Nowadays, the .22 LR and .22 Magnum are some of the most recognized ammunition on the market. What separates them from the other rounds is the low recoil, shock, and noise that makes them suitable for beginners. So, before we talk about the best 22 pistol for the money, we have to look at certain factors that must come under consideration before we make a purchase of .22 LR caliber firearm.
A very good advantage of this caliber is that it can be used with rifles, so having a handgun as well isn’t a problem. Also, due to the increased popularity, there’s a huge variety on the market.
What to consider in a .22 Pistol?
Personally, when we take a look at pistols at this caliber, we take a close look at a few specific characteristics.
The first aspect we’re looking for is accuracy. This small round can surprise you with its precision at close-range shooting. After all, when taking a gun, you would want to rely on hitting the targets seamlessly.
The next important factors are ergonomics and shoot ability. You don’t want a firearm that requires extra efforts to control. Even though they’re surprisingly accurate, they are difficult to shoot.
Finally, it comes to aftermarket support, and luckily, there’s plenty of manufacturers making improvement parts and accessories. If you include the budget-friendly price tag, you can get a good-priced firearm and go all out on upgrades.
Is the .22 caliber good for everyday carry?
First to define everyday carry (“EDC”), which is the act of carrying a concealed firearm on a daily basis for self-defense. Some shooters, for example, cannot handle recoil, while others need compact alternatives.
This is where the .22 caliber pistols come and fill a void for this type of a shooter. However, there’s an important drawback that you must be aware of.
Rimfire cartridges are not suitable for everyday carry, because it isn’t the most reliable ignition system. This can lead to a malfunction and failure to eject.
Unless you go for a revolver, which is a serious problem solver. In the case of ejection failure, the person can simply pull the trigger to cycle to the next round.
Plus, revolvers offer better concealment and reduced recoil. The rounds are affordable, light and compact. They can be easily stored and take very little space.
If you’re looking for more power, then you can go for the .22 Magnum, which is more powerful and suitable for defense. They’re also a good option for shooting because when shot accurately, they can bring down an animal as big as an alligator or a coyote.
Best 22 Pistol For The Money Comparison Table
|Sig Sauer Mosquito
|Affordable For Shooting MIL/LE pricing & Different Finishes Available.
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|Ruger Mark IV 22 Pistol
|Lightweight, easy-to-shoot and manipulate Ambidextrous safety levers.
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|Browning Buckmark Standard URX
|Best out-of-the-box trigger.
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|Walther P22 QD
|Ambidextrous Safety Customisable Fit Backstraps.
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|Smith & Wesson Model 41
|Surprisingly accurate Similar dimensions to the 1911.
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Best 22 Pistol For The Money Reviews
#1. Sig Sauer Mosquito
With the Sig Sauer Mosquito, you have a semi-automatic that resembles its full-sized version. For comparison, it is slightly smaller than a P226 and it features a full grip and a comfortable curved backstrap.
The variation of the model is huge as there are black, two-tone and reverse two-tone, whereas either the slide or the frame has a stainless steel finish. Not only that, but you can find it in flat dark earth, purple and green or pink.
The construction of the frame is made of polymer and with wraparound grip panels that have checkering. The trigger guard offers a lot of room from the inside and the outside is serrated for added comfort.
On the left side of the slide, there’s a manual safety located and underneath it, you can find the decocker. The rear sight is windage adjustable and offers two very visible yellow dots.
The trigger itself is wide and nicely curved. It breaks at eight pounds in a single action and 14 pounds in double action. The magazine release is conveniently placed and is easy to use.
Above the trigger, a takedown lever is located and behind it is the decocking levers. It has a manual safety at the rear and is ambidextrous, except for the thumb safety.
The slide is an aluminum-zinc alloy with serrations for seamless racking of the slide and a 5.5-inch sighting radius. The radius is complemented with three-dot sights that are windage adjustable.
Disassembly is also simple and range tests showed that the gun is quite accurate. A possible improvement would be on the trigger because the stock piece is too heavy, but you get used to it.
Exclude this and we probably have one of the best .22 pistols for the money. It is well-made and performs properly out-of-the-box with a huge variety of ammunition.
#2. Ruger Mark IV 22 Pistol
This is a .22LR pistol with a design that sends back memories from the iconic Luger shape. With a robust design and long history of technological advancements, the Ruger Mark IV captures the classic lines and combines it with modern elements.
It offers a 10+1 capacity, a magazine-fed gun that provides unmatched experience in terms of comfort and shot ability. With a heavy bull barrel, the recoil is almost nonexistent.
In case that you’re used to centerfire cartridges, then this firearm will be an easy peasy. With the Ruger’s predecessors, reinstalling was a seamless task, but fitting the bolt-stop pin was a nightmare.
Now, there’s a button on the rear of the slide, which opens the gun, allowing it to be cleaned, lubed and reassembled. Overall, you have a weapon that’s as accurate as much as the ammo and your skill allow. Luckily,22LR is cheap, so you can practice as much as you like.
#3. Browning Buckmark Standard URX
Another Luger-centric firearm is the Browning Buckmark, which delivers outstanding performance at an affordable price. First and foremost, the Buckmark features an exceptional trigger out-of-the-box, which is a rare find.
Secondly, there’s a lot of variations straight from the factory, so it is easy to find a tailored option for you. A minor drawback is a disassembly because removing the sliding bridge requires some efforts from your part, as well as specific tools.
To clean the knockoffs, you have to press a button or push a pin to rotate it. However, the sliding bridge needs two Allen wrenches to do the job.
The Buckmark comes with a 10+1 capacity magazine and a 5.5-inch bull barrel. Moreover, there’s a lot of aftermarket accessories available if you’d like to upgrade.
#4. Walther P22 QD
The Walther P22 is an iconic pistol that offers a functional trigger, minimalistic design and tactically placed features for seamless use. Overall, it’s an amazing gun, except that it has very high tolerances, which means that it requires cleaning after almost every mag.
The new QD model resolves the issue, by updating the classic appearance and keeping the functional trigger. Not only that, but it is made on a DA/SA platform, allowing for a second-strike option.
This is good for .22LR caliber weapons as they might have a light primer strike, which means that the second shot is necessary. In double-action mode, the trigger pull is around 11 lbs and a crisp break at 4lbs of pressure.
Similar to the Buckmark reviewed above, the Walther also features a 10+1 magazine capacity. It doesn’t offer a lot of aftermarket parts, but with the Walther, you don’t need one.
Furthermore, it is easy to shoot, reliable and more compact than the options we’ve reviewed until now. The slide is serrated, which allows for quick racking when you don’t have the required strength.
The sights of the weapon are constructed of cheap polymer, but they’re very accurate for close-range quarters. It is a fun gun to shoot with an eye-catching design. Finally, the whole Walther value package can be found for around $200.
#5. Smith & Wesson Model 41
As we’ve covered already in the article, the popularity of the .22LR caliber has grown immensely over the year. While it may not be the deadliest round in existence, it is still suitable for precision shooting, small game hunting, plinking, and even self-defense.
Genuinely, when you hear the Smith & Wesson name, you imagine quality firearms made in the United States of America. The Model 41 is no different from the others manufactured under the S&W brand and it is known for its rimfire accuracy.
When it comes to appearance, you have a classic handgun with unmatched fit and finish that stands apart from its competitors. Once you hit the range, you will surely attract some looks on the design.
The gun is made of high-quality metal that makes it very solid and with elegant wooden grips that feel exquisite. The combination of both gives the firearm and attractive and premium appearance.
It operates similar to a 1911 gun, making it very easy to use. You will find no issues racking the slide, flipping the safety switch or inserting a magazine, as it all comes naturally.
After shooting, sessions might require a cleaning routine that involves a simple disassembly of the S&W. All you have to do is pull the trigger guard down, lock the slide to the rear and then pull the barrel out.
To take the slide off, pull back and lift it up a little before you release it forward. To assemble the firearm, simply reverse the procedure and you’re done.
After you get the hang of it and try it out on the range, you will notice how much it resembles the 1911 design. The grip angle is similar, plus both the manual safety and the slide release are located in the same place.
With the Model 41, you get a five and a half-inch barrel, and a capable trigger that requires a crisp 2.8-3 lb. pull. All these characteristics make the gun both accurate and fun to shoot. On top of that, there’s an adjustable stop screw to match your preferences on over-travel. What’s more to ask from a Smith & Wesson?
There are thousands of options on the market and we can’t make everyone happy, because all the firearms are better than others in some aspects.
To draw a line somewhere, we have to finish our list here by offering you five popular and tested choices. We’ve given their advantages and disadvantages and now it’s your turn to choose which one fits your needs the most.
A Bulgarian native law student, and a gun aficionado. I’ve graduated from a British International school and have successfully taken a number of Cambridge certificates such as PET, FCE, CAE, GSCE, IGCSE & IELTS. I found love in firearms early on in life when my father took me hunting for the first time. A few years later and an unknown number of rounds fired, I have the opportunity to combine my home defense & firearms expertise with the public.