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- Design Features
- Build Quality
- Fun Factor
The KelTec CP33 is a .22LR pistol that provides endless range fun and plenty of bang for your buck.
- Caliber: 22LR
- Weight: 1.5lbs
- Magazine Capacity: 33
- Barrel Length: 5.5″
- Lots of Fun
- Afforable to Shoot
- Magazine Issues
- Plastic Construction
KelTec is celebrating 30 years of being in business as of this year, and the KelTec CP33 is one of the many firearms they have made in that 30 years.
We will dive into the CP33 with its wicked feature set and interesting design; this .22 caliber pistol would be an interesting addition to anyone’s range day.
History of Kel Tec
Kel Tec was founded in Cocoa, Florida in 1991by George Kellgren and makes pistols, rifles, and shotguns.
Kel-Tec isn’t a brand known for high-end guns, and many of their guns use polymer composites for their grips and other components.
Kel Tec blends metal and polymer to craft unique-looking pistols, rifles, and shotguns. The CP33 is no exception to its unique lineup.
KelTec CP33 Overview
The KelTec CP33 was announced in April 2019 and positioned itself as the perfect gun for a “fun, friendly competition option, for friends, family members and those seeking to make range time a lot more competitive.”
With an impressive feature set, the CP33 appeared to be an interesting addition to KelTec’s pistols line.
Let us dive into the CP33!
KelTec CP33 Ergonomics
The KelTec CP33 feels great in your hand. It’s very lightweight coming in at only 1.5 pounds.
It has a polymer grip and a metal top frame.
It’s fascinating how it was constructed because the polymer grip is the lower half of the gun and the upper half of the gun appears to be all metal, except the lower piece on the front.
The pistol grip on the KelTec CP33 is interesting.
Similar to the IWI Tavor TS12, the grip is situated in the middle of the firearm, which gives it a very pistol-like feel, except for the fact that there are about two inches of the gun behind your hand. And your charging handle is in that two inches.
The pistol grip has the signature KelTec squared grip texture. The angle of the grip is on par with most pistols, with a solid 45-degree grip.
Overall, I’d say the CP33 feels really good in your hand.
If the CP33 were a realistic carry gun, the magazine release would move it to the no list for a carry gun.
I say the CP33 is a no for me because the magazine release is on the back of the pistol grip. When you depress it, the magazine slides down, but there’s no way the magazine would ever completely drop out of the magazine well freely. To remove the magazine, you have to grab the magazine and pull it out to do a reload.
This process makes fast magazine changes nearly impossible.
Granted, I know this is a target pistol, but for the sake of argument, that’s going to be a con if this was a real carry weapon.
Obviously, I don’t recommend anybody carry .22 Long Rifle for a carry gun.
Bear with me here, because this is going to be an oxymoron.
The magazine is probably one of the best features of the gun, but also one of the biggest cons of the CP33.
The magazine has a 33-round capacity, which makes it a fantastic range gun because you only have to load the magazine every so often.
However, The problem with that is it’s incredibly hard to load.
It is probably one of the worst magazines I’ve ever had to load in my life. I’ve loaded a 100-round Ruger 10/22 magazine and it wasn’t this bad!
If somehow KelTec could make this magazine easier and more friendly to load, then this thing would be a nearly perfect target range gun.
The gun’s safety sits where a typical thumb pistol safety would be, which is an interesting thing.
Given the gun’s spacey look, you would think they might put it in a strange place, but it is actually effortless to use, and it doesn’t give you any problems.
KelTec made a very good thumb safety.
The magazine well doesn’t have any flare to it.
There are many hard lines, but as I stated previously, the magazine release is in the magazine well, so it’s not like you’re going to be doing any fast reloads.
Won’t hold the magazine well design against KelTec because this gun wasn’t designed for competition or everyday carry.
Bolt Release/Hold Open
The bolt release and hold open is relatively interesting on this gun because there’s no slide on this gun. The CP33 has a rear charging handle instead of a slide.
If you pull back the charging handle will lock the bolt in the open position like most guns when there’s an empty magazine in it.
The bolt hold-open/release is conveniently placed on the gun’s left side directly in front of the safety switch.
There is a bolt hold open but I’m not going to call it a bolt release.
The bolt hold open is on the left side of the KelTec CP33. To release the bolt when it’s locked to the rear, you have to pull back on the charging handle and use your thumb to pull down the bolt release on the left side of the gun.
Unfortunately, you can’t just use your thumb and pull down the bolt release/hold-open button.
The charging handle itself is a polymer handle. It’s on par with the grip of the gun.
The rods that attach the bolt to the charging handle of the CP33 are metal.
They seem relatively flimsy so I wouldn’t torque them too much.
I haven’t had any issues with the charging handle. Even racking it quickly and letting it go, I have no problems.
But that could technically be a weak spot, but so far, so good. Pulling the charging handle is actually relatively smooth for a .22LR.
It’s not quite as fluid as you would hope, but at the same time, I can’t complain, given that it’s a 22. If I had to compare it to something, it would be equivalent to racking the charging handle on a Ruger 10/22 or Ruger PC Charger.
How the support hand grips the gun
One thing I want to say about this gun is you can hold it very much just like a normal pistol.
Your standard pistol grip translates very well to the CP33, and even with the extra gun behind your grip hand, the balance of the CP33 is fantastic.
The front of the gun has enough area that you can grip the front of the gun if you have relatively small hands.
It is not a replacement for any of those guns, and it is not as comfortable as those guns. But, if you wanted to hold it that way, you absolutely can.
Trigger pull in the KelTec CP33 is relatively short.
There isn’t much take-up and the wall, you pretty much hit it before you realized you’ve hit it.
It’s a clean breaking trigger and it will surprise you.
It’s a decent trigger considering its polymer construction. I definitely won’t complain about the trigger.
An interesting fact is when it’s on safety, there’s actually more travel in the trigger than there is when it is on fire. So don’t expect your trigger pull to be the same as it is when it’s on safety, as it is on fire.
KelTec CP33 Configuration
Brace and stock options
The best part about the KelTec CP33 is you can almost turn it into a .22LR H&K MP7 cone. To accomplish that, you will need a Farrow Tech Telescoping Brace Adapter.
The Telescoping Brace Adapter has several different tailhook and brace adaptors ranging from $175 – $295.
You can wrap up a lot of money in accessories into the CP33 very quickly.
The iron sights on the CP33 are extremely nice for the price point of this pistol.
Adjustable fiber optic sights with a 9-inch sight radius come standard, making this a great gun out of the box!
The top of the CP33 features a 1913 pictanny mount making your optic options nearly endless.
Personally, I like the small pistol-style options like the Trijicon RMR on this gun.
There isn’t much in the way of accessory mount on the CP33 but there is an open M-Lok slot under the barrel.
If you want to mount a light on the gun, you only two options will be the bottom M-Lok slot by adding a section of the 1913 rail or using the top 1913 rail.
My buddy, Harrison, put a modlight mod button using the shot modlight. This light setup works well for the gun, and the switch can be activated with either thumb.
You could also mount a TLR-1 or an X300 at the 12 o’clock position, but the light will sit further back on the rail than you’d probably like due to the fiber optic front sight at the front of the gun.
Sling mounting options for the CP33 are minimal, and without a brace attachment, a sling probably won’t be necessary or practical.
Shooting the KelTec CP33
The CP33 really shines when you shoot it. I personally run the CP33 with a Silencerco Warlock 2 suppressor, and it adds decent length to the gun, but not a lot of weight.
It makes it incredibly fun to shoot because it’s not incredibly loud.
Just shooting it without a suppressor is still incredibly fun, if you enjoy shooting.
There’s virtually no recoil because it’s a .22 and it’s very versatile in that you can shoot pretty much on any target paper or steel, and really have a blast.
You can also shoot it for long periods of time without spending an exorbitant amount of money.
The CP33 isn’t a great training gun because it doesn’t translate well over to a carry gun, but it is absolutely one of my favorite range guns.
The KelTec CP33 Conclusion
After having the KelTec CP33 for a few months and putting a couple of hundred rounds through it, I’ve got to say; this thing is a blast to shoot.
Is it going to replace your EDC pistol? Nah.
But let’s be honest, no one is carrying a .22LR pistol for protection. Not anyone that’s done their research on ballistics and ammunition.
This is an enjoyable range gun for shooters of all ages, much like the Ruger SR22 pistol, and the HK416 22LR rifle. If you are looking to pick up a gun that doesn’t break the bank and you can shoot for days and have fun don’t overlook the KelTec CP33.