Gear

What is the Best .22lr Pistol in 2017?

It is safe to say that if you are a gun person, you have fired a .22lr pistol. It may have been the first trigger that you ever pulled. If it wasn’t your first, it probably came shortly after. It would have been in your hands then because it was light, and probably accurate for a young up and coming gun user. The best .22lr pistols are inexpensive, comparatively speaking to other styles of pistols. They also fit snug in your hands. It won’t have a lot of kick, and you should be able to load it and clean it with relative ease.

Click here for the Best .22lr Pistols available in 2017!

Whether you were in the woods with your brother and sister hunting small game, or honing your accuracy at the range with a myriad of targets with your dad. Those days standout, and every time you pick up your best .22lr pistol today, you think of, or speak about when your dad or uncle decided that you were at the mature enough age to take the next step in growing up. And that time when you earned the trust of your grandfather and he finally let your take it out in the pasture without him. A rite of passage for you then, and today if you haven’t already shared that same experience with your children, you have the day already circled on the calendar in your head. And you know that the feelings you experienced back then, will be stirring in them on that day. You’ll also finally know how proud your dad felt about you that day long ago.

The gun you choose for them to cut their teeth on is probably already picked out. It’s the same gun that you used, or it’s your favorite, most accurate, best .22lr pistol you have. The one that you use to calibrate your senses on when you first get to the range. The final option is this. A new .22lr pistol of their own. One that they can grow with, and count on to be the most reliable and accurate weapon they will probably own for the rest of their life.

Top 5 Best .22lr Pistol Reviews

With that day in mind, we reviewed some of the best .22lr pistols that Brownells firearms website has to offer. We took a group to the range, and had a great afternoon test firing the five best .22lr pistols Brownells is offering in stock today. Our hope is to help narrow down some of the best .22lr pistol choices for you. The five best .22lr pistols, in no particular order are lined out below.

1. Smith and Wesson SW22 Victory 

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  • Make: Smith & Wesson
  • Model: SW22Victory
  • Cartridge: 22 Long Rifle
  • Capacity: 10+1 round
  • Barrel Length: 5.5”
  • Finish: Satin Stainless
  • Length: 9.2”
  • Magazine Type: Removable

The S&W Victory generated an instant smile when I walked up to it. There are no surprises with it. Very stylish and sleek. It looks like you’d want to draw this weapon out of your holster, and let it become part of your hand. This handgun incorporates today’s styles, and almost gives you a look at what it could be in the future. It’s built for the long haul, with a matte finish on a stainless steel body. A black polymer grip fits nicely in a large or small hand. The handle holds a 10 round magazine, it comes with two magazines, and it holds one in the chamber. This is one of the best .22lr pistols we tried.

The single action design, with a soft pull allows you to be accurate with each shot. An ergonomic trigger, with a comfortable grip allows you to release with three pounds of resistance on each pull. Your semi-automatic action resets the hammer after each shot.

This gun re-aligns after each shot to make it a consistently accurate weapon. A nice option with the Victory is how well it performs with different ammunition. No jamming with this weapon when we used it regardless of the brand or the velocity of ammo we put into it. It moved with precision from one shooter to the next.

A great thing that S&W did here, was to make it real simple to field dress. No excuses about not finding the right tool because they include an Allen key with the gun. Remove the screw just in front of your trigger guard, and you are free to disassemble, and perform basic maintenance and cleaning. Once off, the barrel assembly comes off, and the receiver will separate from the frame. The bolt assembly slides out. The firing pin and spring, pull out for detail cleaning. This was the best .22lr pistol we used in the sense of cleaning afterwards.

Switching out barrels is easy, so you can move to a lighter style when carrying, or when you’re in the pasture looking for rabbits. You can quickly replace the barrel with one that feels more solid for target practice at the range. This model also has a variety of after-market accessories, to customize your experience. The out of the box model we worked with trades in the mid to high $300’s

Order the Smith and Wesson SW22 Victory Online Now – Fast Nationwide Shipping

Check out this review of the SW 22 Victory found on YouTube:

2. Walther P22

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  • Make: Walther
  • Model: P22
  • Cartridge: 22 Long Rifle
  • Capacity: 10+1 Round
  • Barrel Length: 3.42”
  • Finish: Black
  • Length: 6.3”
  • Magazine Type: Removable

At my initial approach to the Walther P22, it seemed as if this pistol was smiling at me. This is another one of the best .22lr pistols to sit in my hand. I think the best way to describe this weapon overall, is to say it has a personality of its own. This semi-automatic lightweight and small pistol has countless accessories to add to make this identify more with your personality. Colors, and finishes are widely available. It also is reminiscent of the P99, just a bit smaller though. It sports an external hammer and a slide mounted thumb safety. The frame is cast polymer and has a slide and frame insert made from cast zinc alloy. There are interchangeable frame back straps which helps customize a more ergonomic personalized fit. The polymer frame allows you to choose from many different colors when you order. You can bring your family to the range and never lose track of whose gun is whose.

The 3.42” barrel makes it lightweight and easy to carry, if a .22lr pistol is your choice for a conceal carry. Trust me though, when you put this cozy little number between your fingers, using it as a conceal carry will cross your mind for at least a moment. This model comes with an internally threaded barrel, which allows for a suppressor attachment. The trigger felt nice to touch and released with a four pound pressure. It does contain two safety mechanisms which prevents accidental discharges when the gun is banged, dropped or slammed down.

A couple negative things that stood out to us as a group. It fired better using high velocity rounds over low velocity. One of the five users had an issue with that. The second thing was that it only came with one magazine. Along those lines, here is what else we found in the box. Back straps, one magazine, trigger lock and, reassembly rod.

This small and lightweight, (15 ounces) gun was fun to shoot and carry. I felt like I could pump a couple thousand rounds through it, plinking targets all day. The model at the range that we used is selling just under $300. All factors included, I imagine this being my son’s first gun to train with.

Order the Walther P22 Online Now – Fast Nationwide Shipping

Check out this review of the Walther P22 found on YouTube:

3. NAA Mini Revolver

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  • Make: North American Arms
  • Model: Mini Revolver
  • Cartridge: 22 Long Rifle
  • Capacity: 5 Round
  • Barrel Length: 1.125”
  • Finish: Stainless
  • Length: 4”
  • Magazine Type: Fixed

North American Arms has created a real beautiful piece of art with their .22lr mini revolver. This Derringer style pistol instantly sent me traveling back to the 1800’s. One of the best .22lr pistols of our day. Images of getting caught cheating at the card table and then being called out by the other card sharks who all pull out their knives to settle the score. Then this little 4” equalizer slides from underneath my sleeve and falls straight into my hand. The other players HURMPH aloud and give in as I tilt my bowler hat, and bid them goodbye with my ill got winnings.

Maybe I should give up westerns, and stick to my day job. That aside this mechanical wonder is a lot of fun to fire. Its size will instantly steer your mind to conceal and carry. It was literally designed to fit in your jeans pocket. A dual action weapon that insists on you cocking the hammer, and then pulling hard on the trigger to get the action you want from it.

If your vest pocket, or jeans pocket isn’t to your liking, NAA accessorizes your mini revolver in so many other ways. Belt buckle holster, a necklace chain holster even a key chain holster. For me, my favorite blue jeans have a fifth pocket. The Mini revolver that I was sampling slid easily in. I would feel completely comfortable keeping it in my front pocket as well due to the fact that it requires a dual action to perform.

A stainless piece of art with wood grips designed to accommodate a variety of hands. Loading the mini revolver has come a long way since the old west. NAA has machined a safety notch into the cylinder between each chamber. With the hammer safely locking into the notches, it safely prevents the cylinder from moving and keeping the hammer away from live rounds. This added feature speaks to the safety that NAA incorporates to prevent an accidental bump from ruining your day. No operational safety is on the gun, but the dual action requires the user to fire with intent.

The biggest downside to this weapon is what you can expect to lose in velocity. Due to the short barrel the round begins decelerating before it can properly begin building momentum. We also saw a fall in accuracy the further we shot from the target. One of the things that makes this one of the best .22lr pistols is that it’s a great weapon for up close use. Concealed well, held close to the body. It also would be well suited to use for home protection, close to the bed at night, assuming that you wanted a .22 for home protection. Priced appropriately at just over $200, this son of a gun is a dandy.

Order the NAA Mini Revolver Online Now – Fast Nationwide Shipping

Check out this review of the NAA Mini Revolver found on YouTube:

4. Browning Buck Mark Plus UDX

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  • Make: Browning
  • Model: Buck Mark Plus UDX
  • Cartridge: 22 Long Rifle
  • Capacity: 10+1 Round
  • Barrel Length: 5.5”
  • Finish: Matte Blue
  • Length: 9.5”
  • Magazine Type: Removable

I couldn’t speak for everyone else or their possible emotions when they walked up to this beautiful piece of cold blue steel. The gold trigger was a giveaway. Browning was in the house. At first I was whisked away to days long ago with my grandfather when I was just a little boy walking out into the pasture to learn how to hold and fire my first weapon. My grandfather owned a Colt Woodsman, and this, one of the best .22lr pistols, walked me right down memory lane. When I picked it up, it was as if it was shaking my hand hello. It also reminded me of dad’s Browning Nomad. And the fun we had every weekend shooting it.

This gun did not disappoint. Collectively we ran a ton of ammunition through this fine-tuned mechanical wonder, and it ate up every bit of it, with no issues. This was one of the best .22lr pistols when it came to ease of use with a high variety of ammunition. It has a nice weight to it, ringing in at 2.125 pounds. That didn’t matter though, as it felt as if an old friend came back for a visit. The blued finish is milled flat to reduce the overall weight.

This gun uses a short slide and block that uses rearward motion when discharging the casings. The short slide and block uses the striker fired and a blowback action that works in conjunction to the mechanical reloading process. The aircraft aluminum alloy frame is lightweight, and complimented very nicely by their walnut wood stock grip. The grip was accommodating to both the right hand and the left hand. Priced right at $500 this is one of the best .22lr pistols we had the pleasure of meeting that day.

Order the Browning Buck Mark Plus UDX Online Now – Fast Nationwide Shipping

Check out this review of the Browning Buck Mark found on YouTube:

5. Ruger MK III 22/45

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  • Make: Ruger
  • Model: 22/45
  • Cartridge: 22 Long Rifle
  • Capacity: 10+1 Round
  • Barrel Length: 5.5”
  • Finish: Blued
  • Length: 9.5”
  • Magazine Type: Removable

Banging out round after round on some the best.22lr pistols is a great way to spend an afternoon. Especially when one of those .22lr pistols is the Ruger MKIII 22/45. This may have been the best .22lr pistol we all shot, just for the sake of shooting the heck out of ammunition. This cold war era looking pistol took a beating like no other, eating up as much standard and high velocity ammo as we fed it.

We referred to it as the, ‘kid brother’ to the Ruger 1911. The manual operations, (trigger, safety and slide release), are reminiscent to that on the 1911.  This came with 2 magazines in the box, which was great, because I could drop the empty and slam the full one in a matter of seconds. My partner tried to keep up with me shooting with his reloading the mags, but alas he was no match for one of the best .22lr pistols on the block. A great advantage though was how easy it was to reload the magazine. For additional safety the MKIII has a magazine disconnect so you can’t fire your weapon if the magazine has been dropped out of it.

This model has adjustable sights, and is ready for a rail to mount optics if you so desire. You probably don’t need them though, the MKIII can make a poor shooter look good with its accuracy. That may go hand in hand with this guns recoil, or lack thereof. It genuinely just plugged along, smoothly for each user during the day. The trigger action was perfect, and comfortably smooth. The blue steel with composite handles really stood out as beautiful piece of modern art.

The MKIII may be one of the best .22lr pistols fired, but at the end of the day when we broke down each weapon for cleaning, the MKIII was brutal. A great gun to shoot, but breaking it down took longer than the others we tested that day. It certainly took a beating with what threw through the chamber and when we cleaned it, the MKIII seemed to be taking its revenge out on us. One of our panel testers that day commented that he has this same model at home, and he rarely cleans it. He oils it regularly and keeps it lubricated and so far he hasn’t had an issue with it jamming up or getting gummy.

Order the Ruger MK III Online Now – Fast Nationwide Shipping

Check out this review of the Ruger MK III found on YouTube:

Conclusion

To summarize our afternoon quickly is to note that you can’t actually go back in time with your dad or grandfather to re live the days that you honed your shooting skills with them. The best thing that we can do is find the most comfortable and the best .22lr pistol that we can and pass those lessons we learned back then, and still lean to today to our kids, nephews, nieces or grandkids just as they were passed onto us. Finally, always remember to promote the importance of gun safety, and treating each weapon as if it was loaded.

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