Looking for a good compact .22 semi-auto?

Discussion in 'Vintage Topic Archive (Sept - 2009)' started by JMcDonald, May 22, 2008.

  1. JMcDonald

    JMcDonald Member

    It seems most of them aren't built to the same standards as their larger counterparts. However, there are a few that seem still worth the money:

    -Phoenix HP22. It sounds about as good as the rest of the more popular compact .22s (needs something fixed every few thousand rounds, and tends to only really like heavier, high velocity rounds).

    -Bersa Firestorm .22. It also sounds pretty good.

    The Walther P22 is pretty popular and is overall probably pretty good, but it doesnt sound like it is worth the Price Tag. Though, I think it is the best looking of all of the pistols in question.

    The Sig Mosquito is about the same price as the P22 but seems even less reliable overall, though I also like the way it looks.

    The Taurus PT22 doesn't sound all that reliable, as I keep reading stories of people having to send them in over and over, and eventually just giving up and dumping them.

    Sadly, it seems the only really reliable autoloading .22LR pistols are the target pistols, but I want something smaller, or at the very least something that doesn't look like a toy / target pistol.

    What do you guys think? I dont mind spending upwards of $300 if it means I get a reliable, non-target-looking .22 pistol, but so far I havent found anything. Hell, I might even consider a similarly-price .22LR revolver if it had the reliability I am looking for and at least 8 rounds.

  2. Silicon Wolverine

    Silicon Wolverine Well-Known Member

    The P22 is WELL worth the money. I have one with 15,000 plus rounds through it. The only art i ever realced was the recoil spring at 12k and a front sight i lost out of the box. Very reliable with most ammo and a good shooter. Also consider a beretta 21A. comact and reliable but it does need high velocity ammo to finction correctly.

  3. Ari

    Ari Guest

    One you might have not thought about that would be the CZ cadet. It is built on the CZ-75.
  4. JMcDonald

    JMcDonald Member

    This is one of many great reviews Ive heard about it. Even after sifting through most of the negatives which I understand to be related to using inadequate ammo (as with many), there are JUST enough negative reviews related to actual failures to make me apprehensive. And, the fact that it doesn't (overall) stand out very far compared to other pistols half its price (like the Phoenix) makes me wonder if its worth the price tag over said cheaper guns.

    As for that CZ, it looks and sounds like a great gun, though its $600 price tag puts it pretty far out of my budget. However, again, I will consider it as long as nothing else stands out.

    I don't want a revolver unless it is at least 8-shot, but even still that would be more of a last-resort.

    Thanks. Anyone else?
  5. What exactly are you wanting from a .22 handgun?

    Planning on using it for range shooting, pocket carry backup, taking small game or just because you want a .22 caliber handgun.

    I have a Ruger 22/45 that I use for range shooting, small game hunting and a field pistol when the .22lr will do anything I need to do with a handgun. It is a target type pistol but not excessively large and down right accurate.

    I also have a Taurus PT22 and it has been a fantastic little gun from day one. It does have issues with bulk pack Remington Gold Bullets but thats no major issue because very few of my rimfires shoot that ammo worth a hoot any way.

    When I want something really small I will take the NAA Mini Revolver in .22lr or .22Mag, of course thats when I can get the Mini away from the wife long enough to take it to the range. LOL!

    The next rimfire on my list of MUST HAVE will be a .22Mag revolver similar to the Taurus link somone posted earlier. Instead of going with the snubby I may get it with 4" barrel, that will allow me to make good use of the .22Mag round.

    As far as the P22's go, everyone I know that owns one refuses to part with it. Several guys I know purchased them with the short barrel then opted for the longer barrel later on. This allows them to carry the gun when needed with the short barrel and use the long barrel for range or hunting use. Had I not invested so much into my Ruger 22/45 already I would most likely picked up a P22.
  6. JMcDonald

    JMcDonald Member

    Its main requirement is the potential to be a carry gun. The reason I don't go .25ACP or even .32ACP is because I could practice like 10 times more (literally) with a .22 than with any centerfire, and don't feel they are that much more lethal than the higher end .22LR cartridges.

    I reeaally like the way the Walther looks and many reviews state that it feels great in the hands, I am just affraid of spending $350 and ending up disappointed.
  7. gunnut

    gunnut Member

    IMO, the 22lr cartridge, for defensive puposes, would be best with a revolver. This would allow 100% of the powder burned to be used for penetration, not some for cycling the action and some for velocity/energy. And revolvers and reliability go hand in hand. Even my P-11 has it's bad days(chipped the mag follower this wkend and jammed every round), but I know my revolver will always pop when needed.
  8. Ari

    Ari Guest

    Really a wheel gun looses more out the sides then the auto does with the action. Unless you have a Dan Wesson as a Dan you can adjust the gap. I forgot all about the S&W 22a, I forgot they made that with a short barrel. I would be really nice for carry.

    But if there is anyway we can talk you into carrying something that is a little more substantial I would sure like to do that. Maybe a small snubby in 38...
  9. JMcDonald

    JMcDonald Member

    That is what I thought was the case.

    I also read into the frequencies of FTFs and FTEs of common weapons (pistols AND rifles) even those have the "occasional" one, which sounds on par with your average adequately-fed, well-kept P22.

    Also, does anyone know of any higher capacity revolvers? Like, 8 shots at least?
  10. I have a Phoenix HP22a and so far it has been a good shooter. No feed problems at all with about 500 rounds through it. It will hold 8 + 1 in the pipe. The safeties take a bit to get used to working. I plan on using it as a carry gun.

    My son owns an NAA Mini Revolver .22lr. It is hard to handle the recoil due to the size; it almost jumped out of my hand the first time I shot it. It is picky on what ammo it likes. One brand (don't remember the name) failed to fire at a rate of at least 1 per 5. The unfired rounds would fire the second time around occasionally. I like the size but between the recoil and the fact it is single action would make it hard to choose it for a primary carry gun.

    Hey, Broomhead The Younger, what are your thoughts?
  11. I like the NAA mini-revolver for the sheer size of it. I can carry it in my pocket and it creates a smaller bulge than my cell phone or even my wallet. Unless you have smallish hands I would suggest getting the holster grip. That thing is small but it kicks like a mule. I didn't have any problems with it wanting to jump out of my hands, but it was hard to keep it on target.
    I do like my Dad's Phoenix hp22. It shoots great, good size, accurate, and cheap to shoot.
    I bought the NAA primarily as a BUG. I don't feel comfortable using it as my primary carry.
    When I was shopping around I found an H&R .22 revolver that was a nine shot. I didn't know anything about it, and it was a bit bigger than I wanted to carry. You might want to look into that.
  12. shelbyzman

    shelbyzman Member

    I have a PT-22 and it has done great for me. Mine will shoot the bulk stuff fine. I can only tell you about mine, as I have heard stories about them being crap too. It is a cool looking little pistol, very concealable. It's only $175, which is another bonus. Just thought I would include my 2 cents :D
  13. wd6bgn

    wd6bgn Guest

    I have and sometimes carry a Beretta 21A. It's a great pocket gun. And the tip up barrel is nice. However, mine is VERY picky on it's ammo. My test is that the gun has to fire three mags with out any sort of problem. So far I have only found one brand and type of ammo that works. Remmington Solid Point in the 100 round box. EVERY other ammo has caused some sort of problem. Winchester CCI and other seem to be problematic. Sometimes a fail to eject (Tip barrel and use fingernail to remove empty.) Somtimes the old empty dosn't alwise leave the slide, you have a new round 1/2 way in and an empty holding the slide back.
    However with the one type of ammo, it's 100% And more accurate than I am. Out of eight rounds I was able to get five in the black at 30 yards. At about 25' I can generaly hit or scare a can.

    My theory for defense is to put two rounds in the BG left knee, then run like hell! Worst case the BG will feel like he was hit in the knee with a hammer, should slow him down a bit.

    My other .22 pistol is one of the convertable Herritage Arms six shooters. I was thinking of backpacking and fishing when I bought the gun. A .22 mag seems to be about the same power as a .380 so should work on anthing in MO that would bother a camp. But it is too big and heavy for CCW.

    BTW you can get the laser grip for the Barreta 21A. It costs more than the gun, but would be a great little back up piece.
  14. JMcDonald

    JMcDonald Member

    Thanks. Ok, so for me I suppose the P22 is still in first, as I like its looks the best and its popularity over all the other compacts is more comforting (and now that Ive compared them to other common weapons). In a close second and third is probably the Sig Mosquito (I like its looks a better and its capacity is a plus), and the Phoenix (it sounds pretty good, though I have also heard that the safeties can be a little annoying and it has lower capacity).

    One advantage Ive heard over the Sig Mosquito is that it is much easier to break down, which is enticing as it will be taken with me camping and such and I do like the idea of something that can be more easily cleaned.

    Also, from my reading it seems, like the P22, that almost all of the function problems with the Mosquito are related to weak ammunition (though it seems even MORE picky).


    This is partially a BUG, and partially one that I will be able to afford to practice with alot. As far as SD goes, I am a better-than-average fighter, and I am a FAR better-than-average runner, and even .22 wounds would help me do either one of those even better. And, like I said, being able to hit where I want as the result of lots of practice will be very helpful I think.
  15. The 22 LR (or any blowback operated firearm) doesn't lose any power to operate the action. The recoil force is what operates the action, and that's always there. As I understand it, the bullet has cleared the muzzle before the recoil overcomes inerta and the slide/bolt starts to move back.

    The Bersa Firestorm is a great little gun. My wife used one for years as her carry gun, before moving up to a Glock 19. She put literally thousands of rounds through it, and with the proper ammo (CCI mini-mags) it never malfunctioned. It was accurate enough for the job it was built to do. Extra magazines are releativly expensive, and somewhat hard to find, but can be. I found one at a gun show for $28.00. It's not like you're going to really need a lot of them.
  16. JMcDonald

    JMcDonald Member

    Hmm thanks.

    Yeah it seems most .22s are actually pretty finicky with ammo. It also sounds like the Sig can be as good when fed good ammo. Everyone seems to swear by the CCI Minimag, but it also seems that most of the pistols in question do pretty well with any 40gr, plated bullet at ~1250ft/s or faster.

    Its interesting if you looking at Youtube videos. It seems every other Mosquito video shows FTFs and FTEs, but Ive only seen one FTF in a P22 video. However, that guy was trying to go through 5 mags as fast as possible, and when he loaded one mag and hit the slide release to push it back forward and chamber the first round, it didn't go forward all the way.

    So far I think Ill just go with the P22. Walther's customer service is pretty good, right?
  17. I would say go with the Sig mosquito. My skeeter eats remington bulk pack like candy. pretty accurate and reliable. (it doesnt like the federal bulk pack tho, but none of my semi auto .22's like federal bulk pack)
  18. A good option for rimfire carry would be the Taurus or Charter Arms snubby .22 Mag revolver. These are small frame guns, easy to carry, and the 40gr JHP coming from that snubby will pack a LOT more punch than a 36 or 40gr .22lr coming from a 4" of 6" handgun.

    A more substantial caliber would be your best option, but if it has to be a rimfire why not stack the odds in your favor the best you can and go with one of the .22Mag snubbys.