Kel-Tec PMR-30 Ammo Recommendations

All of the key-holing problems associated with the Kel-Tec PMR-30 have apparently not been solved by the recent barrel replacements.

Kel-Tec issued a statement regarding ammunition recommendations for the .22 WMR pistol, stating that the handguns are still susceptible to key-holing with the CCI Maxi-Mag with 40 grain bullet.  According to Kel-Tec, this CCI load is the ”…most common and available ammunition” in .22 WMR.

Kel-Tec notes that not all of the CCI Maxi-Mag 40 grain loads will key-hole.  It would seem that enough do, though, for Kel-Tec to issue a formal statement on the matter.

Kel-Tec also states that ammunition made outside of the USA should not be used in the PMR-30 due to “…a higher risk of case-rupturing due to inferior quality.”

From Kel-Tec:

PMR-30 Ammo Recommendations Update


We’ve had a lot of questions come in regarding possible new ammunition recommendations in response to the updated barrel design. The overall list of recommended ammunition hasn’t really changed, however there is something we feel is worth noting.

After extensive testing with various ammunition we have concluded that all remaining key-holing issues have been isolated to one particular brand and weight of ammunition. Unfortunately this seems to be the most common and available ammunition: CCI Maxi-Mag 40gr.

The 30gr and 50gr varieties of CCI shoot flawlessly, as do other brands of 30gr., 40gr., and 50gr. ammunition. For some reason, though, it seems that the 40gr. CCI Maxi-Mag in particular still has sporadic key-holing. At this point in time we have deemed it ammunition specific and recommend trying a different grain or brand of ammunition if your PMR-30 is still continuing to key-hole with an updated barrel.

This in no way means that all of your CCI Maxi-Mag 40gr. will key-hole; it just means we have experienced occasional key-holing with that particular ammunition and feel we should make everyone aware of it in the event you experience the same thing we have.

We’ll be sure to keep you updated if we find out anything more!

As it stands, continue to steer clear of non-USA manufactured .22WMR rounds as they have a higher risk of case-rupturing due to inferior quality.

Thank you.

Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is


  • Nater

    I remember some guy telling me I was an idiot for buying an FN Five-SeveN instead of this pistol. I tried to explain to him that 5.7x28mm was chosen to replace/augment 9x19mm NATO in a lot of instances, but that the Germans held up it’s adoption because it was selected over HK’s (inferior) 4.6x30mm round. That the Secret Service used the Five-SeveN and had obviously tested it thoroughly. The Kel-Tec, on the other hand was a completely un-tested design. He still insisted that his PMR-30 was at least as good, if not better.

    Well…you get what you pay for. I’d agree that the Five-SeveN is overpriced, but it does work and work quite well. A gun that doesn’t work is not a bargain at any price. I consider key-holing to be ‘not working’.

  • Rob

    Flawed design with a flawed “fix”. Kel-Tec continues to come up with neat designs, push them into production without adequate testing and then fail to deal with the problems. The T&E KSG I recently fired was a great example; neat idea and crappy execution. If it goes into production without some serious redesigns it will be a disaster.

  • Laserbait

    For about 1/3rd the price of the FN Five-SeveN, I can switch to a different weight bullet if mine key-holes, and not even think twice.

    Hell, I’d even put up with an occasional key-hole with the cheaper 40 grain ammo for range use.

  • DoubtingThomas

    Is key-holing the same thing as a tumbling round?

  • zincorium


    They’re meant for completely different things. The PMR-30 is more of a recreational gun, and even though it certainly could be used in self defense, I very much doubt Kel-Tec will ever market it for that purpose. Keyholing occasionally is not an issue when your life is not at stake.

    The Five-Seven is meant for use against soldiers in body armor, with a specific round that is NOT AVAILABLE in the US to civilians (but they are to the secret service). The rounds you can legally purchase are of debatable effectiveness in self-defense, but that’s not really the issue.

    In both cases, self-defense use against unarmored people is not the intended use by the manufacturer, so if that’s what you and your friend are using these guns for, you’re both being kind of idiots IMO.

  • howlingcoyote

    Maybe they should have chambered it in 5mm Rem. Mag. or in 25 Stevens.

  • jeff

    Kel-Tec recommends CCI 50 grain ammo as one of the rounds which does not keyhole.
    The heavier bullet will increase dwell, in other words the velocity will be as high as with the 40 grain in a pistol.
    See the velocity of 300 grain .44 Magnum vs. 240 grain .44 Magnum from the same gun. Also a 25% increase in bullet weight.
    A heavier bullet moving as fast and more accurately.