The .22 Magnum Battle: Smith & Wesson M&P 22 Magnum vs. KEL-TEC PMR-30

In the realm of high-capacity .22 Magnum firearms, one has long reigned supreme: the KEL-TEC PMR-30. Known for its lightweight frame and powerful impact, it has been the go-to choice for many looking for a .22WMR pistol. However, an intriguing challenger has entered the fray, the Smith & Wesson M&P 22 Magnum. As a new addition to the illustrious Military and Police (M&P) line, it seeks to establish its place in this unique segment of the handgun market. Here's a comprehensive comparison of these two pistols based on their specifications, design, and operation.


Smith & Wesson M&P 22 Magnum

Smith and Wesson M&P 22 MAGNUM

The Smith & Wesson M&P 22 Magnum represents the esteemed manufacturer's latest foray into the .22 Magnum market. Renowned for their reliability and superior craftsmanship, Smith & Wesson guns have consistently found favor among firearm enthusiasts. The M&P 22 Magnum hopes to continue that tradition.



The KEL-TEC PMR-30 has enjoyed a solid position in the market for a considerable time now. Despite some initial feeding issues, this semi-automatic pistol has long been a crowd favorite due to its large capacity, ease of use, and high power.

Design and Ergonomics

Smith & Wesson M&P 22 Magnum

As a part of the M&P line, the M&P 22 Magnum showcases a professional, streamlined design. With an ergonomic grip, ambidextrous controls, and customizable backstraps, it's built with user comfort and adaptability in mind. The polymer frame lends the gun lightweight characteristics without compromising on durability.

The M&P 22 Magnum, with its overall length of 8.4 inches, height of 5.9 inches, and a slim width of 1.13 inches, presents a full-size profile. It weighs in at 22 ounces, making it sturdy and substantial in the hand.


The PMR-30 also sports a lightweight, Zytel-based polymer frame. Its grip is textured for secure handling, but it doesn't offer the same degree of customization as the M&P 22 Magnum. Its slide and barrel are made of steel, balancing out the overall weight of the gun.

The PMR-30 exhibits a more compact design, with an overall length of 7.9 inches, height of 5.8 inches, and a slightly wider 1.3 inches profile. Its significant advantage is its weight; the PMR-30 weighs only 14 ounces unloaded, making it an ideal option for those seeking a lightweight firearm.


The M&P 22 MAGNUM and the PMR-30 both boast a substantial capacity, accommodating up to 30 rounds in a flush-fit magazine. This impressive capacity, uncommon in most pistol designs, means both these firearms provide considerable firepower in the compact form of a .22 WMR pistol.

Performance and Recoil

Smith & Wesson M&P 22 Magnum

With its crisp trigger and smooth slide action, the M&P 22 Magnum delivers excellent performance. The recoil is manageable, thanks to the combination of its lightweight frame and superior ergonomics, allowing for rapid, accurate follow-up shots.


The PMR-30 offers a smooth shooting experience with minimal muzzle rise, largely due to its unique blowback/locked-breech system. However, given its extremely light frame, some users might experience a slight increase in perceived recoil, despite the .22 Magnum's generally low recoil.

Technical Specs

When comparing the Smith & Wesson M&P 22 Magnum and the KEL-TEC PMR-30, it's essential to delve into their technical specifications. Each firearm brings unique features to the table. Let's take a closer look at the specifics.

Smith & Wesson M&P 22 Magnum Technical Specs:

  • Caliber: 22 WMR (Winchester Magnum Rimfire)
  • Weight (unloaded): 22 oz
  • Magazine Capacity: 30 rounds
  • Overall Length: 8.4 in
  • Barrel Length: 4.35 in
  • Height: 5.9 in
  • Width: 1.13 in
  • Trigger Pull: Not specified, likely within industry standard (5-6 lbs)
  • Sights: Fiber Optic
  • Frame: Polymer

KEL-TEC PMR-30 Technical Specs:

  • Caliber: .22WMR (Winchester Magnum Rimfire)
  • Weight (unloaded): 14 oz (397g)
  • Magazine Capacity: 30 rounds
  • Overall Length: 7.9” (201mm)
  • Barrel Length: 4.3” (109mm)
  • Height: 5.8” (147mm)
  • Width: 1.3” (33mm)
  • Trigger Pull: 3-5 lbs (23N)
  • Sights: Fiber Optic
  • Frame: Polymer

Both pistols are equipped with fiber optic sights to enhance visibility and target acquisition. The M&P 22 Magnum sports a green front sight and a black notched rear sight, while the PMR-30 comes standard with Hi-Viz fiber optic sights on both front and rear. These sights aim to provide a clear, high-visibility sight picture in various lighting conditions.

The M&P 22 Magnum features a flat-faced trigger intended to foster consistent finger placement, contributing to increased accuracy and repeatability during shooting. Conversely, the PMR-30 sports a trigger pull that ranges from 3-5lbs. This lighter pull, combined with the Hi-Viz sights and slightly longer barrel, can assist in maintaining accuracy across successive shots.


The M&P 22 Magnum is loaded with additional features such as an ambidextrous slide stop and manual thumb safety, accommodating both right-handed and left-handed shooters. The gun also includes two magazines and is capable of directly mounting most popular micro red dots on the market, offering users the possibility of enhanced sighting.

The PMR-30 offers its own set of unique features, including an integrated accessory rail. This can be utilized to mount a range of additional accessories like a weapon light or an optic mount, providing more flexibility for customization based on specific user needs and preferences.


The Smith & Wesson M&P 22 Magnum, despite being a newcomer, is a formidable contender. Its excellent ergonomics, reliable performance, and the reputation of Smith & Wesson back it up as a solid choice.

Meanwhile, the KEL-TEC PMR-30 continues to be a viable option, particularly for those seeking high capacity in a lightweight package. The PMR-30 has a ton of Aftermarket Upgrades and Accessories as well.

In the end, choosing between the two might come down to individual preference – the high-capacity PMR-30 or the ergonomic and reliable M&P 22 Magnum. Regardless of your choice, both firearms represent the epitome of .22 Magnum performance and design.

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