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With the new Kel Tec CMR-30 carbine hitting the streets, now is a perfect time to reflect on its earlier half-brother, the beautiful and often overlooked Grendel R-31 rifle of the 1990s.

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In 1990, Kel Tec founder George Kellgren was running its predecessor, Grendel firearms in Rockledge, Florida. Known for his innovative polymer framed guns, Kellgren introduced a very interesting semi-auto pistol chambered in .22WMR. This simple blowback handgun, with a 5-inch barrel, had the benefit of a detachable Zytel plastic magazine that you could cram an amazing 30-rounds into while still retaining the capability to fit completely inside the pistol grip.

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This handgun, the P30, looked funny but was ground breaking. (And wound up being rebooted in 2009 as the Kel Tec PMR-30).

With that being said, if a handgun were good, a carbine with a 16-inch barrel using the same action would be great, right? Well GK apparently thought so because that's what came out next.

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Using the same blowback action with a fluted chamber, magazine, ambi safety, trigger pack, and pistol grip, the new carbine-length rifle, dubbed the R-31, used a steel receiver with a Zytel forend and matte black finish. Instead of a fixed buttstock, the rifle used a collapsible tubular skeleton stock that pushed forward to collapse and conserve weight. Sights were very good for a little rifle of its size, using an adjustable post front and aperture rear.

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At the end of the 16-inch long barrel was a very efficient Cutts-style compensator similar to that found on the classic Thompson submachine gun.
The Grendel R-31 Vs. Shaving Cream...slo mo

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Caliber: .22WRF Magnum (.22WMR)
Mag Capacity: 30-rounds
Barrel: 16-inches
Sight radius: 13.75-inches
Length: 23-5/16-inches OAL collapsed, 30-5/8-inches OAL extended
Length of Pull: 13-13/16"
Weight unloaded: 4-pounds, loaded mag, 6-ounces


The R-31 hit the streets in 1991 largely in a beta test release and few were made, retailing for $385 at the time. Production numbers were limited with possibly as few as 1,000 made (has anyone ever seen a four digit serial number on these?). By 1995, with Grendel closing its doors to become Kel Tec in nearby Cocoa, the short-lived R-41 line was closed down.

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Getting your own

Price on these rare and wonderful 22 mag blasters is very subjective and depends mainly on how many people want the same gun. GD's Modern Gun Values these in mint condition for $295 while Fjestdad's Blue Book cites a more believable $465.

You should be so lucky!

These things run north of $650 all day after checking archival data on numerous online gun classifieds sites. In the past 90-days there has been a grand total of two (2) of these rifles sold through Gunbroker for $493 (for a broken gun with busted firing pin, missing and bent safety lever detents and a stripped screw) and $680 for a working model. While this is better than the insane $1425 that some have asked for, its still fairly realistic and in keeping with the classic Kel Tec saga of long arms that go well above MSRP. Better yet, at the height of the Great Gun Grab of 2013, some sellers were asking $2500 for their R-31s.

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In short, it may be better just to wait for the CMR-30 to come around and get in full stock.

Even with that being said, if you see a good deal on a working R-31, think long and hard before passing it up.

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Well written and informative. I love learning about the innovation of Kellgren during the Grendel years and the resurrection of his designs in modern times. To me I cant help but think of the pride he feels in seeing his designs become mainstream...
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