HGR 015 - .22 Handguns

HGR 015 - .22 Handguns

Ryan discusses some of the .22 handguns available as well as some of tips and tricks you can use to to get the most out of your .22 LR handgun training.

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Week in Review:

  • The Firearms Radio Network’s Firearms Insider has launched! It is a whole firearms community, where you have the podcasts, the written reviews, the video reviews, and the blog posts.  All of those pieces come together & work together to form the Firearms Insider Community and I am very happy to be a part of it. Be sure to check out all the great content over there and check back frequently, as it is updated quite often.
  • This past weekend I got the chance to shoot the fairly new Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield.  I was very impressed as this was the first chance I got to actually handle one of the new Shield pistols and I was astounded at the ergonomics of it.  The gun is VERY thin at only 0.95”.  The grip felt a little different to me, as it didn’t feel as rounded as the larger double-stack M&P pistols.  It would take me some time to get used to, but it was a very reliable and accurate 9mm pistol.  There will be a review of the pistol up on the Firearms Insider page very soon.
  • I had someone ask me a while back if you can just buy a .223/5.56mm suppressor and use it on your .22 LR rifles and pistols as well.  I thought it would work, but to be sure I tested it while I was out shooting this weekend.  I took a video of me shooting the Smith & Wesson M&P .22 Pistol with a .223 suppressor attached and, as you can see, the bullet hitting the steel is louder than the shot itself. I would caution you however, as the .22 LR cartridge burns notoriously dirty, and could cause problems for you in your .223 suppressor if you use it for .22s long term.
  • Someone mentioned in an iTunes review that they could not get older episodes of the show.  That is the way in which the iTunes feed works for the show, and as there are new episodes posted, some of the earliest disappear from the list.  If you wish to get all of them, you can listen to them at their respective episode pages at www.handgunradio.com. If you would prefer you can email me at ryan@handgunradio.com and I will send you the MP3 file of whichever show you would like to hear.

Main Topic: .22 Handguns

For this segment, I will divide the .22 Handguns up into three categories: Semi-Autos with a fully-recoiling slide assembly; Semi-Autos with a half-recoiling slide assembly; and revolvers. This will not be an exhaustive list, just a sampling of some of the better ones.

Semi-Autos with a fully recoiling slide assembly:

  • Smith & Wesson M&P .22 Pistol: This is a great .22 pistol that is very versatile and can serve many roles.  The M&P is a larger, service size semi-auto .22, that mimics the feel and appearance of the larger centerfire M&P pistols.  The pistol runs anywhere from $339 to $419 from some examples I’ve seen on Gunbroker.  The gun has a threaded barrel for a suppressor, and has three dot sights that are white.  The sights are high enough that they will typically clear a .22 LR suppressor, which is a huge plus.  The gun is also fully ambidextrous with a thumb safety on both sides and a reversible magazine release.
  • Ruger SR-22 .22 LR Pistol: This is also another great .22 LR handgun.  This pistol has the threaded barrel and the cartridge in common with the M&P .22, but that is where the similarities end.  The SR-22 is a much smaller, more compact gun (that does, in fact resemble the old Walther P-22 pistols). However, unlike many of the P-22 pistols, the Ruger SR-22 pistol functions reliably and is extremely accurate.  The SR-22 comes with two 10-round magazines and is hammer fired. It has an ambidextrous combination thumb safety and decocker mechanism. It carries adjustable three dot white sights that will also clear most .22 Suppressors. These are running around $350 on Gunbroker.
  • Kimber Rimfire Target: Kimber offers the classic 1911 pistol in a rimfire format for training with a smaller caliber gun that mimics the handling characteristics of the larger centerfire 1911.  Holding 10 rounds, the Kimber Rimfire Target only weighs 23 ounces unloaded. The slide and the frame are aluminum, and it carries adjustable sights. At an MSRP of $871.00, it is not the most inexpensive rimfire pistol however.

.22 Pistols with a half-recoiling slide assembly:

  • Ruger Mark Series Pistols: The Ruger Mark Series pistols do not use a traditional slide assembly, but rather use a tubular receiver assembly with a round bolt reciprocating inside the tube.  Two cocking ears stick out at the rear of the gun for chambering.  The Mark Series guns can be had in many varieties, such as the traditional variety with the sharply angled grip, or the 22/45 variety with the grip frame that mimics the 1911 grip angle and feel.  These guns can be had anywhere from $300 to $500 and up.  They can be difficult to disassemble, but some tools do make the disassembly process much easier.
  • The Browning Buckmark Series: The Browning Buckmark series is a similar design to the Ruger Mark Series, but it uses a breechblock assembly that reciprocates at the rear of the gun. One huge advantage of the Ruger system and the Browning Buckmark system is that a sighting system is easily mounted, as there isn’t a reciprocating slide assembly to interfere with the mount. The Browning Buckmark can be had in a similar price range to the Ruger, and can be had in many different finishes and styles.


  • Ruger LCR .22: This is a great little snub-nosed polymer .22 double action revolver.  I cannot recall another gun like this that I have seen in quite some time.  Most .22 LR revovlers are of the single-action type, or you can get the double action .22’s from S&W.  Ruger really hit upon a great idea with the Ruger LCR .22, as it allows those people who have a larger Ruger LCR in a centerfire caliber to practice with a smaller gun and cheaper ammunition.  For those recoil sensitive people, the LCR .22 may not be a bad defensive option given you can place your shots correctly with it. The MSRP on these guns is around $529, but I’m sure you could find it in gun stores for a bit less.
  • Ruger SP-101 .22 LR: The Ruger SP-101 series is a double-action revolver line designed by Ruger to be similar to the K-frame size from S&W.  The SP-101 has been chambered in a number of calibers, including .38 Special, .357 Magnum, 9mm, and now .22 LR.  The .22 LR version of the SP-101 is made out of stainless steel and mimics the handling characteristics of its bigger centerfire brothers.  It sports a fiber optic front sight, and at an MSRP of $699, you can probably find these for around $500 to $550 in gun stores.

I know there’s many more .22 handguns out there, and this is just a sampling.  Maybe the listeners can send me in some emails for their favorite .22 handguns and we can feature them on a listener feedback show.

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