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 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 Specs
|Trigger Pull||11 lbs|
Walther P-22 Features
1Double Action / Single Action Trigger
Provides that extra level of safety against accidental discharges.
Great for either left-handed or right-handed shooters.
3Threaded Adaptor for Suppressor Mounting
What’s better than shooting a 22LR suppressed?
4Limited 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
|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.|| |
|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.|| |
|When the P-22 is up and running, it’s a fun gun to shoot, and good for experienced shooters and new shooters alike.|| |
|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.|| |
|The price isn’t great, nor terrible. A decent price for a decent gun, assuming you get one of the good ones.|| |
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.
- Magazines: Walther P22 Mags at Gun Mag Warehouse
- Gun Cleaning Kit: Gloryfire Universal Cleaning Kit on Amazon
- Shooting Glasses: Unsure of what shooting glasses you need, check out our top picks for the best shooting glasses.
- Hearing Protection: Although it’s only a 22LR, you still need to be wearing ear pro when shooting this gun. Find out your best option at our Best Shooting Hearing Protection article.
- Storage: Vaultek Lifepod on Amazon
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
|Target||Details||Check Price||Mobile Bottom Line|
Caldwell Rimfire Resetting Steel Targets
Duramax 5" Target Ball
Tannerite Goliath Rimfire Target Pack
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.
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.
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.
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