Advice on a .22LR pistol anyone?

Ruger Mark III

I am looking at picking up a .22LR semi-auto pistol and looking for any reader recommendations.

Years ago I had a Ruger Mark II which I loved. Currently – the Mark III is on the high side of price. There are many options to choose from – here are a few:


Ruger Mark III
Browning Buckmark
Walther P22
S&W 22A


I am not wanting to spend more than $400.00 – and I am hesitant at that level.

Any thoughts?


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  1. Get the Walther p-22. It is already compensated from the factory. It has a polymer frame and a metal slide. It comes with several grips in the box and it also comes in several different colors. The polymer frame surrounds a steel under-frame. It also comes with a safety lock on the clip so that it can not be fired unless the clip is fully seated in the gun. It also has both single and double action so that if necessary you can really pop of the rounds quickly. Walther is also known world wide for their over all quality and fit. It feels very light in your hand and with the changable grips you can fit almost any hand.

  2. ISCC M22 22lr

    I have one. It is a Glock clone of sorts. It has the single action hammer of the colt single actions, and a second safety in addition to the trigger safety of the Glock. In the first video they show it being fired: it doesn’t feel like it has that much kick at the range.

    Until I settled on mini mags, it was occassionally picky about reloading the next round – pretty common for a 22lr automatic. Its a nice pistol – hard to get too excited about a 22lr.

    Should run you a little over $200 I would think.

  3. I have that exact Ruger pictured. The only other .22 I would trade it for would be the same gun; just the new threaded version. You can pick up that MkIII for around $260 plus pick up a couple extra mags and several thousand rounds for around $400. My second choice would be the Buckmark. I’ve put many rounds through my Uncles and it is a very nice smooth shooter.

  4. Ruger 22/45. I picked one up last fall for ~$260 out the door. The grip on the 22/45 is angled similar to a 1911.

  5. Yeah. I’ve got a Sig Mosquito. It’s been a while since I fired it, though. I also have a S&W 317 with the 3″ barrel, if you’re into revolvers. Sweet carrying piece. The S&W is incredibly light. If I had to do it again, I might grab a Ruger 22/45 with the threaded barrel, and put a red dot on it.

  6. Not sure what you already have in the way of sidearms but if it is primarily for practice what about a 22 conversion unit for your primary centerfire autoloading pistol? That way you can get more (inexpensive) reps with your sidearm and it’ll do most of what the 22 only pistol will do. Compact enough to go along in your bugout kit too.


    Some companies like Smith & Wesson offer a 22 version of their M&P auto pistols that should retail for around $300 (I haven’t seen them on the street yet but they are on their website) that will allow you to train inexpensively while maintaining the same ergonomics.

  7. I’ve owned many 22 pistols and the rugers always stay around. They are dependable, can be found everywhere, and very accurate. I love to hunt rabbits with the mark all the time. I like the old ones better and a deal comes around every now and then. Some other brands look fancy and are impressive, but when THSHF, I want something that I trust, shoots ANY ammo, and can find parts for easy. Many men have been killed with a Mark and they just look cool with a silencer! Be patient, find a good deal, and u will spend your hard earned money with no regrets.

  8. The Ruger or Browning are both good choices, well made and dependable. The Ruger 22/45 is a great choice if you like the 1911 platform as the feel and function are similar. The P22 has a weak slide that is prone to cracks after heavy use, but it does give you the option of a long and short barrel. I have not used the S&W.

  9. Depends on your goals for it I believe. Accuracy you should go with ruger or buckmark. Conceal issue or packabilty maybe even training id go with walther. I have p22 short barrel n could put it in front jeans pocket if I had to. Love the grip n feel. Not most accurate do to its size but within 15 ft dead on. Go with others if u want long distance. Im eventually getting one of the others. But I figure the 10/22 or mnp22 does the job for hunting at the moment.

  10. I love the Walther my GF has is and loves it only one downfall is ours does not like bulk pack only shoots CCI consistently. There is another one that you don’t have listed that a lot of people don’t know about or say they are garbage. Here is the website they are small guns but you can buy a longer “target” barrel for them. I love this gun its easy to shoot and will shoot anything you put in it! not only that but they are cheap 150 buck here in Ohio and for that price you can get two. If you have any questions feel free to email me. FYI I don’t work for Phoenix i just ran into them at the gun show two months ago and said 150 buck?… i try it. Have loved it ever since.

  11. Rourke,

    I’ve owned the Ruger in the past and was happy with it, but it got stolen. I did buy a Sig Mosquito a couple of years ago and love that weapon. At the time it was just over $300 from Academy. It looks similar to their lineup of P models, which I have a couple of as well, but it’s probably not real close for training purposes. Problem is it’s really only happy with CCI ammo which can be a little $$ than regular .22.

    However, if I were to buy one of the models you list above, I’d probably go with the Browning Buckmark (Camper?). Several of my friends own and swear by it. Plus, it looks really cool. Long history as well.

    Good luck – let us know what you get!

  12. I have owned the Ruger, Browning, and the Walther you show. I have also owned a Brettta Mosiquito, and AMT Lightning (similar to the Ruger), a Walter PPK/S, and an Olympic Arms Wolverine. Most now have new owners or a looking for them.
    I have 3 Browning Buckmarks (one is suppressed) and the matching rifle for over 10 years. Of all the 22’s I’ve owned these are consistently the most reliable (I’ve NEVER had a failure to feed or extranct) I’ve owned, once broken in (500+ rounds). None have needed repair. Accessories are readily available (especially w/Tactical Solutions) (my favorite is a fiber-optic front sight) and most stores that carry magazines have ones for the Browning (although they are more expensive). Also the mags fit in all models (unlike the Ruger). The biggest user feature I’ve found is the ease of cleaning. Remover the screw on the front of the frame, under the barrel, and the barrel lifts off (try that with a Ruger). It can now be thoroughly cleaned with a toothbrush.
    There are several models available that are available in gun shops here in Montana for around $325. You can pay more but the matte blue or stainless round barreled Camper models (I prefer the 5″ barrel) are the best buy. The others are prettier but not better.

  13. I’m certainly no expert, but I’d try to find a used Ruger Mk II and snap it up. I’ve got an old 1971 Ruger Standard (and love it) and I’d consider a Mk II if I wanted another. I don’t like all the “improvements” on the Mark III. Get a Mark II and lots of magazines.

  14. The ruger can be found at used or from pawn shops. They have a good logistical support via after market upgrades and assesories galore. Venders would drop money on a gun platform that wasn’t good. You can find support in almost every gun store across american with Brown running second

  15. Before you buy a Ruger or Browning go to your local gun shop and take one apart and see if you can get it back together. I really like both, but because they are difficult to put back together I went with the Beretta U22
    $269. and the U22 comes with a full top rail. So far I’ve run about 1000 rounds 500 CCI, 500 American Eagle. It likes CCI ammo much better. Misfeeds are 1 in 50 with CCI and twice as much with American Eagle. My overall opinion is the U22 is a good value, but I’m a big fan of the Browning.

    One other note look at used ones. There are many out there that have barely been fired.

  16. I’ve had 3 of the 4 you listed (Ruger, Walther, and Buckmark). I’d say go with the Buckmark. Mine has been completely reliable and more accurate than I am for quite a while. Mags are a little harder to find than the Ruger, but they are available for about the same price.

    Grip angle and safety placement are relatively the same as a 1911/Sig/M&P. New Rugers have a loaded chamber indicator that protrudes out the left side that 1) chaps my hide that they’re putting those on there, and 2) is begging to get damaged, or do damage to a good leather holster. Older Mk IIs didn’t have this, but they had a heel-based mag release that was great if you were training to be a European police officer, not so much if you carried an American auto.

    The Walther P22 vs. Browning or Ruger debate is much like Govt model vs. Officer’s ACP: Both good, just different. My P22 is my pocket gun out in the woods, on the lake, etc. When I want to do some serious plinking (oxymoron?) or target practice, the Browning gets the nod.

  17. I have one of the Walthers myself, taken more than a few ‘possums, racoons, and skunks (without getting them to spray) out of my garage with mine. It’s a really nice little gun, I just HATE cleaning it- getting it back togehter is a pain. The recoil spring and rod are the real pain to get back in. I’m a handgun armorer on SIGs, Berettas & Glocks, ya think I could get it down pat.

    If you want a recommendation I’d say look at revolvers in 22LR just for mechanical reasons. If you want a semi-auto I’d say a Ruger MkIII – or a MkI or II for that matter if you find one. They seem to be darn hard to break (I never had a malf on the MkII I had years ago) and aren’t as touchy over cleaning as my current Walther or my son’s Buckmark. Wow … we got too many guns in my family!

    On the side – I have a 22 slide for an Glock 22 that is rapidly replacing the Walther -just a thought. Same Glock has .357 SIG barrel and 9mm Barrel & mags that work fine as well. Yeah, I like combat tupperware..

  18. I have personal experience with each of these 4 pistols. Thta said, I haven’t shopped for a .22 pistol in a while, but last I recall, any of these could be had for less than $300. Spare magazines cost about the same regardless of which one of these you choose.

    Since you didn’t mention any specific about your intended use (for you, for kids, plinking, target, hunting, desire to mount optics), I’ll offferthe following summary of thoughts:

    Ruger Mk III

    Notable: 22/45 model has a grip angle common to most all single stack 1911 frames

    Quite accurate
    Sights adjust well

    Magazine safety – magazine must be fully inserted for pistol to fire. (Not the case on the Mk II model.)
    Front sight very tall and prone to snag you or on/in a holster


    Notable: New ones have fiber optic sights which you may or may not prefer.

    Quite accurate
    Tolerates a wide variety of ammo
    Different barrels commonly available – light weight, fluted, threaded muzzle, etc.
    Sights adjust well
    Variety of aftermarket grips available

    Kind of heavy with factory bull barrel
    Front sight very tall and prone to snag you or on/in a holster

    Walther/S&W P22

    Notable: Extremely small frame

    Very small
    Light weight
    Ambidextrous safety
    Grip size adjustment panels to change size & contour of the grip

    Not very accurate
    Tolerates a wide variety of ammo
    Sights are cheap – rear sight wobbles
    Roll pin through the slide where the safety is has a tendency to “walk” and interfere with operation of safety lever.
    Magazine safety – magazine must be fully inserted for pistol to fire
    PLASTIC take-down clip.
    Internals appear to be cast pot metal

    S&W 22A

    Integral rail – ready to mount a red dot or other optic
    Tolerates a wide variety of ammo
    Quite accurate
    Sights adjust well

    Magazine safety – magazine must be fully inserted to pistol to fire
    Magazine release on the mid front of the grip can be awkward at times.

    OVERALL RECOMMENDATION: Browning Buckmark or Ruger Mk II

  19. The model S&W .22A is a terrible gun. It jams almost constantly and is very picky about ammo. It just feels cheap too. I would suggest against it. I will be trading it in as soon as I can and don’t expect to get much more than $50 bucks for it and I would be happy with that because its all that it is worth. It is a cheap gun but you do get what you pay for in this situation. Honestly I don’t reply to things like this but I was compelled to say something about this firearm.

  20. we’ve got a couple of the sig sauer mosquito’s and our’s work great with all kinds of 22 ammo – though i’ve seen reports of some made before and after or serials where people complain endlessly about it not working with XXX ammo etc…

    it’s nice to have standard semi-auto handgun controls on the mosquito as it serves as a cheap practice gun – where most of these 22’s you mention have a very different method of operation/slide etc that may not translate over into a standard semi-auto handgun when you are under stress etc. one drawback about the mosquito is it is 80% the size of the 226 – a bit small in my hands, great for a female or a kid though – also of note a strong 7 lb trigger pull DA (though SA is about 5lb if i remember correctly) makes for a nice strong trigger finger after extended practice with it.

    sig also makes full size frames of 229, 226 etc in .22 caliber for a great training experience between that and your full size handgun – also i just read that smith and wesson is making a 22 version of their M&P – which is a nice thing again for training between platforms…

    if only glock would make a .22 caliber i’d be very happy about it – i just can’t get myself to spend the cash on a 22 conversion kit that costs almost as much as a typical 22 handgun itself and still have to break down one of my glocks to use it.

  21. looks like i’m late to this party.
    1. do NOT buy the Ruger. great gun….but try to reassemble it. even after the gun shop owner shows you how. you wiil pull your hair out trying to do it. trust me

    2. browning….great pistol. this IS the one to get.

    3. don’t know anything about the others.

    4. until you can reassemble the ruger in the store by yourself….do NOT buy it!!

  22. A buddy has the polymer mk. III. Great shooter. Very accurate. My Dad has a Walther. Accurate as well. More distance with the Ruger though. Just depends on what you would use it for.

  23. I have had Rugers, cheap Revolvers, expensive revolvers and a browing Buckmark, For the Money, the Chiappa I have now is as good as any. NOt perfect, but feels like a 1911 and hits where it is pointed and that is why I have it. I also have been surprised at how many people think it is a 1911 Colt until they get a good look at it. It has a good feel and it works. What more do you need?
    Semper Fi

  24. My first gun purchase 5 years ago was a Browning Buckmark. I bought it used for about $200. (I know gun prices have gone up in recent years) I love the gun. It’s smooth and very easy to use, and I’m a petite woman. My teenage daughter also had an easy time with it at the range. It never stove-pipes…. good gun all around, as others have also stated.

  25. I’ll make this very easy (and after reading the replies, I think that the majority will concur).

    The ONLY automatic that S&W has EVER made that was worth anything was the Mdl 41. Great for target shooting, but a bit bulky and sharp edged and at a minimum of a $$ grand++, I’d hold off on it. The 422’s, 622’s, 2206’s, 22A’s, etc were all attempts to duplicate the accuracy and reliability of the Mdl 41’s at a reduced cost. They ALL failed. They ended up with average guns with little in the way of product gear support (holsters, grips, hard to find mags, etc).

    The Walther P22 and Sig Mosquitos either work……..or they doesn’t. They feed ANYTHING….. or NOTHING! There has been too consistency in quality. Getting a working model is based entirely on luck! Also, unless you have the hands of a 6 yr old hobbit, they don’t exactly fit your hand. The size and weight is perfect for a concealable defensive handgun (if you actually carry something it that caliber for that purpose), but the reliability isn’t there.

    Presuming that you are looking for a field survival/hunting and target and plinking piece, that would eliminate the majority of other manufacturers (Berretta, Bersa, Taurus, Chippewa, Glock and Kimber conversions, etc) as they’ll either be too small with short barrels and poor sights to be accurate any any reasonable distance, or just not inherently accurate enough (conversions) for acceptable accuracy.

    With practice, you should be able to keep all your rounds inside a silver dollar at 21 ft. With lots of practice…… at least 9 of 10 rounds within a Quarter at that same distance. For survival hunting, you should be looking at ONE shot head shots. Anything else is wasting ammunition or telling everyone where you are.

    That leaves us with the Ruger Mk II or Mk III and the Browning Buckmarks.

    GENERALLY, comparing Apples against Apples and Oranges against Oranges, the Rugers are less expensive that the Buckmarks.

    Accuracy is about the same (the majority of shooters could NOT shoot the difference between them. I usually have more problems finding consistent ammunition that problems with the firearm. Accessories wise, the Ruger seems to have more.
    Disassembly for BOTH is NOT Glock/XD simple. You need an Allen wrench for the Browning and often a Mallet for the Ruger. Cleaning the chamber on the Ruger is as easy as changing the oil filter on an 85 Toyota 4X4 while hanging upside down with your left hand and wearing a blindfold. The Browning is considerably easier.

    Reliability wise, they are both far and away superior to the other brands. Both are good, though I have to give the nod to the Browning as better. In 15 years and an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 rounds through it, I’ve replaced the recoil spring once (last year) and one magazine spring finally wore down.

    Compactness, the nod goes to the Ruger. Weight goes to the Lightweight Buckmarks.

    Both have good factory sights. Even the fixed Ruger sights are good. For low light (and bright daylight too) I switched out the Buckmark’s factory sights for a fiber optic Orange. Great upgrade.

    Last year I traded my Buckmark for a Mk III 22/45. My daughter likes the Ruger Mk III 22/45. She says it is HER gun.

    Unfortunately for her, I’ll be trading it soon for the Buckmark again. The reliability for me wins every time and while the Ruger was good, it just couldn’t beat the Browning.

    On a side note, however, I’ll also be adding a 4in to 6in DA revolver (probably S&W or Taurus) and maintain that as my survival .22 weapon. It will feed ANYTHING. Reliability is near ABSOLUTE. And the immediate action drill for a failure (remember, we’re talking about .22LR ammunition which is NOT known for reliable primer ignitions) is just pulling the trigger again for the next one in the cylinder. It is as accurate as necessary. There are no magazines to lose or wear out. No recoil springs to go bad. I can feed Shorts, CBs, Longs, birdshot, SSB’s, Hyper-velocity Long Rifles, truncated cone bullets, etc….. virtually anything! I can also store it loaded (something I don’t recommend doing with a .22LR magazine).

    I’ll keep the Browning for the daughter and fun, but the revolver will be (kept loaded) in the bug-out-bag, ready to go!

  26. Well I’m thinking about what is you main pistol? If your’e running & gunning a SIG 226 you should go for the SIG Mosquito. If your’e a Glock shooter than you can get some really good conversion kits out there. The 1911? Go for a Cimber conversion kit og knock yourself out with the Ruger 22/45. My point is: If youre going to use it as a training aid, use something similar to your main gun…

  27. Have you thought about a 1911 22lr conversion kit. Wilson Combat has one that that really works well. If you are into Glocks The Glock Store has a 22lr conversion kit for most of the Glock models also, I have one ordered but have not received it yet I will let you know. The great thing about a conversion kit is that you get to practice with your carry weapon very inexpensively.

  28. I had a s&w 22a vary accurate gun and no jams with the fed ammo and 4000 round with minor cleaning and by that i mean a wipe down , I recently got the sig mosquito and love it except the trigger takes some getting use to

    Note= some of the parts on the 22a are plastic and thew I had no failures spare parts would be good to have on hand == recoil spring and rod, and buffer

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