Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- The long awaited Kel-Tec .22 LR pistol, with a 33 round magazine, has arrived at the Shot Show. The pistol is designated the CP33. It is a straight blowback design, which is simpler than the delayed blowback needed for the .22 rimfire magnum cartridges used in the PMR-30.
The magazine design was patented by Toby Obermeit, lead engineer at Kel-Tec, in 2014. When I found out about it at the Shot Show in 2015, I thought a .22 LR pistol with a high capacity magazine had great potential. Here is what I wrote four years ago, in January of 2015:
I have often thought that there was a lot of space inside .22LR pistol grips that wasn’t being utilized effectively. A 30+ shot full-sized .22LR handgun with a 5-inch barrel, threaded for a suppressor, and weighing about a pound, would be a very nice backpacking and general field or “kit” gun. A simple blowback design would allow for multiple barrel lengths and configurations.
I’d like to see arrangements for an optical sight. A small reflex sight would work nicely. A fixed barreled .22 pistol with an optical sight might be usable for small game to 60 yards.
The pistol is a little heavier than I imagined, at 24 ounces. It takes optical sights and or lasers easily. Joe Easter at the Kel-Tec booth said he consistently was able to obtain 1 inch groups at 25 yards with optical sights. It has an arrangement in the back that practically begs for a pistol brace.
It is a standard sized pistol, but is very flat. A 5.55 inch barrel is a great length for a .22 rimfire. I see this as a lovely trail gun and all around .22 pistol.
For comparison, a High Standard Sentinel 6″ barreled .22 revolver weighs 25 ounces, is 10.75 inches long, and 5.25 inches high. The CP33 is 10.6 inches long and 6 inches high. The CP33 is flatter.
With the enclosed bolt and the non-reciprocating charger handle, you could use a regular scope on this pistol. Recoil will be minimal. There is no worry of the bolt hitting your face. The small red-dot sights are said to work very well. The CP33 practically begs for a pistol brace. One may be in the works.
The Scorpion .32 machine pistol/submachine gun, also known as the Vz.61, has a similar enclosed bolt system. The Scorpion has reciprocating bolt “sliders” on both sides.
The trigger on the sample I examined was a little long and had some over travel. It was an excellent weight. I would guess, about 2.5 lbs. Joe said they average about 3.3 lbs. I did not have a scale with me. The are advertised at 3-5 lbs.
The trigger is very usable for a trail gun and for all around use. It is not quite as good as my old Woodsman, but is not terribly far off. An aftermarket trigger is in the works, I understand.
The CP33 has a 1 in 14″ twist barrel. The standard twist for a .22 is 1 in 16″. I asked about the different twist. A machinist at the Kel-Tec booth said it was a simple manufacturing decision. It was easier to set up a 1 in 14 twist on the machine they had. I view it as an advantage. A 1 in 14 twist works a little better to stabilize heavier, lower velocity bullets. A 1 in 16 twist does not do a great job of stabilizing 60 gran bullets. They need a 1-8, or 1-10 twist. A 1-14 twist might do a little better than a 1-16 on the 60 grain bullets.
The CP33 is threaded for accessories at the muzzle. You could add a bloop tube to extend the sight radius, a muzzle brake for that “tacticool” look, a suppressor, or whatever you want. The current sights should work well with most suppressors.
It would be a great pistol to teach beginning shooters with, especially with a suppressor.
This is good timing to bring out an innovative .22 pistol, with the deflation of the .22 rimfire bubble.
Loaded with 40 grain 22 LR rounds, the pistol will weigh 28 ounces.
This pistol would be an excellent part of the survival kit on an Alaskan bush plane. Highly accurate for small game, yet capable of taking big game with judicious shot placement in an emergency. The pistol is to be shipped with two magazines. That is 66 rounds of ammunition.
For the Zombie apocalypse, or the slightly more likely EMP electric grid failure dystopia, this pistol becomes an effective urban sniper weapon out to 100 yards. Add a suppressor, it is almost undetectable. A laser rangefinder
There is potential for a great carbine design here. I envision an integrally suppressed design with a 16 inch barrel, to meet the silly National Firearms Act (NFA) rules. The last six or seven inches of barrel would be the integral suppressor.
It is gratifying to see that others are paying attention to what I write. Or, more likely, Toby and the other people at Kel-Tec have been thinking in parallel with me.
The pistol is in limited production at the moment. KelTec hopes to have full production running at the end of May, with 500 pistols a week at that point. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $475.
My prediction, the Kel-Tec CP33 will be a very popular pistol.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.