The debate seems to have no end, when it comes to rifles (and handguns) for the End Times, or a SHTF event. Everyone has an opinion on this subject, and we are all entitled to our opinions – and I don’t think there is a right or wrong opinion – it’s just that – an opinion. Not everyone wants an AR-15 type of rifle or carbine, nor does everyone want an AK-47 type of rifle. These are probably two of the most popular firearms when talk turns to defending oneself and their family, in a very bad situation, where there is no Without Rule Of Law (WROL) and we have to depend on ourselves and our weapons to stay safe.
My preferred weapon for the bad times are AR-15 types of rifles or carbines. However, I have no problem whatsoever, with a quality-made AK-47 type of rifle for the same purposes. When push comes to shove, I’ll pick-up an AR first if I have that choice.
Those in the AR camp, feel that the AR is the better weapon for combat or survival for many reasons. Number one is the quality of most ARs, and secondly, they are light-weight, and the ammo .223 or 5.56mm is more readily available, and you can pack a lot more of this light-weight ammo, than you can the 7.62X39 round – that most AKs take. Plus, if you want a reliable AK mag, you really need to go with the steel mags. I’ve not been pleased with some of the polymer mags that are available for AKs. Steel mags add weight – a lot more weight. Most AR 30-round magazines are made out of polymer or aluminum alloy and are much lighter in weight. And because they have a less pronounced curve they are also more compact – and thus easier to carry in your web gear. Yeah, I know, there are some steel mags for ARs, but I don’t like ‘em – my preferred AR mag is the MagPul PMags – polymer – and they are the best mags on the market – end of story.
Spare parts are easy to come by for ARs, not so easy for AKs – and when the chips fall, you may not be able to find spare AK parts. But AR spare parts are readily available all over the place. There are lots of reasons to pick an AR over an AK if you ask me.
However, this article isn’t about AR versus AK for the End Times or any serious SHTF scenario. Instead, we are looking at an alternative to both the AR and AK, and that is the Kel-Tec CMR-30, and this is one fine weapon. First off, this little carbine is chambered in .22 Magnum – not .22 LR – and the .22 Mag has a lot more power compared to the .22 LR. Plus, we are looking at magazines – it comes with two, that hold 30 rounds each. Yeep, 30-round .22 Magnum magazines – that’s a lot of firepower.
Let’s be honest, not everyone is into guns like many of our readers are, and some are recoil shy, not that most of us find the recoil of a .223 Rem or 5.56mm round to be objectionable in the least. Still, some smaller-statured folks, like women and young adults are intimidated by recoil, and the muzzle blast of some firearms. The .22 Magnum doesn’t have much muzzle blast, and you can, if forced to, fire the CMR-30 without hearing protection if you have to. And, when it comes to recoil, there really isn’t any to speak of with a .22 Magnum long gun.
Let’s take a close look at the Kel-Tec CMR-30. First off, as already mentioned, it is a carbine-length firearm, with a 16.25-inch barrel, and the barrel is threaded 1/2×28 to accept AR flash suppressor, or even a sound suppressor if you want to pay for the $200 Federal tax stamp, to go that route. It is chambered in .22 Magnum –sometimes called .22 WMR. That ammo is readily available, although not nearly as inexpensive as it once was. The gun only weighs 3.8-lbs empty and only slightly more fully loaded. The overall length is 29.9-inches with the telescoping stock in the full open position, and 22.5-inches with the stock closed. Kel-Tec says the trigger is 5 pounds. But on my new in the box sample, it came in at 3.75-lbs and it is sweet – super sweet. MagPul back up sights come mounted on the receiver, and they are polymer, but not cheap sights. They fold down and spring up when needed. You can also mount a scope or red dot sight on this little carbine, and I plan on installing a red dot sight when I get the funds to do so.
The 30-round magazine inserts flush into the pistol grip, so there is no protruding magazine, screaming “assault weapon” to some ill-informed folks. The telescoping stock has 5 different positions it can be locked in, so it’ll fit just about anyone. There is an ambidextrous safety, and the magazine release is in the heel of the pistol grip. There is also an ambidextrous charging handle, and it is non-reciprocating. The top rail and bottom rail are standard Picatinny type rails, for mounting lights and lasers. I covered the bottom rail with rubber ladder type covers, since I found the Picatinny rail a bit sharp and tough on the supporting hand. I also installed an AR flash suppressor – didn’t need it – not much flash to speak of – but it just looks cool with the flash suppressor on it.
It Likes 40-Grain Ammo
When the last shot if fired, the bolt stays open, and you can release it via the bolt release – VERY stiff – or insert another loaded mag and keep shooting. I was advised by the guys at the local gun shop that I haunt, that you really need to fire .22 Mag ammo with bullets that weigh at least 40 grains, and sure enough, it states this in the owner’s manual, as well. I tried a box of 36 grain bullets, and most fired without problem – but a few didn’t chamber. So, I’m sticking with 40 grain bullets. I’ve had zero problems with 500 rounds down range of various makes and types of .22 Magnum 40 grain ammo – both FMJ and Hollow Point.
As to the cost of ammo, this is a little bit – not much – of a sore spot. It wasn’t all that long ago, that you could get 50-rds of .22 Mag ammo for around $5.00 per box, but those days are long gone. My local gun shop actually sells 40 grain .22 Mag FMJ for $10.00 per box, and about a buck more for Hollow Point stuff. I can live with the cost, compared to .22 LR ammo, simply because .22 Magnum is lot more powerful than .22 LR ammo.
Needless to say, I have more than a few volunteer shooters who wanted to help me in my testing. My wife and oldest daughter included. Everyone absolutely fell in love with the CMR-30 – it is just a lot of fun to shoot, and accurate? You betcha! The sights were off just a little bit, and only took a minute to get them zeroed dead-on for a 25 yard zero. Keep in mind that the .22 Magnum is a very flat shooting round, and we could easily get hits out to 150 yards on big rocks without making any further adjustments to the sights or any hold-over. We also filled some gallon plastic jugs with water and fired into them with both the FMJ and Hollow Point rounds – the Hollow Point ammo did more damage, however, the FMJ would get the job done just as well if called upon to be used for self-defense or hunting purposes.
A Magazine Loading Suggestion
One thing worth mentioning is that when loading the 30-round magazines, after loading every five rounds, make sure you give the back of the magazine a rap on the palm of your hand, to help seat the bullets. You see, the .22 Mag is a rimmed cartridge, and by seating the rounds, you won’t have any problems with them feeding.
The CMR-30 retails for about $625 – so this isn’t any “cheap” little fun gun, it is spendy. You can presently get into an entry-level AR for less than that – a lot less – if you shop around. For example, Palmetto State Armory recently had these on sale for just $419.99. (At the Palmetto web site, put SKU 51156 in their search box.) I got my CMR-30 sample for $499 – brand-new and its well worth the money, it really is. I also picked-up half a dozen spare 30-round magazines for it, too. A person can easily pack 1,000 rounds of .22 Mag ammo in their backpack. With all my spare magazines loaded as well – that’s a lot of firepower. I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of a .22 Magnum round – and I think anyone within 150-yards or every farther away, would sure wish they had a dental appointment for a root canal, instead of being fired at by a rifle in .22 Magnum.
If you’re looking for an alternative to an AR or an AK, then check out the Kel-Tec CMR-30. It is one heck of a little Bug Out Bag rifle that doesn’t scream “assault weapon”. It is fun and easy to shoot, and more than accurate – at 25 yards. One inch groups were easy to accomplish. This might just be your next long gun purchase for your prepper armory. Check one out.
JWR Adds a Note to the guns’ designer, George L. Kellgren: The next logical design progression would be one of these sold as an “arm-braced pistol” with about a 9″ barrel, a hand stop, and a SB Tactical SB3 arm brace. That would sell like hotcakes!