6 Best .22 Pistols (2020) – An Overview

If you didn’t know, the .22 round is around 160 years old and has yet to show any sign of weakness in popularity as it ages. Many shooters have been heavily relying on the .22 rounds over a century. It’s older than most weapons you can think of. 

While the best .22 handguns can be your go-to choice in taking down squirrels and other small game, they have many other uses as well. Although they aren’t usually used for self defense purposes, some forget that their lack of recoil and light weight makes it ideal for many home defense purposes. Furthermore, .22 rounds are generally much cheaper than the larger, centerfire pistols and hence, having the best 22 pistol is indeed an attractive proposition. 

PistolsNameEditor’s CommentRatingGet The Deal
Ruger SR22

Most Recommended Option

1. Light double-action trigger pull
2. Polymer frame
3. picatinny-style rail

10/10Check Current Price
Mark IV™ 22/45 Lite

Premium Option

1. Cold hammer-forged barrel
2. Ergonomic bolt stop
3. accurate sighting system

9.5/10Check Current Price
Walter P22 Q1. Polymer frame
2. Timeless style
3. Best-in-class ergonomics
9.0/10Currently unavailable
Beretta U22 Neos1. Cool, futuristic design
2. Fully modular construction
3. High performance
8.5/10Currently unavailable
S&W SW22 Victory SS .22LR Pistol1. Polymer grip
2. Stainless steel barrel
3. Adjustable fiber optic
8.5/10Currently unavailable
Ruger LCR 22 LR1. Monolithic frame
2. Polymer fire control housing
3. High strength stainless steel cylinder
7.0/10Currently unavailable

Factors to Consider When Buying the Best .22 Pistols

You will find this guide helpful as you make your decision. As you can already see, there are plenty of options available, so many that you’d be overwhelmed by it. Hence, you may want to narrow down your options by considering a few factors.

Price and Quality

These pistols are available in many different price points. Most of the time, the extra quality is worth spending on. That said, it is best to think about how much you’re prepared to spend on the best .22 pistol for yourself,  to avoid overspending.

The general rule of thumb is that the more you spend, the better the quality. While this may not always be the case, you must evaluate each .22 pistol within your budget to find the perfect one that matches your needs.

Purpose

One of the most important factors you must consider is the purpose of buying  a .22 pistol. Perhaps the best way is to think about how you will actually be using the gun so it will be easier to discover whether the gun comes with the right features for your intended purpose.

Whether you’re using it for target practice, self defense, training, plinking, or anything else, you will have different considerations for each purpose.

Special Features

Once you figured out your budget and purpose for the .22 pistol, you may start to dive deeper to see which special features you would want in your .22 pistol. You really want to maintain the focus on picking the best .22 pistol for your needs.

Every .22 pistol is built differently. Starting from the grip, trigger, optics, and even extra tools like a red dot sight or a suppressor, you can opt to build the perfect .22 pistol for your needs. By starting with a bigger picture (how much you’re willing to spend), narrowing down to the purpose of the gun, and looking out for special features to match your needs, you’ll be able to find the best 22 pistols.

Top 6 Best .22 Pistols

1. Walter P22Q

Specifications

  • Model: 5120700
  • Caliber: .22 lr
  • Barrel Length: 3.42″
  • Trigger Pull: 11 LBS
  • Trigger Travel: .04/.2″
  • Capacity: 10 RDS
  • Overall Length: 6.5″
  • Height: 4.5″
  • Safety: 1 MANUAL + 1 AUTO
  • Width: 1.1″
  • Weight Empty: 16 OZ

Features

The Walter P22Q has to be the most complete little 22LR pistol. This pistol is thick, light, and ergonomic, which explains why it’s one that shooters simply cannot hate. It comes with a compact profile and hence, it’s best for concealed carry and training purposes.

If you are new to the shooting range, you might want to consider starting with a Walter P22Q. As you may have guessed it, this .22 pistol practically has almost no recoil. This essentially means that you can easily fire several rounds with smooth transitioning after each engagement on the range.

Due to its light recoil, most ladies will find the Walter P22Q the best entry-level .22 pistol available on the market. You can already tell that this .22 pistol is also the best choice for self-defense purposes from the fact that it packs 10 quick-fire shots of .22 round, making it excellent for elderly and shooters with disabilities who are simply looking for a reliable .22 pistol.

If you are well-versed with guns, you will be able to tell that the Walter P22Q is the scaled down version of the P99 (9mm) pistol. The Walter P22Q is just as efficient as the P99 and most shooters really love the modern flair and tactical features that the P22Q has to offer.

This gun is a DA/SA pistol that can be operated in both conditions. One of the best features of this pistol is that you can carry it around while loaded with a round in the chamber with the hammer down.

To place it in single action mode (SA), you only have to manually cock your P22Q. This only takes less than half the required pressure when the gun is in double action (DA) mode. The single action mode only requires 3.9 pounds of force whereas the double action mode will require 10.8 pounds of force.

You will like this product if:

You are new to guns. Due to the Walter P22Q’s extremely light recoil, new shooters won’t have a problem in dominating the shooting range. This .22 pistol is particularly famous among lady shooters for this reason.

You are looking for a self-defense firearm. Technically, every firearm can be used for self-defense purposes. However, the Walter P22Q can pack 10 quick-fire shots of .22 rounds with minimal recoil which makes it ideal for elderly and/or shooters with disabilities.

You are shopping on a budget. This amazing .22 pistol is available for only $280, which is significantly more affordable than most .22 pistols at this level. As such, you won’t have to worry about breaking the bank to get one of the best there is on the market.

You might not like this product if:

You want to get 100% off your Walther P22Q. Unfortunately, most shooters can hardly utilise the .22 pistol’s fullest potential with cheap bulk box ammo. They usually come around and function better after a couple of break-ins.

2. Ruger SR22

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Specifications

  • Capacity: 10+1
  • Slide Material: Aluminum
  • Barrel Length: 4.50″
  • Grip Frame: Black Polymer
  • Barrel Type: Standard
  • Slide Finish: Black Anodize
  • Barrel Finish: Stainless
  • Width: 0.97″
  • Sights: Adjustable 3-Dot
  • Weight: 18.7 oz.
  • Overall Length: 7.40″
  • Height: 4.90″
  • Grooves: 6
  • Twist1:16″ RH
  • Available in CANo
  • Available in MAYes

Features

If you are looking for a reliable, easy to handle EDC .22 LR, the Ruger SR22 is probably the best pistol money can buy. Coming with a rugged design, the Ruger SR22 will look and feel extremely similar to the Walther P22Q. The main difference is that the Ruger SR22 is not as finicky with ammo relative to the Walther P22Q.

Ruger specifically designed the SR22 to be extremely reliable right out of the box. Not only does it shoot premium high-velocity rounds that cost a premium, it will be able to shoot well in your regular bulk box ammo too. With the SR22, you have less to worry when it comes to ammo choice.

That said, once the Walther P22Q gets broken in and starts running in peak condition, you will start to appreciate both the Walther P22Q and the Ruger SR22 to be excellent .22 pistols. Besides that, their single stack, compact profile also makes them very reasonable to carry around.

In relation to usability, Ruger has gone out of their way to give you a piece that fits everyone. The Ruger SR22 will fit comfortably in almost every shooter’s hand due to its ergonomic design. The grip even comes with a rubberized finish and features a small hump in retaining a better grip while shooting. Furthermore, the grips are removable and hence, shooters with smaller hands may opt for a smaller grip that fits better in their hands.

In terms of accuracy, the Ruger SR22 will offer excellent results with Single Action (SA) shooting as there’s significantly less trigger pressure compared to the Double Action (DA) mode. With the SR22, you’ll be able to achieve remarkable accuracy even at 30 yards out. Some shooters even mentioned getting really good shots while shooting single-handedly.

You will like this product if:

You want great reliability. As mentioned above, Ruger specifically designed the SR22 to be as reliable as a .22 pistol can be right out of the box. Besides shooting premium high-velocity rounds well, you’ll be able to achieve similar results with regular bulk box ammo too.

You want to carry it around. The Ruger SR22 comes with a single stack, compact profile which makes it convenient to carry around. Furthermore, the pistol’s ergonomic design will allow it to fit comfortably for every shooter due to its rubberized finish and removable grips.

You might not like this product if:

You are shopping on a tight budget. As with every other Ruger firearm, they don’t come cheap. As they saying goes, cheap guns are never great, and great guns are never cheap. If you have a really tight budget, the Walther P22Q would be a better option. If you’re willing to invest a little more for added reliability and comfort in return, the Ruger SR22 is worth considering.

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3. Beretta U22 Neos

Specifications

  • Finish: Black
  • Type: Semi-Automatic
  • Action: Single
  • Caliber: 22 Long Rifle
  • Barrel Length: 4.5″
  • Capacity: 10 + 1
  • Safety: Ambidextrous
  • Grips: Black
  • Sights: Adjustable

Features

The Beretta U22 Neos is essentially an ‘atomic age-looking’ .22 pistol that resembles the forgotten Whitney Wolverine. The U22 Neos is extremely easy to operate, especially for amateur shooters and hence, making it an excellent choice for a wide range of shooters.

For the Beretta U22 Neos, you have the option to choose between 4.5-inch and 6-inch barrels. Both of which are lightweight (under 37 ounces) and will be great for younger and older shooters. Upon holding the pistol, you will notice that even the pistol grip is sharply swept back and hence, much thinner.

If you have smaller hands, you will love shooting with the Beretta U22 Neos. Additionally, you won’t face any problems with yanking the slide either. In fact, the Beretta U22 Neos is actually one of the easiest to slide as compared to the other pistols, making it the ideal choice if you have arthritic hands.

If you are left-handed, you will find the Beretta U22 Neos to be pretty handy thanks to its ambidextrous design manual safety that makes it a plausible safety feature for left handers. By slightly pulling the slide back, you will be able to reveal any rounds that are loaded in the chamber.

What most shooters love about the Beretta Neos U22 is how easy it is to field strip. When doing so, be sure that you don’t have any rounds in your chamber and that the mag is removed. From there, it will only be a matter of locking the slide back and turning the thumbwheel right above the trigger loop. You won’t need to break out a tool when putting the Neos U22 back together.

You will like this product if:

You want to convert it to a carbine. The Beretta Neos U22 allows you to quickly convert it into a neat carbine with the help of a carbine conversion kit which you can screw on to the frame. Your converted Neos U22 will offer a longer barrel, additional contact points, better control, and enhanced precision.

You are new to shooting. The Beretta Neos U22 is lightweight and has reasonable recoil. As such, you won’t have an issue with shooting it on the range all day. As the Neos U22 is easy to slide, it will be an excellent choice if you have arthritic hands as well.

You might not like this product if:

You want the most accurate .22 pistol. The Beretta Neos U22 is definitely a fun .22 pistol that can easily satisfy most shooters. That said, if you are looking for exceptional accuracy, the Beretta Neos U22 might not be the ideal option.

You want mainstream designs. In terms of the pistol’s design, you either love it or hate it. If you prefer the more conventional pistol designs, the Beretta Neos U22 might not be as appealing to your eyes.

4. Mark IV™ 22/45 Lite

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Specifications

  • Capacity: 10+1
  • Receiver Material: Aluminum
  • Front Sight: Fixed
  • Barrel Length: 4.40″
  • Grip Frame: Polymer
  • Grips: Checkered 1911-Style
  • Finish: Diamond Gray Anodized
  • Width: 1.22″
  • Rear Sight: Adjustable
  • Barrel Style: Threaded
  • Thread Pattern: 1/2″-28
  • Weight: 25 oz.
  • Overall Length: 8.40″
  • Height: 5.50″
  • Grooves: 6
  • Twist: 1:16″ RH

Features

The Mark IV™ 22/45 Lite is an extremely lightweight rimfire pistol that you can expect to shoot comfortably all day and not get tired. While it is not the lightest .22 pistol on the market, you will come to appreciate how portable it is compared to the other Mark IV pistols.

Upon holding it, you will notice how this pistol is similar in terms of ergonomics and design as compared to the M911 ‘government’ pistol silhouette. Most shooters will love using this .22 pistol to train while being introduced to the 1911 models. The Mark IV™ 22/45 Lite is also a great option for hobbyists who are looking for a reliable and accurate pistol.

Furthermore, this pistol even comes with a threaded barrel for you to fit suppressors if you wish to take your gun to the shooting range or plinking at a recreational park. In terms of accuracy, the Mark IV™ 22/45 Lite never disappoints if you shoot with high-velocity bullets/40 grain Winchesters (above 1300fps).

In terms of field stripping your Mark IV™ 22/45 Lite, the whole process is going to be a breeze. This .22 pistol comes with an easy single-button takedown system that you will enjoy using everytime in the range. By pressing the takedown button, the bolt will swiftly detach the barrel and the bolt assembly will proceed to slide right out. As always, you must ensure that your pistol is unloaded, magazines removed, and safety is on.

You will like this product if:

You shoot throughout the day. The Mark IV™ 22/45 Lite is pretty lightweight and comes with light recoil. As such, you won’t be taking too many breaks in between your shooting sessions throughout the day.

You want easy field stripping and reassembling. Field stripping the Mark IV™ 22/45 Lite is definitely going to breeze. By pressing the takedown button, the bolt will swiftly detach the barrel and the bolt assembly will slide right out.

You might not like this product if:

You are trying to shoot a black bull’s eye. The Mark IV™ 22/45 Lite comes with a black front blade which may be an issue when you are trying to shoot a black bull’s eyes as the front sight may get lost between the black blade and the dark target.

You are shopping on a tight budget. The Mark IV™ 22/45 Lite isn’t exactly the most affordable .22 pistol on the market and hence, it might not be your best option if you have a really tight budget. Otherwise, it’s definitely worth investing a little more.

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5. S&W SW22 Victory SS .22LR Pistol

Specifications

  • Caliber: .22 LR
  • Capacity: 10+1
  • Safety: Thumb Safety
  • Barrel Length: 5.5″
  • Front Sight: Green Fiber Optic
  • Rear Sight: Adjustable Fiber Optic
  • Action: Single Action
  • Grip: Polymer
  • Barrel Material: Stainless Steel
  • Slide Material: Stainless Steel
  • Frame Material: Stainless Steel
  • Slide Finish: Stainless Steel

Features

If you’re looking for a nice-looking pistol that’s designed like a cross between the Ruger Mark IV series and the Browning Buck Mark guns, you will love the S&W SW22 Victory SS .22LR Pistol. This is a full-sized design that stresses on accuracy and precision.

The S&W SW22 Victory SS .22LR Pistol is a semi-automatic, magazine-fed 22LR pistol and hence, it makes an excellent survival pistol and not so much as an everyday carry handgun.

Ergonomically, the  S&W SW22 Victory SS .22LR Pistol’s grip is truly hand-filling, You will love how the pistol’s handle is checkered on both the front and back to enhance gripping in survival situations.

In relation to accuracy, the  S&W SW22 Victory SS .22LR Pistol might not be on par with the Browning Buck Mark, but it’s definitely more reliable than the Ruger Mark IV .22 and This essentially means that you won’t be facing any issues in achieving consistent shots from both high-velocity federal ammo and standard velocity ammo.

The S&W SW22 Victory SS .22LR Pistol comes with a pruned safety level that’s smaller than other handguns of the same league feature. The great thing about this is that it will be too small for you to accidentally activate it.

The S&W SW22 Victory SS .22LR Pistol allows you to interchange barrels to improve on accuracy. Furthermore, it even comes with threaded barrel options for you to fit suppressors on it. Swapping barrels has never been this easy as you’ll be done after getting past 1 screw.

You will like this product if:

You are shopping on a tight budget. The S&W SW22 Victory SS .22LR Pistol is available for a pretty affordable price tag (something you won’t find on a ruger mark iv). As such, you won’t be breaking the bank to get your hands on the S&W SW22 Victory SS .22LR Pistol.

You shoot standard velocity ammo. There are many .22 pistols that deliver sub-par performance when shooting standard velocity ammo. However, that’s not the case for the S&W SW22 Victory SS .22LR Pistol as you will be able to get consistent shots from both standard velocity ammo and high-velocity federal ammo.

You might not like this product if:

You wish to carry it around daily. The S&W SW22 Victory SS .22LR Pistol is a full-sized .22 pistol with a semi-automatic, magazine-fed 22LR pistol and hence, it makes an excellent survival pistol and not so much as an everyday carry handgun.

6. Ruger LCR 22 LR

Specifications

  • GripHogue® Tamer™ Monogrip®
  • Front SightReplaceable, Pinned Ramp
  • Barrel Length: 1.87″
  • Cylinder Finish: PVD
  • Twist: 1:16″ RH
  • Rear Sight: U-Notch Integral
  • Finish: Matte Black
  • Weight: 14.9 oz.
  • Height: 4.50″
  • Overall Length: 6.50″
  • Capacity: 8
  • Grooves: 6

Features

The Ruger LCR line of revolvers are some of the most modern revolvers available on the market. In the construction of their revolvers, Ruger makes heavy use of polymer and hence, effectively reducing the weight of the revolver. Besides that, polymer is also more affordable than materials like Scandium.

The Ruger LCD is most commonly known as snub nose revolvers, this refers to their shorter barrel and snubby nature. These revolvers feature an enclosed hammer that makes it much easier to draw.

If you are looking for an everyday option (something small and low recoil), you will love the Ruger LCR 22 LR. This revolver weighs a mere 14.9 ounces and is extremely small. As such, carrying this weapon will be very easy and comfortable.

The Ruger LCR 22 LR can hold up to 8 rounds, which is a decent capacity for a revolver. This increased capacity will provide you with more shots and forgiveness if a round fails to ignite for whatever reason.

In terms of trigger quality, the Ruger LCR 22 LR has one of the best triggers available on the market, in comparison the Ruger Mark series we previously mentioned. While its trigger pull is as long as the traditional DAO revolver, its pull is significantly lighter than a standard rimfire revolver.

The short barrel and rudimentary sighting system would mean that the Ruger LCR 22 LR is better suited for everyday carry rather than survival. Any small target beyond 15 yards is going to be difficult to hit for an amateur shooter. Although the revolver is light and small, the Ruger LCR 22 LR has about as much recoil as a squirt gun.

You will like this product if:

You plan to carry it everyday. As mentioned above, the revolver is light, small, and comes with almost 0 recoil. With a short barrel and rudimentary sighting system, you already know the Ruger LCR 22 LR was built for everyday uses and not survival.

You might not like this product if:

You are shopping on a tight budget. As with every other Ruger firearm, they don’t come cheap. As they saying goes, cheap pistols are never great, and great pistols are never cheap. If you’re willing to invest a little more for added reliability and comfort in return, the Ruger LCR 22 LR is worth considering.

FAQ

Will a .22 pistol stop an intruder?​

.22 pistols have almost non-existent recoil. Most shooters find it way easier to shoot more accurately and faster and hence, it works well in home defense situations. In fact, it’s actually a lot more tenable than you think.

Which is better? .22 or 9mm?

.22 rounds are excellent for new shooters and older people due to the almost non-existent recoil whereas the 9mm is louder, has more recoil, and is more expensive. As such, if you are an amateur, picking the best .22 is better will make your life easier. If you are more experienced, a 9mm is great too.

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