The new Ruger SR22 is a completely new gun from Ruger, and somewhat novel in the .22LR semi auto pistol market. It has the lines of the SR9/40, but this is a hammer fired pistol with a double action/single action trigger and safety decocker.
This is one of those test guns that as a writer you elect to buy from the manufacturer. As a lifetime purchase .22LR pistol, the SR22 has all the features you could want, and it fits me really well with the larger grip panels.
The Ruger Mark III series has always been a staple in the market, but the world has moved on from steel pistols that look like guns from World War I and II.
The SR22 comes in a handy zippered case with an extra 10 round magazine and these grip extentions to hold in a third finger.
Replacing the grip with the larger size is not easy, but you really don’t want a grip that comes off easy. If you have big hands the larger panel will fit you well.
The SR22 field strips easily for cleaning, and the stainless steel barrel is replaceable if you choose down the road. I would think that Ruger would put out a threaded barrel for this gun at some point.
My Lasermax helped me get groups down to about an inch at 10 yards. I’m sure the gun will do even better.
The windage and elevation adjustable rear site is beefy and durable, and both it and the front blade are reversable if you don’t like the 3 dot system.
The double action pull on the SR22 comes in just under 10 lbs. You can also thumb cock the skeletonized hammer and the single action pull is nice and clean at just over 4.5 lbs.
Ruger Firearms SR22
by Wayne Lincourt
Every gun nut looks for that perfect .22 pistol that will always be a staple of their gun collection. Even if you have more than one, and most of us do have several, a .22 pistol is lifetime purchase, so even though they are less expensive than most centerfire pistols, you have to choose carefully.
The “old” Ruger .22LR pistol, currently called the Mark III, is one of those guns you can always advise someone to choose and they will never regret it. The classic Luger lines of the gun and the hefty weight of 30oz. and up make it easy to shoot for novice shooters, and steady and accurate for a lifetime of punching paper and eliminating the dreaded grey squirrel. The Ruger Mark III will never let you down. But the world has moved on from steel guns, and most people want a .22LR pistol that looks and feels like the centerfire pistol they use for home defense, concealed carry, or competition.
This new Ruger SR22 (catalog number SR22PB, noting I think that you may shoot inexpensive lead bullets) brings a whole new era of .22LR pistols to the ever expanding Ruger line. It has the look and feel of a medium frame centerfire pistol, much like the Ruger SR9 and SR40, but with hammer fired system and a double action/single action trigger with safety de-cocker. It weighs 17.5oz. empty, and it comes with two 10 round magazines and optional extended floorplates you can snap on to hold in a third finger if you have big hands. This is a whole new gun, not a knock off or scaled down model from other guns in the Ruger line, and a lot of thought went into the design, construction, and execution of the SR22, making it the new current gun you want to check out before buying any other .22LR pistol.
As we have said many times at GunsAmerica, we are living in the golden age of firearms. Never before have guns been so well made, reliable, and useful right out of the box. From the choice of materials, to the features, to the ergonomics, the SR22 is a meticulously well-thought-out pistol, based on the experience of decades of other .22LR pistol models that have come and gone. The frame is polymer with a stainless steel barrel and an aircraft quality, anodized aluminum slide. The safety/decocker is ambidextrous as is the magazine release. The sights are the popular three white dot configuration and are fully adjustable. The front blade can even be reversed to go from a white dot to all black. There are serrations at the front of the slide for performing a press check (where you move the slide back far enough to confirm that there’s a round in the chamber). It has a loaded round indicator for those states that require it, and the grip has interchangeable grip sleeves to custom fit your hand. At an MSRP of $399, and street price significantly less, the SR22 is a lot of gun for the money.
In preparation for a trip to the range, I slipped off the smaller grip sleeve that came on the gun and replaced it with the bigger sleeve which fit my hand better. “Slip” may not be the best verb to use here. As the manual states, “…it will take a little pulling force to remove the sleeve.” Actually it took a LOT of pulling force to remove the sleeve. But I guess that’s better than having it flop off in your hand while trying to put down a homicidal squirrel.
It’s a good idea to clean and inspect any firearm before shooting it the first time, and the SR22 easily disassembles for cleaning by utilizing a locking take down lever located at the bottom of the frame inside the front of the trigger guard. Pull the lever out, move the slide to the rear, and lift it from the frame. Once the slide’s off the frame, that’s it, there’s nothing else you need to do. The stainless steel barrel is replaceable and fastened to the frame with an allen screw. There is no need to remove it for routine maintenance. Reassembly is just as easy.
I used Remington Golden 22 long rifle and CCI Mini-Mag 22 LR ammo, both with 36 grain hollow point bullets. CCI was also used for patterning of their 22 LR shot shell filled with #12 shot. One of the nice things about the SR22PB is that you can use it with any kind of .22LR ammo, not just the high velocity stuff. The slide is adjusted to return to battery even with the least expensive brick .22LR from Remington and other range regulars.
You can chamber a round with the safety in either position. If the safety is on or in the “safe” position, when you draw the slide to the rear and release it to chamber a round, the hammer will automatically de-cock to rest on the hammer blocker which prevents it from contacting the firing pin. In the safe position, the trigger is also disconnected from both the hammer and the firing pin blocker.
If you chamber a round with the safety off, or in the “fire” position, the red area (which is covered by the safety lever in the safe position) is visible and the hammer will remain cocked and ready to fire. To decock the gun just move the safety lever back to the safe position.
This is a double action/single action pistol (DA/SA) which means that it can be fired from the hammer-down position as long as the safety is in the fire position. I have a preference for this type of action for a self defense gun because, like a revolver, it can be safely carried with the safety off. That means one less thing to mess with and one less potential problem in an emergency.
As a training weapon, there are very few .22LR pistols set up this way. Most are just a straight single action pull with some sort of thumb safety. If your main gun is DA/SA, the transition between the two trigger pulls requires some training to control reliably. This is a gun you can practice with for pennies a round, even with the cheapest .22LR fodder you can buy, and it works just like your full-sized centerfire pistol if you carry a DA/SA pistol.
In double action mode your first shot will require a long stroke of the trigger which is heavier than the single shot mode, but the trigger pull is smooth and even with a little stacking just before the shot breaks making it easy to control. The trigger weight on the test gun averaged 9 pounds 11 ounces in double action mode and a very nice 4 pounds 10.7 ounces in single action.
The white dot sights are easy to see and the gun has good balance and feel. It points naturally thanks to the grip angle, which puts you on target fast. Shooting using the iron sights and the gun resting on the bench from 10 yards easily produced groups in the 1 ½ inch range.
Muzzle velocity of bullets from the 3 ½ inch barrel clocked an average of 993.1 fps with the Remington ammo and 984.06 fps with the CCI Mini-Mags for an energy level ten feet in front of the muzzle (where my chronograph was positioned to rule out errors from the gasses exiting with the bullet) of 79 foot pounds. Plenty of power for accurately placed shots in small game.
There’s a nice accessory rail under the front of the frame and I attached a lightweight Lasermax Micro laser because, at laser distances, I find I shoot more accurately with the laser than with iron sights. The red laser dot was easy to see from 10 yards and it’s also easy to see what kind of job you’re doing as far as trigger control is concerned. The laser is a great practice aid whether you’re dry firing at home or shooting for real at the range or in the field.
With the laser, I was able to tighten my groups to less than an inch. Needless to say, the gun is more accurate than I am.
From six feet, a realistic distance for shooting snakes, the CCI shot shell patterned well. While #12 shot is relatively light, it should be plenty to dispatch a snake (or any mice that are after your trail mix).
As many people in our comments section in the GunsAmerica Magazine & Blog have noted, the .22LR is responsible for more firearm fatalities than any other caliber. Nobody would argue that with the right shot placement, the .22LR round is lethal. At 17.5oz. the SR22 is a nice light handy carry gun for the woods or daily life, and it will serve you well. In addition, as I mentioned earlier, the ability of a DA/SA pistol to carry with the hammer down and the safety off is a definite plus. Not having to manipulate a safety in a high stress situation puts you one step closer to a good outcome.
This would also make a great hunting/trail gun. The size and weight makes it easy to carry. The width is just shy of 1 inch, not counting the safety levers. They stick out about 5/32 inch on each side which, because of their diminutive size and location, is not really a carry concern. The overall length is a little more than the Ruger LCR-22 at 6 ½ inches, and it’s 4 ¾ inches tall to the top of the sight.
I like a 3 to 4 inch barrel on a trail gun and the SR22 comes in just under 3 ½ inches at 3.45. The sights are well-suited for hunting/trail use as is the 10 + 1 round capacity, great safeties, good accuracy, and compact size. Full of standard .22LR (10+1) it tips the scale at 18.6 ounces.
If you are looking for that “lifetime purchase” plinking .22LR pistol, the Ruger SR22PB is a great choice, and one you should definitely consider before you buy another gun.