What’s the Best .22 Pistol? Our Top 5 Handgun Picks for EDC & Survival

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.

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 even small varmints.

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).

Our Top Choice:  The Mighty Ruger SR22:

Guns seem to come and go in circles, and 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, and ate 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.

The SR 22 is a good option for a fun plinker or training handgun and we keep it paired with our Ruger 10-22 rifle in the closet tucked away in a rifle case.

The Legendary Walther P22:

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.

New Kid on the Block:  The Sig Mosquito

(You can see images & the whole Sig Collection by clicking hereArmsBearingCitizen.Sig.Mosquito

The Sig Mosquito is an interesting rimfire design. The Mosquito is a direct rendition of the famous P series of Sig Sauer pistols. The P226/220/229/228 etc.

The main difference is the fact the Sig Mosquito is 7/8th the size of the original models and features a safety. The Mosquito is a double action / single action pistol, complete with the standard Sig decocker.

The Sig Mosquito is quite accurate and features large three dot sights. The Sig Mosquito is every bit the Sig design. The Mosquito fills a interesting role.

The P226 series is popular with law enforcement and the civilian market. The Mosquito is identical and can act as a cheaper alternative for training.

The Sig Mosquito is a good adaption of a famous pistol and retains the excellent ergonomics of standard Sig pistols.

The Mosquito is accurate, reliable, easy to shoot, and most of all, fun.  It’s also small enough that it stays locked up securely in a fingerprint gun safe next to your bed or under the seat of your car, truck or SUV.

Check out the video below for some great footage of a popular internet channel with a Sig Mosquito in full effect.


Small Bullet in a Big Frame:  The Sig Sauer 1911-22

(Again, you can see images & the whole Sig Collection by clicking hereArmsBearingCitizen.Sig Sauer 1911-22

Based on John Brownings century old design, the 1911 features familiar controls, and is compatible with the few hundred 1911 holsters out there.

The Sig Sauer 1911-22 is a full-size replica of the full size 45 ACP pistol, and 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.

Check out the video below for an awesome demo on the 1911-22.


Classic & Reliable:  The Browning Buckmark

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 since 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 and 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, or to have a small rimfire handgun for camping, hunting, or general survival.

Wrap Up:

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 you are missing out.

Eric Hawkins is a recreational firearms owner and Marketing manager at a digital marketing firm. He enjoys shooting his collection of Glocks, with the 19 behing his favorite. Eric is part-owner at Arms Bearing Citizen and manages the technical side.