My New Kel-Tec PLR-16

It's about time for me to sit down and write a little bit about my new toy; the KelTec PLR-16. Let me just start off by saying this is one wickedly cool gun! I had anxiously anticipated its arrival for some time and already had a few items that I wanted to slap on to it once it arrived. I took the beastie out on the range, loaded up a stock GI magazine full of the dirt cheap Wolf 5.56mm ammo and levelled it at the target some 25 yards away using the gun's stock open sights and slowly squeezed off my first round. A pure clap of Thor's thunder erupted. The report from this thing was loud enough that 6 other shooters at the range actually laid their firearms down to come over and see what sort of artillery I was loosing down range. I really can not exaggerate how loud the report is from this gun. It is quite impressive.

The result down range from this first furtive encounter was equally impressive. My target had sprouted a hole just slightly down from and to the left of the very center of the target, but still less than ½ inch of the mark. I grinned and lobbed a few more down range. The recoil was surprisingly light even though I was firing a rifle cartridge from a pistol. By the time I had fired 10 rounds, the center of the target was so beaten that you could not identify the individual bullet strikes. So I hit the switch and brought the target back for a bandage job before sending it down to the 50 yard line. I fired the other 10 rounds out of the magazine and found the grouping still quite tight sitting at just about three fourths of an inch (firing rested).

So having experienced the normal sights that come with this thing, I dug into my range bag and fished out a red dot site, a laser sight and my laser boresighter I ran a fresh target down to the 50 yard line. I adjusted the red dot until it's dot was indistinguishable from the boresighter's dot. I then adjusted the laser sight's dot until it merged with the boresighter's dot. I removed the boresighter and slapped a fresh magazine in the magazine well, jerked the charging handle and tapped off a few rounds. Surprisingly, the rounds slapped into the target directly under the laser sight's red dot without any further fidgeting. I switched off the laser and fired three rounds sighting through the red dot. Two clicks in windage and three in elevation later, I was beating the hell out of the center of the target. At this point I was starting to gain one hell of a lot of respect for the accuracy of this gun. Keep in mind, I was using el-cheapo Wolf ammo here! At this point I have to sort of spend a little time telling you about the sights that I've mounted on this gun.

The red dot I'm using is BSA's bottom of the line $30 red dot sight that I picked up on a lark from Walmart. This sight does have some limitations. Firstly it has a 5 MOA (Minute of Angle) dot. Which means that the illuminated area of the dot will cover a circle five inches in diameter when pointed at a target 100 yards away. This means that the red dot was covering a two and a half inch diameter circle on my target sitting down at the 50 yard line. The other limitation is that the sight does not magnify the shooter's view of the target at all. This is however by design. Not magnifying the view means that the shooter can see more of the scene before them, allowing them to rapidly acquire and deliver fire on targets. I must however say that this sight is completely adequate and functional. More expensive red dot sights might offer features like magnification, multiple reticles and lower MOA dots, but I guess it's all a question of diminishing returns. A 2 power sight with a 3 MOA dot can easily cost several hundred dollars. My only complaint about this sight is that the lens covers are not attached and therefore easily lost and they also fit rather loosely making that eventuality far more likely.

Now moving on to the laser sight. This was a REAL score! The laser sight is a "Famous Maker" laser sight that I ordered online from J&G sales for get this, $29! the laser sight kit came with a number of optional parts and pieces. It includes a push on, push off switch, a coil corded pressure switch, A picatinny rail mount and a figure "8" mounting adapter that you see being used in these pictures. The PLR-16 has a 1" diameter piece at the breech end of the barrel that the barrel is screwed into. I mounted the figure "8" piece there, canted off to the one side. Now laser sights are actually pretty simple devices and there aren't many options to go with here. Basically you can get different colors and different power levels. The cheapest lasers are the red lasers with green being more expensive and blue being the most expensive. One can also find some infrared lasers the dot from which can only be seen through night vision equipment. Now, some inexpensive laser sights are made from cheesy materials like plastic. This laser sight is actually housed in aluminum. The reason for wanting a laser with a higher power level is so that you can see the dot it projects at longer distances and under brighter ambient light conditions. This laser was clearly visible on the target at the 100 yard mark of the indoor range I was shooting at. This laser setup really is a deal! It's functional and rugged and certainly worth every penny of that $29!

So getting back to the PLR-16... There are still a few optional bits that haven't arrived yet. Still on order is the optional front handguard. This will cover the barrel and gas tube and present a comfortable place to grasp the front of the gun. It also has a picatinny rail molded into the bottom of it. This will become the final home for my el-cheapo Famous Maker laser sight.

The other optional bit that is yet to arrive is a snazzy AR15 muzzle brake. The end of the PLR-16's barrel is threaded to accept any standard AR15 muzzle brake or flash suppressor. The addition of this muzzle brake should suppress the PLR-16's rather modest muzzle rise.

So returning to my range report... I had heard tales of the PLR-16's legendary accuracy, So I had squirreled a 3-9x adjustable rifle scope with a set of rings into my range bag (for lack of a more suitable alternative). I swapped my red dot out for this scope and zeroed it in. After getting that perfected, I dropped a magazine of NATO M855 ball ammo into the magazine well and directed my attention at a fresh target run all the way down to the 100 yard line of the range. Firing from a rested position I was easily putting down 1" - 1½" groups on paper. It was however kind of interesting trying to fire this thing with a rifle scope sitting on top of it with no stock to rest your cheek on.

Disassembly of the gun was somewhat less than intuitive, but a quick read of the instruction manual later had it quickly and completely disassembled. It wasn't that the process was difficult, just that it was not immediately intuitive. Doing it once though should be enough to have you zipping through the process the next time. Just be careful there are two small pins that will be easy to misplace if you're not careful. Cleaning the gun was a snap with the exception of one thing. Anyone that's cleaned an AR15 family gun knows that the breech is a serious pain in the ass. Well this gun uses an AR15 breech. Compounding the problem is the fact that there is no straight line access to the breech because of the shape of the receiver. So it took some inventiveness and contortions to swab out the breech. On the other hand, this thing uses a gas piston quite unlike an AR15 which means that this gun's guts weren't bathed in carbon like an AR15's would be. So I guess in the end it was a trade-off.

During my trip to the range I am happy to report not a single misfeed or misfire after running 150 rounds through it. This thing's hungry chamber happily scarfed down any type of ammunition that I threw its way and happily delivered the projectile accurately on target. So this thing is certainly not a finicky eater.

So in conclusion let me reiterate, this is an awesome gun. It is deadly accurate. Its throaty growl will certainly gain you some respect and attention at the shooting range. Also keep in mind that Kel-Tec offers a lifetime warranty on his gun. If anything should ever break or wear out all you need to do is pay for the shipping and they will repair it for free. On the down side, the receiver is 100% polymer. I've never been a big fan of polymer guns, but this one's just cool enough that I'll overlook that. The other downside is the cheesy plastic 10 round magazine that comes with this gun, but with all the inexpensive mil-surp magazines out there that hold more ammo, is this really a down-side?

I've noticed a lot of interest in my PLR-16 related posts. Here is a list of other PLR-16 posts I've made:

Y'all be sure to read some other articles on my blog since you're here!

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