Kel-Tec CMR-30 Field Report

Kel-Tec CMR-30 with scope by Oleg Volk

With Kel-Tec‘s announcement about shipping the first small batch of CMR-30 carbines, speculations about its future availability, performance and reliability abound. Having used CMR-30 and its predecessor RMR-30 prototypes extensively over the last three years, I feel qualified to address several points.

The first point is availability. CMR-30 is not a very complicated weapon. It’s a blowback rimfire carbine with most parts stamped or made by simple machining. Once the design and production are debugged—and they should be pretty well figured out after four years of gradual refinement—producing the firearm in useful quantities shouldn’t be a problem. Kel-Tec is on track to deliver 500 to 1,000 units by the end of 2014.

Kel-Tec CMR-30 with scope by Oleg Volk
The Kel-Tec CMR-30 scoped and ready for action.

In the discussions I’ve seen, almost every aspect of it has been questioned, so I will address those in turn. Caliber is the first one to be criticized. .22 Magnum isn’t the most powerful of the possible chamberings, but it is compatible with PMR-30 pistol, so the same ammunition and magazines may be used. .22 WMR is about half the cost of .22 TCM and 5.7x28mm. It is also far more available in stores, and from more manufacturers. From a rifle-length barrel, it delivers 90 to 95% of 5.7’s velocity with 30 and 40 grain ammunition. It also offers the option of 50-grain Federal Game-shok ammunition for deeper penetration. From a rifle, it reaches 1,650 fps. At this time, .22 WMR ammunition is more available than .22 LR in many areas.

Kel-Tec CMR-30 Right Side View by Oleg Volk
Kel-Tec CMR-30 Right Side View

Besides the compatibility with PMR-30, other reasons for the caliber choice are weight and magazine capacity. Both 5.7 and .22 TCM require larger bolt faces and take up more room in magazines, so capacity would have been cut from 30 to about 20 rounds. Also, .22 TCM was not available when CMR-30 development began, and even now it is available only from Armscor. More importantly, .22 TCM from a rifle reaches 2,800 fps—it’s not a small game cartridge and cannot be used in a blowback firearm that weighs under 4 pounds. Even the much weaker 5.7 requires either a heavy bolt (as in the Masterpiece Arms pistols) or combination of bolt and recoil buffer (as in AR-57) or short recoil with moving barrel (PS90 carbine) or delayed blowback (FN57 pistol)—all of which are more either complicated and therefore more expensive or much heavier or both.

The long straight walled .22 WMR case has more friction than bottlenecked cases, and can be harder to extract. However, that also permits slightly less bolt weight and actually works just fine in practice. My PMR-30 prototype was quite reliable from the start. Reducing the bolt weight allows stronger return spring, in turn leading to more reliable feeding from the double-stack magazine.

Unlike the submachine gun version of PMR-30, it uses a simple telescoping stock. It feels a bit flimsy. Fortunately, replacing a damaged stock would take all of a minute, and the gun functions just fine without it. I have not seen one damaged yet, but it is definitely not suitable for bashing skulls. The advantages of this design are quite obvious: it collapses for storage, and the four open positions allow adjusting both to shooter arm length and to different shooting positions. I use the shorted setting for firing standing and the longest for shooting sitting. For colt-weather use, a strip of insulating felt or foam may be added to the outside of the stock strut for a more comfortable cheekweld.

Kel-Tec CMR-30 Left Side View by Oleg Volk
Kel-Tec CMR-30 Left Side View

The non-reciprocating charging handles are on both sides of the receiver. Based on my experience with the prototypes, the handles have been enlarged and given a slight inward curve to keep fingers from slipping off. Safety selector is also ambidextrous. Ejection is right side only, but empties go at a sufficiently forward angle to clear left-handed shooters.

The carbine runs sound-suppressed very well with minimal blowback and ejection port pop. The cycling is fairly slow for a blowback design, even with the added back pressure of a suppressor. 45 grain Dynapoint or 50 grain Game-Shok are the most efficient loads for suppressed use. The weight of a 22 Magnum-rated suppressor, such as Gemtech WMR, is negligible and doesn’t affect the balance much. If you do not have a sound suppressor, I would suggest using the muzzle threads to install either a flash hider (an AR-15 model will do), or a linear compensator to channel the report away from the shooter. Even with the bare muzzle, the long barrel gives

Accuracy is impressive for a lightweight autoloading firearm. I test-fired it with the rifle not rested, just supported by my elbows off the bench. With Bitterroot Valley 40-grain JHP and 40-grain CCI Gamepoint ammunition, it gave .5-inch 5-shot groups at 25 yards. With 30-grain CCI Maxi Mag TNT, the groups were 0.4 inches. All that with a 1-6x Primary Arms scope and no sandbags or machine rest. The groups didn’t grown much when I shot an entire magazine into the same target.

The top rail is long enough for a scope or a red dot and mechanical Magpul MBUS sights (included with the gun). The bottom rail is long enough for a bipod or a vertical grip, and a light/laser like Viridian C5L. The same rail may be used for adding larger sling loops than those molded into the receiver.

Shooting Steel with the Kel-Tec CMR-30 by Oleg Volk
Shooting Steel with the Kel-Tec CMR-30

Overall, CMR-30 is a lightweight, nearly recoilless carbine with a large magazine, excellent accuracy and good reliability. It was well liked by every model who shot it, and everyone who handled it plans to buy one or two. And Kel-Tec seems to be on track to producing enough of them to make a difference in the market.

Kel-Tec RMR-30 (Renamed CMR-30) / MSRP TBD
Action Semiautomatic
Barrel Length 16 inch, .5-inch-28 threaded
Caliber .22 WMR
Overall Length 22.6 inches collapsed, 30 inches extended
Overall Width 1.2 to 2.3 inches
Weight Unloaded 3.8 pounds
Sights Picatinny rail
Stock or Grip Glass-reinforced Zytel nylon
Capacity 30 rounds
Frame 7075 aluminum grip frame


Share your first impressions of the Kel-Tec CMR-30 in the comment section.


About the Author:

Oleg Volk

Oleg Volk is a creative director working mainly in firearms advertising. A great fan of America and the right to bear arms, he uses his photography to support the right of every individual to self-determination and independence. To that end, he is also a big fan of firearms.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (67)

  1. I have 4 KelTec firearms and enjoy them tremendously. I really enjoy the .22 WMR, it is a fine round. I own a PMR30 and it is a blast ! Can’t wait to be the first on my block to get a CMR30.

  2. The article states that 22 wmr makes 90-95% of the velocity of the 5.7. That is very misleading, as you are comparing 22wmr out of a RIFLE, to 5.7 out of a PISTOL. 5.7 out of the ps90 is going 2100+ fps, for a dramatic difference in power, in an apples-to-apples comparison (plus being the inherently more reliable center fire priming).

    That said, still want one of these!

  3. I have 4 pmr30’s, 2 glock 9mm sub2000’s, a plr22 and a p11. Can’t wait for the cmr30 to come out. My dealer has the first one saved for me. Also looking to get the plr16c.

    1. There is no plr16c….Its an SU-16C Rifle or PLR-16 Pistol…….the ONLY Kel Tec I don’t
      own is the CMR-30…..waiting patiently…..

  4. From their Customer Service…

    We’re hoping to see the CMRs (new name for RMR) start shipping by the end of the year, but no firm date’s been set yet. We want to make sure they’re fully tested first. Yes, they take the same mags as the PMR30 and are only offered in 30rd capacity right now, so check with your state’s regulations for legality. Some dealers are already taking pre-orders, but since we don’t sell firearms directly to the dealers, I couldn’t tell you who those dealers would be.

    NOTE: **We know everything is very hard to find right now due to backorders, but since we don’t sell firearms to dealers or civilians directly, you’ll need to locate your own shop to order from. You can find a dealer locator on if you’re in the US (Canada: All current models are still in production regularly. Hopefully by the end of this year, production will be doubled yet again.

    US only: If you’re in law enforcement only, you can email Janis at for pricing and purchasing info.

    Customer Service
    1-800-515-9983 toll free
    1-321-631-0068 local / Canada
    1505 Cox Rd
    Cocoa, FL 32926

  5. I’ve never considered a rimfire as a serious round except for small game like rabbits and squirrels. Self defense? No. As to the quality of Kel Tech, I have shot their P-11 9mm and considering its use as a back up handgun, it has shot without flaw. The only down side to this weapon is accuracy, but so long as you are within 7 yds (where most hand gunfights occur), that weapon does its job. One other point on the P-11 is recoil, but due to its compactness, it is to be expected.
    Kel Tech isn’t Winchester or Remington, or Glock or Springfield,, but they are not a bad manufacturer either. If anything, this weapon’s design seems OK, but perhaps a better choice of caliber could be made.
    As to the chics, think with your smarter head, guys.

  6. The .22WMR has always had extraction issues in semi-autos, and not for the reasons usually given. My gun wizard tells me that the case does not expand outward quickly enough to grip the chamber walls and sets back into the bolt face and breech area, causing extra friction and extract/eject problems. I wouldn’t trust anything in any semi-auto firearm of that caliber that might be used for self-defense purposes.

  7. Am I missing something? Mountain Man said that .22tcm performs better than .22mag in both the PMR-30 and the CMR-30. Yet the .22mag is a rim fire with a straight case while the .22tcm is a center fire with a bottleneck case. How could these comparisons have been made?

    1. @ Charles.

      Go to page 1 of this website, at least 1 person has tried it. The go the October 23 website of the same name but different author CTD-Suzanne on it, at least 2 people have it their. The 0.8mm difference in size will actually compensate for the .22tcm bottleneck design.

    2. @ Charles.

      What Mountain man, actually said that the .22tcm and FN5.7x28mm were better performers. He never said he actually use the in those weapons.
      I suggested he should try using the .22tcm as an alternative round for either weapons. And think about the characteristics of the FN5.7x28mm, might just work as well, if the bore pressure of the FN doesn’t exceed that of the .22wmr round. If it does exceed the pressure limits, you might get away with 100 to 200-rounds. Before causing serious damage to the barrels.

  8. I really like the sexy brunette with the gorgeous, curvy figure. I could think of a few outfits that would look much better on her, though. I would shoot targets with her any time. As far as the weapon goes, great idea, but I will believe it when I see it at a gun shop for sale.

    1. @ Jason.

      At least the “dirty-haired’ blonde looks like she actually fire a weapon. The burnette is simple “filler”. And looking at the way she’s holding that weapon, she probably never fire on before either. And if she has fired the gun, that wold probably explain the silencer on the end of the barrel. She doesn’t like “load” noises.

  9. Too bad they don’t have this in a caliber that people actually use like say 9MM . THOSE would sell like hotcakes!

    1. I know right? Why do these companies like Kel Aztec and Taurus keep avoiding the needs of the 9mm market. I mean T puts out a nic 9mm carbine but with only 10 round mags–WTF!!!!

  10. Can’t say too much about Kel-Tec. I’ve had a PMR-30 for a couple of years and don’t shoot it much anymore. No particular reason. I did have to send it back for a barrel replacement but otherwise, I’ve enjoyed it. I still don’t often see them for sale.

    And that’s the rub for me. Lots of hype but little production means you can’t find them. Not a big loss as there are many better choices for the same money.

  11. I enjoyed this review. I would like the author to know that 5.7 works well in direct blowback. The PS90 operates fine with the reciprocating barrel feature disabled. Also, on that weapon the heavy bolt can be made lighter, with the use of stronger springs. There is actually a coating on the 5.7 cartridges that increases lock-up time. I’m not arguing against Kel-Tec’s choice of chambering here, just saying it’s not hard to go direct blow back with the 5.7

    1. @ Nick Champlin.

      It’s worth noting, but you can use the .22tcm Spitzer-Pointed rounds in the FN-USA PS90 Carbine. But you CAN’T use either Boat-Tail or Hollow-Points in .22tcm caliber in the PS90 Carbine. The latter two rounds will JAM in the magazine.

    2. I live in California and no kel tec firearms are for sale here due to cali drop test . There are a few other good options for 22 mag semi autos . There is the Remington 597 magnum rifle. I haven’t heard of problems with it cycling or ejecting like 22 LR. It is a regular rifle, not ar style but is a great rifle at about $400 at turners . Another great option is the 22 mag semi auto black lightning rifle from Mitchell’s mausers in fountain valley, ca for $599. Ten round magazine semi auto no bullet button.

  12. Well, with numerous Kel Tecs returned for rebuild, no 22 mag pistols in this genre available yet, AFTER YEARS of waiting, and issues with the first ones made, I doubt you will ever see these carbines in real life.

    Further, after being on the “Banned” list, NOT, they never dropped the price of the KSG’s back to the original price, but kept it at the 800 buckish dealer cost that they needed to charge before it got banned. Utter BULLSH*T on their part for lying, and then keeping the higher price in place.

    Further, these things are going to be well over 500 bucks if you ever see them, and a 5.7 upper for an AR is in that range, ammo costs asside, I would never trust a rimfire, for a serious self defense weapon, let alone the 5.7 itself, unless it was using the AP ammo to bust vests that it was intended for, and even then, without full auto, I could even say that the 5.7 is still insufficient, even with AP ammo, and in Semi only.

    Plus, the AR 5.7 upper fits any AR receiver, meaning, its not just one dedicated weapon, AND, it holds 50 rounds, AND the magazines were designed by a real, legitimate gun manufacturer.

    Hey, I OWNED a Grendel 30 in 22 mag, and it was a niche weapon, that I bought only to flip and make double on what I paid for it, oversized grip with the 22 mag magazines, and just a turd, plain and simple, A TURD.

    Another KT product, that we will never see in quantity, that made with the cheapest materials possible, sold at the highest “Unobtanium” values, and something that may or not work if, and when, you can get one.

    Artificial scarcity is the term you are searching for, and with the McRib, I can actually find it once a year at McDonalds, KT products not so, and the bonus of the McRib is, I get to crap it out the next day, a KT product I have to return for repair and then resell, I’d rather poop out a McRib, than buy another KT product ever again.

    Oh, as for the chicks? That fat thighed one would look better in a WW2 officers pants, “Jodpuhrs” is the term I believe, that have the giant thighs for cavalry use?

    At least get some decent looking models, for cripes sake. Bad enough you assume we think with our peckers, but my pecker isn’t blind…..

    1. Hey guys—this is what girls look like that eat real food , and do not wear make up for a shoot—-get over urselves ….

    2. The girls look OK. Perhaps a little real for some but I’d still stop to pass the time of day with them. The one in the leather jacket actually made me think a bit of the girls in R. Crumb’s comics, big, strong women that were always plain speaking.

      Works for me. If they can shoot, all the better.

    3. @ Davidio Flavio.

      I don’t want to burst you bubble here, but the .22Magnum and the .22WMR, are the EXACT same round. Somebody got the bright idea of shortening the words WMR, Winchester Magnum Rimfire too just Magnum…

  13. David W wrote: “I am not a walking penis, however.”

    Right. Not the whole thing anyway – Just the part at the end.

  14. A 2nd grader could have done a better job of writing this article. It was so full of errors it made me cringe. Looks like a fun gun that I hope will be produced in enough quantities so that we will all have them available. We LOVE KELTEC innovation!
    To the author– there are a lot of writing classes available. Take one. This was a mess.

    1. @ Mountain man.

      Than use .22tcm instead of .22wmr, there only a 0.8mm difference in size between the two rounds. In fact the .22tcm actually performs better than the .22wmr, in both the PRM-30 pistol and CRM-30 artillery pistol/extended-range pistol.

  15. I’d disagree. I could care less about the carbine, I clicked the link to see boobies. I’m a Neanderthal. I like boobies slightly more than guns.

  16. 22MAG ammo? Available? Where? And WHAT price?
    Midway has a backorder for me from like January…still no estimated delivery time.
    Hard to find ANY rimfire in Orlando.
    WalMart’s is gone as it hits the shelves.
    Do NOT use ARMSCOR in the PMR30…and I assume also the CMR30.

  17. Hey Gang,

    Lighten up a little. In case you hadn’t noticed ALL gun makers seem to be having production issues … thanks to government regulations. That is not considering what the EPA and gov’ has done to the ammunition industry.

    If you want to rant and rave … pressure this new GOP controlled Senate and House to undo Obama and the anti-gunner damage to our right AND the firearms industry.

    Retired Peace Officer and Author

  18. Technical reviews of a product that most will never see tend to leave me a bit disinterested. There is little or no debate that Kel-Tec simply cannot match demand for their more interesting products. The Kel-Tec products most commonly found in retail outlets are the ones most people can easily live without. Want a PF-9 or a P-3AT? No problem. They sit on the shelves for months. Want a Sub-2000 with Glock 19 magazine or a PMR-30 in olive green. Good luck! You’ll find them on Gunbroker at $150 over MSRP, but no where else. It’s a shame. All that excess cash (over MSRP) doesn’t even flow to Kel-Tec where it could be used to expand their business. Interesting products but very poor business model/management.

    1. If only gun owners didn’t have such a persistent and ignorant reaction to “price gouging”, the manufacturers and retailers could charge according to demand, and the money could be flowing to them, instead of folks who troll all the walmarts looking to buy stuff up for cheap. We’d all have been better off, sooner.

  19. Ok, so what happened to Kel Tec??? I have had a Sub 2000 for many years, and love it… I would buy one of these for plinking, but it’s not on their website, and neither is any gun for sale that I could find…

    I will ask my FFL, and go from there

  20. What about that 22.6″ OAL with the stock collapsed? Does that put the gun at odds with the BATFE interpretation and regulations for NFA. Thought minimum OAL not to require a tax stamp and paperwork is 26″.

    1. @ Charles.

      Technically speaking, the CMR-30 is neither a Pistol or a Carbine, or even a Rifle. It’s an Extended Range Pistol or Artillery Pistol. Take your pick.

  21. Having hotties in tight clothes with big tits does not make me want to buy your product. It insults my intelligence. Your marketing department needs to get past “der hur, guys like boobs. I bet if we advertise with boobs, everyone will buy it!”

    Stop. I like girls. I like boobs. I like guns. I am not a walking penis, however.

    1. Wow! If those are Mitch’s definition of “hotties” in tight clothes, I’d hate to see what his idea of a “plain Jane” woman is! I didn’t find anything stimulating about the two models pictured with the Keltec weapons.

    2. “I didn’t find anything stimulating about the two models pictured”

      Check and see if you have a pulse – because if these two don’t raise
      your blood pressure then you are way to young to be handling firearms!
      (I just could not resist making this comment)

    3. David W wrote: “I am not a walking penis, however.”

      Right. Not the whole thing anyway – Just the part at the end.

  22. It’s “guesstimated” that their are at least 200 employee’s working on THREE shifts, producing ~117,000-guns of various designs per year at Kel-Tec. With ~15 different gun designs being produced, that works out to be ~7,800 guns/design.

  23. You keep posting reviews about the Kel-Tec products, but the firearms are generally not available. I see the Kel-Tec .380 pistol on the CTD website, but have yet to see the PMR-30 or the bullpup in .308 or the 12-guage shotgun. I agree with a previous reviewer who stated Kel-Tec is a good prototype company. Too bad most of us will never see their products.

  24. I have a .40 from these guys. Trigger was finicky when new. I was passing by on I95 and stopped by their front gate and they let me in and they took my gun into the shop and I was on my way in less than 15 minutes. I though that was pretty cool.

  25. I looked everywhere for some .22wmr ammunition. And so far I’ve come close, but no cigar. Then I read about using .22tcm ammunition instead. It’s GREAT. Egual too, if not better then the .22wmr. Just 0.8mm smaller then the .22wmr round, but works just fine, in both models. And as far as I can see, not purchase shortages.

    1. Man, you need to work on grammar,spelling and syntax. It is hard to take you seriously otherwise.;

    2. I probably just mis-understand your comment, but I read that your using .22 tcm in a .22 wmr gun ?

    3. @ Steve

      Yes! Just a 0.8mm difference in the round size. Other than that, the characteristics are just about the same, with slight edge leaning toward the .22tcm round.

    4. @ Steve: AMMENDED.

      Just go to the October 23, 2014, website of the same title. With CTD – Suzanne, doing the evaluation. There at least two other people who did the same thing, I got my “inspiration” for Bob. I think that was his name.

      I wish there was away to amend/edit these comments, after they’ve been posted.

  26. All the dealers I no all say the same thing, and I agree, this company is to small to produce enough of there products to satisfy the demand for there products. To bad there nothing but a prototype company, that’s why there in finical trouble. There products do not exist. This is why I will no longer be looking for there products, it’s a total waist of time.


    SORRYabout the caps , hit the wrong button

  28. KelTec is in my backyard. I want, worse than anything, to root for them. That said? I’ll believe it when I see it from them. Ain’t seen it yet…

    1. After buying two P3AT’s and having trouble with both, I steer clear of Kel-Tec. I even went to their plant to have my first one fixed and then like a fool bought a second one for my GF. Got rid of them.

  29. As with any new weapon system I’ll probably wait a year or so for it to prove itself in the market. My days of having sufficient disposable income passed about my 65th birthday. Nevertheless, it looks like a nice system, though it was a bit disappointing to not have accuracy tables or an MSRP. I’ll withhold judgment ’til later.

    1. It doesn’t matter what the MSRP is. They could be free. It’s a Keltec. Nobody will ever be able to buy one. That’s a shame too. There are a lot of Keltec firearms I’d like to buy.

    2. I see KSGs at CDNN online all the time…PMR30s as well…
      I have a PMR30 in green…KSG in green and RFB (308) in green…so they ARE out there.

    3. @ L Cavendish.

      Sir, I don’t know whether your still interested, but I ran across by accident while looking for something. And remembered your posting looking for this rifle. Kel-Tec RFB 7.62/.308Win. in Green, Bullpup Rifle on for $2,085.00 USD. private sale.

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