Imagine a carbine that offers a 30+1 capacity, variable lengths, dead-on precision, and weighs little more than your average medium-sized cantaloupe. Slap on some futuristic looks with generous amounts of Picatinny rail, and what you have is the CMR30 from KelTec.

KelTec is all about innovation, which is great, but there’s no denying the company’s brand style has a very space-punk vibe to it. The CMR30 would seem right at home in the hands of a Storm Trooper on the Death Star, but the real question is this: How does it shoot? 

I pulled one from the Guns.com Certified Used Vault to see if this gun’s “Star Wars” looks equaled real-world performance.


Table of Contents

CMR30 Overview
Specs & Features
Range Testing
Pros & Cons
Final Thoughts

CMR30 Overview

 

KelTec CMR30 .22 WMR Carbine
Just the looks of this carbine hint at the fact that it was meant for far more than just plinking. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


At first glance, the CMR30 seems like it’s a tailor-made, lightweight personal-defense weapon or truck gun. Indeed, KelTec doesn’t shy away from pitching it as just that. The gun is compact and wieldy. It’s also chambered for .22 WMR, making it extremely light-recoiling with a generous 30-round magazine capacity.

Some might smirk at the thought of a carbine chambered for .22 WMR serving as a self-defense firearm, but whatever is lost in power is backed up by capacity and shootability. Personally, I see .22 WMR as a viable – if not ideal – self-defense round for such a platform. The real question is how well the gun itself performs in actual function. So, let’s start by digging into what makes this carbine tick.
 

Specs & Features

 

KelTec CMR30 .22 WMR Carbine
Two of the gun’s more endearing qualities are its small size and lightweight feel. *Baby Yoda not included. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


Looks are all fine and dandy, but what really caught my attention with the CMR30 was the weight and balance. The gun is very light with a forward weight due to the 16-inch barrel. While Baby Yoda – aka Grogu – may not need a gun thanks to his connection to the Force, the CMR30 is compact and light enough that in a year or two, even he could manage it pretty well.

The carbine uses a simple but reliable straight-blowback action that also makes it easy to clean and maintain. Just as importantly, the recoil is barely noticeable when shooting .22 Magnum. While not a hard-recoiling round, I found the blowback action allowed me to consistently maintain my sight picture dead-on target even during strings of rapid fire. The grip, trigger, safety, and bolt release are basically mirror images of KelTec’s PMR30 pistol.


Related: KelTec PMR30 Review – Max Capacity .22 Mag Plinker


Nearly everything about the CMR30 is fully ambidextrous. There are dual charging handles up front, dual thumb safeties, and an ambi stock release at the front of the trigger guard. The only non-ambi feature is the bolt release, which is only located on the left-hand side. It’s rather stiff, but I rarely found any reason to use it and preferred to just rely on the charging handles anyway. Overall, I found the controls to be intuitive after just a few minutes playing around with them. 
 

KelTec CMR30 .22 WMR Carbine
Here you can see the wing-like ambi charging handles. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)
KelTec CMR30 .22 WMR Carbine
A thumb safety can be found on the left and right sides. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)
KelTec CMR30 .22 WMR Carbine
And the trigger guard hosts a stock release that is equally ambidextrous. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


The only thing that might throw some American shooters for a loop is the heel magazine release. I personally found it to be easy to use with no need to change my shooting-hand grip. Magazines also positively eject from the magazine well at the base of the grip. I would add a very small ding here. The placement of the heel release can allow you to inadvertently eject the magazine if you are sloppy about how you grab the pistol grip. This never happened on the range, but it is possible. 
 

KelTec CMR30 .22 WMR Carbine
The heel magazine release is easy to use. Just be careful not to bump it when you go to grasp the pistol grip. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


Here are some general specs to give you an idea of how this little carbine stacks up:

Weight (Unloaded): 3.8 pounds
Length: 22.75-30.5 inches with thread cap
Height: 7.875 inches
Width: 1.28 inches, 2.92 inches with charging handles
Length of Pull (Max): 14.5 inches
Barrel Length: 16 inches
Trigger Pull: 2.96 pounds (10-pull average)
Barrel Threading: 1/2x28 TPI
 

KelTec CMR30 .22 WMR Carbine
The collapsing stock offers five locked positions and a completely collapsed position. Given the weight of the carbine, you can actually shoot it one-handed fairly easily with the stock collapsed. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


The stock adjusts to five extended lengths, plus the fully collapsed length, giving shooters a flexible 22.75 to 30.5 inches to play with for their size and shooting situation. You can rapidly “rip” the stock to its fully extended length without hitting any controls, making it easy to deploy when stored with the stock collapsed.

Because the extending stock is a straight design, it’s also easy to get a solid cheek weld while shooting. This aids in accuracy and comfort. I’ve tested folding stocks before where this was an issue, but the CMR30 stock largely solves that problem and is even rounded to make it more comfortable to shoot.
 

KelTec CMR30 .22 WMR Carbine
There’s plenty of top and bottom Pic rail for grips, lights, and optics. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)
KelTec CMR30 .22 WMR Carbine
A gnarled cap is located at the front of the barrel to cover the 1/2x28 TPI threading. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


The ambi safety is positive, and the stock release is easy to access with your extended shooting finger. The gun is also suppressor- and optics-ready, hosting a gnarled thread cap at the tip of the barrel and a generous 14.25 inches of Pic rail up top, with 7.25 inches of rail underneath. As a used gun, this carbine came with a Magpul angled foregrip – which I really dig on the CMR30 – and a Vortex red dot with backup Magpul iron sights. 

However, my favorite feature has to be the extremely light trigger. There’s about a quarter-inch of take-up, some light but smooth smush to the wall, and a crisp break at just 2.96 pounds from my testing. The reset is a tad long at around half an inch, but I had no problem running the trigger with speed.
 

KelTec CMR30 .22 WMR Carbine
The trigger is very light and lends itself to accurate shooting. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


As far as grip texture goes, it’s your typical squared KelTec affair. It’s comfortable but not very textured or positive. With that being said, the narrowness of the pistol grip itself and the flared hand-stop at the bottom make it easy to lock your hand in for a positive grip.
 

KelTec CMR30 .22 WMR Carbine
There’s not much to write home about when it comes to the grip texture, except that it is very on brand for KelTec. Note the flare at the bottom of the pistol grip. This does help lock in your hand for shooting. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)
KelTec CMR30 .22 WMR Carbine
There are also ambi one-point sling mounts at the rear of the receiver. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


In typical KelTec fashion, there are screws everywhere holding the main assembly together. I didn’t notice any of these walking themselves loose after shooting, but I’ve learned over the years to either add some Loctite to problem areas or conduct regular screw inspections. 
 

Range Testing
 

KelTec CMR30 .22 WMR Carbine
I find this platform really lends itself to red dots with backup iron sights. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


Here’s where the real money is when it comes to the CMR30, but it’s not 100 percent roses and butterflies. We’ll start with where the gun shines.  

While Storm Troopers are notoriously bad shots with the accuracy of an upside-down clock, the CMR30 is anything but that. Using just a red dot and iron sights, I was shooting easy 1.5-inch groups at 25 yards with 15 shots on two targets. Mind you, I wasn’t calming my breath and becoming one with the Force to do that. I just plopped down after zeroing the red dot and popped off a single mag at two targets.

The accuracy with just a dot and irons impressed me. As a carbine chambered in .22 WMR, I wouldn’t call this a long-range shooter. But it’s fast and accurate with plenty of onboard ammo to do some serious work up close with minimal reloads. Adding a small scope would help tighten those groups even more.
 

KelTec CMR30 .22 WMR Carbine
My red-dot target is on the left and my iron-sights target is on the right. There was a bit of drifting at 25 yards on my part, but when I did my job the gun wanted to devour the red center (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


It’s also a highly controllable gun. Personally, I would like a bit more power and range for barrier penetration out of a PDW platform, but the CMR30 does come in under 4 pounds. Reloads were easy, and the trigger lent itself to fast, accurate follow-up shots. You can even feel the bolt lock back on an empty magazine, which I found somewhat surprising given the light recoil.

I think it’s worth noting that as a .22 WMR gun, the CMR30 is far cheaper to train and plink with than something chambered in 5.7mm NATO. The latter is a fine round for a PDW with better long-range ballistics. However, platforms that shoot it cost more, weigh more, and often lack features like the CMR30’s collapsing stock. 
 

KelTec CMR30 .22 WMR Carbine
I ran 400 rounds through the CMR30, which goes faster than you think when you are using a 30-round magazine. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


Now for the downside. No gun is perfect, and the CMR30 had a few function issues over the 400 rounds I ran through it. I shot a mix of Federal 30-grain Speer TNT .22 WMR and Hornady 45-grain Critical Defense FTX .22 WMR. Over the course of that shooting, I had three malfunctions that were isolated to failures to fully eject spent casings. These resulted in easy-to-clear stovepipe jams. Nevertheless, a jam is a jam.

On further inspection, I noted that the last two malfunctions were with magazine that I loaded hastily at the range. The rounds stacked within were staggered somewhat awkwardly out of alignment. I don’t know if this was the issue, but I would recommend taking care to properly load and seat rounds within the 30-round mags. They can get a bit stiff toward the end.
 

Pros & Cons

Here’s a summary of my overall pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Very lightweight
  • Very low recoil
  • Relatively cheap to shoot for a carbine
  • Great accuracy for its size
  • Plain fun to shoot
  • 30+1 capacity
  • Ambidextrous controls
  • Collapsing stock
  • Lots of Picatinny rail
  • Threaded barrel
  • Small overall package
  • Simple, reliable, easy-to-clean blowback action

Cons:

  • Magazines can be somewhat hard to fully load
  • A few failures to eject spent casings
  • Limited grip texture
  • Heel magazine release can be bumped
  • Stiff bolt release (solved by ambi charging handles)
     

Final Thoughts
 

KelTec CMR30 .22 WMR Carbine
The CMR30 proved to be a fine little carbine, for a small, light gun that shoots .22 Mag. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


I think I would lean on this more as a truck gun than a go-to tactical-style PDW. The caliber and possible concerns about rimfire reliability would be my main reasons. The capacity is certainly there. Overall, the CMR30 also excelled as a fun range plinker in my opinion, and it even has some sweet futuristic looks with a very simple operating system tucked inside.

You’d be hard pressed to find a more compact, lightweight, feature-rich carbine that could very easily fit in a small case with a horde of spare ammo. I hate having to let this one go back to its home in the Guns.com Vault, but I’ll keep my eyes peeled for another one down the road.

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