This week, we are taking a look at what I am calling my best investment of 2020. Due to the type of product, we have taken a longer test time in relation to the review of this little guy. Having had it since July, it has been put through the wringer. But with long-term testing under its belt, I am prepared to call the Advantage Arms 22LR conversion kit an absolute winner.
Advantage Arms has been making conversions for a long time, and the concept of putting a 22 upper on a pistol isn’t exactly new. It has existed for the 1911 since the early ’80s, with a half dozen odd manufactures thereof. It does get a little trickier going to a Glock with its wider slide and magazine well, all of which can add to the reciprocating mass. A critical measure with the diminutive 22LR case pressures. I have actually tested several brands of Glock conversion and found them all wanting. For that reason alone, I was prepared to be hyper-critical of the Advantage Arms kit.
The first question with a device like this is, does it work? For me, that also means does it work with normal bulk pack 22LR. A lot of conversions require special or specific 22LR rounds, which elevates the price of shooting to the same as 9mm. (At least in pre-2020 dollars. All bets are off at the moment.) Which has always been rather pointless to me. I am into a 22 conversion to save dollars on my habit, not shoot Eley 10x. While the Advantage Arms conversion does say you must use High-Velocity Ammo, this is not as big a deal as it sounds. What is considered High Velocity is normally about 1200 fps which also happens to be “normal” for any type of bulk pack in this era. Stingers and Hyper Velocity ammunition are specifically not to be used, but you pay extra for those anyway.
And it is mostly irrelevant. I have tested my Advantage Arms kit now with every brand of 22 I could find, including subsonic, and had no problems. The 25 round mags included in my test kit very clearly say “for use with CCI 40 Grain Round Nose Mini-Mags”, but after a couple of cycles will eat anything. Aside from cycling the big stick mags a few times, the Advantage Arms kit has been as reliable as any 22 pistol I have ever picked up. What does that mean, without hard numbers? It means that I might have a light strike every 3-4 magazines, pretty much on par with a 10/22 or Walther P22. The number is so small that I can’t give you a certainty, and if I feed the light struck bullet back in it usually fires. Given the normal failures of bulk 22LR ammunition, I would call the AA conversion just as reliable as anything else in caliber.
Now that it works, what are the reasons for this kit over any other? First, it takes any Glock aftermarket sights. Many conversion kits either have the sights milled into the slide or use a flaky attachment system. I prefer for my training tool to have exactly the same sights as my duty pistol. I slapped a set of Dawson Precision adjustable’s on in under 10 minutes, the same as I would do with any Glock. Second, Advantage Arms believes in real boy-sized magazines. Perhaps being based in the free state of Idaho has influenced them, but I like the results. The kit may come with 10 rounders, but 15 and 25 capacity mags are available. And they work just as well as the 10’s.
The third is the threaded barrel option, which is huge in my opinion with a 22. My 22 suppressors get more of a workout than any 3 other calibers combined, and I’m sure I am not alone in that. While I don’t usually use a can with a centerfire pistol, I do make an exception for rimfire. Rimfire suppressors are so small in diameter that I don’t need special sights for one. The same Dawson’s I prefer in general are still taller than the can. 22LR suppressors are also so light that they don’t really affect the balance of the pistol. Run a 9mm can, and you will know it is on there. A rimfire, it is barely noticeable. I also like that if you have an open bottom holster, such as mine from Red Balloon Industries, you can holster with the suppressor on. This is very rare with a centerfire gun but works well with a rimfire. The drawstroke is a bit long, but it does work. A huge deal for training or walking the property on varmint patrol.
A 22 Conversion is an absolutely excellent investment, bridging the gap between airsoft and centerfire for training. It allows you to use your normal trigger and equipment, and with the AA brand your duty sights as well. Also, thanks to a patented magazine, you still get slide lock after the last round. Given not only the price but the availability of 9 and 45, this is a must-have if you plan on training this year without a lotto win. Our test model was for a Glock, but Advantage Arms also offers conversions for XD and 1911 pistols. Also a rarity in the conversion world, they make a model not only for a 9mm Glock, but a 45 ACP as well. After 8 months of testing, this one gets the rare “must-have” endorsement.