Top 8 Best .22 Revolvers (2020) – A Complete Buying Guide

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The .22 LR (.22 Long Rifle) is one of the cheapest, smallest, and best-sold ammunition among common handgun users. However, finding the best .22 revolver can be a real challenge, especially if you do not have a good understanding of how these types of pistols work. 

A great quality revolver makes for a good companion for self defense, plinking, regular target practice, competitive shooting, and even other purposes. In this guide, we will be going through a few important features of good .22 revolvers and give you our list of the best revolvers currently on the market. 

The Features and Characteristics of a Great .22 Revolver

Just like the .22 Long Rifle, there are several characteristics and features will make a .22 revolver stand out from the rest. Once you know what to look for, you’ll be able to easily distinguish a great .22 revolver from one that isn’t as reliable in terms of quality and performance. Here are a few things to consider before making the final decision:

Accuracy

Different .22 revolvers are designed to be effective for different applications. If you’re getting one for competitive shooting, then you should find a .22 revolver that is effectively accurate from 25 to 50 yards out while those using it for hunting or target shooting purposes may want to get a .22 revolver with a longer effective shooting distance. 

Durability

Getting a durable .22 revolver made from high-quality materials means they are built to last you a long time as long as you take good care of them regularly. Not only will regular cleaning lengthen the life of your revolver, but it will also prevent any possibility of jamming or other reliability issues that may pose a threat to your safety. 

Price

If you’re working with a budget, it is likely that you’ll place a large emphasis on the price of your pistol. However, you should remember that you shouldn’t settle for something cheap. It is better to fork out a little extra to get something with higher quality and performance. 

Review of the Best .22 Revolvers

Now, we’ve reached the best part of our article today. Here are our top picks of the best .22 revolvers you can get your hands on now. As you go through each one on our list, remember to take note of any characteristics and features that stand out to you. This way, you’ll be able to quickly find a revolver that will match your preference. 

1. Ruger LCR .22 LR

Best Overall

This .22 pistol is small and concealable snub nose revolver, making it the perfect choice for those who practice concealed carry. Another great thing about its petite profile is that it fits in plenty of CCW holsters. This means that finding a holster to keep your pistol secure will be a breeze. There are also a number of different grip options available for the Ruger LCR to accommodate different preferences. 

Other than that, it is made of high quality aluminum frame and polymer construction, this hammerless .22 revolver is built to withstand all kinds of beatings. With a 1.87 inch barrel, 14,9 ounces weight, and 8 round capacity, you can also expect an extremely smooth trigger pull thanks to Ruger’s patented friction reduction cam. 

The Ruger LCR .22 revolver is the best choice for those who want to take their pistol out to the range or for self defense purposes. It could even be a great EDC revolver to have on hand. Aside from that, the Ruger LCR .22 LR can also serve casual targets and competitive shooters well in their applications. 

Many new shooters were very happy with their Ruger LCR .22 revolver as they were able to land accurate shots from 25 to 30 yards out in various applications. Additionally, many have also reported that they felt low recoil with the pistol. 

The bottom line for the Ruger LCR .22 LR is that it is a durable, reliable, and concealable pistol for many applications. Delivering a good combination of accuracy, precision, and overall performance, you’ll definitely be satisfied with this pistol. 

Pros

  • Small and concealable
  • Easy to load
  • Smooth trigger pull
  • Great for various applications including self defense, target shooting, and concealed carry
  • Super durable construction to take on a lot of beating
  • Snub nose revolver with a short barrel
  • Low recoil

Cons

  • Trigger pull might be difficult to use at first
  • Hard to handle for those with larger hands
  • The revolving magazine may have a hard time deploying at times

2. Smith & Wesson 317 Kit Gun

Next on our list is a slightly larger Smith & Wesson 317 Kit Gun that is still compact enough to remain concealable in most holsters. The high quality polymer grip offers good durability while its design makes it easy to fit into many types of hands. Most hand sizes will find it comfortable to handle this pistol without feeling like it’s too small or large. 

This is a great choice for new shooters looking to get a concealed carry weapon. Although it is a bit larger than other smaller options, this is still good enough for shooters who want to carry around a revolver without alerting anyone. Likewise, this revolver can also be pretty fun to shoot at targets and for varmint control. 

Many customers were happy with their Smith & Wesson 317 Kit Gun as they found that they were able to handle their pistol with excellent stability and firing off each shot with ease. The pistol handling is so great that some even made this to their go-to pistol for target practice and competitive shooting. 

The Smith & Wesson 317 Kit Gun has done a good job at proving itself worthy of one of the top spots on our list. The impressive performance and quality work to ensure you’ll never be disappointed each time you use it. 

Pros

  • Accurate from various ranges
  • Nice and smooth trigger pull
  • Easy to load
  • Durable grip with excellent handling
  • Great choice for general purposes

Cons

  • Slightly larger than other small revolvers

3. Charter Arms Pathfinder 

Best for Money

Despite the affordable price tag, this revolver is anything but cheap. In fact, this is one of those that offers you much more value than you pay for as it exceeds shooters’ expectations. Not only is it the right size to fit most holsters, it even offers a good deal of firepower to let each round travel a decent distance to help you reach targets 25 to 50 yards out. 

The Charter Arms Pathfinder is a great choice for beginners and for those who are working with a tight budget. However, if you want something that will offer you a great deal of quality and performance without the heavy price tag, you’d be hard pressed to find another pistol like this.

At such a great price, it’s obvious that this .22 revolver was a hit among budget shoppers. Not only that, but the pistol even offers a great performance as it helped them hit their targets from a wide variety of rangers. 

Overall, the Charter Arms Pathfinder .22 Revolver might just be a good model to start with if you’re considering something small enough for concealed carry purposes. This is an excellent .22 caliber pistol that performs much better in terms of speed, accuracy, and affordability compared to other budget revolvers.

Pros

  • Affordable price tag
  • Excellent for many applications
  • Small size for concealed carry purposes
  • Easy to load

Cons

  • May not be ideal for a shooter with larger hands
  • Hammer may be stiff to cock back
  • Cylinder may be difficult to open

4. North American Arms Sidewinder .22 Magnum

Best .22 Magnum Revolver

The North American Arms revolver is a really tiny weapon with a 1 ⅛ inch barrel length and an overall length of 4 inches and 2.38 inches height. This uniquely small size is not the only main selling point of this revolver, it even has decent quality making it fun to shoot. 

The stainless steel body is met with a hardwood grip that gives this .22 pistol a classic look that has been updated for modern times. Another great design of this revolver is that it lets you load the revolver without needing to completely take out the cylinder. 

This .22 Magnum Revolver will do well for target shooting and close-range varmint hunting. Either way, you can trust this .22 revolver to get the job done. If you’re looking for a pistol to put a few good rounds at your disposal, then you should give this powerful .22 pistol a closer look. 

The North American Arms Sidewinder is a big hit among .22 Magnum enthusiasts, especially since this pistol offers accurate shooting from about 25 yards out. Some have even used this pistol for varmint hunting and hitting targets at close ranges. 

In conclusion, the North American Arms Sidewinder .22 magnum may just be the best possible single action revolver that is easy to load and use for fans of magnum. Other than that, this good looking model is even constructed with high quality material to serve you well in the long run.

Pros

  • Great single action revolver
  • Great for EDC carry and other purposes
  • The durable grip that offers excellent handling and stability
  • Good front sight for making your shots accurate and precise

Cons

  • May not fit most concealed carry holsters
  • Hammer might be stiff to cock back
  • May need frequent cleaning than most

5. Heritage Arms Rough Rider .22 LR 6.5-inch Revolver

The Heritage Rough Rider features an iconic Old West revolver that is similar to the classic Colt Single Action Army revolver. After countless iterations with different grip styles, sights, and even chambering, The Rough Rider .22 LR is a sturdy piece of a firearm with an aluminum frame, stainless steel barrel, and wooden grips for durability and reliability. 

On top of that, loading the revolver is very easy as the fixed cylinder doesn’t swing out like the majority of modern revolver guns. You’ll need to pull the hammer back to a half-cocked position to freely rotate the cylinder. The hinged loading gate on the right side of the Heritage Rough Rider even lets you insert rounds one at a time. However, unloading the shells is not that easy. You’ll need to pull a small spring-loaded plunger under the barrel to eject each shell. 

In terms of aesthetics, it looks like something you’d see out in the Wild West by lawmen and outlaws. This handgun will certainly stand out as a classic six-shooting revolver that is great target shooters and those wanting to practice their backyard plinking. 

This pistol is not only aesthetically pleasing but also reliable and accurate enough for many to make it one of their favorite .22 LR caliber handguns for target shooting and hunting. Overall, the single action Heritage Rough Rider is reliable and accurate like the revolvers of old times. If you want something to take out to the range or help with pest control, then this .22 revolver might just do the trick.

Pros

  • Easy to load
  • Beautiful design
  • Smooth hammer and easy to cock back
  • 6.5 inch barrel length offers good accuracy
  • Made of stainless steel barrel and aluminum frame

Cons

  • May be heavier than some revolver models
  • Overall finishing can be better
  • May not fit in some small holsters

6. Smith & Wesson Model 617 

Best Double Action Revolver

The Smith & Wesson Model 617 is a 10-shot double action revolver built on a sturdy K frame that features a full length underlug, stainless steel construction with a satin stainless finish. With a six inch barrel, this is yet another revolver with a longer barrel. However, a longer barrel also means better accuracy as it gets the job done at ranges of up to 40 yards. 

Since the Model 617 offers a little more firing power with ten rounds at your disposal, this makes an excellent revolver for home defense and target practice. Many recent customers expressed satisfaction as the Smith & Wesson Model 617 was very easy to fully load the cylinder. As for applications, the .22 revolver has proven to be an effective .22 pistol for target shooting situations. 

Although the S&W Model 617 seems like overkill for a .22 revolver, it can perhaps be your new best friend at home or out at the range. No matter the application, you can trust that this reliable revolver will give you much more than you bargained for. 

Pros

  • Very lightweight
  • Easy to load
  • Great for target shooting and self defense
  • Accurate from 25 to 40 yards
  • Durable construction to take on heavy impact and abuse
  • Long 6 inch barrel

Cons

  • May not be easy to conceal
  • Difficult to remove cylinder at times
  • May be a little tough to handle for smaller hands

7. Smith & Wesson Model 17 (K-22 Masterpiece)

Best .22 Revolver for Target Shooting

Yet another model from Smith & Wesson, this old-school .22 caliber pistol is all about quality: from its tight lock-up design to a crisp trigger pull. Featuring a classic K frame design, 6 inch barrel, and weighing only 40 punches, this .22 rimfire revolver is a lot of fun that lets shooters experience the thrill of a classic-feel handgun. 

Established in 1931 as the K-22 Outdoorsman, the Model 17 has had quite a bit of change which includes a transition from 5 to 3 sideplate screw, the addition of a transfer bar, and an internal safety lock. One thing though, the internal button safety lock requires a very small key to activate which could be a pain in the ass for some. 

This single/double action revolver has got a six-chambered cylinder with no underlug, fluting, or ejector rod housing on its barrel. This helps to cut down the pistol’s overall weight but you need to be careful when handling it as the delicate parts of the gun are exposed. 

The double action trigger pull is slightly heavy to ensure that the cartridge ignites reliably. Although it is the case with most revolvers, it could be a dealbreaker for those with smaller hands or weaker hand strength. 

The Model 17 is a .22 revolver that is designed to be used for the purpose of casual and competitive target shooting. Either way, you’ll find that this pistol is fun to shoot thanks to its consistent accuracy and reliability. Whether you’re shooting against paper targets, cans, or bottles, you’ll definitely enjoy firing off this rimfire revolver. 

On the whole, the Smith & Wesson Model 17 is a beautiful .22 revolver that performs amazingly. Those who use it for the first time will instantly notice a different feel for those unfamiliar with shooting a revolver. If you want something that will give you a boost during casual or competitive shooting, you’ll love rimfire revolvers like this .22 caliber pistol.

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Easy grip that allows for great stability
  • Accurate ranges between 30 to 50 yards
  • New version includes a transfer bar and an internal safety lock
  • Crisp trigger pull
  • Long 6 inch barrel

Cons

  • Hammer may be a little stiff to cock back
  • Difficult to remove cylinder
  • Trigger pull may be heavy

8. Ruger SP101 .22 LR 8-Rd Stainless Revolver

Best Stainless Steel Revolver

The current version is SP101 is Ruger’s second attempt creating small-framed rimfire revolvers after their first version was discontinued due to complaints of uncomfortable weight and poor sight. The Ruger SP101 .22 LR is made from stainless steel with a 4.2 inch barrel and an overall weight of 30 ounces. Other than that, the cylinder holds up to 8 rounds and swings up with just a push of a button near the cylinder. 

The thick rubber grips surrounding the entire grip frame also works to give the Ruger SP101 model a modern look and feel. The rubber grip is then complimented nicely by checker-textured wood inserts on the sides. 

This rimfire revolver looks straight out of a Wild West setting but with a modern touch to it. The model features a ramped post with green fiber optics insert in front and a fully adjustable black blade in the rear. Additionally, the revolver features textured lines on the barrel to help reduce glare. 

The Ruger SP101 .22 LR can be fired either in a double or single action with a double action pull of 11 pounds and single action requiring an effortless two pound pressure. This is great as it provides shooters with the flexibility and freedom to switch between the two depending on situational needs. 

This is a great .22 caliber pistol that will put the rounds to the bullseye on your targets at the range or in a competition. This Ruger loads fast and shoots fast to deliver a reliable performance that is second to none. If you need a competition pistol that takes you to victory, then this option could be one you need to consider. 

Pros 

  • Fiber optic front sight
  • Easy to grip and keep stable
  • Easy to conceal in most holsters
  • Durable construction that doesn’t scuff easily
  • Good ergonomics

Cons

  • None

Honorable Mentions

1. Smith & Wesson 351 PD

The 351 PD model is designed based on S&W’s J frame and it combines an aluminum alloy frame and receiver with a stainless steel barrel to produce a lightweight .22 Magnum revolver with seven rounds of ammunition. 

This small revolver model has a relatively high capacity and low recoil to make it a great fit for home and personal defense situations. 

2. Smith & Wesson Model 63

The Model 63 is another scaled down version of their classic J frame revolver. The S&W J Frame revolver has been on the market for over six decades and is very popular for its good reputation. At only 24.8 ounces, this revolver is extremely light with a 3 inch barrel and an 8 round capacity. 

This is a great option used for concealed carry, home defense, and of course, for recreational shooting at the range. 

3. Ruger Bearcat

Yet another revolver from Ruger, this model has a touch of elegance to it and makes for a nice firearm to put on your wall display. Other than a nice aesthetic, the pistol is also fun to shoot as well. 

The single action Bearcat rimfire revolver comes in an option of either stainless or blued steel construction and features an unfluted cylinder with a roll mark of bear and cougar images. The revolver also comes with a transfer bar for added safety and a cold hammer forged 4.3 inch barrel. 

Best .22 Pistols

Some of the best .22LR pistols include the Ruger Mark IV 22/45, the Smith & Wesson SW22 Victory, Walther P22, and the Ruger SR22. 

1. Ruger Mark IV 22/45

The Ruger Mark IV 22/45 is the latest iteration in the Ruger Mark Series and it’s a DA/SA Mark I semi automatic pistol that is often referred to as the Japanese ‘Baby Nambu’ by Bill Ruger. The Ruger Mark IV was an instant success as it became one of the bestselling .22 LR semi auto pistols in the world. One of the biggest improvements of the Mark IV is the ease of disassembly and reassembly thanks to a button at the bottom that lets you remove the receiver and bolt with a gentle pull. 

The easy-to-use magazine ejector is also spring loaded to push the magazine out of the firearm when activated. Other than that, the Ruger Mark IV also features an ambidextrous paddle safety with a button safety. Unlike previous versions, the Mark IV features a bolt-style design to feed the ammunition from the magazine into the chamber without needing to pull on the back of the bolt. 

In terms of aesthetics, the .22 LR Mark Series IV comes with an aluminum alloy frame on top and a reinforced polymer frame at the bottom to offer a classic 1911 design with a bull barrel and rubber grips resulted in a better grip angle for added comfort and control. There’s also a Picatinny rail along the top of the pistol for mounting additional accessories.

2. Ruger SR22

This is a double action/single action hammer design from Ruger that features an ambidextrous thumb safety and magazine release. The pistol also comes with an accessory rail on the front for the shooter to add a laser and/or pistol light. Other than an exposed hammer, there is also a well placed trigger stop at the rear of the SR22 semi autos. 

In terms of aesthetics, the gun features a smooth polymer body and is constructed with glass-filled nylon. The stainless steel barrel of the Ruger SR22 also has a slide made with anodized aluminum that comes in a dark matte finish or silver sleek look. 

3. Walther P22

A scaled down version of the P99, the Walther P22 is a double action / single action semi auto pistol that features a classic blowback design. Additionally, the Walther P22 features both front and rear slide serrations, texturing at the front of the squared-off trigger guard and some space at the base of the trigger guard to accommodate gloved hands. 

The P22 features a polymer frame and a zinc alloy slide release that gives a comfortable ergonomic design. Other than that, the Walther P22 pistol also includes polymer sights that feature a 3-dot design. 

Overall, the semi auto Walther P22 pistol is an extremely affordable option and it’s currently one of the most popular .22 handguns in the world for good reasons. Not only is it a great gun, but it is also very comfortable and fun to shoot thanks to its ergonomic design. 

4. Smith & Wesson SW22 Victory

The S&W Victory is without a question the .22 pistol for those who love a classic stainless steel design that is complemented perfectly with a comfortable polymer grip. Aside from its nice design, the S&W pistol features glowing fiber optic sights and two 10-round magazines.

Although this pistol is extremely thin, it is not to be used for concealed carry purposes as it is one of the largest guns on our list. At a humble asking price, the S&W Victory also features a Picatinny rail to aid customization. 

Conclusion

The best .22 caliber revolver gun is out there, all you need to do is a little bit of research and digging. Although some of these low caliber firearms aren’t the best choice for concealed carry or self defense, they do make great practice handguns to take out onto the range. 

Hopefully, today’s introduction on several examples and comparison of the best .22 revolvers and pistols have helped you find the best .22 revolver for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How accurate is a .22 Revolver?

The accuracy of a .22 Revolver will depend on the kind of handgun you’re using. There have been several claims that they were able to hunt varmint and hit their targets from as far out as 50 yards. However, some pistols work best at close ranges of 10 to 25 yards. 

Q: Are all .22 Revolvers the Same?

No, not every .22 revolver is the same for several reasons. The most obvious characteristic that differs from each revolver is the size and design. Some revolvers are smaller in size while some could be larger. The performance and effective shooting range may also differ between pistols. 

Q: Are .22 revolvers any good?

Yes, the .22 revolvers are good as it is essential for many purposes. This handgun comes with a few benefits that you’ll enjoy such as being an excellent choice for concealed carry or useful training tools. This caliber also makes for good handguns that excel in self defense or target shooting situations. Compared to others, the .22 cartridges are also much more affordable. This is great news for budget shoppers who do not want to spend too much money on a pistol and ammo. 

Q: Is a .22 revolver good for self defense, or it is greater for military use?

The .22 revolver is better for self defense as this type of gun is easy to shoot and can deliver pain multiple times. Most concealed guns, regardless of caliber, do not cause involuntary surrender. While it may not be the top choice, a .22 revolver is better for self defense than nothing at all. 

Q: What is the best .22 mag pistol?

Some of the best .22 mags pistols include the Ruger LCR 22, Smith & Wesson 43C, Beretta 21A Bobcat, and Taurus PT-22. 

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