Photos by Michael Anschuetz
Kel-Tec’s PMR-30 is a .22 Win. Mag. Rimfire (WMR) pistol that’s been in high demand and low-volume production (due to design improvements) since it was unveiled in 2011. The big takeaways are that the PMR-30 is a semiauto that reliably chambers .22 Magnum and feeds from a 30-round, double-stack magazine. (Take a moment to wrap your mind around that.)
Kel-Tec describes the pistol’s operation as “hybrid blowback.” Hybrid? Think delayed blowback. Admittedly, I had my reservations about the design. For starters, pressure levels in rimfire ammunition vary greatly and that can lead to feeding issues. Additionally, rimmed cartridges make designing an effective double-stack magazine a challenge. But Kel-Tec’s designers eventually proved that — with the right engineering — a double-stack semiautomatic rimfire pistol could be reliable.
The hybrid blowback action combines elements of both locked-breech and blowback designs subject to pressure levels. With higher-pressure loads, the barrel moves slightly rearward with the slide as it would with a traditional locked-breech design. When firing lower-pressure loads, the PMR-30 acts akin to blowback firearms. This versatility means that the PMR-30 will cycle the wide range of .22 WMR ammo available. The system is deceptively simple. A pair of beefy extractors holding the cartridge rim at the 3- and 9-o’clock then clears the chamber and readies again.
The pistol’s magazine, along with its frame and grip, are made from durable Zytel polymer. The material is lightweight, as well as heat and impact resistant. A small notch in the top of the magazine corresponds with a tab underneath the slide. When the pistol goes into battery the tab scoops one of the rimmed .22 WMR cartridges from the top of the stack. The barrel returns to