Range Review

by John Boch

I had an opportunity to take out something cool to the range a short while back:  An AR-style, gas-operated AR pistol made by Kel-Tec.

I’ve long been a fan of Kel-Tec, who it seemed created a really nice 9mm pistol a whole bunch of years ago in the Kel-Tec P-11 as well as their P3AT gun which spawned a slew of clones from various manufacturers.  Frankly, I haven’t handled anything by Kel-Tec that was junk.

I’m also a fan of their Sub-2000 folding carbine which accepts Glock magazines or other models that accept other manufacturer’s magazines in 9mm or .40 S&W.  The big thing I like about the Sub-2000 is once you get it sighted in, it’s nice, compact, long gun, capable of folding up into something you can drop into your computer bag.  It gives you that little extra reach should the zombies appear in the middle of the night and you pinch yourself and discover it’s not a dream.

This particular gun was a Kel-Tec PLR-16, Kel-Tec’s long-range pistol chambered in .223.

It’s a handy little devil, accepting AR- magazines for sustained fire on long-range targets.  Frankly though, I had other plans than shooting steel at 200.

But first, here are its particulars, courtesy of the folks at Impact Guns.

The PLR-16 is a gas operated, semi-automatic pistol chambered in 5.56 mm NATO caliber. It was designed as and is intended as a long-range target and hunting pistol.

The PLR-16 has a conventional gas piston operation and utilizes the proven M-16 breech locking system. The rear sight is adjustable for windage. The front sight is of M-16 type. An integrated MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rail will accept a multitude of standard accessories. The muzzle end of the barrel is threaded 1/2” -28 to accept standard attachments such as a muzzle brake. Except for the barrel, bolt, sights, and mechanism, the PLR-16 pistol is made entirely of high-impact glass fiber reinforced polymer.

The PLR-16 pistol comes blued, with one 10 round magazine (fully AR15/M16 magazine compatible), and includes a gun lock.

Technical Specifications
Caliber: .223 rem 5.56mm NATO
Weight unloaded (no magazine): 51 oz 1450 g
Length: 18.5″ 470 mm
Barrel length: 9.2″ 234 mm
Sight radius: 12.5″ 318 mm
Muzzle velocity (M193) 2600 fps 800 m/s
Magazine capacity: 10 rounds, or M-16 compatible
Safety Ambidextrous pushbolt

Optional accessories will include:
Under-picatinny forend, scope rings, dynamic deflecting operating handle, single point sling, and a muzzle brake specifically design for the 9.2″ barrel of the PLR-16.

It certainly goes off with a “BOOM!“.  I giggled like a little schoolgirl after the first couple of shots.

It’s loud.  And the orange fireball you touch off when you depress the bang-switch is pretty awesome as well.

Did I mention how loud it was?

It’s not for the faint of heart like Chuckie Shumer or Patrick “Inept” Quinn, but for everyone else, it’s a crowd-pleaser sure to make real, grown men giggle.  It’ll also make girlie men piddle down their legs when it goes BOOM!

My girlfriend, the wonderful Wendy, gave it a spin.  Her very first shot she blew the entire left target off the target backer.

“Oh my god!” she howled before laughing.  “Wow!  That really is powerful!” she chuckled.

In reality, she flinched (I didn’t write that…  it was planned!  Ahem.) and the debris kicked up from the round landing just in front of the target blew the paper target away from the backer.  It was one of those moments Hollywood dreams about.  And we weren’t recording!

The gun was a handful to shoot, especially with the very impressive concussion and fireball when it goes off.

Aiming. Well sort of.
A handful on the recoil.

I had to ask myself, “What would I use this gun for?”

Indoor home defense?  Not on a lark.  Shooting that indoors would be a sure recipe for never hearing music the same way again.  Or a nagging wife (note to you henpecked husbands:  accidentally touch this puppy off in your basement you won’t hear your wife for at least a week, maybe forever.)

Personal defense?  Not really enough muzzle energy unless you’re facing a pack of angry muskrats.

Varmint defense?  Unless you’ve got strong wrists and the physique of an Olympic gymnast, it’ll be difficult to fire this gun from standing with enough accuracy to hit a prairie dog – unless you’re at the zoo.

Showing off to friends or newbies?  B-I-N-G-O.  This gun is fun to shoot.  A little pricey but very fun.  Will bring smiles even to some folks who haven’t cracked a smile since Lucille Ball had a TV show.

Competition?  I’m not a competitive shooter, but our Guns Save Life sponsored shooter Chris Betley is trying to get me to go shoot in one of those national competitions.  I think he wants to make sure somebody is going to be there to be in last place and he’s trying to sign me up for that role.  I suppose the gun has potential, but I didn’t shoot it for accuracy.

Would I buy it?  It sells for around $450ish new.  Not only no, but hell no.  Why not?  Well, with the Obama economy, I don’t have the extra cash I had ten or twelve years ago for “fun” purchases.  More practically speaking, it just has no place in my armory that didn’t sink in last week’s boating accident on Lake Clinton (I wasn’t looking where I was going staring at the pair of guys carrying ARs at the nuclear power plant’s beach!).

My M4gery can do anything this pistol can do, only a lot better.

Well, with one exception:  Pure, hysterical fun.  That’s what this little Kel-Tec does best.

How did the operation go?  We had two failures to fire (FTF) in about fifty rounds fired and there was no primer strike apparent on one of the FTF rounds.  The other round was discarded before I could check the primer.  We reloaded the first round into the mag and it fired just fine.  The three mags I was using are part of my “go” stock that have been through classes and trial by fire and they work flawlessly with my ARs.

For what it’s worth.

If you get a chance to shoot this pistola, take it.  It’s fun.