Paul Kightlingerís PK2224 & PK224S High Velocity Special Purpose Pistol Cartridges 


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn

March 22nd, 2007




I have been lately working with an interesting pistol; one that is not encountered everyday, and is hard to pigeonhole into a specified category.  It is basically a Beretta Model 92 semi-auto that has been converted to fire a unique high velocity twenty-two caliber bullet. Most handguns can be categorized into hunting, target shooting, plinking, etc. classes, but this cartridge is different from any other that I have ever fired, sending a .22 caliber bullet out the barrel at muzzle speeds approaching 2600 feet-per-second (fps), depending upon the barrel length.  This obviously makes for a pistol suitable for varmint hunting, but another forte of this weapon is its ability to penetrate hard targets, such as light armor and cover, such as automobile bodies and glass.  The inventor is named Paul Kightlinger, and the cartridge the PK2224. Mr. Kightlinger also has a slightly longer cased version of the PK2224, and calls this the PK224S. It offers more case capacity and higher velocity, but in a 9mm sized pistol, the bullet length is limited by magazine size. Both cartridges are based on cut down and formed 5.56mm NATO spec brass.

In hard targets, velocity is what penetrates, and the Kightlinger cartridges offer plenty of velocity. The PK2224 and PK224S cartridges fill the same role as the 5.7x28mm FN, commonly called the Five-Seven, but the Kightlinger cartridges offer better hard target penetration, and this is using hollowpoint bullets. It delivers on the Five-Sevenís promises. It is not loaded with special hard core bullets, at least not at this time, but steel penetration is impressive. As can be seen in the pictures, the PK224S makes about a 3/8 inch diameter hole through 3/16 steel plate. It has to hit pretty darn hard to make a hole that is significantly larger than the bullet diameter. The hollowpoint bullets come apart, but fully penetrate the steel plate. As you can see, the 9mm and .45 ACP bullets barely dented the 3/16 inch thick steel, but the PK224S makes clean holes through the plate. Note in the close-up that part of the bullet jacket soldered itself to the edge of the hole. I tried also shooting some .22 magnum 34 grain loads that produce over 1600 fps from a pistol barrel, and they did not even dent the steel plate. The added velocity of the PK2224 and PK224S is what does the trick.

Cartridge Bullet  Weight Velocity
PK2224 53 2230
PK2224 45 1877
PK2224 30 2374
PK224S 30 2491

I chronographed the velocities from the Kightlinger pistol over the eyes of a PACT chronograph at a distance of twelve feet from the muzzle. The air temperature was around forty-three degrees Fahrenheit. Velocities are listed in the chart below in feet-per-second. Bullet weight is listed in grains. All bullets are jacketed hollowpoint with a lead core.

The lighter 45 grain load exhibited less velocity than the heavier 53 grain load, but both of the 30 grain loads are really screaming for a pistol with a 4 13/16 inch barrel.

Shooting the Kightlinger pistol was a pleasure. It had very little recoil, but was pretty noisy. Once I forgot to put my earmuffs on, but only once. I did not make that mistake again. Accuracy was not exceptional with the test gun, but was good enough for social work, grouping into about two inches at twenty-five yards with all loads tested. Extraction was easy, and the weapon was for the most part reliable, with a few failures to fully eject a cartridge at times when shooting the 43 grain load.   I was concerned about the extent of primer flow into the firing pin hole, but case extraction was not sticky at all, and case head expansion was normal.

The Kightlinger cartridges are an interesting concept, and patents have been applied for. The US Military is showing a little interest, but I am not privileged to the degree of their interest at this time. Paul Kightlinger has made up a few of these barrels for the Beretta Model 92, and has a limited number for sale, along with brass and dies.   He is looking for a gun manufacturer to take up the little cartridge, but for now, shooters can get the barrels and supplies directly from Mr. Kightlinger by calling him at 520-623-6711 or 520-298-8295. You can also email to him at:  SFLAPPER@AOL.COM.

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.




PK2224 (left), PK224S (right).



Cartridge comparison (left to right): PK2224, 9mm Parabellum, .45 ACP.





PK2224 barrel in pistol with PK224S barrel on top.



Primers flowed into firing pin hole.



Steel penetration was impressive, leaving a 3/8" diameter hole, while the .45 ACP and 9mm barely dented the 3/16" steel.