Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Gun Review: Ruger SR22

NOTE:  I originally wrote this thinking I would submit it to TTAG.  For some reason, I thought that they hadn't done a review of it yet.  Well, I was wrong.  So, it will go here instead.

My wife’s first pick for a carry gun was a pink framed Taurus TCP .380.  The pink TCP did not last long in our personal lineup.  The light as a feather pink TCP was too much for her to handle and she quickly became frustrated when we would go shooting at the range.  I finally convinced her to take a mulligan on her first pistol selection and gently steered her towards the idea of another pistol, preferably in .22LR.  This would accomplish a) a happier wife and b) erasing the shame of owning a pink framed gun in our safe (did I mention it was pink?).

We narrowed it down between the Walther P22 and the Ruger SR22.  I bet you can guess which one we ended up walking out the door with.  As a result, the wife is much happier now on the range and is becoming quite the marksman.  I have been using the Ruger SR22 as my own pistol trainer due to the cost and scarcity of ammo as of this review (Summer 2013).  My initial impressions have been very positive.

The Ruger SR22 is comparable to the Walther P22 and Smith and Wesson’s M&P 22.  Our Ruger came with the standard barrel.  If I had been thinking ahead, then I would have steered my wife towards the threaded barrel version.  I recently shot a suppressed .22LR pistol and I cannot shake the idea of finally taking the plunge and collecting my first stamp.

The Ruger came with a nice pistol rug and two 10 round magazines with optional finger grip extension base plates.  Since this is primarily my wife’s pistol, I have not attached the extension base plates, nor have I swapped out the provided additional larger palm swell.  Anyone who wears a medium size glove or larger may want to consider using these.

The safety features include a magazine disconnect and an ambidextrous manual safety that also de-cocks the exposed hammer when put back on safe.  The magazine release is also ambidextrous in order to accommodate both right and left handed shooting.  This worked out nicely since I shoot primarily with my right hand and my wife shoots with her left.

The rear sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation.  I found that I did not have to adjust the sights at around the 7 yard mark to be close to point of aim/point of impact.  I am able to pick up the front sight quickly aided by the 3 dot configuration.  Note that the rear sight is reversible so that it is just a black bar in contrast with the front site’s white dot.

The Ruger does have a Picatinny rail if you choose to add an accessory.  We have not given much thought to this, but again, its presence opens up options that we would not have had otherwise.  Perhaps down the line we will consider at least a pistol light for training purposes.

The reliability thus far has been flawless.  I have not had one malfunction with 400 rounds of CCI Standard Velocity and Mini Mags.  I have not run the pistol extremely hard (i.e. no mag dumps), but I have clicked off several rounds in succession and it ran without a hitch.  My lady is considering this as her primary weapon until she can hit as well with a higher caliber.  It is nice to know that if the pistol had to be pressed into a more serious role, that the malfunctions would be minimal.

Accuracy is what you would expect in a .22LR pistol.  If I am doing my part, then I am able to sink 10 rounds into the bull at 7 yards.   Further out, the groups widen up as expected.   I am sure that the groupings could be tighter if it were not for operator error.  I can still consistently get hits out to 15 yards on clays for what it is worth.

My one criticism is the trigger.  The trigger is adequate in the way driving a compact car is “adequate”.  It gets you from point A to point B, but you wish you were driving something a bit more responsive.  In double action, the trigger was heavy as you would expect.  The break felt crisp.  In single action, the trigger has a smooth take up and the break is crisp.  However, the reset is a very subtle.  Not good if you want to practice quick follow up shots.  If you are able to sense the reset, then you have to contend with some slight take up before the trigger will break on that next shot.  At first, I thought I might be letting the trigger over travel past the reset.  But dry firing revealed that the slight take up after reset was not my imagination.

I touched on the ergo’s earlier, but I want to state that this pistol as it came fit my hand perfectly.  For your reference, I wear a medium in gloves generally.  Anyone with bigger paws may find the pistol a little too small, but this may be solved by the aforementioned extensions and optional palm swell.  When I practice presenting the gun it feels very natural and I am able to easily pick up the front site.

Trigger gripes aside, I do not regret picking up this pistol.  My wife is able to practice without frustration and I have benefited from incorporating it into working on my marksmanship.  It also is just a lot of fun to shoot.   If you are in the market for a .22LR pistol, then the SR22 just might fit the bill.


Caliber - 22 LR
Barrel Length – 3.50 inches
Overall Length – 6.40 inches
Weight – 17.50 ounces
Finish – Black Anodized Slide (model reviewed)
Capacity – 10 +1
Price – $399 MSRP

Ratings (out of five stars)

Ergonomics ****
Firing grip and pointability are excellent.  However, I had to knock one star off for the trigger gripe mentioned.  I just cannot get past the weak feeling reset.

Reliability *****
So far, I have not had one malfunction with this pistol.  As with most 22’s, there will be a malfunction at some point.  Whether that is pistol related or ammo related remains to be seen.

Carry *****
I mentioned that this was my wife’s carry piece.  So far, she has not reported anything negative.  Not taking into account that 22 LR is not the first choice of caliber for a defensive handgun, all other points have proven to be non-issues thus far.

Customization ***
As far as I can tell, there is not quite as much on the aftermarket to customize the SR22.  However, the sights could be replaced and there are always the options for the Picatinny rail.  And it does come with the swappable palm swells and base plates.

Overall Rating ****
The SR22 is a very solid option when looking for a 22 pistol.  I, personally, would not carry it for self defense.  However, if a person is recoil averse, then this may be one of the few 22 pistols that I would recommend until they could “graduate” to a higher caliber.

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