Best .22LR Pistols of 2023: Find Your New Favorite Plinker
From rimfire revolvers to viable concealed carry options, here are our top 22 LR pistol picks for every situation. From Browning to Walther, find your perfect fit.
Certified Armorer & Instructor
Licensed Concealed Carry Holder
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Once just a specialist category of firearms relegated primarily to smallbore Bullseye-style competition shooting and military handgun marksmanship training, there should be a least one .22 LR firearm in everyone’s collection. You can find the ammo anywhere, often at 10% of the price per round of larger-bore firearms. Plus, the current batch of .22LR autoloaders has gone far beyond historical rimfire limitations, offering standard features and capabilities that were unheard of in generations past, and at an affordable entry point.
Further, they stand ready to clock in for today’s modern user, who has more practical shooting needs.
In This Article
.22LR Pistol Comparison
Below is my list of the best .22 LR pistols. I list the best choices in terms of value, performance, reliability, and cost.
Click on the name to head to the product page, read reviews and check prices or skip ahead to the list of .22 LR pistols.
Our Top Picks
Displaying 1 - 1 of 8
Fit & Finish
$419.99 at Palmetto StateJump to Details
A knockout for Glock's first rimfire pistol.
$550.99 at Palmetto StateJump to Details
Loads of fun in a small package.
$205.99 at Palmetto StateJump to Details
Ruger's budget take on the more expensive (and more modular) single-action revolver has proven to be quite the hit.
$349.99 at Palmetto StateJump to Details
A rimfire concealed carry powerhouse.
$522.99 at Palmetto StateJump to Details
More tactical features than just about any .22 pistol on the market,
$555.99 at Palmetto StateJump to Details
Tough to go wrong with this accurate blowback.
$427.99 at Palmetto StateJump to Details
Stands apart from the competition when it comes to features, capacity, and reliability.
$493.99 at Palmetto StateJump to Details
A great competition rimfire pistol that received almost universally positive reviews since its debut in 2019.
POF-USA Rebel 22
Best .22 AR Pistol
Hammer-fired Direct Blowback
Best .22LR Revolver
Concealed Carry Pick
Browning Buck Mark
Blowback Action Single-Action
Sig Sauer P322
Taurus TX22 Competition
How We Picked
Accuracy and Reliability
We bench fire four five-round groups with a variety of 22 LR ammunition types from 10 and 30 yards to evaluate their accuracy at various distances.
Design and Ergonomics
We evaluate the overall weight and balance of the 22 LR handgun, including the grip feel and texture, and how these factors impact accuracy and ease of use.
We measure the weight of the trigger pull using a trigger scale and assess how consistent it is from shot to shot.
We also review the materials used in the production and subject test handguns to a variety of stress tests, including a five-foot drop test, and prolonged use without maintenance.
More on our testing process
.22LR Pistol Reviews
1. Best Overall: Glock G44 .22 Pistol
2023 Awards & Rankings
- Weight: 14.64 oz
- Capacity: 10
- Length: 7.28”
- Barrel Length: 4.02”
- Height: 5.04”
- Action: Striker Fired
- Reliable Glock technology
- Full-sized firearm (same as the G19)
- Internal components are steel
- Great trainer gun
- Same controls as other Glocks
- Smaller rounds will require longer break-in period
- Expensive relative to other options
- No threaded barrel option
- .22LR does not always feed well out of the included magazines
- Stock sights are plastic
Somehow, Glock made it 35 years without making a .22LR pistol.
A knockout for Glock’s first .22 pistol
Secure in the knowledge that their centerfire handguns are among the best-selling modern pistols in the world, the Glock Model 44 is identical in size and layout to Glock’s G19 while running a pound lighter due to its hybrid polymer/steel slide.
This allows G19 owners to have the side benefit of picking up a G44 for inexpensive training to help keep their skills sharp. About the worst detractor on these guns is that they do not come suppressor-ready, and quality aftermarket threaded barrels are sometimes hard to find. Every Glock fan with a G19 has a holster that will accommodate the G44.
One of the few striker-fired rimfire pistols
It’s surprisingly difficult to make a reliable rimfire pistol due to the balance required to ensure the lighter recoil spring can completely pull the slide forward to feed the next round from the magazine – a feat the diminutive round struggles to pull off consistently due to the lip on the round.
This is also why the below Smith and Wesson M&P .22LR pistol looks exactly like the 9mm version, except it’s actually hammer-fired.
Just Like the G19 but in .22LR
Glock pulled off a near-perfect clone of their incredibly versatile Glock 19 in terms of dimensions, appearance, and layout, surface controls, & feel — hell, the lightweight pistol fits in the same holsters and accessories with both front and rear slide serrations.
They also used their polymer/steel hybrid slide on the G44 to ensure the balance required for maximum reliability was achieved without needing to engineer a new solution just for this little .22 LR semi-auto popper.
The G44 is an incredibly fun gun that gives the G19 owner a training pistol that offers enough ammo savings to pay for itself while also giving the next generations of shooters an introduction to the same tried and true Glock platform — polymer frame, ambidextrous slide stop, and crisp trigger included.
Of course, without the muzzle blast and recoil of full-powered 9mm rounds.
2. Best Rimfire AR Pistol: POF Rebel
2023 Awards & Rankings
- Weight: 3.25 lb
- Capacity: 25
- Length: 21.25”
- Barrel Length: 8″
- Height: 7.5”
- Action: Hammer-fired, Direct Blowback
- Very versatile
- Very similar to all other AR platforms
- Threaded barrel is suppressor-ready
- Dripping in M-Lok slots
- Limited aftermarket trigger options
- Proprietary bolt and charging handle
- Non-ambi controls
- Polymer receiver
Loads of fun in a small package
While a little selective about ammo quality, after a 500 round break-in the POF Rebel can be a great large-format rimfire pistol — ideal for introducing new shooters or for folks who want to train but reduce the cost of doing so, given the relative price of the little .22LR poppers.
One interesting note is while the Rebel comes with a10-round mag by default the break-in period can be shortned considerable with the use of Ruger BX-22 25-round magazines.
Clearing the inevitable jam is quick and easy
Quality finish and grip ergonomics
The POF Rebel has a largely polymer lower, and an ergonomic grip that is swappable with any AR-compatible grips. It’s not going to offer the same durability as a true black rifle, but the .22LR doesn’t require it.
The receiver accepts AR-15-compatible stocks and braces, as well as AR trigger and selectors, so you’ll have loads of customization options for your next range session or varmint hunt.
That said, rimfire magazines are known to be pretty unreliable, but luckily the Rebel is compatible with Ruger BX-22 mags, which are some of the best of the bunch — they shoot & feed consistently, which is a real challenge with the lip on the rimfire casing creating an uneven stack.
Overall, it’s everything you could want from a reliable .22LR pistol — with the possible exception of and ambidextrous safety and controls. It’s a unique little pistol that does exactly what a rimfire pistol should: be consistent, easy to shoot, and versatile for self-defense or general shooting needs.
3. Best Rimfire Revolver: Ruger Wrangler
2023 Awards & Rankings
- Weight: 30 oz
- Capacity: 6
- Length: 10.25”
- Barrel Length: 4.62”
- Action: Single-Action Revolver
- Modern take on a single-action
- Surprisingly well-built
- Multiple safety systems
- Recoil is AWOL
- Lighter than other rimfire revolvers
- Shockingly heavy trigger pull
- 6-rounds is not a lot of pew
- Non-adjustable rear sight
- Small, non-ergonomic grip
- Non-interchangeable cylinder
Building on Ruger’s Single Six revolver heritage, their budget take on the more expensive (and more modular) single-action revolver has proven to be quite the hit, supplanting the ubiquitous Heritage Rough Rider on our list this year in the revolver category.
The Wrangler takes a lot of what has made the Single Six a classic — SAA looks, quality build, and multiple safety systems — but strips away the more expensive components, like interchangeable cylinders and a steel alloy frame in favor of lighter aluminum, to give shooters a shocking high-quality rimfire revolver that packs a ton of target shooting fun into an old-school package.
Sure, there are areas where the Wrangler comes up short — the trigger is far too heavy, you don’t get the interchangeable cylinders of the Single Six, there’s odd finish decisions like the unpainted metal grip retaining nut that stands out like a sore thumb on an otherwise all black grip, and the fixed sights are also very, very basic — but the sum of these issues is much less than the joy of knocking cans off a post with the little revolver.
All things considered, the Ruger Wrangler really surprised us, and we go way into its performance in our hands-on review. Ruger has a reputation for quality product that hits the bulls-eye of budget-friendliness, and the Wrangler lives up to that legacy — especially when you look at sales numbers.
Ruger’s brand, as of late, is all about approachable, value-minded recreational shooting products that work — and the Wrangler is a worthy addition to those ideals.
4. Best Concealed Carry Pick: Walther P22
2023 Awards & Rankings
- Weight: 17 oz
- Capacity: 10
- Length: 6.3”
- Barrel Length: 3.42”
- Height: 4.5″
- Action: Action: Double-Action, Single-Action Hammer Fired
- Double or single-action trigger
- Very lightweight and small size
- Easy to hold thanks to the textured grip
- Fixed barrel for reduced vibration
- Excellent sights
- Slide button is a bit small
- German mag release presents a learning curve
- Heavy trigger
A .22LR concealed carry & self-defense powerhouse
Anyone looking for the quintessential concealed carry .22 LR handgun will want to check out the Walther P22.
It’s one of the best .22 pistols for concealed carry, if you’re comfortable carrying a rimfire pistol.
It is easy to argue that the Walther P22 kickstarted the modern rimfire pistol market when it debuted 20 years ago. Essentially a scaled-down P99 of James Bond fame, the P22 was polymer-framed with an accessory rail and included adjustable combat-style sights and aggressive texturing on the grip frame and slide, borrowing many features of the Walther PPQ pistols, but in the .22 caliber.
Further, whereas guns like the Ruger Standard had to visit a gunsmith to accept a suppressor, the P22 could be quickly made suppressor ready. On the downside, they are notoriously finicky regarding ammo, preferring hotter loads like CCI Mini Mags to cycle properly.
Walther pistols are great shooting guns, and the P22Q is both a ton of fun and makes a great trainer pistol. It is the size of many compact everyday carry handguns with great ergonomics for various hand sizes. The P22Q is chambered in .22LR, and the total weight empty is just one pound, so it practically disappears when carried.
This gun is outfitted with a thumb safety with safe and fire markings, making it approachable for new shooters. Plus, it comes in various models of colors, such as Angel Blue and FDE, with a threaded barrel and one model with a laser, giving you lots of options to find the right mix of features in one pistol.
Something unique about this pistol is it does feature a paddle release instead of a magazine release button. It also has an ambi slide safety making it ambidextrous for right-handed and left-handed people to enjoy. With interchangeable backstraps that come with the gun, you can set up the gun to your grip and hand size.
The rear sight is adjustable for windage and is dead-on accurate once sighted in. The recoil spring is captured, and the gun can operate in single-action or double-action mode. There is an external hammer that can be manually cocked to fire. The double-action trigger is 12 pounds, while the single-action trigger pull is 4.8 pounds.
Finally, this .22LR gun has a 10-round capacity, making it ready for shooting Steel Challenge or Rimfire Challenge.
5. Tactical Pick: FN 502
2023 Awards & Rankings
- Caliber: .22 LR
- Barrel Length: 4.6 inches
- Overall Length: 7.6 inches
- Weight: 23.7 ounces, unloaded
- Magazine Capacity: 10 or 15 rounds
- The FN 502 has more tactical features than just about any .22 pistol on the market, including being both optics- and suppressor-ready.
- As with most autoloading rimfire handguns, this pistol is only as dependable as the ammo that you feed it.
FN America’s hammer-fired rimfire .22 pistol has a lot to offer but, like most 22s, can be a little finicky.
While Fabrique Nationale’s Browning subsidiary has long offered a variety of .22 caliber pistols such as the Buck Mark, FN never really went all-in for a rimfire handgun. That is until the FN 502 was introduced in 2022.
Hammer-fired with a blowback action, the FN 502 is based on the company’s FN 509 series striker-fired 9mm pistols and has a similar styling if not the same internals. Offering a 4.6-inch threaded barrel, it is suppressor-ready right out of the box with a 1/2×28 TPI target-crowned muzzle. Plus, it ships with both a 10-round flush fit and a 15-round extended magazine.
The FN 502 is fully ambidextrous with both left and right-side manual thumb safeties, magazine release, and slide locks. The magazines drop free easily.
The pistol also has full 360-degree stippling that is very aggressive and a natural grip angle, and I had no issues with one-handed shooting.
As befitting most semi-auto rimfire pistols, function varies across different ammunition loads. We found that better ammo such as that from CCI had fewer failures and jams than cheap bulk-pack ammo such as the Remington Golden Bullet.
The optics-ready slide is compatible with most micro red dots, so you can likely slap on your preferred red dot sight — and the tall suppressor-height sights easily co-witness.
The FN 502 has a trigger that breaks cleanly at about 5 pounds with a longer than we’d like take up before hitting the wall.
For plinking, the FN 502 is good to go, and we found it able to zap tin cans and small plates all day at practical (10-15 yard) distances.
The 502 is new to the market so additional accessories outside of FN’s web store are limited. However, as the gun closely mimics the FN 509, it works with most standard-sized 509 holsters.
6. Beginner Pick: Browning Buck Mark
2023 Awards & Rankings
- Weight: 34 oz
- Capacity: 10
- Length: 9.5”
- Barrel Length: 5.5”
- Action: Blowback Action, Single-Action Trigger
- Comfortable grip
- Trigger pull is very smooth and crisp
- Excellent adjustable sights
- Made with lightweight/durable aluminum alloy
- Matte black finish looks good and resists rust
- Swapping out parts is tricky without a workbench
- Heavier than other options
Introduced in 1985, the Browning Buck Mark replaced the company’s long-running and popular Challenger series pistols, which used a tapered barrel, with a model that incorporated a lightweight allow frame, slab-sided barrel, and Pro-Target adjustable grips.
First debuted with a 5.5-inch barrel and wood grips, a better fit these days is the more standard 4-inch model with ambidextrous URX grips. It is tough to go wrong with this accurate blowback.
Perfect for learning how to shoot
The gun is a perfect choice if you want to teach someone how to use a pistol but they don’t have much experience with firearms in general.
Looks great & easy to use
While not a functional note – the weapon certainly looks great. The grip is comfortable, ergonomic, and balanced to help maximize target acquisition and accuracy at a distance.
The single-action trigger pull is particularly crisp and resets easily, allowing you to fire multiple follow-on shots quickly and stay on target.
We also really like the front and rear targeting sights, which, when paired with the balanced grip, make learning how to use a pistol a bit easier and a lot of fun.
In the end, it’s affordable and easy to use, making it a great starter pistol or just a reliable backup sidearm if your larger caliber pistol is out of commission. We have a full Buck Mark review if you want more on this fantastic Luger-inspired pistol.
7. Also Great: Sig Sauer P322
2023 Awards & Rankings
- Caliber: .22 LR
- Barrel Length: 4 inches
- Overall Length: 7 inches
- Weight: 17 ounces, unloaded
- Magazine Capacity: 20+1 standard, 10+1 restricted
- In a crowded field of semi-auto 22s, SIG’s P322 stands apart from the competition when it comes to features, capacity, and reliability.
- There is limited aftermarket support
- although the P322 is better than most when it comes to reliability, it is still handicapped by its ammo quality.
SIG’s first rimfire pistol since the failed Mosquito, the P322 is one of the most exciting .22LR handguns to come about in the past 25 years.
Introduced on 3/22/22 (get it?), the Sig Sauer P322 was the company’s first rimfire pistol since the disastrous Mosquito jam-a-matic was discontinued a decade prior. While the Mosquito had been built for SIG by other folks, the P322 was designed in-house taking cues from the successful P320 and P365 programs.
Running 20-round flush-fitting magazines in a world where most pistol makers only offer their .22s with a 10-round stick, the P322 is suppressor-ready with a 1/2x28TPI adapter lug.
It is also optics-ready via a removable rear sight plate so you can easily direct a Shield RMS/SMS footprint red dot without the use of annoying adapter plates. Plus, it has an accessory rail and extended magwell.
The P322 has an ambidextrous slide catch and manual safety levers that are oversized and easy to use.
The push button magazine release button comes installed on the left side of the frame for right-handed shooters but is swappable to the other side. Throughout my range day testing the magazines dropped free easily.
SIG repeated most of the same layout of the well-liked .380/9mm P365 micro compact carry gun with the P322. This means the guns feel and (kind of) look alike, with a high cut under the trigger guard and a contoured grip module that feels better molded to the palm than lots of competitors. The texture is 360-degree and, while effective, is not overly aggressive.
It is tough to make a dependable autoloading rimfire pistol due to the wildly varying nature and quality of .22 LR ammo. However, during a 5,000-round extended test, we found the P322 to be one of the most dependable on the market, chewing through just about everything, even bulk pack cheap-o stuff, with typically just seeing a stoppage about every 100-150 rounds.
The secret to keeping it running is in how you load the magazine. As the rims can suffer rim lock and thus create a jam, be sure to use the on-magazine loading tool to depress the spring as you load, then be sure to push the case all the way to the back of the mag body when you insert it.
Most people who complain about this gun do so because they are having jams on incorrectly loaded mags. Also, keep it clean every 500 rounds to avoid excessive barrel leading problems.
The P322 ships with fiber optic front and rear sights that include two assorted colors (green and red) strips that can be swapped out by the user without special tools.
The sights are excellent, if plastic, and easy to see in both low and bright light. The only bad thing is that the rear sight must be removed if mounting a red dot.
The flat-faced trigger, while made of injection molded plastic, has a good feel to it and we found it to break at a pleasing 3-pounds after pulling to a quick wall. It also has interchangeable trigger shoes, shipping with both flat and curved variants. We do not hate it and wish other companies would do the same.
While not a bullseye target pistol and unlikely to be seen at the Olympics any time soon, the P322 performs well as a plinker, being able to hit anything realistic that you put in front of it out to 25 yards.
A very new gun to the market, there are few aftermarket accessories around for the P322, but you can expect that to change. However, reports are that a lot of generic P365-ish holsters work for the pistol.
8. Competition Pick: Taurus TX22 Compeition
2023 Awards & Rankings
- Width: 1.25”
- Length: 8.15”
- Barrel Length: 5.25”
- Height: 5.44”
- Weight: 23.2 oz.
- Capacity: 16+1
- Surprisingly reliable: Fires and ejects the tricky rimfire round reliably.
- Ample magazine capacity: Includes three 16-round magazines with pull-down tabs for easier loading.
- Factory-installed optics base plate: also includes adapter plates provided for other optic footprints.
- While a rimfire pistol, if this is positioned for competition use the grip could use more texture.
- Expensive for a Taurus rimfire.
- Reports of quality control issues, especially with the polymer magazines.
For decades, Taurus made a series of .22LR revolvers that were well-received. Following up with the PT22, a compact semi-auto mouse gun, the Brazilian company moved to introduce a full-sized TX22 autoloader in 2019 and expanded that into the TX22 Competition to take the rimfire pistol in a more competitive direction.
With intuitive ergonomics that include memory pads and a high-cut grip, the Taurus also brings adjustable sights an accessory rail, and a threaded barrel and compensator along for the ride.
Best of all, it has a 16+1 round magazine and has received almost universally positive reviews since its debut.
The Taurus TX22 is the perfect fun range gun to plink around with and is the best value 22LR pistol for competition shooting. I have been shooting this gun for about a year and have shot it in Steel Challenge, and it’s been a machine to run. I’ve shot about 6,000 rounds through it and haven’t had a single hiccup with the gun, an astonishing feat for a rimfire pistol.
The price point of these pistols is also unbelievable.
While I bought a stock Taurus TX22, I upgraded the gun with the Tandemkross trigger, charging handle, compensator, and magazine base pad extensions. These upgrades are affordable and make the TX22 smoking fast for a race gun.
TandemKross Game Changer PRO squared compensator adds weight for better gun balance and accuracy. It also redirects propellant gases to counter recoil and unwanted muzzle rise. The compensator vents gases at dual 45° angles for better visibility and control and to keep your red dot lens clear of any gases or debris.
The magazine base pad extensions add +5 rounds to a 16-round magazine. The feed ramp in this gun features a high polish to improve feeding and reliability, which I’ve seen firsthand how reliable this gun is. It has an extremely comfortable grip for all hand sizes, and I’ve seen women and junior shooters compete using this pistol nationwide.
It’s a great gun that’s easy on the wallet, coming in less than many other options. For an optics-ready version, check out the new TX22 Competition which adds a threaded bull barrel and skeletonized, high-grade aluminum slide for an even lighter package.
How to Pick a .22 LR Pistol
No two .22 pistols are alike, and you’ll have the option of both pistols and revolvers. So be mindful of the following features as you research, and you’ll be more likely to grab a great gun that you’ll enjoy for a long time to come.
1. Barrel Length
Ever since the pocket-sized Mossberg Brownie micro pistol of the Prohibition-era and then later the Beretta Minx hit the scenes in the 1950s, offering a downright lilliputian rimfire handgun with a barrel in the 2-inch range, there has been a steady effort to make ultra-concealable .22 semi-autos.
Today, Beretta still makes a modern version of the Minx, the Model 21 series, and both Ruger (LCP 22) and Taurus (PT22) market similarly shrunken pistols, pitched to the concealed carry market. However, these guns all suffer from increased malfunctions for a variety of reasons as well as rapidly declining accuracy at distance, due largely to the abbreviated sight radius and poorly designed sights.
Likewise, competition-length barrels, like the 6-inch bull seen on the Volquartsen Black Mamba LLV, are taking it a little far for average use unless you’re interested in competirion-oriented target pistols. With that in mind, pistols with barrels falling in the 4-inch range split the difference, providing a platform for decent adjustable sights (and optics cuts) while offering a nice sight radius at the same time.
In the semi-auto .22LR pistol game, the common denominator tends to be a minimum of a 10-shot magazine capacity. Seen on Ruger’s MK IV, the Glock G44, the S&W SW22, Walther P22, and so forth, which keeps them readily available in states where magazine restrictions artificially inhibit what is in the gun case at your local dealer.
A few manufacturers offer a larger mag that still fits flush in the grip frame, notably KelTec– with their P17 and CP33 models– and Taurus with their new and very popular TX22. Anything less than ten shots, and you should consider a revolver.
Again, there’s no right or wrong answer. But more rounds are usually better for backyard plinking and can make shooting these guns more fun. Self-defense or concealed carry pistols (being smaller on average) can do their job just fine with fewer rounds (5-6 rounds can be all you need), which helps reduce the firearm’s size and improve conceal.
3. Reputation & Popularity
As the pressures involved in rimfire pistols are slight when compared to firearms meant for full-power centerfire defensive rounds, over the years there has been a variety of bargain-basement .22 brands to hit the market.
Inexpensive rimfire pistols and revolvers, often with zinc alloy frames and thin plastic grips, from obscure firms in Germany, Italy, and Spain who ordinarily made blank-firing starter pistols, flooded the market after World War II and they could often be had for about $12 in the 1960s.
The thing is, you got what you paid for as the guns were typically junk. Federal legislation dropped the ban hammer on a lot of these cap guns in 1968 but today there are still a few companies– hailing from much the same places as before– that make low-quality jam-a-matics, only this time they are large enough to meet the “sporting purposes” test imposed by the ATF on imports.
When it comes to selecting a decent .22LR semi-auto pistol, try to stick with recognizable household names.
The biggest stumbling block on a .22 semi-auto pistol is their diet– the rimmed .22LR cartridge itself. Designed originally for revolvers, where a rim must exist for the case to seat properly in the cylinder and then later be self-extracted, that same rim makes feeding in vertically-stacked 22LR ammo from a magazine into a pistol somewhat problematic.
Couple this with the fact that rimfire ammunition suffers a higher failure rate per round than centerfire ammo due to the nature of both its design and production– which favors an economy of scale to fill bulk-pack boxes and tubs by weight to make the rounds as inexpensive as possible– and you are bound to have jams, light strikes, and other malfunctions when shooting .22s.
Going past that, unjacketed lead bullets, the most common load, cause extensive fouling of barrel rifling and actions. All of this adds up to the fact that .22LR semi-autos are almost doomed to fail and that they only succeed due to superb designs.
Keep in mind that the successful .22 pistol makers come from a background of having rugged and reliable firearms, to begin with. That is why you see companies like Browning, Smith & Wesson, and Glock on our list. They have perfected low recoil functionality and overcome problems such as properly stacking those pesky rimmed .22LRs in a magazine so that they feed correctly.
While the .22 LR handguns of old were extraordinarily basic, the better ones on the market today include features formerly only seen on combat pistols if at all. To better adapt to a wide range of users, several of the better pistols are supplied with different backstraps to increase the modularity of the gun.
To accommodate muzzle devices and suppressors– which are legal for consumer ownership in 42 states — direct threaded barrels are increasingly common on production guns. Adjustable rear sights are also the standard rather than the rare exception, as are sights that are dovetailed to the top of the frame and thus readily upgradable.
Accessory rails, which allow the mounting of lights and lasers on the dust cover of the frame forward of the trigger guard, are also a great feature to look for as they add versatility.
When I’m looking to buy a .22 pistol, I’m generally looking for a specific type of action. For folks looking specifically for a revolver, that’s what you want. Otherwise, most people will be looking at some kind or another of semi-automatic.
A little rarer, there are even a few bolt action “pistols” that Ruger and a few other manufacturers make. These are highly accurate and are popular among folks who do a lot of varmint hunting with their .22 pistols, very often suppressed and with a magnified optic, shooting from a bipod.
A .22 pistol doesn’t have much recoil to begin with, which means that they can be highly accurate pistols at close range. A poorly tuned trigger can throw off that accuracy, which spoils a lot of fun. It makes sense to test out a few different triggers, if possible, to ensure you select one that’s natural and comfortable for you.
Generally, I prefer a light trigger with a tactile reset to be as precise as possible with my follow-up shots.
There has probably never been a better selection of rugged and dependable semi-auto .22LR pistols available to the consumer than there is today.
An almost timeless concept as the type has been around for over a century, the autoloading rimfire handgun is fully mature and ready to clock in to perform roles ranging from pest control and target practice– much like older models– to training for tactical/practical use with the aid of optics and suppressors if desired. Welcome to the 21st Century.
- Chuck Hawks, History of .22 Rimfire
- NRA Women, Do .22 LR pistols make sense for self-defense?
- ATF, Projectile Classification Framework
- Wiki Commons, Colt Woodsman Image
- Wk Commons, Smith & Wesson Model 41 Image
April 8, 2023 — We’ve added the impressively tactical FN 502 and SIG’s first rimfire pistol since the failed Mosquito, the P322, to this year’s guide. The Glock G44 .22 LR Pistol is still our top recommendation thanks to it’s performance and training potential. We’re keeping the other recommendations on our list, but now recommend them as runners-up or budget options.
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