half the weight of a Ruger Single Six. It is an ideal trail/farm sidearm for use against small threats. Third, Chris Dumm: this is a submachinegun, not a short-barreled rifle. It is one of a kind, and Kel-Tec built it as a demonstration of the PMR’s reliability and hypothetical capabilities. The last time I checked, .22WMR is often about $180/1000, which is similar to steel cased 9mm. My local Walmart has a Winchester load that costs $7.77/50 = $155/1000 if they ever get it back in stock.

  12. avatar John says:

    I realized a long time ago that keltec does not build guns for beauty. It is a very utilitarian gun company. So I’m not at all amazed this gun is as ugly as it is.

    This thing isn’t just ugly. It seems to have no practical use. Why the hell could I possibly need a 22magnum pistol with a 30 round mag?

    If I wanted to fight off waves of angry rabid raccoons I would buy a a PMR-30.

    1. avatar McJoe says:

      haha laughing my ass off @ “raccoon rampage”

  13. avatar SNAFU says:

    We live in the country on 30 acres, there are coyotes etc. around and my GF who is small often takes walks through the woods when I am not there. We also have chickens, ducks, etc. I think this is the perfect weapon for her to carry around the farm to protect the animals as well as herself. Even for human threats I believe she would be well prepared. Where human threats are concerned the power of the round is not directly related to its ability to stop an attacker. There are so many other factors involved like shot placement but even more significant IMHO is the motivation and determination of the attacker. Multiple hits from a .45ACP may not stop someone mad with rage or hyped on drugs, while a single .22 short can drop another person right there.

    The ability to put out rapid accurate fire should also not be underestimated. Sure a gunfight can be a dynamic event with angles constantly changing, etc. but having 50% or more less recoil means a double or triple tap is going to be just that much more quick and/or accurate, especially for recoil shy or small framed people who don’t practice at the range every week. I think this gun does fill a significant role for SD for those types of people who otherwise might decide to carry 22lr. Remember the biggest rule in a gunfight is to have a gun, and if you have that rule covered you are way ahead of the game compared to 99% of the rest of the population.

    1. avatar SNAFU says:

      Just FYI I was referring to the PMR-30, not the sub machinegun. 🙂

  14. avatar alex says:

    Any gunshot wound, including an arm or leg hit, can and usually will cause an attacker to go into shock followed by trauma. Any fairly experienced shooter, would have no problem, firing at least 2 or 3 rounds, center mass. All of you fools that think a pmr-30, is not enough for self defense, are “up in the night” or they watch far to much television. WAKE UP! Even a .22short, fired 2 or 3 times, anywhere into the same individual, WILL STOP THEM! Don’t be so stupid. Even a large man, who has ingested large amounts of pcp, alcohol or even meth , would STOP.

  15. avatar Mike B. says:

    A .22 mag. pistol with a high capacity magazine is an interesting concept & as axwhipmaker indicates – probably a H of a lot of fun.
    Would I replace my .40 carry pistol with it ? NO ,but kudos to Kel Tec for thinking outside the box.
    Check out the March, 2011 Guns & Ammo article regarding shot placement with a weapon that you are comfortable with perhaps being more important than the caliber than the caliber of the weapon.

  16. avatar Toa says:

    For defend I use my HK P 30 in .40 SW. For fun I use the Kel-Tec PMR 30

  17. avatar Dan M. says:

    I’d like to see Keltec come up with a an 18″ barrel bullpup configuration. It takes 10-12″ of barrel length for the powder to do a complete burn in order to exploit the full potential of this cartridge. Now that would provide some interesting terminal ballistics!

  18. avatar Airsailor says:

    Anyone who doesnt think a 22 mag. is sufficient to stop an attacker..I implore you to attack someone with one then.

  19. avatar gym says:

    I don’t know any of you folks, but I have seen in my 40 years of licensed carry, men take 6 hit’s from a 45 and live, and 1 shot from a 22 and die on the spot, That was a 22lr. Don’t discredit the weapon because someone read somewhere that a 22 is crap for self defense. My Marine DI uncle, told me some 40 odd years ago, son, instead of that detective special you carry, get yourself a ruger 22 or a colt 45. You can shoot the wings of a fly with the 22, and blow the crap out of the lungs heart and various other organs with the hydrostatic shock and impact of a proper Cor-Bon powerball or similar ammo. Gun forums are full of misinformation. Until someone is shooting at you, you won’t understand how difficult it is to make that shot you make at the range as easily as you may think. The 22 mag, in the right hands is a righteous weapon, don’t forget a 223 is a 22 also.

    1. avatar Scott says:

      Amen brother. Any gun can be effective for defense. Most offenders are just thugs and the sight and sound of a PMR will send 99.99% of them running and trying to hold up their pants. The other .001% are professional hit men and you wouldn’t see that coming anyway. I agree, go shoot one and formulate your own opinion, it’s your right.

  20. avatar Jeff says:

    FFBS (Function First Beauty Second)

    As a “fun gun” this configuration, or the same setup with a 16 inch barrel looks nice.

    For defense? The .22 WMR is light on both momentum and energy for defense. Not the ideal choice in cartridges, but it does meet the first rule of a gunfight (have a gun). For someone more concerned with coyotes or ferrel dogs it (the pistol version) wouldn’t be a horrible choice. For someone recoil sensitive or who didn’t practice enough to get accustom to recoil it could be usefull. For home defense for someone who was recoil sensitive, the setup pictured – (but in semi auto with a 16 inch barrel) – would be whole lot better than waiting for 911.

  21. avatar Ryan says:

    Obviously bigger the bullet the better, BUT start firing a PMR30 at someone with the ability to track your target and, I assume the .22 mag would lose lethality a lot quicker as it passed through flesh or walls, so less chance striking an innocent. Plus it only takes one lethal hit. My only fear would be misfires from a rim fire cartridge. Truly the best home defense weapon is a shotgun but it is a bit unwieldy, at 13 oz and hand size would make this thing a breeze

  22. avatar blake says:

    the 22. magnum is sufficient for self defense if you hit the person in the right place. but if you have the option for a bigger bullet, take the bigger bullet.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      I think you mean “shoot” the bigger bullet.

  23. avatar DeeDeeMao says:

    Does anyone make a carbine KIT for the PMR 30 that would have a 16 inch barrel? the reason I’m interested is that the pistols are actually available but the RMR Carbines are NOT, Otherwise I’d want one of those.

  24. avatar cbusch says:

    Well, my thought is this. Im in my apartment and i hear someone jimmy the window or kicking at my door. I grab my PMR 30 and fire into the area they are coming through in the dark.

    Im using 22mag hollow points. I have my laser site on for the attacker coming in through tge window. I let him in far enough so that he cant fall back out, i wisper the word “freeze”. And fire three rounds at the chest and or head from about 10 foot. He may not die right away but he will quickly as three rounds to the chest or head will kill anyone.

    If its through the door then i wait till the door is kicked in, the perp or perps enter and i unload 5 to ten rounds. Most likely they will be killed and ajy that miss will break up and most likely not kill anyone sleeping in the next apartment. If there is kore than one or two perps, i have 20 rounds left to fire without reloading.

    Now at that close of a range i most likely wont miss and if i wound them with one hit, i will most definitly finish them with a second.

    I guess the idea is that a larger caliber would surely stop them cold, it will also likely go through then and could possibly hit a innocent person in the next apartment.

    Why not a shotgun? Well maybe in a house but in an apartment a legal length shotgun would be cumbersome and with shotshell, you will destroy half your apartment and leave a mess. Also, with slugs, if you miss, you could kill several people in their sleep next door.

    So i figure, a well trained, good shot person can be very affective with a. 22 mag. Plus the PMR 30 is light so it makes a good everyday conceal and carry. Plus you can carry 30rounds in one mag instead of in two or three with a higher caliber.

    Its also thin so it has less bulk it being a 22mag, each shot will be as accurate and as fast as the first as recoik is minimal.

    Just my opinion. Cheers.

  25. avatar WInman says:

    PMR 30 is fun to shoot, easy to carry, and very accurate. Rimfire FTF and FTL from double stack does rarely occur. Have never experienced that tap and rack did not correct. Maybe the rest of you are as good a marksman under pressure as you think you are, but most folks like me without combat or LE experience will have more well placed hits with a PMR 30 (or any other similar caliber) than with “big boy” guns. I am not recommending it as a first choice SD weapon, but with 30 pops you can discourage a lot of BGS, and maybe even hit them where it counts. I keep mine on my hip around the farm and store in the bathroom in case someone wants to see me naked without an invite (Gives multiple new meanings to “Shock and Awe”). Sometimes it gets to go for a ride in the truck with me, even if I have another slightly BIGGER carry weapon on me.

    While 22WMR may not be a good choice for a combat zone, it is sufficient for most any one/one situation. More than one/one and you need a place to hide before you need to worry about the caliber of your weapon. It isn’t what kind of weapon you shoot, it’s what kind of shot you are able to make with it.

    1. avatar cbusch says:

      Very true. The PMR-30 is not a combat weapon. Its not the calibre for getting througb body armor multiple items a target might shelter behind at long range. This is more for going up against a handful of home invadors at medium to close range.

      This gun is good to carry because its light, accurate and has few reloads. Its something good to have if your out and someone starts shooting and you need to shoot back.

      This caliber of gun is not gunnag easily take down a person with body armor and an AR unless your a good shot and quicker on the draw. Now handgun against handgun this would probably win out against most due to the high capacity of rounds and low recoil but not against a well armed, well armored assailant.

    2. avatar cbusch says:

      Very true. The PMR-30 is not a combat weapon. Its not the calibre for getting throug body armor, multiple items a target might shelter behind at long range. This is more for going up against a handful of home invadors at medium to close range.

      This gun is good to carry because its light, accurate and has few reloads. Its something good to have if your out and someone starts shooting and you need to shoot back.

      This caliber of gun is not gunna easily take down a person with body armor and an AR unless your a good shot and quicker on the draw. Now handgun against handgun this would probably win out against most due to the high capacity of rounds and low recoil but not against a well armed, well armored assailant.

  26. avatar cbusch says:

    I think the arguments about a. 22 mag being as effective as a higher caliber and stopping an attacker is not as simple as some are putting it. The argument of saying you would have to put 30 rounds into an attacker instead of one with say a 45 caliber is silly.

    If you reason it out, hitting a moving target that is also shooting at you is difficult to say the least so a higher caliber, more recoil and adrenalin will make a one shot kill difficult to say the least.

    Also, with limited ammo on your Conceal and carry weapon as a factor and provided your attacker is not concerned about being concealed and carrying several mags of what have you for their shooting rampage, yoy will find yourself running out of ammo quickly.

    Now what is more realistic is that you have one maybe two clips of 9mm or. 45 in a CC situation. Its in your holster on your persons or in your car.

    You have weight and concealment working against you along with limited ammo. A person who decides they want to shoot up a public place is not concerned about this. They carry an AR or a handgun or both. They havr several mags and dont care for concealment at this point.

    You, following the laws and carrying your weopon has limititations. So in the event of an attacker opening fire you have limited rounds, your taken by surprise and under fire by an attacker with all of the advantage.

    My thinking is that you need to hit them, disable them or at least slow them down. Well a lightweight, low recoil, accurate spread of say 5 rounds of 22mag at his legs, chest, or maybe a lucky headshot can be made with little concern over having any rounds left as you will have 25 more.

    You can also do this with a higher caliber hadgun but you may not hit them or may only wound them allowing them to return fire. This will leave you with alot less ammo.

    With a PMR 30 you can makre repeated return fire attempts at taking the attacker down. Once wounded and imobile you can then finish the job and have ammo to spare.

    Yes you can also do this with a higher caliber but again you will have fewer rounds and more recoil in a adrenaline pumping situation. The last thing you want is to run out of ammo in a gun fight.

    Also consider multiple attackers. What about reloading? Most higher caliber handguns hold 10 to 15 rounds excluding those rediculouse mags of course.

    Now yrs you are not going to take down someone in body armor easily but that can be said about any handgun. So if headshot or leg shot is the target, 30 rounds of 22mag with little recoil gives you a higher percentage than 10 to 15 of 9mm or. 45.

    Change scenerio: Home invader(s). You need an accurate weapon with no reloading. Again the. 22mag PMR-30 would be a good choice. Especially in a home or apartment witgh the chance of missing and hitting bystanders or family members. Yes you could argue that you want to stop an attacker with one shot but getting that one shot is tough when your caught off guard. Besides, even a 22mag will injur an attacker enough to make them hesitate and then you can finish the job with a second round to the heart or head and you wont havr to worry about the round going through the attacker and into your family member in the next room.

    Plus if you do miss, the hole in the wall can be spackled over easily. A shotgun will destroy your wall, turn your walls red with blood and a rifle or high caliber handgun will go through all of your walls, maybe a loced one and possibly hit your sleeping neighbor.

    So realistically, a high capacity 22mag such as the PMR-30 gives you lightweight, high capacity return fire with accuracy and 2/3 less reloads.

    The only situation this gun is not ideal for is combat situations against multiple armored targets with superior round penetration and ammo capacities. This would be in a war like scenerio or if you were attacking a defensive force.

    In conclusion: The PMR-30 like any quality handgun is excellent when in capable, skilled hands and used for the purpose it is designed for. (Which is conceal & carry).

    Lets not forget it would be ideal for being on the run from zombies where lightweight, capacity and accuracy is paramount. Cheers. B-)

  27. avatar Chris B says:

    I have had my PMR-30 for a while and its not the most hardcore, baddass looking hefty gun but having a gun that looks awesome has nothing to do with its performance. Yes, I want a bigger caliber when it comes to taking out game. I want to stop a animal from a 100 yards with one shot. A pistol is just not for that. A pistol is for self defense. You are not going to want to have to reload or carry a heavy chunk of steal around that bulge out of your shirt.

    So I still stand by my PMR-30. Its light, accurate and has a large capacity. If you are a good shot you wont need them all. So anyone who claims a bigger caliber is better, well, not if you know how to shoot. A three round bust to an assailants head will stop them no matter what they are on. They have a vest? Well the impact of 10 rounds in a row will knock the wind out of them at the least and you still have 20 more to finish the job. Besides, If they have body armor and are on a rampage, go for the knees and legs first, limit their movement. With 30 rounds you can take out the knees, put some in the chest and the head and still not have to reload.

    With a .45 which I also have, you have maybe 10 rounds, likely closer to 8 if your Conceal and Carry. You have to hit them and stop them and hope there isn’t any others with the maniacs since your down to three or 4 rounds at this point.

    My perspective is from a conceal and carry situation. You aren’t going to have two o three clips on you and your not going to have an extended mag. So even if you get some round into their chest, with body armor and an automatic, they will make short work of you if you don’t get a headshot on the first two rounds or so.

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