Tag Archives: Kel-Tec

REVIEW: Kel-Tec Model RDB17

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“Low budget, high value bullpup” so says the author. If that’s what you’re looking for, read all about this one HERE

kel tec rdbkel tec rdb

Wilburn Roberts

The Kel-Tec RDB17 could be considered the working man’s bullpup: nothing fancy, but it sure performs. The RDB17 is a no frills bullpup that is very functional with a simplistic approach.

Features and Function
The RDB17 is constructed of two polymer halves that sandwich around a steel action and barrel. The gas piston system has a gas regulator so a user can regulate the weapon to run on all sorts of ammunition and also be adjusted for a suppressor. The gas regulator can be adjusted with the open mouth from an empty 5.56 NATO case. It’s click adjustable and comes from the factory ready to run on standard M193 type ammo.

The RDB17 features a left side charging handle that is non-reciprocating. It locks against the forend when not being used. The cooking handle provides good leverage when cocking the weapon with the support hand on the charging handle and firing hand on the grip.

kel tec rdb
The charging handle folds out and provides plenty of leverage to cock the RDB.

The outside texture of the polymer features a very coarse grid pattern that is comfortable and offers plenty of grip purchase. A picatinny rail at 12 and 6 o’clock allow mounting of and optic or vertical grip.

kel tec rdb
The ambidextrous safety selector on the RDB17 is located under the thumb of the firing hand and easy to manipulate. The simple magazine release is designed so a magazine can be stripped away with the support hand.

The controls include an ambidextrous rotating safety selector that is easily manipulated by the thumb of shooing hand like an AR15, but requires less rotation than the typical AR15 selector. The magazine release lever is also suited for left or right hand users. The lever is designed so the magazine can fall free as the operator grasps the magazine to remove it since the operator’s hand naturally falls on it. The simple metal magazine release is pressed to drop or strip away the magazine.

Field stripping the Kel-Tec is simple. Push out two pins and it disassembles similar to an AR15. Rotate the grip downward and the barrel and bolt carrier can be removed from the stock/grip assembly.

The RDB uses a unique downward ejecting system. As the bolt move rearward the extractor pulls the cases out of the chamber and into dual ejectors that push the case down a chute so empties fall at the shooter’s feet.

kel tec rdb
That slot aft of the magazine is the ejection port on the RDB17. It dumps empties straight down.

The Kel-Tec comes with a 20-round magazine and is also compatible with standard AR15 magazines, which I and I’m sure many others will appreciate. I used Brownells’ aluminum body magazines, Magpul Pmags, and Hexmag, all 30-rounders.

Firing
I tested the Kel-Tec with a SIG Romeo4B red dot sight which excels at close to medium range. At ranges out to 100 yards the dot suffices and while most red dots tend to cover a lot of target at far distances the Romeo4B allows the user to toggle between four different reticles: 2 MOA dot, 2 MOA dot with ballistic holds, 2 MOA/65 MOA Circle Dot, or 2 MOA/65 MOA Circle Dot with ballistic holds. The ballistic holdover points are calibrated for 5.56 NATO and 7.62x51mm NATO rounds. An activated motion sensor immediately powers up illumination when the red dot senses motion and powers down when it does not in order to extend battery life. A nice feature for those of you like me who forget to turn off the red dot and find it dead the nest time you use it.

kel tec rdb
The SIG Romeo4B red dot was well suited to the RDB.

Three brands of ammunition were used including Aguila 5.56mm NATO with a 62-grain FMJ bullet, .223 Rem. Federal Fusion loaded with a 62-grain soft point, and SIG Sauer .223 Rem. ammo loaded with a 77-grain OTM Match bullet.

At 25 yards using a rest I could create one large hole in the target. At 100 yards and using the same rest the accuracy ranged between 2.5 to 3 MOA. In speed testing, the RDB17 ran well with no malfunctions. The handguard incorporates a ridge so your support hand does not get too close the muzzle. Hot brass falls at your feet. The trigger was not as refined as I would like, but usable.

kel tec rdb

The Kel-Tec is a basic bullpup that in my opinion and it will get the job done. If you have a need to own a bullpup and have a limited budget this would be an excellent option.

kel tec rdb

See more HERE

Kel-Tec PMR 30: A Second Look

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This space-age pistol has a lot of uses. It’s a great pistol for hunting, personal defense, and target practice — and it’s also the fun gun of the century! Also, yes, at the time of the article being published Midsouth does have .22 MAG in stock. You can find it by clicking HERE.


Bob Campbell


Kel-Tec
This is a space-age pistol, but then it is a Kel-Tec! With modern construction, light weight and reliability this is one interesting handgun.

I came to the Kel-Tec PMR 30 in a different manner than I would have thought. My experience with their CMR 30 carbine solidified my confidence in the company and promoted my eager appreciation of this .22 Magnum self-loader. When I had the chance to obtain a PMR 30 pistol, I did not hesitate.

These handguns have been scarce on the market. The situation seems better now and I am seeing more PMR 30s in well-stocked shops. The PMR 30 is a unique and highly interesting handgun. This is a polymer frame pistol with a steel slide and barrel that works on the simple blowback principle. The first thing you notice after the space age appearance is that the pistol weighs less than 14 ounces. Even with a fully-loaded 30-round magazine, the piece weighs but 20 ounces. Yes, 20 ounces for a 30-shot pistol!

The pistol is quite narrow overall, although the grip must be deep enough to accommodate the .22 Magnum cartridge. Just the same, the handgun is manageable by all but the smallest hand sizes. The geometry of the grip is subtle until understood, and when looked at with an experienced eye the engineering is impressive. The safety is ambidextrous and offers ergonomic operation and easy reach.

The pistol is supplied with fiber optic front and rear sights. The sights offer excellent visibility and are precise enough for accurate fire well past 25 yards. The pistol is drilled and tapped for optics from the factory. The PMR 30 also features a light rail — unusual for a rimfire pistol. This rail accommodates popular lasers and combat lights including the LaserMax Spartan red laser.

Kel-Tec PMR-30 sights
Optics ready! Note fiber-optic rear sight — very bright — and the front fiber-optic sight is a good choice for rapid target acquisition.

Among the best features of this single-action handgun is the trigger action. The trigger is clean and crisp, breaking smoother than any factory trigger I’ve tried in recent memory.

The PMR 30 differs from most modern handguns in using a heel-type magazine release. While speed is better with the Browning-type button release, the heel-type magazine release is more secure. Just the same, with sufficient practice reasonable speed may be had with the heel-based system, and, with 30 rounds on tap, I do not foresee the need for a speed load. As heel-based latches go, the Kel-Tec is a good design and faster than most.

Kel-Tec
Note the heel based-magazine catch. With such a relatively long and heavy magazine this is a good choice, but it takes a little practice to perform efficient reloads.

Firing Tests
When loading the magazines, be certain to properly center each cartridge and bump the magazine every 5 or 6 rounds to ensure that the cartridges are seated. This improves reliability. The last few cartridges are rather difficult to load. For informal practice loading 15 to 20 rounds is a sound program and a little easier on the self.

Kel-Tec PMR-30 magazine
The 30-round PMR magazine is well-made of good material.

I have been able to test the pistol with a variety of ammunition, including the Fiocchi 40-grain JSP, Winchester’s 40-grain FMJ, the CCI 40-grain JHP, and Hornady’s 45-grain Critical Defense. There were no failures to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. Engineering a pistol to fire the rimmed .22 Magnum cartridge isn’t an easy task but Kel-Tec took the challenge and ran with it.

CCI
The PMR 30 eats a lot of ammunition quickly. It functioned flawlessly with all four different ammo selections I tried.

The pistol is a joy to handle and fire. Although the .22 Magnum exhibits a healthy muzzle blast, recoil isn’t a factor. A combination of a comfortable grip, excellent sights, and a crisp trigger make the pistol easy to land hits with. At close range, the pistol gave excellent results on the combat course, scoring X-ring hits at 5, 7, and 10 yards.

At a long 25 yards, I tested 3 loads. These were the Winchester 40-grain FMJ, the CCI Maxi Mag JHP, and the Fiocchi 40-grain JSP. Firing offhand, there was little difference in accuracy among all four. Boxes of 50 rounds each went all too quickly!

Bob Campbell
The PMR 30 is accurate in offhand fire. Firing quickly the Kel-Tec PMR is a controllable handgun. Get sighted on a target out to 50 yards and chances are you can hit it with a handgun that shoots as flat as a wire.

Shooting from a solid bench-rest firing position, the Kel-Tec was more than accurate enough for small game or pest control. The fastest load tested was the CCI Maxi Mag at a strong 1440 fps. The best group for accuracy was the Fiocchi 40-grain JSP at 3.5 inches, with the Winchester and CCI each cutting just below 4.0 inches. I suspect that with practice, the pistol may be more accurate, however, it is a light pistol and it takes practice to stabilize the piece.

Personal Defense
While I prefer a larger caliber, there is something to be said for a bullet with plenty of velocity. Hornady’s 45-grain Critical Defense load is designed for defense use and exhibits good penetration and expansion. I would recommend this load, and it is completely reliable in the Kel-Tec pistol. For the recoil-shy this is a first-class alternative to a larger caliber handgun.

Barber Leather Works
The Barber Leather Works Chameleon works well for concealing the PMR 30.

I, frankly, would rather have this pistol loaded with Hornady’s ammunition than a .32 or .380 pistol. Accuracy is good, hit probability is excellent, and you have a good reserve of ammunition. For those who like to practice, the PMR 30 is an alternative to harder-kicking pistols.

The PMR 30 is a surprising piece, well worth its price and one of the top fun guns of the century.


Calibers: .22 Mag. (.22WMR)
Action Type: semi-auto, hybrid blowback/locked-breech system
Frame: 7075 aluminum covered by glass-reinforced Nylon
Barrel length: 4.3″
Rifling: 1:16″ RH twist
Magazine: 30+1 rounds
Sights: Fiber Optic
Trigger pull: 3 lbs. 6 oz.
Overall Length: 7.9″
Weight: 13.6 oz.
Width: 1.3″
Height: 5.8″
Accessories: owner’s manual, hard case, trigger lock, and two magazines
Suggested Retail Price: $415

Kel-Tec.com


Bob Campbell is an established and well-respected outdoors writer, contributing regularly to many publications ranging from SWAT Magazine to Knifeworld. Bob has also authored three books: Holsters For Combat and Concealed Carry (Paladin Press), The 1911 Semi Auto (Stoeger Publishing), and The Handgun In Personal Defense (The Second Amendment Foundation).

10 Great Things about Kel-Tec’s PMR-30

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A few years ago, one of our Midsouth staffers asked an FFL friend to find him a Kel-Tec PMR-30, which were in short supply at the time. He purchased one for $600. Now, at a vastly better price, “The Shot Report” e-letter readers have a chance to win one in our giveaway.

Besides just the sheer joy of getting something cool for free, there’s a lot to like about the PMR-30 pistol. So, to fill you in on some of the best aspects of this handgun, we compiled a top-ten list of great things to like about Kel-Tec’s PMR-30, and we wish you luck when it comes time to draw for it.

#10

Ammunition for the PMR-30 is affordable, if sporadically available recently. A lot of shooters love the similarly sized FiveseveN handgun, but just the 5.7 ammo that runs that handgun will turn a big wad o’ cash in your pocket into a small wad o’ cash PDQ. The PMR-30, on the other hand, chambered for the .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire, offers a lot of load availability and pricing. We currently list 14 different .22 WMR packages from CCI, Hornady, and Federal in bullet or shotcharge weights of 30, 40, 45, 50, and 52 grains. You can shoot this surprisingly powerful round for as low as 20 cents a round (actually, 19.88 cents/round for the Federal FMJ 40-grain load #129-737).

#9

First reaction of most shooters who handle the PMR-30: “It is so light, it feels like a toy.” The gun and magazine together, unloaded, weigh only a pound, and with a full complement of 40-grain cartridges, it comes in at 20.2 ounces.

#8

You can shoot the heck out it. Our staff has poured about 1000 rounds through one PMR-30, and everyone who shot it has loved it. But note that Kel-Tec says, “The PMR-30 pistol functions best with high-power ammo, often with bullet weights of 40-grains and up. This includes, but is not limited to, the following: CCI Maxi Mag 40gr, Winchester Super-X 40gr, Remington Premier Magnum 33gr.” Also, Kel-Tec notes, “Low-power ammo and/or lightweight bullets may cause failure to feed problems due to the lack of energy to cycle the slide all the way back. The following are currently low power, and may not function reliably in the PMR-30 pistol, especially if the grip is not held firmly: Winchester Dynapoint 45gr, Winchester Supreme 30gr.”

#7

Capacity. The “full complement” mentioned above is 30+1 rounds. Start shooting the first of the month, keep shooting all month. If you like to do math and not have loose rounds in your range bag, then cipher this:

We added three steel magazines to the two polymer mags purchased with the handgun, which gives a loaded-round count of 150 rounds in magazines, or the tidy equivalent of three 50-round boxes of ammo.

#6

The PMR-30 uses a double-stack magazine, and loading 30 rounds into it takes time, and holding pressure on the cartridges to put 30 in can tire your hands. To make this process easier, loading tools are available and recommended. Just do an online search for “PMR-30 loading tools” and several sources will pop up.

#5

The trigger is a crisp single action with an over-travel stop. Our staff PMR-30’s trigger breaks at 3.9 pounds, with no creep and a clean reset.

#4

Another favorite feature on the PMR-30 is the fiber-optic orange rear-sight dots and green fiber-optic front-sight dot. Even newbies understand and can see how to align the three dots, and they’re very visible on almost every target color. In fact, the color scheme is superior in low-light conditions.

#3

The sights and good trigger translate to pretty good accuracy. With Winchester Dynapoint 45-grain JHPs  at 15 yards, we can shoot some 2-inch groups off sandbags, but the average group size is closer to 2.5 inches. Our older version also likes Remington Magnum Rimfire 40-gr. PSPs, which come in around 2.7 inches as a group average.

#2

The PMR-30 produces surprising power and penetration. Super-X 22 WMRs are rated at a muzzle velocity/muzzle energy of 1910 fps/324 ft.-lbs. out of a rifle barrel, and in the PMR-30 itself, we got 1339 fps/159 ft.-lbs., only a 30% decrease. In Ballistic Technology’s wax-like, easy-to-use Handgun Bullet Test Tubes, we were able to accurately measure penetration and wound-cavity size. We fired a round into two 11-inch-long, 3.5-inch-wide Handgun Test Tubes set end to end. The Remington PSP had enough energy to punch a quarter-inch-wide hole 4 inches deep into the second tube (15 inches overall penetration).

#1

We have tested ten .22 WMR samples in the Kel-Tec for function and reliability. We encountered no function problems with any of the 10 brands. Some of our friends have mentioned two instances where the 30th round stuck in the magazine and didn’t feed. It only happened with Winchester Dynapoints in both of the polymer factory mags, so it may be an ammunition-specific issue. More likely, it’s that they did not follow the recommended loading sequence religiously. Failure to load the magazine properly can result in rim-lock, which will lead to a failure to feed. Most likely, after they got 15 to 20 rounds in the magazine, they didn’t tap the magazine on the bench to seat rounds.

All in, the lucky winner of the PMR-30 we’re offering will likely have himself or herself a ball with this handgun — with a red-dot or laser, it would be a wicked squirrel gun out to… as good as you are. Most of us are happy when the gun is better than we are.

A heads-up: You’ll notice we’re currently out of stock on all .22 WMR. Unfortunately, right now, ammunition manufacturers just can’t keep up with demand, and they won’t give us any expected dates of delivery, so we’re leery of letting folks backorder, when it may be a while before it can be fulfilled. If some looks to be coming in, we’ll try to let you know as soon as it hits the receiving dock.