Walther P-22 Review [2024 Hands-On Review]

by Jens Hammer

January 3, 2024

0 comments

3.7
(42)

With the price of ammo these days, it’s often better to opt for a rimfire gun when you want to train. I got the Walther P-22 to train my kids back in 2022 and wrote the review. Now, after a few hundred more rounds later, I’m still impressed by its use as a training pistol but my opinions have slightly changed. In this updated Walther P22 review, I’ll 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. As someone who’s trained several folks on handling pistols, this is what won me over to the P22.

Its semi-automatic design and compact dimensions, with an overall length of 6.3 inches and a 3.4-inch barrel length, make it a lightweight option at about 17.6 ounces when unloaded. The Walther P22 utilizes a firing pin mechanism typical of many modern semi-automatic handguns. It features a striker-fired system where the firing pin is spring-loaded within the slide assembly. Upon pulling the trigger, the firing pin is released, striking the primer of the cartridge in the chamber, igniting the gunpowder, and firing the round.

Released in 2002, the Walther P-22 has found immense commercial success, despite recurring issues with QC, a few failures of the slide 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. They’ve got this paddle-style release that’s ambidextrous, so it’s easy to use whether you’re right or left-handed. Some folks prefer the side mag release, but I find this one pretty convenient – just a quick press with your trigger finger, and the mag pops right out. It’s all about making things smooth and simple, especially when you’re in the middle of a shooting session. The P-22 achieves its goal of providing modern semi-auto stylings and ergonomics in a rimfire package.

The gun is also pretty customizable. You can change out your fixed barrel using a barrel nut for a target barrel. The fixed barrel gives more stability but the target barrel can give you a bit more precision when you’re aiming for those tight groupings. It’s a nifty addition if you’re into customizing your shooting experience.

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.

The front sight on the Walther P22 is pretty neat! You’ve got options there – they mentioned three different heights for the front sight, plus a flat base option. That means you can tweak your aiming, adjusting the elevation to fit just how you like it. It’s handy for making sure you’re dead-on with your shots. And the best part? You can adjust both the elevation and the windage, so it’s all about fine-tuning your aim for that perfect shot.

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

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+
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-
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+
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+
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

B-

Reviewed by Jens Hammer

Reader’s Grade

B-

Based on 26 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

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

FAQs

Is the Walther P22 suitable for new shooters?

Absolutely! The P22 is often recommended for beginners due to its low recoil, making it easier to handle for those just starting in the shooting world.

Is the Walther P22 better for right-handed shooters?

While it’s suitable for both left and right-handed individuals, some right-handed users find the mag release and safety lever placement particularly convenient.

Can I use the P22 for self-defense?

While it’s a capable handgun, its lack of reliability makes it a poor choice for self defense. You can use it for training but consider other larger caliber options for self-defense.

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.

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.

Hunting Rounds

CCI Stinger

CCI Stinger Ammo

Marketplace
Cost
Gun Deals $0.135

Range Rounds

CCI-Standard-Velocity-40-grain-RNL

CCI Standard Velocity 40GR

Marketplace
Cost
Gun Deals $0.083
Firearms Depot $0.095
Guns.com $0.109
Brownells $0.110
Gritr Sports $0.129

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.

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

Caldwell Rimfire Resetting Steel Targets
  • Auto-Resetting
  • Great for Plinking
  • Made of Heavy Duty Steel
Buy on Amazon
Caldwell Duramax 5
  • Rated Up to 50 BMG
  • Self-Healing
  • Can Be Shot Thousands of Times
Buy on Amazon
Caldwell AR500 Steel Target 3/8in
  • Can be used for some centerfire ammunition
  • High visibility powder coat
Buy on Amazon

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

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

Our Grade

A-

Reader’s Grade

A-

Based on 14 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 our review on the Ruger Charger here

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 3.7 / 5. Vote count: 42

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