The 22 caliber pistol is one of the fun weapons a gun owner can own. A 22 pistol is an economical way to get some regular target practice or to just go out and shoot up a tin can. Pistols in the .22 caliber can range from budget-friendly to high end. There are plenty of options for firearms enthusiasts at every price point.
The 22 long rifle is a common, and cheap caliber, perfect for training new shooters. A good 22 LR pistol can also be a good utility weapon for hunting, or dealing with pests like snakes and small varmints.
Whether you are looking for a concealed carry model or something to shoot cans on the ranch, a .22 pistol is a must-have. A good 22 LR can do a lot, and every gun owner should have at least one (we have several that we keep locked up securely).
Guns seem to come and go in circles. By the ads most gun companies put out they are reinventing the wheel every season.
The Ruger SR22 is an example of the full circle mentality of gun design. Ruger became very famous for their 10/22 carbine and their Ruger Mark series of 22 LR pistols.
The Mark series and the SR22 are both 22s, and both pistols, but that’s where the similarities end. We’ve featured this handgun in the past as one of the top handguns for women as it’s easy to use and compact.
The Ruger SR22 is a more modern design, that has much more in common with a Glock than any of the Mark series. The SR22 is a double action / single action semi auto handgun that feeds from a 10 round magazine.
The controls are standard and what you expect from a typical handgun. The weapon features a frame mounted safety, which is far easier to use than any slide mounted safety. The Ruger SR22 is an accurate little firearm right out of the box, the sights are standard three-dot variety and the rear sight is adjustable.
Another adjustable feature of the weapon is two palm swells that act as grips. You can remove the entire grip and swap it out for different hand sizes. The Ruger SR22 comes with two options, large and small.
The SR22 proved to be a reliable 22. It eats everything from cheap Remington bulk ammo, to CCI mini magnums and hollowpoints. The trigger is good in single action, coming in at roughly 4 pounds. The double action is a stiff 10 pounds.
Ruger Mark IV
The Ruger Mark IV is the successor to the original Ruger Standard. The Mark IV is a significant upgrade over the original Ruger Standard.
This is a budget-friendly 22 pistol, that’s great for first-time gun owners. The frame is built from CNC machined solid metal, which is great for people that don’t care for polymer frames. This also helps to reduce recoil, something that owners of a 40 cal or 45 caliber pistol know all too well.
The Mark IV also carries an ambidextrous safety, that sits above the rear grips. There’s a magazine release on the left side near the trigger guard, which makes reloading quick and easy. It also has a mag disconnector that prevents the gun from firing unless you have a magazine loaded into the gun.
The rear site is easily adjustable, unlike other models. This means a few trips to the range, and you can have the sights well dialed in. There are eight different models of the Mark IV. If one doesn’t meet your needs stylistically, there’s plenty to choose from.
The cost and reputation of the Mark IV make it a great starter 22 for anyone that’s interested in learning to shoot. While it’s less compact than other versions, it makes up for it with reliability and accuracy.
The Walther P22 exudes cool, the P22 is not a shrunk down version of any other Walther firearm, but an original weapon. The P22 is ultra modern and looks like something James Bond would be carrying.
The Walther P22 is a double action / single action design with a slide mounted safety. I despise the slide mounted safety and that is the one downside to this pistol.
Reliability is not an issue, out of the box the Walther P22 gobbled up everything I could throw at it, from the cheap to the premium. The P22 does have a small grip but is aided by a pinky extension on the magazine.
The Walther P22 comes equipped with a threaded barrel that does require a thread adapter nut to equip a suppressor. Accuracy wise the Walther is dead on, this is aided by the fact the weapon features a fixed barrel.
The Walther has it’s magazine release on the trigger guard and is a paddle style. This maybe be odd to American shooters, but it is easy to use with a bit of practice.
The sights are adjustable. The rear sight can be moved for windage, and the front sight can be swapped out for changing elevation.
This aids in an individual’s accuracy needs. Something neat about the Walther P22 is the fact the weapon is lightweight, and you can feel recoil when you shoot the weapon. This makes the Walther a good training weapon for new shooters.
Smith & Wesson SW22 Victory
The Smith & Wesson SW22 is another single action hammer fired .22 caliber handgun that won’t break your budget. Built for accuracy, the 9.2-inch length of the gun makes it less friendly as a conceal carry option. However, it makes up for this with accuracy and ease of shooting.
Equipped with fiber optic front sights, the SW22 is a quick trip or two from the range away from being zeroed in perfectly. The pistol has features that only some other 22 caliber match ready models have, all for a more reasonable price point.
It comes built standard on a stainless steel frame, making recoil a non-issue. It comes with two 10 round magazines and textured grip panels for easy magazine removal.
The Smith & Wesson SW22 may not be quite the same gun as the Ruger Mark IV, but it’s definitely worth consideration at a lower price point.The SW22 is accurate, reliable, easy to shoot, and most of all, fun.
Sig Sauer 1911-22
Based on John Brownings century old design, the 1911 features familiar controls, and is compatible with most 1911 holsters.
The Sig Sauer 1911-22 is a full-size replica of the full size 45 ACP pistol. Anyone familiar with the 1911 will have no problem making the transition to the Sig Sauer 1911-22.
Out of the box, the 1911-22 is identical and easy to use. The controls match with the regular weapon and features the famous ergonomics of the 1911 design.
This means it points very naturally, is very comfortable in the hand, and also very accurate. The main issue was out of the box the weapon did not like cheaper ammunition.
This includes Remington bulk bucket and Winchester white box. CCI Mini mags run flawlessly, and the Federal Automatch ran the best of the bulk ammunition.
After some time on the range, and a deep cleaning the weapon started running a little better with cheaper ammunition. Between strings of fire, and application of lubrication the weapon became a bit better after every magazine.
It seems the Sig 1911-22 needs a bit of breaking in. As long as shooter’s recognize this, and take the time to break the weapon in, they will be good to go. The 1911-22 is an accurate, easy shooting handgun, that allows the 1911 user to train cheaply.
Of all the pistols reviewed the Buckmark is a bit different. This firearm is modeled as a sport pistol, designed for supreme accuracy, shooting contests, and even hunting.
The Buckmark is the most accurate and easy shooting of the bunch. It’s nice and chunky, with a full sized grip. The weapon is very comfortable to fire and superbly accurate.
The Buckmark comes with an integral scope mount. Without a scope, the sights are completely adjustable and easy to zero. Once on target the Buckmark is capable of drilling one small hole in a pie plate. It makes it easy to make a tin can jump and dance.
The Buckmark is completely absolved of recoil, there is a slight jolt, and that’s it. This is a perfect weapon for training new shooters.
The Buckmark is supremely reliable and very simple in operation. The Buckmark can run whatever you choose to feed it. The trigger is a supreme single action job that is lightweight, and has no slack, or creep.
It’s air weight, so new shooters need to exercise caution. The magazines included are high quality, and very reliable.
The Buckmark is a great option for those looking to train a new shooter. It’s also great for those that want a small rimfire handgun for camping, hunting, or general survival.
The Glock 44 is one of the newest entrants into the .22 pistol marketplace. Glock’s perfection mantra now spills over into a dedicated 22, which it hasn’t had before. There were formerly kits you could use to transform a Glock 17 into firing a 22 pistol.
These kits required manual field-stripping and re-assembly. Obviously that’s not the best use of time for most recreational shooters.
The Glock 44 has a polymer/steel hybrid frame, and a 10 round magazine. It also has front and rear slide serrations, making it easy to rerack the slide quickly. It’s about the same size as a Glock 19, making it easy to carry as a concealed sidearm.
This striker-fired rimfire pistol also won’t break your budget. The design is unique, and the Taurus TX-22 is one of the only other models built this way. The barrel on the Glock 44 isn’t fixed to the receiver. This helps with recoil and improves accuracy.
The only real downside to the Glock 44, is that it’s not ergonomically the perfect fit for everyone. But chances are if you own a Glock already, you’ll love the 44. It’s also small enough that it can stay locked up securely in a fingerprint gun safe next to your bed or under the seat of your car, truck or SUV.
Smith & Wesson M&P 22 Compact
The Smith & Wesson M&P 22 is their answer to the Ruger SR22. A popular and budget-friendly option for new shooters, the S&W gives you smaller sized alternative to other models on our list.
The M&P 22 comes equipped with a threaded barrel, and a dual size reversible magazine release. It’s also equipped with dual side safety and magazine locking safety features, making the M&P 22 a good option for new shooters.
The overall length of the M&P 22 compact is 6.7 inches, making it easy to carry concealed as a primary firearm. The fact that it’s a .22 caliber pistol, also makes it recoil friendly.
This means it’s a perfect carry companion for beginners that might be afraid of the kick a 9mm brings. The M&P 22 is ergonomically friendly, and this handgun just “feels” right when it’s in your hand.
Smith & Wesson Model 41
The Smith & Wesson Model 41 is a rimfire competition pistol. It’s considered one of the better target competition pistols created in the .22 caliber. More expensive than others on our list, the Model 41 is likely a better pick for those with a bigger budget.
The old saying “you get what you pay for” rings true here. The Model 41 is one of the most accurate .22’s you can buy. It has click adjustable rear target sights, making it easy to sight in after just a few trips to the range.
It’s a single action pistol with a 10+1 magazine capacity. It measures a lengthy 10.5 inches, so it’s likely not the best choice if you are looking to conceal carry. The frame and slide are both made from carbon steel, providing a solid ergonomic feel with low recoil.
If you have the budget, the Model 41 is an excellent choice. If you are looking to carry, we’d recommend looking at a smaller model, like the Ruger SR22, Glock 44 or the Smith and Wesson M&P 22 compact.
Piggybacking off the 1911 design, the Browning 1911-22 takes a classic and dials down the caliber. The 1911-22 operates and field strips just like any other 1911. This makes it a perfect companion for shooters already familiar with the design.
The frame and slide are made from aluminum alloy, which is a bonus for those non-polymer fans. A 10+1 capacity magazine beats out the capacity of most full-sized 1911’s. The barrel is made of stainless steel and it comes equipped with GI style sites.
Newer shooters will enjoy the grip and thumb safety. They will also enjoy as the lack of recoil due to the superior design. The grip and thumb safety stay true to the design of the original 1911. This makes it a great choice for nostalgiac gun owners as well.
For those looking to conceal carry, we recommend looking at the 1911 22 black label. Being a more compact version makes conceal carrying easier than attempting to cover up anything based on the full-sized 1911 platform.
22 LR handguns are just fun, tons of fun. That alone is enough of a justification for owning one. The weapons reviewed are often considered the most popular models and are popular for a reason. They are fun to shoot, reliable, accurate and is for the most part incredibly dependable.
The 22 LR handgun is the perfect first handgun, or the perfect tenth handgun, or the perfect hundredth handgun. If you do not have one in your collection, it’s time to add one.