Friday, March 18, 2011


I've written about it before, but I just think the current market of .22 rifles and pistols is excellent. There are guns I'd like to see in .22, some that have been before, and some ideas about how gun manufacturers can give something back to the American shooting public.

There is a fantastic selection of .22 high capacity military rifles. Most of these are excellent firearms and are selling for the very reasonable price of around $500. American Rifleman did a review last year and they all were nice shooting guns. I like the Sig 522 and the Smith and Wesson CAR version (I'm old school, that's M4 for you trendies or jargonmeisters or kids) and the Colt version.

And just this week, I saw one West Texas Sporting goods chain advertising the Colt CAR version for around $350. What a great price for a Colt .22 AR rifle!

Everyone it seems has come out with a 1911 in .22 caliber, and at least one make claims to share at least 80% of it's parts with it's big brother. The Browning is scaled down in size, and I look forward to seeing one of those, but I'm more partial to the standard sized 1911 because I already have those holsters and mag carriers. I'm still sifting through the various makes and models, trying to balance economy with quality. El Fisho Jr, being the WWII maven he is, is absolutely interested in us getting one of these 1911 .22 pistols. He already has it planned out, and already has the olive green WWII era web belt and matching magazine holder, and all he needs is the black leather flap military holster marked US.

There are lots of brands of guns, both imported and domestic, being made in .22. I like the HK replicas in .22, both the rifle and the pistol. Of all the .22 caliber pistols made right now, I like the HK replica .22 MP-5 because it would be a fun snake gun and it appears to be smaller than most of the other assault pistol .22's on the market.

What I've wanted to know for several decades is why Walther doesn't make a .22 version of the PPK and the PPK/S? Why, why why? I owned one in my youth, the German made variety, and foolishly traded it years ago. But why doesn't Smith and Wesson have Walther make a .22 version of this fine gun? They'd sell a ton of them for both self defense, plinkers and general firearms fans who want a cool gun they can shoot cheaply.

I've often wondered why HK won't make a reissue of their excellent P7 line of handguns. There was also a scaled down version of the squeezecocker that featured interchangeable barrels in .32/.22 and possibly .380. P7's and both their predecessor the PSP and the models that came after the P7 are very popular and fetching great prices. Why not reintroduce this fine weapon, in a single stack 9mm configuration, but pair it with a .22 conversion kit?

Many other makers are doing cool things with .22's and even bringing about reissues of old favorites. I'd surely like to see a Luger in .22, but way better done than the Stoeger Luger of the 70's. I remember seeing those guns at Kmart and Gibson's for like $79.00 back in the day, and every one I ever shot never made it through a whole magazine without jamming at least once.

By that same token, is there no market for the Luger pistol as a self defense weapon, or even just a 9mm plinker? I remember going into the upscale Oshman's Sporting Goods store on South Post Oak in the early 70's with my dad, and at the time he was shopping for a Walther PPK/S in .380. But while there, we both became entranced with a new Interarms imported Luger pistol. I know that there was a company in Houston some years ago making a stainless steel version of the Luger, but I don't know if they are still around.

So .22's are coming out left and right from the design boards, and I'm glad for it. I'll be adding a few of these reasonably priced .22 shooting irons over the next few years, and I'll be smiling every minute I'm shooting them. As an aside, while not my first choice or even second or third for a self defense long rifle, any high capacity .22 can be a formitable home defense weapon.

Even the humble 10/22, when equipped with a nice 30 round magazine and perhaps an inexpensive but effective flashlight and laser combo (and sighted in) will punch quarter size holes with steady shooting. I know many folks who do prefer .22's for home defense, usually .22 pistols, and for these folks one of the .22 AR pistol designs would be just the ticket for effective home defense.

If Sig Sauer would just get their gun design folks to solve the one glaring problem pointed out by American Rifleman with the otherwise outstanding Model 522, that being no side loading spring lever on the magazines, making for tedious magazine loading without a side lever assist. And of course, when you are shooting .22's, I generally do a lot of shooting and A LOT of reloading. A LOT.

I'm hoping that by the time I decide to swoop in and get a Sig 522 that either they solve this problem or a reliable aftermarket magazine option with a side loading spring assist lever on the magazine becomes available. That being said, I'm just waiting for the chance to try out both the Colt and Smith & Wesson versions of their .22 AR's.

One final note to those interested in a .22 "assault" rifle. Many of the guns come without the trademark AR handle and I think these are referred to as a "commando" setup. Some of these guns come without any sights, and a front and rear sight package that mounts on the gun's rails is available from the manufacturers, but for usually about $100. So unless you already have optics to use on these guns, plan on spending more money to get the iron sights you should get with the gun stock for free with the purchase price.

But thats a small solveable problem of these guns. I just hope the trend continues and that more and more .22's designed to resemble classic firearms like the 1911 and the AR continue.

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