Gun Review: Kel-Tec PMR-30

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By Jeremy S.

Although it’s been on the market for a couple of years now, I’ve gotten quite a few “do a PMR-30 review” requests recently. So…a PMR-30 review it is. Despite a low MSRP, Kel-Tec’s PMR-30 remains both elusive and expensive due to production volume that has never come close to keeping up with demand. And who wouldn’t want an extremely lightweight, fun-to-shoot pistol with a 30-round capacity? Especially one that shoots an entertaining round like .22 Magnum and spits fire like a dyspeptic dragon? . . .


Review in video form:

The PMR-30 makes for an amazing bug-out-bag pistol, and I think this is what first attracted me to it. B.O.B., kit bag, woods/survival gun, truck gun, whatever. Admittedly I don’t even have a B.O.B. put together, but I still like the idea of it and the PMR-30 would definitely live in there if I did have one.

There probably isn’t a lighter full-size pistol on the market, with the PMR tipping the scales at only 13.6 ounces empty, .22 WMR (Winchester Magnum Rimfire, AKA .22 Magnum, AKA .22 Win Mag) is light ammo that takes up very little space. And the empty PMR-30 magazines weigh only 1.6 ounces. In fact, a loaded PMR-30 with a loaded spare magazine (that’s 60 rounds) tip the scales at what most full-size polymer pistols weigh totally empty:

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Weight and capacity are obvious draws, then. Then there’s the chambering. A lot of people call the .22 Mag the poor man’s 5.7×28, which is approximately true out of a rifle or carbine, with velocities for given bullet weights being extremely similar. However, the .22 WMR was originally designed for a 16+” barrel, and it loses a lot of velocity coming out of a pistol thanks to slow burning propellant. Sure, it’s much more powerful than a .22 LR – from a rifle it has more energy at 100 yards than .22 LR does at the muzzle – but from a pistol it’s down about 300 fps vs. 5.7.

This is changing a bit, though, thanks to the growing popularity of self-defense revolvers chambered for .22 WMR and of the PMR-30 itself. For instance, Winchester now makes a PDX1 load in the caliber and Speer makes its Gold Dot, both of which are optimized for a short barrel. Up to 1,400 fps from a 40 grain bullet is nothing to sneeze at.

On the plus side, .22 WMR is readily available, stayed fairly available even during the Great Ammo Panic of 2013 and costs about $0.20 per round (historically similar in price to 9mm). On the downside, rimfire ignition isn’t as reliable as centerfire. If I had money to burn, my B.O.B. might have a Five-seveN and PS90 in it. But a PMR-30 and a carbine or bolt action rifle chambered in .22 WMR are affordable alternatives and the ammo is certainly much easier to find. Besides, I have four loaded mags which means 120 rounds ready to go, and they can all fit in one pocket without weighing me down.

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The oddity that is the PMR-30

This pistol is really quite confounding in multiple ways. It feels cheap, but isn’t. And I don’t mean inexpensive. I mean it feels like a chintzy, jankey toy. The plastic feels thin and makes hollow noises and the gun is so light that it’s almost silly. The frame is a two-part clamshell design, and has more bolts holding it together than Frankenstein’s monster.

Half of the slide is covered in plastic as well, so when you rack it you never even touch metal. While none of this makes you feel like you’re holding something worthy of being taken seriously or that’s likely to last more than a couple of range sessions, the PMR-30 holds up to extended use.

The machining and finish of the metal parts, especially including the barrel, slide, and locking block for the hybrid blowback-locked-breech action (which is its own oddity), is very good. I have close to 700 rounds through my PMR without a single mechanical failure. Originally I had some ejection problems, but Kel-Tec redesigned the barrel and I have had no reliability issues since they replaced my old barrel (old ones were fluted) with a new one. If you have a PMR-30 with the fluted barrel, Kel-Tec will almost certainly ship you a new, upgraded one at no charge.

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Then there’s the trigger, which seems totally out of place. In a good way. It’s extremely smooth, short, and crisp, weighs in at a consistent 3 lbs. even, and just feels crazy in what would be a ~$329 street price plastic Kel-Tec were they more available. Why is this trigger so freaking good!? Only gripe: the reset is mushy. You can’t feel or hear it reset. However, it’s totally consistent and the travel is short, with very little pre- or over-travel at all, so that reset click isn’t as important as it is on some guns.

Also making no sense is the BOOM and fireball emitted by .22 WMR out of a pistol, combined with a noticeable lack of recoil and muzzle flip. This thing is loud. Make no mistake – it sounds like you’re shooting a magnum revolver. But…no recoil. Barely more than .22 LR. It’s just plain weird and doesn’t jive with anything I have shot before.

Every time I have shot it at a range with other people around, they started looking over at about the 10-round mark, since they likely thought I was shooting a revolver, but it kept going. Then they really start looking at about the 20-round mark. Finally they’re all standing behind me as round number 30 flies downrange accompanied by more fire and thunder. Something about the BOOM and the 30 rounds without reloading attracts attention. .22 WMR is a solid choice for self-defense for those who are highly recoil sensitive. Just be warned: ear protection is your friend.

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Ergonomically, the gun is a little odd as well. Due to the rimmed cartridge, the magazines are basically triangular – wider in the back than at the front. So, too, is the PMR-30’s grip. This is unusual, but fairly comfortable. What may not work for some shooters is the size of the grip.

The .22 Mag is a long round, and that makes the grip fairly large front-to-back. It isn’t particularly thick, but if you have small hands it may feel like you aren’t getting full purchase because of that front-back distance. Thin at the front and wide at the back, combined with the front-back length, definitely give the PMR-30 a unique feel in the hand. This isn’t a negative; it’s just another little PMR oddity.

A Euro-style heel magazine release, fiber optic sights front and rear, and provisions for mounting an optic round out what I would consider to be ‘odd’ in an American-made pistol on the low end of the price scale.

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Shooting Impressions

This thing is a blast to shoot, and I found it fairly accurate. It certainly likes some loads more than others, but you’ll have to watch my video to see how it faired. I forgot to bring paper targets with me on my testing day, so I set up the camera on one of my steel targets and you can see the hits on video. Respectable groups from the 30 grain V-Max and the 40 grain Armscor, and all over the place from the 40 grain Maxi-Mag.

If anybody really cares, I’ll swing by the indoor range and set up a 25-yard target and slow fire from a sandbag with a few brands. Suffice it to say, though, that it’s more than accurate enough for defensive purposes against anything large enough to harm you, and just accurate enough for hunting varmints and small game.

The sights are good. Certainly very easy to pick up. The trigger is awesome. Manipulating the slide is slightly difficult because of how thin it is – there’s not a lot of real estate to grab. Blasting through 30-round mags is pretty darn fun, and the low recoil and flip allows you to shoot as fast as you physically can and still keep hits on target. Very cool!

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There are two primary downsides that I can think of when actually using the PMR-30. The first is that the magazines are hard to load to 30 rounds. They do break in over time, but it’s still a lot more difficult than loading a 30-round AR mag. In fact, I got my PMR-30 from an older guy (“almost 70”… which, sure, is the new 40) who couldn’t stuff more than 20 rounds into the mags due to some combination of dexterity issues or insufficient finger strength or arthritis or vision issues or impatience. Or some combination of all of the above.

At any rate, he was correct that it’s difficult to fully load them. After 15 or so Kel-Tec says you should smack the back of the magazine on a hard surface after every 1 or 2 additional rounds, which become increasingly hard to push into the mag. In fact, once you get to the last few it’s normal for the rim of the new cartridge to dent the body of the previous cartridge as you’re pushing it in – rimfire brass is thin, so it actually doesn’t take much to visibly dent a round.

My mags have now been used a fair bit and I leave them loaded, so I find it easier now. However, if I’m just plinking out on the range, I might only load a mag to 20 or 25 and call it good. My preference for equipping a B.O.B. would be to own quite a few magazines and keep ‘em full (they run about $24).

The second downside is the nature of rimfire ammo. Rimfire primers aren’t as reliable as centerfire primers and I have come to expect a dud relatively often. Not as often as with .22 LR, it seems, but I’m still not surprised to run into a  round every 200 rounds or so.

Conclusion

If PMR-30s were available for under $400, as they should be (MSRP is up to $415 these days), I’d say you definitely want one. But right now the going rate — if you can find one at all — is still in the ~$650 range, and I don’t really think it’s a $650 gun. Not from a fit, finish and feel perspective. Maybe from a utility perspective, though. I think the gun can fill a lot of roles, from hunting and survival to really fun plinking to great zombie apocalypse and bug-out-bag pistol – especially combined with a rifle of some sort. Sub-MOA .22 WMR rifle, PMR-30 on the hip, and a couple thousand rounds of ammo (2,000 rnds of 40 grain .22 WMR = 18.3 lbs) in a pack? Sign me up!

Specifications:

Caliber: .22 WMR
Capacity: 30+1
Barrel Length: 4.3”
Overall Length: 7.9”
Height:
5.8”
Weight: Unloaded: 13.625 oz. Gun + 2 loaded magazines: 25.75 oz
Frame: Zytel (glass reinforced nylon)
Slide: 4140 steel
Action:
Hybrid blowback/locked-breech system
Sights: Fiber optic. Orange rear, green front.
Trigger Pull: 3 lbs (as measured)
Price: MSRP: $415  Street price: $650

Ratings (out of 5 stars):

Accuracy: * * *
Definitely likes some ammo more than others. Respectably, but not impressively accurate with the right flavor.

Ergonomics: * * *
A bit awkward but not uncomfortable. Manipulating the slide is slightly difficult and the heel mag release is something we ‘mericans aren’t particularly used to. I find the safety lever to be slightly too far back towards the rear, and its small and rounded shape makes it hard to manipulate easily with my strong hand thumb.

Reliability: * * * *
Since the barrel redesign, mine has been completely reliable for me. It has never had a FTF or FTE. However, one star dropped due to the chambering. Rimfire ammo is not as reliable and I do run into dud rounds more often than I’d like.

Customize This: * * *
Optics-ready is a plus and Kel-Tec sells a couple accessories like an extended barrel w/ muzzle brake. Picattiny rail means lots of end user options. Various holster choices are out there.

Utility: * * * * *
This is where the PMR-30 really shines. Light weight, high capacity, decent accuracy, decent chambering all lead to a gun that’s great for many scenarios from fun days at the range to horrifying zombie attacks.

Fun Factor: * * * * *
BOOM! 30 rapid-fire rounds of that. With fireballs. What’s not to like?

Overall: * * * *
It’s fun. It’s a good kit gun. If only it were more available. This would be a 5-star gun if you could get it in the mid-$300 price range where it belongs. There are so many ways to enjoy it and get utility from it, and it’s a sweet shooter to boot.

113 Responses to Gun Review: Kel-Tec PMR-30

  1. avatarAnonymous says:

    I almost bought this gun once… until I saw all the videos on YouTube of the gun blowing up in people’s hands due to firing out of battery.

    • avatarJeremy S. says:

      Early models had various issues due, primarily, to barrel design and partially to breech face design. Mine is an older model with new barrel and I have never had this happen. I had mostly ejection issues and some feeding issues with the old barrel, but those went away with the new one. I’d say that while your concerns were possibly warranted back when the gun was new, they are almost certainly no longer valid. If you were otherwise interested in the gun I think you’d enjoy it and be happy with it today. Brand new, current production ones are available on GB for ~$650 shipped. Used is fine, but it’s harder to validate what generation it is and if you’re particularly concerned about that then used might not be the best option for you.

  2. avatarAlphaGeek says:

    Second strike capability when there’s a misfire? Or is that even worth having with rimfire ammo?

    • avatarArdent says:

      pretty much no AG, since the powder is spun into a rim fires primer and the firing pin will only hit the same (dead) spot again. With center-fire primers a common cause of ignition failure is that the pin has insufficiently crushed the cap, with rim fire the pin (looks more like a bar) usually crushes the rim of the case flat where it is struck, so the failure is usually that there is no priming compound in that spot. Rotating the casing and striking it again often works when this is the problem but it’s so slow that it’s really a plinker’s solution not an emergency one. For rim fire semi’s I’d say shuck it and chuck the dead round.

    • avatarJeremy S. says:

      Yeah I agree with Ardent. On very rare occasions I have gotten a rimfire to shoot on a 2nd strike (rotating the round so the firing pin hits a new point on the rim), but most of the time it turns out to be a totally dud round. Probably no primer sludge (it’s like clay) in the rim at all. Just to cover my bases I still typically load up any duds and try to fire them again before throwing them out, but the success rate is low.

      • avatarkwils13 says:

        I can attest to this. I have a bolt action Marlin 925M. I have very rarely had failures to fire from CCI rounds from my rifle. CCI seems to make a quality round and the 2 rounds I had failure to fire from only required me to lift the bolt handle to rotate the round and recock before a succesful fire. I would just place any FTFs in my rifle if I can find one of these pistols for a reasonable price. Personally, $500 is my maximum limit on this particular pistol. Just an FYI for those who may not know: it is very important that you keep the bolt face impeccably clean on rimfire firearms. Ammo reliability is a problem but I found out at a young age that my Marlin .22lr semi-auto rifle was prone to light primer strikes after a couple bricks of bulk ammo. As gunk built up on the bolt face it created additional space not allowing the firing pin to impact as deeply with as much force. A quick cleaning and that old reliable rifle was back to firing like a champ. I’m sure many of you already new this, but I thought I’d share just a tidbit of knowledge.

  3. I’d love a PMR-30 and a semi-auto rifle that could share magazines! Kel-tec should get on that… after they build enough capacity to actually meet demand.

    • avatarAnonymous says:

      I’d buy one… if it had some more metal to it. There is just so much plastic. Plastic on plastic… stacked on more plastic. I put them about on par with Calico. If they had an all metal offering – I would certainly take serious consideration towards one.

    • avatarRichard W. says:

      Lookup RMR-30. It exists as a working prototype. As normal with Kel-Tec, production time, “sometime in the future”.

      • WANT. Dangit Kel-tec! Make more guns already!

      • avatarAndy says:

        It is now in production,the mags change out with the PMR-30,it has quad picitinny rails,a retractable stock and a threaded end of the barrels that can take any AR flash hider or muzzle brake.It is in their new catalog,looks sharp,haven’t seen any tests on it yet,hint hint.Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.

      • avatarg says:

        +1

        Dammit. Now I want matching set… a RMR-30 + PMR-30.

    • avatarShaun L. says:

      You could always try to find a 10/22 magnum. THAT would be an amazing pair!

    • avatarJeremy S. says:

      Sub-2000 that accepts PMR-30 mags would be in my safe right now if they made it. No question. That would be a SICK combo. Threaded for a suppressor. Red dot w/ flip out magnifier. Dang. Sold.

  4. avatarPeteRR says:

    The gun’s nomenclature left me with the impression that the pistol used .30 caliber carbine ammo. I now fell very let down.

    • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      If you’re a fan of muzzle bloom, you’d love the AMT .30 Carbine pistol.

      There are few pistols that I’ve met that had a muzzle bloom as big as the .30 Carbine in a handgun. Even the .44 Auto Mag seems out-classed by the bloom off those .30 Carbine pistols.

      • avatarPeteRR says:

        I shot one many moons ago. Loved it.

      • avatarAccur81 says:

        I dare say the concussive blast from a .460 Smith beats the .30 carbine pistol blast and noise, but I’ve never for a .30 pistol. More’s the pity. Although I imagine the .50 BMG handgun with muzzle brake would be truly heroic in that regard.

        • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          I’m talking about just the bloom of unburnt powder exiting the muzzle and lighting up. There’s far more noisy/concussive rounds than the .30 Carbine, but as for lighting up the nighttime sky? I’ve not seen any that rival it in a handgun. It produces a ball of flame about 2′ in diameter…

        • avatarI Like Pie says:

          Here is a Grendel with some freeze frames of flame!

    • avatarCrashbbear says:

      you could always get a used Taurus Raging Thirty.

  5. avatarparkhorse says:

    I’ve seen these in person twice, ever, at $750-$800 each time. I want one, but they can barely be said to exist, just like the KSG.

  6. avatarOut_Fang_Thief says:

    Just had a talk with my local gun dealer. It seems the Kel-Tec Co.
    is taking bids from dealers to get this gun. He says it’s not worth
    their playing in Kel-Tec’s bidding competition with other dealers.
    With a $900-$1,000 dollar retail price, they can’t make any money.
    He said you might find one for $600 at a gun show, but not in your
    local brick and mortar retailers. Apparently, the crunch is still on.

  7. avatarAccur81 says:

    I may have a line on one of these for $379. Very tempting, and looks like a fun gun. Thanks for the review, I’m glad that some of the reliability issues were addressed by breaking in the mags and swapping out the barrel.

    • avatarCharles5 says:

      I wouldn’t hesitate to drop $379 on it if for no other reason than having a conversation piece. Don’t wait. Worse case scenario and you don’t like it, you can easily get your money back out of it.

    • avatarJake_in_AK says:

      A friend of mine managed to snag one. If you get it and don’t like it accur81, ill buy it from you sight unseen, and pay shipping to my local FFL.

  8. avatarAharon says:

    I’ve never been in the vicinity when a .22 mag was fired. I’ve heard the noise level is loud. What does it compare to?

    • avatarCA.Ben says:

      I have a Colt Peacemaker with .22 mag cylinder. I’d compare the muzzle blast to a short barrel .38spl +P

  9. avatarTX says:

    Nice write up. I got mine, NIB, a year ago this month for $351.81 tax included from my local FFL here in the DFW area, so reasonable prices are out there but you have to hunt around. Really fun gun, but not B.O.B.-worthy IMHO due to it’s thin plastic-laden construction. I admit I love the light weight and high cap mags, but it just doesn’t feel like it could survive the impact of an inadvertent drop (and no, I’m not drop testing mine. :-)

    • avatarJeremy S. says:

      Agreed that it feels fragile, but I think the ‘glass reinforced nylon’ AKA Zytel is pretty darn strong. Certainly it doesn’t have to be loose inside a bag banging around in there and getting hit by stuff. My primary concern would be the thin sides of the grip, but with a magazine inserted that’s fully shored up. Obviously the FO rods in the sights would be easy enough to crack.

  10. avatarTom in Oregon says:

    Glad to see a pistol of this type back on the market. Dad has a Grendel P30. (very similar), It is a blast to shoot.
    Thanks for the writeup.
    Hopefully the price will come down if Kel Tec gets their act together.

  11. avatarWilliam Burke says:

    Thanks, Dan, for the extremely detailed review. My only comment is the thing looks like it was designed by Optimus Prime.

  12. avatarStinkeye says:

    Dang, that is one ugly firearm.

    Kel-Tec has some intriguing design ideas, but somehow, every one of their guns looks like a movie prop built by someone who’s never seen a gun in real life.

  13. avatarNathan.B says:

    Kel-Tec: Manufacturing brilliant designs with poor QC, in pitiful numbers.

  14. avatarcrzapy says:

    Many, many, many people say bad things about Kel Tec. However, I have a p3AT in 380 and a sub2000 in .40S&W and they are both fun to shoot and function reliably. That being said the guns do feel cheep, but then again they are cheap. I paid less than 200 for the p3at and around 325 for the sub 2ooo. Both guns have had less jams than my 1k Kimber TLE. Another thing I like about Kel Tec is they are nice guys and SHOOTERS. I have met some of the guys that work in Florida because they travel all the way to TX for 3 gun matches I have been in. Not only do they compete, with SU16s, they also put a prize in every time and it has either been a PMR30 or a KSG.

  15. avatarMatt in FL says:

    Good God that thing is ugly. When the email showed up in my inbox I decided I’d save this review for reading later today, but just now I scrolled past it on the main site and did a double-take at the ugliness, and so I had to read on.

    Good review, and despite its horrid appearance, after reading this I may have to pick one up if I can find one at a reasonable price, just for the experience.

  16. avatarSwarf says:

    As I’ve said before about this gun; when (when) Ruger finally gets around to stealing this idea, refining the manufacture and offering one in 22lr, I’ll be interested.

  17. avatarJon says:

    Had a few chances to buy at sub $500 pricetag but I’ve just heard too damn many bad things about them reliability wise. I love the .22WMR. I own a S&W 351C, a Taurus Polished 941 and a Henry Octagon Pump. I’d love both a semi-auto pistol and carbine in this caliber if something existed worth buying.

    • avatarJeremy S. says:

      I do think the hits on the PMR-30′s reliability were warranted in the beginning, but that Kel-Tec effectively fixed it with a couple of design updates. I think that current models are as reliable as any gun shooting a rimfire cartridge can be, keeping in mind that some reliability issues are 100% ammo related and there’s no way around that in a rimfire chambering.

  18. avatarJoseph says:

    Kel-Tec has a horrible reputation for quality control. On that issue alone, I wouldn’t own a Kel-Tec anything. Course, I might buy a Kel-Tec for my super model trophy wife… “if I did have one”.

    • avatarS.CROCK says:

      i think George Zimmerman would vouch for Kel-Tec’s reliability.
      and if you think Kel-Tec is so bad, why would you buy it for your smoking hot imaginary wife. i’m assuming you were being sarcastic, but i don’t understand why.

      • avatarJeremy S. says:

        I think because I said I bought it for my bug-out-bag even though I don’t have one.

        …although, I could put a BOB together in the next half hour if I chose to, and I don’t expect Joseph could bag a supermodel trophy wife given the rest of ever ;-)…

      • avatarJustice06rr says:

        Didn’t GZ just fire one round? That hardly qualifies as reliability…

  19. avatarAznMike says:

    What’s B.O.B?

  20. avatarJeremy S. says:

    Full size photos available for download here, in case any of the “that thing is so freakin’ ugly” folks want to see it even closer haha: https://app.box.com/s/01l6efuqtmbxsp5c966b

  21. avatarCCDWGuy says:

    I asked my range to put me on the list for one in late 2011. They called me in September 2012 and said my turn had come up on the list for a gun I wanted. I asked if that meant my rifle had come in….no it’s your PMR-30, do you still want it? I asked the price and paid it at $350.00. Given he current price I actually looked ab my receipt to see if it was right. One of the lucky ones.

    It is really fun to shoot and I have had no issues with it. People do want to know what the heck is that guy shooting and is it ever going to run out of ammo.

  22. avatarsquarebob says:

    I got mine in early December just before all the BS came around. It is the funnest, loudest, longest lasting ( 30 rounds ) handgun I have ever purchased. The fireball is amazing. If you ever had to use it in a DGU at night, the flash and bang would blind and deafen you for a while. Then so would most guns indoors at close quarters. 100′s of rounds down the pipe and still going strong. Try it, you’ll like it. The ugly kind of grows on you after a while. Kinda like a Glock.

  23. avatarRandallOfLegend says:

    I have never had a 22lr completely fail to fire. Even with thousands of rounds. I have had them not fire, clear the chamber, single load it back in a different clocking position, and fire again. I pick up peoples duds they leave on the ground at my range, single load, and fire. All from either an inconsistent primer in the cartridge, or just a worn firing pin.

    • avatarJeremy S. says:

      You must shoot good ammo, or are just super lucky. I’ve had countless duds with Remington, a fair number with Federal, and less with Winchester. Mostly, this is the cheapest bulk box stuff that each company makes. And by duds I really do mean multiple, full-dent firing pin strikes on the rim with no result. The way they are manufactured allows for empty rims due to no primer making it into the cartridge at all in the first place, or none making it into the rim. They exist. One box of Remington target loads I got just a couple months ago had 5 duds out of 100. Probably the worst I’ve ever experienced as a %. Bad batch.

  24. avatarCrashbbear says:

    Shot placement being what it is, If i could get my hands on one of these for a decent price it would probably be my carry piece. 30 round of 22 mag HP, a spare mag IF i feel like it, and super low recoil. Yeah sounds about right. I don’t know if I could dismiss my glock 29 or my witness though.

  25. avatarMichael Reed says:

    Hey, I’d like to know where I can get some 22 Mag practice ammo. Hasn’t been any in these parts for at least 6 months.

    BTW, I bought my wife a Taurus 941 a few years back, for many of the same reasons mentioned in this article. An 8-shot revolver, no safety to fiddle with, low recoil, reliable and impressive noise and flash. With self defense loads like the CCI Critical Defense rounds, a respectably lethal weapon. And mucho fun at the range.

  26. avatarready,fire ,aim says:

    I won’t buy a Kel-crap product again learned my lesson the 1st time…thank god i was able to sell it and get my money back…

  27. avatarMaverick says:

    I have 5,000+ rounds thru my PMR30, here are my two cents:
    1. Trigger is indeed awesome, I normally won’t buy DA-only guns.
    2. Fireball is fun, gun is loud, recoil is low, you will attract attention when you take this to the range.
    3. Expect A LOT of FTF’s, the magazines are the problem, not the gun. I never put more than 25 rounds in a mag. The more you put in, the more problems you’ll have. I have four different mags, and they all behave this way. This gun is not suitable for self defense, and I would argue that even if the mags were reliable, depending upon rimfire ammo is a bad idea.
    4. Easy-to-disassemble and clean
    5. Accurate
    6. Kel-Tec will send free replacements for whatever breaks or wears out, just ask.
    7. Gun has held up to 5,000 rounds, so I have no concerns about quality or the plastic parts. I’ve had to replace the buffer pad (wear) and the assembly pin, but this gun is certainly built better than the SR9 I used to own. When the front fiber optic pipe slipped out, Kel-Tec sent me an entire front site assembly for free.

    • avatarSwarf says:

      So wait a minute, shit keeps breaking, it has constant failures, and the mags won’t function if you put the amount of rounds in them that they are supposed to hold, yet your PMR-30 is a better gun than your SR9?

      I’ve had an SR9 for a couple of years now and had not a single problem with it. Either you got the lemon of lemons or you are putting the mags in backwards with a hammer.

    • avatarJeremy S. says:

      I’ve never had feed problems since the barrel upgrade. Maybe your recoil spring is worn out? I’m assuming you are on the new barrel rather than the old, fluted barrel, right? Buffer pad is definitely a wear item, and the takedown pin got an update from old version to new also. I think the old one had a more square notch in it that made it prone to cracking and the new one is radiused. Of course, no gun cracks takedown pins like the LCP. ….at any rate, a worn out recoil spring could also lead to a cracked takedown pin in the event that it gets too much impact at full slide travel…

  28. avatarMaverick says:

    The SR9 relies on a couple small, fragile springs that are easily damaged, plus the trigger is terrible. Guns with lousy triggers are simply a deal-breaker for me, I switched to a CZ SP-01 Shadow Target tweaked by CZ Custom. Yes, the PMR30 mags often jamb, failing to bring the next round into position, resulting in a FTF. Trying to double-stack rimfire rounds just doesn’t work very well, which is why most rimfire pistols don’t do it.

    • avatarJeremy S. says:

      Oh, maybe this is a magazine loading issue? Don’t mean to sound like a jacka$$ and suggest user error, but the reason Kel-Tec says to smack the back of the magazine on something after nearly every round goes in is to try and make it so new rims are in front of old rims (it knocks already-inserted rounds as far rearwards as possible). If the next round to be stripped out has its rim behind the round underneath it, that can cause it to hang up. I posted above and thought maybe your recoil spring wasn’t strong enough anymore… and it does take some forward strength to strip rounds out. Maybe it’s that or something about loading the mags up, or some combo of the two?

      • avatarMaverick says:

        The issue is the mag just jambs, the follower not rising when the top round is chambered. We know the tapping the back instructions, etc., we’ve tried various methods to avoid problems. We’ve dry-lubed the mags, etc. Without very careful loading, sometimes the mags will feed fine, others they will not. It is no coincidence that rimfire mags are generally single-stack, the rim at the back just isn’t conducive to double-stacking. Keep in mind that while Kel-Tec makes extremely innovative products, their reputation isn’t the best. My experience with their plastic mags in general is poor. For example forget using factory mags in an SU-16. Thank goodness they will accept any multitude of aftermarket AR mags (If you want plastic mags use Magpul and cry no more). Personally, I am not a fan of any handgun that requires the use of factory plastic mags. How FN sells the very expensive Five-Seven with its crap magazines is beyond me. Some people will tolerate finicky guns, some will not. The PMR30 is tons of fun, but its not a defensive weapon. Last but not least, 22WMR ammo costs as much as 9mm, particularly now when centerfire components are available but rimfire ammo is scarce. The PMR30 is about having a 30 round magazine, that is the guns appeal. I’m actually selling mine, I’ve switched to a Buckmark Lite with a Burris Fastfire, 22LR is just a whole lot cheaper. The PMR just ate me out of house and home, and now ammo is impossible to find to boot. But I will miss how easy it is to disassemble and clean the PMR30, the Buckmark is not so friendly. BTW, my PMR never had the fluted barrel, and the replacement assembly pin Kel-Tec sent looks no different than that which broke.

        • avatarPB says:

          I think your just bitter because you couldn’t figure out how to load your mags correctly and then check to see if there is any binding of the rounds before inserting the mag into the PMR. If you do this correctly you won’t have any problem. My brother has a Buckmark and i have seen that have some problems as well. It is a defensive round. Get 30 rounds in the head and chest area and it won’t be too pretty.

        • avatarMaverick says:

          Bitter? It’s a gun, not a person.

          I don’t think one owner’s enthusiasm is going to change Kel-Tec’s reputation.

          Ask yourself this: How often do you see manufacturer’s giving special instructions for how to load their magazines? If the mags are loaded very carefully, they work. Have I come across any other gun that I must be so careful? No.

          I gave this gun PLENTY of kudos, don’t be greedy.

          ANYTHING rimfire should not be carried for defensive purposes, the ballistics are not the issue, the reliability of rimfire rounds is inherently inferior to centerfire. I won’t waste any more time on someone who believes otherwise.

        • avatarPB says:

          My PMR goes bang every time I pull the trigger. For the average person it’s plenty reliable. For professional use such as law enforcement maybe not. For home defense it will work fine.

          The PMR is unique and the mags have to be loaded correctly. Keltec has to give special instructions because some people purchasing these don’t have the ability to understand how it operates, can’t figure things out on there own and have to be spoon fed. It’s unique and requires some degree of aptitude to eliminate problems. The PMR is not a fit for some and these people need a less unique and simpler firearm.

        • avatarMaverick says:

          Troll.

        • avatarPB says:

          Ummmm, go to the Buckmark forum as your not fit to own a Keltec.

  29. avatarPat says:

    Buckmark.

  30. avatartom is "squatch" says:

    First, and foremost I must say! __ “Some” of you gun owners express lots of emotion in many of your comments. Many responses are quite polite, while others express hatred for other counterparts for the second amendment.

    I just purchased a PMR – 30 on G/Bkr.com (tan) @ $630. + $30. shipping, + $40 to my FFL = $700. _ I purchased it because , if I attempt to “stop”, or change an assailants mind/attempt to kill / injure myself, or my family. A 22mag. should do just that! “If” the first attempt (shot) don’t change the assailants mind, the zombie is probably on illegal drugs. So the second well placed shot should slow the assailant even more, followed by a third up to 30 if needed.

    So since I chose a smaller cal. weapon to only “deter/ stop” the assailant, before killing the zombie (as a larger cal. might do) when he kept coming, I’ve shown my “intent” was “not” to kill, but “only” to deter. So according to what I learnt from the Zimmerman trial, that means an expressed foresightedness on my part not to kill!

  31. avatartom is "squatch" says:

    So if “so be it” let that be my defence, LOL!

    A Vietvet!

  32. avatartom is "squatch" says:

    Well, I’m happy to say, I just took my PMR30 to our shooting area. IT PREFORMED “FLAWLESSLY” W/90rnds. pumped through it!. I found once the clip is inserted, balance is fine. As for the clip loading issue, as with any new automatic weapon, I’m getting use to it.

    The “only” thing I was not real comfortable with, was the way you grip the slide. I’m ole with dexterity issues with my grip, so it was a bit difficult for “me” to load the first round. I’ll likely modify it to cock more like my Ruger Luger using two fingers around a pull slide at the rear of the slide.

    Snatchsquatch!

    • avatarJeremy S. says:

      Squatch,

      You could use a couple of the bolts for mounting an optic to mount a charging handle. The slide certainly is short top-to-bottom, which makes grabbing it a bit difficult. Just make sure the charging handle is light (since it’s going to cycle with the slide) and secure (since it’s going to cycle with the slide and, if it comes off, it’ll bean you in the face at high speed haha).

      BTW — magazines. Not clips. It uses magazines ;-)

  33. avatargreg pabich says:

    Sure do like my PMR. funest gun I ever owned. Got mine based on City Marshall recommendation as he carries one as service sidearm everyday.
    Can’t wait for the matching RMR

  34. avatartom is "squatch" says:

    Hi again

    Finally!!! The gun jammed, LOL! I still love the gun. I put over 200rnds through my brand new PMR30 out of the box before it finally jammed. I never cleaned it between firings to see how long it would take to jam. After giving it a proper cleaning, it has preformed flawlessly so far with another 60rngs fired,

    I have to say, I feel “real” comfort with this gun. Especially with an extra 30rnd “clip / magazine (matter of opinion) in my jacket pocket.

    • avatarShotgun18 says:

      I just picked mine up from local gun shop after about 6 month wait on list. The shop got 2, called to ask if I still wanted it for $435 and the deal was done. I have not fired I yet. I am a fan of .22 magnum and have a Taurus revolver, NAA sidewinder nd a Savage 93 chambered for the round. Even with the never ending debate about what is an appropriate minimal personal defense munition, I still like either a ,22lr or .22mag in my pocket. The PMR30 is too big to stuff in my pocket as a walk-around but I think it will make a great in-house bit of protection along with our our larger caliber firearms. What’s not to like about 30 rounds ready to go if a bad guy decides to visit!

  35. avatarJeff says:

    I can’t seem to get one of these to my door for less than $650 which is robbery for this pistol unless you feel you REALLY need it. I’m willing to throw $500 at it but I can wait till prices come down rather than going any higher.

  36. avatarMike says:

    These guns r junk! I owned a per 30 and a pf9. The mag catch broke on the pf9 and the per 30 failed to feed between 5-10 rounds per mag. I finally took the pmr30 to the factory(I live close by) and they replaced the barrel, spring and slide. Don’t get me wrong, their customer service is great, but the gun continued to fail. I could not rely on it ever being used as a personal protection weapon. I finally traded it in on another weapon. Just my experience….

    • avatarMaverick says:

      Beware the troll Mike, you are now on his list. Beyond the reliability problem, the argument that this makes a good defense gun has always been based on the large magazine, and that isn’t valid anyway. The assailant is presumably slinging (dramatically more powerful) centerfire rounds, and would likely have 15-19 rounds at their disposal. They would only need one or two hits to incapacitate, and the person with the PMR30 will never get any benefit from the larger magazine. They will likely be found dead on the floor with 20+ rounds in the mag.

      • avatarMike says:

        Just telling my experience with the PMR 30; if that makes me a troll, so be it.

        • avatarMatt in FL says:

          It’s fine. Everyone’s entitled to express their opinions, and those opinions are worth exactly what you pay for them. Yours was interesting to me in that it was a fairly negative review, yet you pretty much used proper grammar and sentence structure. That’s a rarity, in that thoroughly negative reviews and barely-comprehensible writing usually seem to go hand in hand. Thanks for contributing.

        • avatarMaverick says:

          Mike, you misunderstood. I had the exactly the same experience as you with my PMR, and when I posted the same story as yours here, I was attacked by a Kel-Tec zealot. You’ll have to go way back in the messages to find it, this is an old thread now.

        • avatarMike says:

          No problem at all, my bad. Unfortunately, I’ve had nothing but bad experiences related to reliability with Kel-Tec Firearms. Their c/s is great, but they had so many reliability issues, they couldn’t overcome the big issues.

          Full disclosure; I had a P3at as well, and it functioned fine, never had an issue. The PMR-30 was another story. I ran CCI’s only through the PMR-30 and at first, it ran fine, no issues. As soon as I put over 250 rounds through it, that’s when the issues of failure to feed and stove piping occurred several times per magazine. They gave me a new barrel, spring and slide, but it still had the same issues.

          I had a pf9 and the mag catch release broke after less than 200 rounds. Kel-Tec fixed it, but it’s a bad feeling when you shoot your firearm and the magazine falls out due to a breakage/malfunction. Thanks again for letting me express my experiences and opinions.

          The PMR-30 is such a cool concept and I know there are plenty of people out there that have had no issues with it; unfortunately for me, my never seemed to function properly, even when the Factory tried to fix it…

        • avatarJeremy S says:

          No argument from me. Negative experiences like yours exist with almost every single firearms company out there (not to mention electronics, vehicles, etc). It sucks that yours wouldn’t function AND wouldn’t function even after warranty work. Certainly there are a lot of other folks who have posted stating that they have shot many hundreds and hundreds of rounds through theirs without a hitch (like Cisco’s comment just below this one). Who’s right? Everybody is. I’ve seen complete and total lemons from $3,000 pistols. They’re sure to happen with a Kel-Tec and I don’t doubt what you say. Mine has been pretty good to me. I know that’s true and I don’t doubt other positive experiences like Cisco’s, either. Additionally, some guns just refuse to work for some people — whether it’s an issue with hand size, grip strength, thumb placement, etc etc etc. Doesn’t make that person wrong or the gun wrong; just wrong for each other. My review of my PMR-30 is really just that. I can’t speak for how every other PMR-30 on the market functions, nor how my PMR-30 would function for another person.

          Thanks for joining the discussion!!!

  37. avatarCisco says:

    I bought a PMR 30 two years ago and have had no problems with it. In fact I ran 500 rounds through it with no malfunctions, before I cleaned it. Great home defence gun,but you might have a problem of explaining over kill.

  38. avatarGraham says:

    Like everyone else I can’t find this thing for less the 650 online or 750 at gun shows. I have to say I really want one but anything north of 450-500 is asinine. Oh well, maybe one day production will catch up.

    • avatarJeremy S says:

      There are a lot at $550 brand new onGunBroker right now and many, many new ones to choose from with “Buy It Now” of $595. Yeah, it’s still a lot for a gun that you SHOULD be able to get for $385, but it’s not like $595 is a particularly expensive pistol in 2014.

  39. avatarBenny Feldman says:

    Paid regular price for one last year (429.00+tax) took around 3 months to arrive to dealer from distributor. Same features as written in review, light trigger, fairly accurate, fun to shoot, BUT, this one has regular feed issues, some of which involve the round hanging up in the feed gate and the breechface putting a large dent in the shell, ruining it and requiring dumping the mag, shaking out the bad round, and try again. Sometimes 7 or 8 FTF in one 28 rd mag, which is all I can get into the mags. The specified Keltec mag loading procedure is followed to the letter, gun is properly cleaned and lubed, but constant FTFs. Have around 350 rds thru it now, consistent issue. This is strictly a range toy and pretty much useless for any self defense needs. Anybody who pays more than list price for one is getting screwed. No interest in dealing with Keltec on repairs either, have heard about their indifferent service so will just keep it as a once in awhile blaster and see if more breakin leads to better reliability.

    • avatarGraham says:

      Not sure what you have heard but Keltec actually has pretty good customer service. If you are having problems with it then I would talk to keltec and see what they say. Its worth a shot… If not you can always give me the gun :)

      • avatarJeremy S says:

        Yeah, it’s worth calling them up. I have also heard almost nothing but extremely positive things about their customer service and in the one dealing I’ve had with them it was 100% great.

  40. avatarRick says:

    I’ve bought 4 of these guns, yes four. Most fantastic little firearm in the world. On one, the muzzle sight was lost in grass when we were shooting one day…we went through 2K rounds. I emailed KelTech and they sent me another. These little guns are like carrying a water pistol, they’re that light….but they are a one man army with 30 rounds…and with a couple of loaded clips in the pocket. My only complaint is that the ammo has gone up so much since the introduction of these little miracles. I was paying $400 for 2K rounds for Hornady 30 Gr V-Max and now 1K rounds is more than that if it can be found, lately I’ve had to settle for other manufacturers….it’s cheaper to shoot the AKs ! But I still love ‘em…these PMR30′s for home defense, an M&P Shield 9mm for CC, and AKs WSHTF.

  41. avatarcheapshooter says:

    I’ve read this review 4 times now. I really want this gun. I’ve now see my third one at a gun show last weekend just before it was bought…..for $950+tax.

  42. avatarMike says:

    I got one off GunBroker several months ago, and although I paid more than I would have liked too, I am not at all disappointed! What a great little gun! I can’t add much other than to say that I shot approximately 150 rounds through it and had only one FTF due to a bent casing. I originally tried to load 30 rounds and I accidentally dented one of the rounds. It’s easy to do as the round is so long and skinny, it doesn’t take much to dent it. I decided to only load 25 rounds per magazine and I had no more problems. My old eyes really appreciate the fiber optic sights and the trigger is like BUTTER! I have never experienced a lighter pull on a trigger on any gun right from the factory! Normally, it would take a lot of trigger work to get a trigger this nice. In the beginning, I actually fired at least two or three shots that went off before I was ready. It’s almost a hair trigger. The flame and sound is enough to scare someone to death! I love it! I have not had so much fun with a gun in a long time. My buddy tried it and wanted to buy it. Nope…it was too hard to come by. I’m glad that I didn’t get one of the original ones with all the problems. This one was brand new right from the factory and had all the fixes. Would I buy it again? You better believe it! I got a black one and may attempt to get a green one. I kind of like the looks of the olive green ones that I have seen. I would recommend this gun highly! The fun factor is off the scale!

    • avatarJeremy S says:

      Absolutely :-). Huge on fun factor! Once the magazines break in a little — and leaving them fully loaded for a while may help relax the spring a bit — you’ll be able to load 30 rounds without denting the heck out of the last few.

  43. avatarJohn Reed says:

    I have had my PMR for a few years now. Bought it used from a friend who had just got it back from Kel-Tec with the new barrel before he had to move and needed to sell the gun. There are some issues I have with it which is why I guess it just sits in my gun safe: Yes the magazines are a pain to load that’s for sure, you have to make sure each round sits in there right, pushing each one as far back as they will go. Buy the wrong ammo and they will barley fit and won’t feed right. I have been using Hornady and it is just a hair shorter so seems to fit better but there are still issues with it. The trigger is so light it is almost dangerous for the first time. .I have had several friends shoot it who are all experienced with guns and have been surprised by an accidental firing of the gun when first putting their finger on the trigger. It is real touchy that’s for sure. Even our range master (I am retired law enforcement) got a surprise first time he used it. Jamming up. Mine likes to jam up. It seems the rounds just don’t like to feed out very well and get jammed easily. We find when we take it on the range we are spending more time getting it to work properly and fighting with the loading of the magazines we just end up never taking it out any more. I thought my wife would like it but as she is just learning about shooting this is not a gun for the novice due to the issues I have mentioned. When it is working properly it is an attention grabber on the range for sure. So impressive, I just wish I could fix the problem of the ammo feed and the time and effort it takes to load the magazines. I have thought of selling it but each time I sell a gun I feel some remorse; feels like I am getting rid of a friend. :-)

  44. avatarChristine says:

    Slide and barrel are 4140 steel, frame is 7075 aluminum. Grip, slide cover, trigger, mag release, and safety levers are glass reinforced Nylon (Zytel). Kel-Tec website.

    Not as much plastic (Nylon) as the review makes it seem.

    • avatarJeremy S says:

      Disagreed. You just listed 3 metal parts and 6 plastic parts, and your list of plastic parts neglected to include the rear sight, the slide lock, and the magazines. 1 of your metal parts you can’t see when the gun is assembled and half of what you can see of the other 2 metal parts is covered in plastic, which is the only part of the slide that you even touch. In fact, plastic is the only material you actually touch on the gun at all in the entire course of using it (grip, slide, slide lock, safety, mag release, trigger, magazines themselves).

      The “frame” is a tiny amount of insert inside of the plastic clamshell grip frames. This gun is slightly larger than a Glock 17. If it is “not as much plastic” as my review made it seem, it would weigh over 22 ounces like the Glock does. It weighs 13.6 ounces. The difference is how much of it is plastic vs. metal. This isn’t a complaint. I love the PMR-30! But the review is factually accurate and, above all else, the point was how plasticky the gun feels. That is, across the board, the initial impression of everybody who picks it up for the first time. This is due to the shockingly light weight and also the particularly cheap, “plasticky” feel of the plastic itself as described in more detail in the review.

  45. avatarTotina says:

    Julie’s post is great, and something we all need to cteannorcte on.Three points:1. RUTHLESSLY evaluate your ability as a first-shots instructor for THIS STUDENT. I’ve been married 43 years. I’ve been teaching people to shoot for 30 years. If my wife wants a shooting lesson I know who I’m sending her to.2. Teach gun terms before you teach safety rules. First, your student needs to know what the muzzle is before you get to that rule. Second, it gives your student several minutes watching you competently handle a firearm, and allows them to get over any OMG HE’S HOLDING A GUN reaction before you start in on the rules.3. When teaching safety, emphasize the positive. Shooting is about the safest sport around. Make that point, then teach the rules we follow to keep it that way. I sat in on an instructor once who brought a whole box of blown barrels to a class, passed them around, and told each disaster story. By the time he finished everyone was wondering how many guns they would see blow up on a typical range visit. Ouch.

  46. avatarBob Blakely says:

    Darn it! I was hoping I’d find an evaluation of Kel Tec’s PLR-16 pistol in 5.56mm to see if the shooter was impressed as much as I am about the I bought earlier this year. I’m still looking to buy one of these PMR-30 pistols but unfortunately the price gougers are still out in force so I’ll just bide my time. This is an FYI about the shop I finally got my eagerly anticipated PLR-16 from in Pennsylvania. I live in Arizona (thank heavens) and was really, really wanting to try out a Kel Tec gun but every place I looked on the internet, local shops, etc. every single one that was available was selling for $150 to $225 MORE than the MSRP of $665.00. I finally found this store in Hawley, Pennsylvania that had one NIB for for only $515.00 with only $25.00 for shipping and insurance plus they only charged a 2% premium if pais for by debit or credit. I found them on Gunbroker and the name of the shop is Wallenpaupack Sport and is owned by a fellow named Mark Strasset. Their phone # is 570-226-4797. I committed to buy it one Saturday, called and paid for it on Monday and it was in my hands running ammo through it on the following Saturday. In stark contrast to this shop in PA., I ordered and paid for an R.I.A. 1911 9mm/22TCM pistol from a local store in Tucson on 3 April, 2013 and it’s STILL on an apparent “Intergalactic Backorder” according to the store, which is called Black Weapons Armory on E. Broadway Blvd. About 9 months went by with no pistol so I contacted the manufacturer/importer and they said I should have gotten it long ago. I see the same gun on Gunbroker at several different stores around the country, sometimes for way less than the $692.85 that I paid the local store. When I went into town almost a year after I ordered the gun I stopped by and asked if they couldn’t just get it from one of the stores that actually had them in stock and I was told no, because they wouldn’t realize their normal profit. I was also told that if I cancelled the order I’d be docked a 20% “order cancellation penalty”. I guess they just don’t care about customer satisfaction, although they did say I could get a store credit towards something different but, at this point i will never spend a dime with this shop again. I wrote them an email lat week telling them in “honor of your store”, I filed an accurate accounting of my experience on RipOff Reports.com. They’re not a member of the BBB (which probably wouldn’t accept them if they knew about how the way they run their business). Sorry about my belly aching, but I just wanted to illustrate how different two businesses can be. Hell, I’m 65 1/2 years old and I may be dead when the damned thing ever gets here. Oh, by the way, I really, REALLY like the PLR-16 but be sure to wear ear protection because it’s very loud.

  47. avatarJohn Brunner says:

    I wanted the PMR 30 ever since reading about it in 2012. Got my hands on one in 2013 for a not to elevated price. Love the weapon for all the good reasons. Hate the weapon because I cannot get any ammunition for it on a regular basis or what is available costs the same as a 9 mm (or more). I suggested to K-T that they kit a bbl/mag/recoil spring chambered for the 22 lr and the 17 wmr, both of which I can get, usually. Their answer was that it wasn’t in their plans. Oh well, anyone want to trade my gun and accessories for a like new full blown 10 mm?

  48. avatarmanymoonsbigbang says:

    Mine is running well after over a year since rebuild. Just wish it didnt cost more to shoot than a 9mm now. Ammo in short supply and expensive. Saw a guy on youtube take a wild hog with one shot, impressive. 22mag ammo much more reliable than 22lr. Ran several through the washer and dryer in my pocket and they still fired perfectly.

    • avatarJohn Brunner says:

      My only beef with the gun is the cost of the ammunition. I can purchase 9mm remanufactrued ammo cheaper than the 22wmr and if I hand load the center fire rounds its a lot cheaper. My weapon shoots everything that I have fed it without a problem, after the first 100 rounds. (Break in period?).

  49. avatarLou says:

    I’ve had mine for almost two years and I love it. Accurate and reliable with just about everything I’ve put through it. But you have to load the mags EXACTLY like the instructions say and you’ll have no problems. It’s a bit of a pain to load all 30 but that’s what extra mags are for.

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