In an industry that seems obsessed with the fight between .45 ACP and 9MM we often forget just how enjoyable shooting can be. One of my go to guns in the “shooting is fun” category is the venerable .22 pistol. It has been around for a very long time. It was created in 1887 by the J. Stevens Arms and Tool Company and is one of the oldest rounds in use today. Twenty-twos offer minimal recoil, inexpensive ammo and great accuracy in a small package and have been the launching point for countless lifelong shooters. They remain one of the cornerstones of recreational shooting today. The options that gun owners have in the .22 field are vast. From small revolvers to hyper accurate competition guns the choices are many. To help you navigate the world of .22 blasters, I have assembled what I believe are some of the best .22 pistols for the money this year! So read on then start collecting your tin cans and golf balls for target practice!
Ruger MARK IV 22/45 LITE
Ruger has been one of the best .22 makers since the party started. Their well-loved Mark IV pistol has seen some upgrades and we now get to enjoy the Mark IV 22/45 Lite. It has all the major benefits of the previous Mark IVs by being affordable, reliable, and pleasant-shooting. This new model has a new grip that mimics the classic 1911. The Ruger Mark IV 22/45 Lite sports an aluminum barrel/receiver that keeps its weight to a minimum. Ventilating holes up front contribute to the weight reduction and help keep the barrel cool to prevent accuracy drift induced by heat-distortion. It is everything we expect from the great folks at Ruger.
The SIG Sauer Classic .22s are built on the same frame as their centerfire counterparts. With this you get the opportunity to run essentially the 226 while shooting the less expensive .22LR rounds. These pistols feature the same SIG Sauer Four-Point safety system which employs a decocking lever, a patented automatic firing pin safety block, a safety intercept notch and a trigger bar disconnector. The new machined slides also feature a front sight adjustable for drift and a rear sight adjustable for both windage and elevation as well as a black anodized finish on frame and slide with black polymer factory grips. It is a great gun to not only plink with, but to train with as well!
One of my favorites is the Walther P22. The P22 pistol takes all the ergonomic and mechanical innovations of the company’s centerfire lineup and combines them with the benefits of a rimfire caliber. The gun has a nice slender grip making it comfortable for shooters of any size. It is also the perfect balance in overall size making it an easy shooting .22. Walther offers a threaded barrel for the P22 which makes .22 shooting even more enjoyable!
Heritage Rough Rider .22
We can’t have a list of .22 pistols without including a revolver! One of the most enjoyable is the Heritage Rough Rider .22. While most .22 revolvers are built for simple enjoyment, the Rough Rider is also built for performance. The machined barrel is microthreaded and inserted into the frame for an optimal barrel/cylinder gap and maximum ammunition performance. This gives us highly accurate shooting in a great looking gun. It has a nice blued finish with exotic cocobolo grips for functionality and style. You can channel you inner cowboy with this enjoyable pistol.
Smith and Wesson SW22 Victory
Smith & Wesson’s great offering is their SW22 Victory Rimfire Pistol. It is a bull-barrel pistol that boasts a removable match-grade barrel so you can adjust to your shooting needs whether you’re at the range practicing, competing or hunting. It also has adjustable fiber-optic sights for accurate shot placement and a single-screw takedown for easy cleaning. It is a bit of a multi-application .22 and is certainly a must have on our list!
Browning Buckmark Standard URX
Rounding out our list is the Browning Buckmark Standard URX. This is a great pistol that is a solid choice for new and experienced shooters. It has the feel of a competition style pistol with ambidextrous overmolded soft nitrile Ultragrip RX grip panels, with finger grooves that help place the hand in the same position on the grip every shot. The Pro-Target post-type front sight and adjustable rear sight allow for precise shooting at small targets. We need to throw in the fact that it is a very good-looking gun and the decision to buy one gets easier. Accurate, good-looking and fun to shoot. A solid choice in the .22 realm.