Walther P-22 Review [2021 – Hands On Review]

by Jens Hammer

January 10, 2021

1 comments

3.6
(17)

Today we’re taking a long look at the Walther P-22, a popular rimfire handgun. This review will cover exactly what it is, how it came to be, and how well it stacks up performance-wise.

Walther P-22 Specs

  • Model 5120700
  • Caliber .22LR
  • Barrel Length 3.42″
  • Trigger Pull 11 lbs
  • Capacity  10 Rounds
  • Overall Length 6.5″
  • Weight  16 oz

Walther P-22 Background

The Walther P-22 is billed as a “tactical rimfire” pistol and was designed to more closely match the popular centerfire pistols on the market, rather than emulate the Ruger Mark III’s of the world.

This offers shooters a chance to build muscle memory on a similar layout to their defensive handgun, while using low-cost .22lr ammo.

Released in 2002, the Walther P-22 has found immense commercial success, despite recurring issues with QC and parts breakage. Some have attributed the slide breaks to an inherent design flaw, while others have pointed at the use of inferior metals used. While the issue dogged Walther for some time, it appears to have been addressed in more recent revisions of the P-22.

Walther P-22 Features

1 Double Action / Single Action Trigger

Provides that extra level of safety against accidental discharges.

2 Ambi-Magazine Release

Great for either left-handed or right-handed shooters.

3 Threaded Adaptor for Suppressor Mounting

What’s better than shooting a 22LR suppressed?

4 Limited Lifetime Warranty

It’s nice to see a good warranty for anything you invest money into.

Walther P22 Color Variations

The Walther P22 comes in many different colors other than black, so there’s bound to be one for you.

Walther P22 – Our Take

So, what grade does the Walther P22 get? Well, let’s run it through the gamut and see where it comes out.

Reliability

The Walther P-22 is a simple, straightforward gun, as rimfires so often are. Most .22lr firearms are known for being finicky with ammo, and the P-22 proves the rule rather than the exception.

While CCI Mini-mags tend to run without issue most often, switching to Federal’s bulk pack or American Eagle’s 40gr offering bump up the odds of experiencing a stoppage significantly enough.

Using copper jacketed rounds helps to keep the feed ramp cleaner than exposed lead projectiles. If I keep my P-22 immaculately clean and running the best of rounds, I’m still all but guaranteed to perform stoppage drills a couple times per range trip.

Ergonomics

The P-22 is a comfortable “Goldilocks” gun, that seems to fit the vast majority of hands. The magazine release is out of the way enough to avoid unintentionally dropping the mag but is easy enough to hit without breaking your grip on the gun. The P-22 achieves its goal of providing modern semi-auto stylings and ergonomics in a rimfire package.

Accuracy

The P-22 is not a target pistol. While most shooters I know expect that every .22lr handgun should be a tack driver like their old Mark III or IV, this simply isn’t set up like that. The main impediment for the P-22 to achieve target gun levels of precision is undoubtedly the trigger.

In double-action, the trigger is extremely heavy (by necessity). In such a light gun, this inescapably causes more movement than desired throughout the entire gun. In single-action mode, the weight of pull is greatly reduced, but there’s still significant creep and grit.

At 8 yards, American Eagle’s round grouped better than CCI’s Mini-mags or Federal’s bulk pack. Groups averaged ~1” for American Eagle, ~1.5”-2” for CCI, and looked like a shotgun pattern with Federal’s 36gr pill.

Shootability

The P-22 might not be the best for showing off impressive group sizes, but it is an extremely enjoyable gun to shoot. 10-round mags limit the fun available, but for point-n-shoot plinking to P-22 is tough to beat.

This is doubly true if you track down the threaded barrel adaptor (or pick up the threaded tactical version) and run a suppressor on this gun. The P-22 is a really good suppressor host, and the action runs quietly.

For shooting in a rural setting where safety concerns are taken care of but noise for the neighbors is an issue, a suppressed P-22 is unlikely to be heard from any appreciable distance. Even in it’s OEM configuration though, the P-22 is always a welcome addition to a range trip.

Value

With a MSRP of $339 the Walther P-22 comes in the middle ground price-wise, allowing it to keep pace with the competition. Used guns are commonly found in the mid-to-upper $200’s, though not knowing the round count (and how close to slide failure) makes them a bit of a gamble.

Walther P22 Pros and Cons

  • Great Suppressor Host
  • Ergonomically Sound
  • Good Trainer for New Shooters
  • Terrible Trigger
  • Slide Might Snap
  • Marginal Reliability

Report Card

Reliability

Some ammo types run mostly well, while others stop the show with regularity. Even a detailed clean and polish will only get you so far. Stoppages run the gamut from failures to feed, extract, and eject. Possible catastrophic failure of the slide.

D-
Accuracy

Try out a few brands of ammo and you’ll find one that clusters instead of slinging rounds into a loose formation.  Good bullets can’t fix the trigger though.

C+
Shootability

When the P-22 is up and running, it’s a fun gun to shoot, and good for experienced shooters and new shooters alike.

B+
Ergonomics

This is a comfortable enough gun to hold and shoot, with controls that are placed out-of-the-way enough while shooting, yet close enough to engage when needed.

B+
Value

The price isn’t great, nor terrible.  A decent price for a decent gun, assuming you get one of the good ones.

C+

Our Grade

C+

Reviewed by Jens Hammer

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 1 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

Walther P-22 Starter Pack

If for some reason you do decide on picking up a Walther P22, you’re going to need the basics to go with it.

Walther P-22 Gun Deals

Looking for the sweetest deal on the Walther P-22? Finding guns at a decent price is seemingly getting harder and harder these days. That’s why we’ve provided you with a head start in looking for the right price.

Disclaimer: These are priced at the time of writing. Price and availability are both subject to change.

Upgrades and Accessories for the Walther P-22

There’s nothing better than coupling a nice plinker with quality reactive hit/miss targets. Here’s our top three choices for you to check out.

Best Targets for the Walther P22
TargetDetailsCheck Price
Caldwell-Resetting-Steel-Target
Caldwell Rimfire Resetting Steel Targets
  • Auto-Resetting
  • Great for Plinking
  • Made of Heavy Duty Steel
Check Price
Duramax-Ball
Duramax 5" Target Ball
  • Rated Up to 50 BMG
  • Self-Healing
  • Can Be Shot Thousands of Times
Check Price
Tannerite-Goliath
Tannerite Goliath Rimfire Target Pack
  • Foldable Triangle Shape 
  • Includes 8 Targets
  • LOUD BOOM
Check Price

Best Ammo for Your Walther P22

Plinking is not only super fun, but it’s a pretty cost effective way to scratch your shooting itch. Here are two selections from CCI: the Standard Velocity and the Stingers. 

The Standard Velocity rounds are like the gold standard for plinking, but if you’re looking for something with a little more punch…. Opt for the Stingers.

Range Rounds

CCI-Standard-Velocity

CCI Standard Velocity 40GR

Marketplace
Cost
Brownells $0.06
Natchez Shooter’s Supply $0.07

Working Rounds

CCI-Stinger

CCI Stinger Ammo

Marketplace
Cost
Brownells $0.14
Natchez Shooter’s Supply $0.15

Other 22LR Pistols of Its Class to Check Out

.22LR pistols truly are so much fun to shoot. However, as seen above, the Walther falls short of expectations. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have other options. As a matter of fact, Gun University’s reviewed one of the best available on the market.

#1 Ruger 22 Charger

Ruger 22 Charger

A unique pistol extension of the classic Ruger 10/22 rifle platform.

Sold at Guns.comBrownellsPalmetto State Armory

Check Latest Price

  • Reliability A-
  • Accuracy A-
  • Shootability A+
  • Ergonomics A-
  • Value B+

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Jens Hammer

Reader’s Grade

TBD

Based on 0 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

Right now, the Ruger Charger is near the top of our list as one of the most fun guns to shoot. If you’re seriously into plinking or even Rimfire competitions, you need to give this gun a shot. And if you slap a can on this firearm…thank us later… READ MORE

How to Care for Your Walther P-22

Let’s say that you’re in love with the way of the Walther, and you plan on picking one up. Or maybe you had one gifted to you. And despite what anybody says, there’s nothing wrong with owning an extra plinker.

But the question remains…Do you know how to care for and clean one of these? They’re not as simple as other firearms to takedown. Check out Colorado Shooter Instrcution’s video on how to properly takedown and reassemble the P22.

Important Links and Manuals for the Walther P22

Looking to find more information on the Walther P22? Check out the following links to get started!

Rate

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 3.6 / 5. Vote count: 17

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

About Jens Hammer

Life is an adventure for Alaskan expat Jens Hammer-a.k.a. Rex Nanorum. He’s a combat veteran with the 2nd Bn, 75th Ranger Regt and has completed 5 tours between Afghanistan and Iraq. Now, Rex is a certified helicopter pilot instructor, salvage diver, commercial fisherman, and personal trainer. And Gun University contributor.

Recent Posts

1 COMMENTS

  1. Spot on, your P22 experience was very similar to mine. I had no slide problems, but extraction and ejection problems were totally unacceptable with most ammo.

    I tried all the tricks in the “Walther P22 Bible” found online, and improved reliability quite a bit. Polishing the hammer and underside of the slide really helped.

    But the thing I discovered that fixed everything was actually spec problem with the extractor. Both the original part and the replacement from Volquartsen are just a little too long to actually grip the rim of the cartridge! The CCI MiniMags have enough kickback to push the slide back and blow the case out, but most other rounds require a little assist from the extractor. I got a replacement extractor from Lugus Manufacturing which is the correct length (or has the hole drilled in the right place, anyway) that fixed the problem outright. The gun now extracts and ejects reliably with all kinds of ammo and has become one of my favorite plinkers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *