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11 Best .22 Pistols: Small Caliber, Big Impact preview image
Jan 03 2024
22 min read

11 Best .22 Pistols: Small Caliber, Big Impact

If you’re on the hunt for a compact, easy-to-shoot, and versatile firearm, then look no further! Today, we’re diving into the world of the best .22 pistols, where the small caliber meets big fun.

If you’re like me, .22 pistols (or perhaps rifles) were among the first guns you learned to shoot. And if you’re like me again, they’re still among your favorites to shoot. I’m spending at least a little time shooting a .22 pistol just about every time I’m at the range, and I have several in my gun safe. They’re just so fun!

Whether you’re a seasoned shooter or a beginner looking to dip your toes into shooting sports, .22 pistols offer an enjoyable experience for everyone.

But don’t be fooled by their size! These little wonders have a lot to offer. In this guide, we’ll explore the best .22 pistols on the market, breaking them down into various categories to suit different needs.

So, let’s load up and aim for a memorable shooting experience with the top .22 pistols!

Best .22 Pistols & Recommendations

ImageProductPrice
RUGER MARK IV TARGETBest Overall Ruger Mark IV Target .22 LR Pistol
SMITH & WESSON SW22 VICTORY THREADED BARRELBest Value –  Smith & Wesson SW22 Victory .22 LR Pistol
BROWNING BUCK MARK CAMPERHonorable Mention – Browning Buck Mark Camper .22 LR Pistol
WALTHER P22QBest .22 Pistol for Self-Defense – Walther P22 .22 LR Pistol
RUGER SR22Best .22 Pistol for Women – Ruger SR22 .22 LR Pistol
RUGER MARK IV 22/45 LITEBest .22 Pistol Suppressor Host – Ruger Mark IV 22/45 Lite .22 LR Pistol
BROWNING BUCK MARK STANDARD URXBest .22 Pistol for Target Shooting – Browning Buck Mark Standard URX .22 LR Pistol
ruger gp100 22lrRuger GP100 .22 LR
Glock 44Glock 44
Taurus TX22Taurus TX22
Heritage Rough Rider .22LR RevolverHeritage Rough Rider

Best Overall – Ruger Mark IV Target .22 LR Pistol

Ruger Mark IV Target .22 LR Semi-Automatic Pistol, 5.5" Bull Barrel, 10 Rounds, Blued Finish, Adjustable Sights, Synthetic Grips - 40101
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Specifications

Capacity10 rounds
Barrel Length5.50 inches
Overall Length9.75 inches
Height5.50 inches
Weight42.8 ounces

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Exceptional accuracy for precise shooting
  • User-friendly takedown for easy maintenance
  • Comfortable grip with a contoured design
  • Adjustable sights take accuracy to the next level
  • Ruger has a reputation for quality and reliability
Cons
  • Slightly heavier compared to other models
  • Not as suitable for concealed carry
  • Price point is on the higher end for a .22 pistol

The Ruger Mark IV Target is a standout .22 LR pistol that excels in accuracy and ease of maintenance. Whether you’re a seasoned competitive shooter or a range enthusiast seeking precision, this pistol delivers consistent performance. Its one-button takedown simplifies cleaning and reassembly, making it a favorite among those who value hassle-free maintenance.

The contoured grip adds to its appeal, providing a comfortable hold that improves control and reduces fatigue during extended shooting sessions. Topping it off are adjustable sights, enabling shooters to fine-tune their aiming for different distances and shooting styles.

Ruger’s reputation for reliability is evident in the Mark IV Target, as it consistently performs without hiccups. However, potential buyers should consider its weight, as the 34.6-ounce build may not be ideal for all users, particularly those seeking a lightweight carry option. Its size and capacity may not make it the most suitable choice for concealed carry in general.

Best Value –  Smith & Wesson SW22 Victory .22 LR Pistol

Smith & Wesson SW22 Victory 22LR Pistol, 5.5" Threaded Barrel, Stainless Steel, 10+1 Rounds, #10201
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Specifications

Capacity10 rounds
Barrel Length5.5 inches
Overall Length9.2 inches
Height5.6 inches
Weight50.8 ounces

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Affordable and offers excellent value for your money
  • Interchangeable match-grade barrel for accuracy
  • Sleek design with customizable grips
  • Lightweight and comfortable to shoot
  • User-friendly design makes it great for beginners
Cons
  • Slightly heavier than some competitors
  • May require some break-in for optimal performance
  • Accuracy drops some at longer distance
  • Factory sights are a bit basic

For shooters seeking a budget-friendly .22 LR pistol without sacrificing performance, the Smith & Wesson SW22 Victory is an excellent choice. Thanks to its interchangeable match-grade barrel, it boasts remarkable accuracy, a feature typically found in higher-priced firearms. The option to swap barrels allows shooters to optimize accuracy for different shooting situations, catering to both precision-focused target shooters and plinking enthusiasts.

The SW22 Victory’s customizable grips add to its appeal, allowing shooters to find their most comfortable and effective shooting grip. Weighing in at 36 ounces, the pistol strikes a good balance between being lightweight enough for extended shooting sessions and stable enough for accurate shooting. Its user-friendly design and controls make it accessible to shooters of all experience levels.

While the SW22 Victory’s accuracy is commendable for most distances, those seeking highly specialized target pistols might consider more advanced options. Additionally, the pistol may require a break-in period to achieve optimal performance, but this typically improves over time with use.

Honorable Mention – Browning Buck Mark Camper .22 LR Pistol

Browning Buck Mark Camper UFX Stainless .22 LR Pistol, 5.5" Barrel, 10 Rounds, CA Compliant
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Specifications

Capacity10 rounds
Barrel Length5.5 inches
Overall Length9.5 inches
Weight34 ounces

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Compact and easy to conceal
  • Lightweight and suitable for all-day carry
  • User-friendly ambidextrous controls
  • Comfortable, ergonomic grips
Cons
  • Smaller grip may not be as comfortable for some shooters
  • Slightly less accurate at longer distances
  • Factory sights are just so-so but can be upgraded

The Browning Buck Mark Camper is a reliable and user-friendly .22 LR pistol, making it a favorite among plinkers and recreational shooters. Its consistent performance and easy operation make it an ideal choice for beginners and experienced shooters alike.

There are multiple sight options, allowing shooters to customize their aiming setup. While it may not come with high-end sights, the pistol’s versatility allows for aftermarket upgrades to suit individual preferences. It also features an ergonomic grip which ensures a comfortable hold, enhancing control and accuracy during shooting sessions.

Weighing 34 ounces, the Buck Mark Camper strikes a balance between being lightweight enough for enjoyable shooting and providing stability for accurate aiming. It excels on the range, delivering consistent and reliable performance.

Best .22 Pistol for Self-Defense – Walther P22 .22 LR Pistol

Walther Arms P22Q .22LR Black Semi-Automatic Pistol with 3.42" Threaded Barrel and 10+1 Round Capacity - 5120700
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Specifications

Capacity10 rounds
 Barrel Length3.42 inches
Overall Length6.5 inches
Height4.5 inches
Weight16 ounces

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Compact and lightweight build allows for easy handling and concealed carry
  • Recoil is light, even for a .22
  • Ambidextrous mag release and safety
  • Built-in Picatinny rail for easy customization
Cons
  • Some shooters report experiencing ammo sensitivity
  • May require more frequent maintenance 
  • Accuracy may diminish at longer distances

The Walther P22 is a compact and lightweight .22 LR pistol, making it a popular choice for concealed and everyday carry. Its low recoil is a significant advantage, particularly for new shooters or those seeking a comfortable shooting experience for extended sessions.

With a built-in Picatinny rail, you can easily customize it with various accessories like lights and lasers. Its modern aesthetics and sleek design make it visually appealing to those seeking a contemporary-looking firearm. The ambidextrous controls add to its appeal, accommodating left- and right-handed shooters without sacrificing convenience.

While the P22 performs admirably for self-defense and close-range shooting, its limited magazine capacity may be a drawback for shooters seeking more rounds in a single magazine. Some shooters have reported sensitivity to ammunition type, requiring experimentation to find the most reliable loads. Regular cleaning and maintenance are essential to ensure the P22 performance optimally over time.

Best .22 Pistol for Women – Ruger SR22 .22 LR Pistol

Ruger SR22 22LR 3.5" Barrel Semi-Auto Pistol with 10-Round Capacity, Black Anodized Aluminum Slide and Polymer Grip
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Specifications

Capacity10 rounds
Barrel Length3.5/4.5 inches
Overall Length6.4/7.4 inches
Height4.9 inches
Weight17.5/18.7 ounces

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Comes with two interchangeable grips
  • Low recoil, even for a .22
  • User-friendly controls and helpful slide serrations
  • Versatile options that can be used for plinking, self-defense, or training
Cons
  • Mag release isn’t intuitively placed
  • Can be sensitive to some ammo types
  • May require more frequent cleaning and maintenance

When it comes to the Best .22 Pistol for Women, the Ruger SR22 earns the top spot. Its compact and lightweight build makes it an ideal choice for female shooters with smaller hands. Its adjustable grips provide a customizable fit, ensuring a comfortable and secure hold, which is especially important for women shooters seeking a personalized experience.

The low recoil of the SR22 adds to its appeal, making it accessible to beginners and reducing fatigue during extended shooting sessions. Its user-friendly controls and slide serrations facilitate smooth operation, benefiting shooters with limited hand strength or dexterity.

The Ruger SR22’s versatility makes it an excellent option for women looking for a firearm that can serve multiple purposes, from training and plinking to self-defense.

Some shooters may find the magazine release location slightly less intuitive, but it’s a minor concern once accustomed to the pistol. With a standard 10-round magazine capacity, it may have fewer rounds than higher-capacity pistols, but it’s still sufficient for most applications.

Best .22 Pistol Suppressor Host – Ruger Mark IV 22/45 Lite .22 LR Pistol

Ruger Mark IV 22/45 Lite 22LR, 4.4" Threaded Barrel, Semi-Automatic Pistol, 10+1 Rounds, Clear Anodized Aluminum
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Specifications

Capacity10 rounds
Barrel Length4.40 inches
Overall Length8.40 inches
Height5.64 inches
Weight25 ounces

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Threaded barrel allows use with suppressors and other muzzle devices
  • Lightweight and maneuverable design
  • User-friendly takedown system for easy cleaning and maintenance
  • Adjustable rear sight
  • Accurate and reliable
Cons
  • Some users will find the magazine disconnect safety inconvenient
  • Some shooters may not like the large 1911-style grips
  • Not suitable for concealed carry

The Ruger Mark IV 22/45 Lite .22 LR pistol stands out as an excellent choice for a suppressor host. Its threaded barrel accommodates suppressor attachment, providing an enhanced shooting experience with reduced noise and recoil. The pistol’s lightweight aluminum construction makes it easy to handle and suitable for extended shooting sessions.

The user-friendly one-button takedown system simplifies maintenance, while the adjustable rear sights allow shooters to fine-tune their aiming for optimal performance. Ruger’s commitment to reliability and accuracy is evident in the Mark IV 22/45 Lite, making it a dependable companion for suppressor enthusiasts.

On the downside, some shooters may find the magazine disconnect safety inconvenient, particularly if they prefer to shoot without a magazine inserted. Additionally, the standard magazine capacity of 10 rounds might be limiting for those seeking more rounds between reloads.

But despite these minor drawbacks, the Ruger Mark IV 22/45 Lite .22 LR pistol excels as a suppressor host, delivering a high-quality shooting experience with its suppressor-ready design and reliable performance. Whether you’re a seasoned suppressor user or exploring the realm of suppressed shooting, the Mark IV 22/45 Lite is a top-notch choice to elevate your shooting adventures.

Best .22 Pistol for Target Shooting – Browning Buck Mark Standard URX .22 LR Pistol

Browning Buck Mark Standard URX .22 LR 5.5" Barrel 10-Rounds Pistol - Black Matte UltraGrip RX (CA Compliant)
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Specifications

Capacity10 rounds
Barrel Length5.5 inches
Overall Length9.5 inches
Weight34 ounces

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Highly accurate for plinking and target shooting
  • Simple takedown process for easy cleaning and maintenance
  • Consistent, reliable performance
  • Comfortable, ergonomic grip design
Cons
  • On the pricier end, if you’re just looking for a plinking pistol
  • Mag release is in a bit of an awkward position
  • Lack of an accessory rail limits aftermarket upgrade options

The Browning Buck Mark Standard URX .22 LR pistol shines with its impressive accuracy, making it a top contender for target shooting and precision-oriented tasks. Browning’s dedication to reliability shines through, as the Buck Mark Standard URX functions seamlessly with various .22 LR ammunition types. The fixed barrel design further enhances consistency in shooting.

It boasts an ergonomic grip and user-friendly controls, ensuring a comfortable shooting experience and easy operation. Its ambidextrous thumb safety adds to the convenience, catering to both right and left-handed shooters. A straightforward takedown system makes maintenance a breeze, allowing shooters to spend more time on the range.

Some users may need to adjust the factory sights for optimal accuracy, but like the vast array of available models within the Buck Mark series, this pistol offers a solution for different sight preferences. Additionally, a few shooters may find the magazine release position slightly awkward, but this can be overcome with practice.

Honorable Mentions

Ruger GP100 .22 LR

Ruger GP100 22LR 5.5" Barrel 10-Round Double-Action Revolver with Adjustable Sights and Hardwood Insert Grip - Model 1757
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Specifications

Caliber.22 LR
Capacity10 Rounds
Barrel5.5″ Barrel
FinishStainless Steel

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Reliable operation with various .22LR cartridges.
  • Easy disassembly and maintenance.
  • 10-shot capacity enhances usability.
  • Good grip, even in wet or sweaty conditions.
Cons
  • Heavy, might be cumbersome for some.
  • Rubber grip may not appeal to everyone.
  • Trigger might feel heavy initially.
  • Accuracy may not meet expectations at this price point.

The Ruger GP100 .22LR pistol stands out for its exceptional design and functionality, tailored to meet the demands of practical, everyday use, especially in rural or farm settings. The stainless steel construction, coupled with a brushed satin finish, grants it a robust and attractive appearance.

The pistol’s Hogue Monogrip, designed with a rubber outer grip and hardwood inserts, ensures a steady hold even in wet or sweaty conditions, facilitating one-handed firing. Though the grip may not appeal to all due to its rubber material, the market offers numerous aftermarket options for customization, allowing users to find a grip that suits their preferences.

The engineering of the GP100 provides for easy disassembly and maintenance, which is a remarkable feature, especially for a double-action revolver. The mechanics of the gun, from the lockup to the cylinder play, have been crafted in a way that doesn’t require specialized tools for disassembly, just a basic flathead screwdriver.

This ease of maintenance is further enhanced by a clear instructional manual. Furthermore, the GP100 .22LR is a 10-shot revolver, offering a greater ammunition capacity compared to typical six-shooters. The patented transfer bar mechanism ensures safe carrying on a full cylinder, as it only fires when the trigger is pulled, enhancing its safety features.

Performance-wise, the GP100 .22LR demonstrates reliable and consistent operation. Over a two-week testing period, the pistol flawlessly fired 500 rounds of various .22LR cartridges without any issue, showcasing its reliability. The accuracy of the GP100 is commendable for practical purposes such as varmint control, and delivering satisfactory groupings at varying distances.

Additionally, the sights on the GP100 contribute to its overall effectiveness, with the rear sight being easily adjustable and the front sight featuring a green dot fiber optic for better visibility. The GP100, while heavy, still remains manageable for a range of users, making it a well-rounded, dependable, and customizable choice for those in need of a .22LR pistol.

While we didn’t get to review the GP-100 in .22 LR, you can definitely check out our GP100 review in .357 Mag.

And if you’re interested in a .22 revolver, we’ve got a list of our favorites here.

Glock 44

Glock 44 TALO .22LR Pistol with 4.02" Threaded Barrel, Fiber Optic Sight, and 10-Round Capacity - UA4450301AOTB
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Specifications

ManufacturerGlock
ModelG44 Compact Pistol
Caliber.22 Long Rifle (.22 LR)
Magazine TypeSingle Stack
Capacity10 + 1
TypeSemi-Auto Pistol
ActionSemi-automatic; Single-action; Hammer-fired
Trigger Pull Weight5.8 lbs
Barrel Length4 inch Glock Marksman barrel (GMB)
Overall length7.28 inches
Overall height (with Magazine)5.04 inches
Overall width1.26 inches
Weight (no magazine)12.63 oz
Weight (empty magazine)14.64 oz
Weight (loaded magazine)16.40 oz
GripPolymer
Front SightStandard GLOCK white dot, non-tritium
Rear SightAdjustable polymer U-notch
Slide ConstructionHybrid steel polymer slide with rear serrations
Frame ConstructionPolymer
FinishesBlack
AccessoriesFour different grip adapters (interchangeable back straps), optional threaded barrel,

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Similar dimensions to Glock 19
  • Easy-to-load magazine
  • Interchangeable backstraps for ergonomic adaptability
  • Realistic trigger control training
  • Abundance of available accessories
  • Low recoil for new shooters
Cons
  • Non-ambidextrous magazine release
  • Subsonic ammo issues
  • Not as robust as higher caliber models

The Glock 44 emerges as a superior .22 LR pistol in the market primarily due to its affordability in ammunition cost, making it a preferred choice among both novice and experienced shooters. This attribute was especially highlighted during the ammunition price surge in 2020, where the Glock 44 provided a cost-effective option for range practice.

glock 44 disassembled disassembly reassembly

Although it doesn’t replicate the recoil of higher caliber firearms like a 9mm, the Glock 44 still offers a valuable platform for practicing drawing, maintaining form, and honing target acquisition skills. Additionally, its initial challenges with certain types of ammunition seemed to have improved over time, although minor issues persisted with specific ammo brands.

The design of the Glock 44 mirrors the popular Glock 19 model, which is advantageous for those familiar with Glock pistols. The almost identical dimensions between the Glock 44 and Glock 19 facilitate seamless transition and practice, with the only significant distinction being the lighter weight of the Glock 44.

glock 44 sitting on case

This similarity extends to holster compatibility, providing a cost-effective and practical solution for training. Besides, the Glock 44 comes with a variety of ergonomic features like interchangeable backstraps, making it adaptable to different hand sizes, and an easy-to-load magazine, especially beneficial for individuals with weaker hands or wrists.

The Glock 44 is not just a practice tool but also a platform for mastering critical marksmanship skills, thanks to its trigger design which closely resembles that of larger caliber Glock models. This feature enables a realistic training ground for improving trigger control, an essential skill for achieving proficiency in marksmanship.

glock 44 grip installation

Additionally, the availability of various accessories and the option for an aftermarket upgrade like an extended slide lock or steel pin set further enhances the Glock 44’s appeal. Even if one is not a Glock aficionado, the Glock 44, with its abundance of available accessories and ease of use, stands as an excellent firearm for learning the basics and advancing shooting skills without the high ammunition cost associated with larger calibers.

Check out our full review of the Glock 44 for more information on this popular 22 pistol.

Taurus TX22

Taurus TX22 .22LR Semi-Automatic Pistol, 4.1" Barrel, 16 Rounds, Manual Safety, Flat Dark Earth/Black Finish
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Specifications

Caliber.22LR
Capacity16+1
Barrel Length4.10 Inches
Overall Length7.06 Inches
Width1.25 Inches
Height5.44 Inches
Weight17.30 Ounces (Unloaded)
Twist Rate1:16
Frame Polymer
SightsThree White Dot

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Affordable retail price and affordable ammo
  • Reliable as they come for a .22LR
  • High capacity in relation to comparable .22LR pistols
  • Very little recoil (duh, it’s a .22LR), leading to great accuracy
Cons
  • Feels very “plasticky” – more so than other polymer pistols
  • Undersized and awkwardly placed magazine release

The Taurus TX22 Competition model distinguishes itself in the market with its blend of features tailored for both novice and experienced shooters. Its full-size frame, despite being lightweight due to the polymer construction and aluminum slide, provides a good grip and a substantial feel in the hand.

taurus tx22 hands on

The trigger system, known as the Pittman Trigger System (PTS), is notably effective with a crisp break and no overtravel, making the shooting experience enjoyable and the gun easy to handle. Moreover, the model comes ready for customization with red dot sights, offering two mounting plates that allow a variety of footprints depending on the sight chosen, alongside three 16-round magazines right out of the box.

On the technical front, the TX22 Competition shows a thoughtful design with its open slide resembling that of a Beretta 92, departing from the conventional fully covered slides in many semi-auto handguns. This design not only exposes most of the barrel but also facilitates the mounting of optics directly to an extended flat-surfaced breech block, rather than to the slide.

Taurus TX22 sitting on ammo can

The sights on the TX22 are adjustable for both windage and elevation, a feature often reserved for higher-priced guns. Moreover, the gun comes with a threaded barrel, ready to accommodate a muzzle brake or suppressor, enhancing its versatility and appeal to a wider range of shooters.

During our hands-on review at the range, the TX22 Competition demonstrated impressive performance and reliability. The trigger system shone, especially with a better finger placement, enabling more accurate groupings. The firearm functioned smoothly with minimal failures to eject and showed a particular preference for CCI and Winchester ammo during the testing.

taurus tx22 grip

The accuracy displayed at varying distances, both offhand and from the bench, alongside its performance in low-light/no-light drills, underline its potential as a formidable training tool or a primary gun for competitive shooting, especially in the rimfire division of Steel Challenge matches. The TX22 Competition Model stands out as a well-rounded, customizable, and competitively priced option for those in the market for a .22 LR pistol.

Check out the full TX22 Competition review here!

Heritage Rough Rider

HERITAGE MFG. ROUGH RIDER SMALL BORE
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Specifications

Caliber.22LR / .22WMR
Capacity6 rounds
ActionSingle Shot
FinishBlack
Lands and grooves6
Front sightFixed
Rear SightNotch at rear
SafetyThumb / Hammer
GripsCustom print depending on firearm chosen.
Weight33.40oz
Overall length11.78’’ (with 6.5’’ barrel)
MSRP$195

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Affordable price point
  • Historically resonant design
  • Durable construction
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Cylinder swap versatility
  • Unique aesthetic appeal
Cons
  • Single-shot action.
  • Unconventional safety mechanism
  • Limited modern features
  • Not lightweight
  • Basic sight system
  • May require safety precautions

The Heritage Rough Rider, with its rich history and authentic “six-shooter” design, provides a unique blend of nostalgia and functionality. This revolver, catering to a wide range of individuals from ranchers to lawmen, is not only a piece of history but also a reliable tool for teaching new shooters the basics of handgun operation.

Heritage Rough Rider 6.5

Our personal connection with the revolver deepened as I aimed to create memorable experiences teaching my kids how to shoot. The Rough Rider, with its distinct wheel gun design, transports one back to the old western days, making the shooting experience not only educational but also deeply evocative of a rich historical era.

Heritage Rough Rider 6.5

Upon unboxing, the Rough Rider impresses with its hefty feel, indicative of its durable construction. The revolver’s aesthetics, with wood grips and brass-plated sides, evoke a sense of old-school charm that is hard to find in modern firearms. Its single-shot action, requiring the hammer to be cocked before each shot, encourages a deliberate and thoughtful shooting practice, making it an ideal choice for beginners.

Despite its budget-friendly price tag, the Rough Rider does not compromise on build quality. Its cylinder exhibits minimal play, and the action is smooth with a clean, satisfactory trigger pull. This combination of aesthetic appeal, deliberate action, and solid construction makes the Rough Rider a valuable addition to any firearms collection, especially for those appreciative of historical firearm designs.

Heritage Rough Rider 6.5

Safety is a paramount consideration with the Rough Rider, as with any firearm. The safety mechanism on the revolver, though unconventional to some, performs reliably in preventing accidental discharges. Despite its simplicity, the sights on the Rough Rider are effective for basic target acquisition, adhering to the old-school design that emphasizes learning the basics. The ability to swap cylinders to accommodate .22WMR rounds adds a layer of versatility, allowing for a gradual progression in shooting practice, especially for younger shooters.

The Heritage Rough Rider stands as a testament to how a simple, historically resonant design can provide a reliable, enjoyable, and educational shooting experience. Its affordable price point, coupled with its durable construction and aesthetic appeal, makes the Rough Rider a worthy investment for both new and experienced shooters alike.

Check out our Rough Rider review here for more reading!

How We Chose Our Top Picks

Our process for choosing the top .22 pistols involved thorough research and analysis of various critical factors. We prioritized accuracy, reliability, and user-friendly handling to ensure a positive shooting experience.

Considering the diverse needs of shooters, we selected pistols suitable for various use cases, from target shooting to self-defense. Renowned brands with a track record of producing reliable firearms were given preference.

Quantifying our selection involved objective performance metrics and verified information from reputable sources, including user reviews and expert evaluations. Of course, we also made our judgments based on our own experiences with these various weapons. .22 pistols were among the first guns I shot back when I was a kid and still are one of my favorite guns to shoot. My own Buck Mark, for example, gets plenty of use pretty much every time I go to the range.

By combining data-driven analysis and expert insights, our curated list of the best .22 pistols aims to assist you in making a well-informed decision for your shooting endeavors.

Buyer’s Guide

When it comes to selecting the best .22 pistol, there are several essential factors to consider. Regardless of if you are a seasoned shooter or a beginner, the .22 caliber is popular due to its low recoil, affordable ammunition, and versatility.

Whether you plan to use it for target shooting, plinking, training, or even small game hunting, a well-chosen .22 pistol can be a reliable and enjoyable firearm. To ensure you find the perfect match for your needs, let’s explore the key elements to consider during the selection process.

Purpose

Before diving into the specifics of different .22 pistols, you must first determine your primary purpose for owning one.

Is it for target shooting, self-defense, training, or even small game hunting? Are you looking to conceal it? There are some 22s that are great for carrying in your pocket.

Understanding your intended use will help you narrow down the most essential features.

Action Type

There are three main types of actions for .22 pistols: single-action, double-action, and semi-automatic.

Single-action pistols require you to manually cock the hammer before each shot, providing a lighter trigger pull, which can enhance accuracy. Double-action pistols allow you to fire the weapon with just a trigger pull, but the trigger pull can be heavier. Semi-automatic pistols offer rapid-fire capabilities and are generally the most popular choice among shooters due to their ease of use.

Ergonomics and Comfort

The feel and comfort of the pistol in your hand are crucial for accuracy and enjoyable shooting experiences. Consider the grip size, shape, and texture, as well as the placement of controls like the safety and magazine release.

We always recommend testing out different models to see which fits your hand comfortably and provides easy control access.

Sights

Accurate shooting heavily relies on good sights. Some .22 pistols come with fixed sights, while others have adjustable sights.

Adjustable sights allow you to fine-tune your aiming for different distances or ammunition types, making them more versatile. Consider whether you prefer traditional iron sights or modern optical sights like red dots.

Durability and Build Quality

A well-built pistol ensures longevity and reliability. Look for reputable manufacturers known for producing high-quality firearms. Check the materials used in construction and read reviews to assess the overall durability and reliability of the pistol.

Safety Features

Safety is paramount when handling any firearm, and .22 pistols are no exception. Look for pistols with reliable safety mechanisms, such as thumb or trigger safeties, that prevent accidental discharges. Some pistols may also have a magazine disconnect safety, ensuring the pistol won’t fire without a magazine inserted.

Magazine Capacity

.22 pistols tend to have a magazine capacity of 10 rounds as a standard, but capacity can vary quite a bit. Consider how many rounds you want your pistol to hold, keeping in mind that larger capacity magazines might be preferable for recreational shooting or training.

Ease of Maintenance

Like any firearm, regular maintenance is essential to keep your .22 pistol in optimal condition. Choose a model that disassembles easily for cleaning and has accessible parts. User-friendly maintenance ensures you’ll be more likely to care for your pistol properly.

Budget

Set a budget that aligns with your needs and stick to it. While .22 pistols are generally more affordable than larger calibers, prices can vary significantly depending on the brand and features.

Remember that investing in quality often pays off in the long run.

FAQs

Is a .22 pistol enough for Self Defense?

.22LR’s use for self-defense has long been debated in the firearm community. On the one hand, a single round of .22LR doesn’t do that much damage. On the other, enough holes will stop most anything eventually, and some .22s can hold plenty of rounds.

Is a .22 pistol a good first gun?

A .22 pistol can be a great first gun since it’s easy to handle and shoot thanks to its low recoil. To make it even better, .22 is widely available, very affordable, and can be used for many different purposes.

Is it easier to shoot a .22 or a 9mm?

It is generally easier to shoot a .22LR due to its lower recoil than a 9mm. The .22LR’s reduced recoil makes it more manageable for beginners and allows quicker follow-up shots.

Conclusion

There you have it! We’ve explored the top .22 pistols across various categories to provide you with a comprehensive guide to help you choose the perfect pistol for you and your needs.

For those seeking a versatile and reliable choice, the Ruger Mark IV takes the title of Best Overall. Its superb accuracy, user-friendly features, and sturdy construction make it a standout option for all kinds of shooting activities!

Whether you’re looking for a pistol suitable for concealed carry, plinking, self-defense, or specific purposes like snake shot or suppressor hosting, our reviews and recommendations offer valuable insights to help you make an informed decision.

Remember, choosing the right firearm is a personal decision, and it’s essential to consider your skill level, intended use, and comfort when making your choice.

Tell us which model you’d lean toward in the comment section below!

Written by Megan Kriss
Megan Kriss photo Megan has been an avid recreational shooter since she was a young child and she's thrilled to have the opportunity to combine this love with her passion for writing. Megan Kriss is a seasoned writer and firearms enthusiast with contributions to a variety of publications, including Pew Pew Tactical, American Firearms, A Well-Armed Woman, Recoil, and Faxon Firearms. In addition to firearms, Megan also enjoys writing about pets, outdoor recreation, and other lifestyle topics. When she's not busy writing, Megan enjoys tabletop games, reading, and being outdoors. She shares her Georgia home with her partner, dog, and two cats.
COLT COBRA

$699.00-$1009.00

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