Smith & Wesson Model 22A .22LR Pistol

A few months ago I was in the market for a .22LR pistol. After looking at numerous models available – I selected the Smith & Wesson 22A. Why? Well – my local gun shop had it in stock for one.

a Smith & Wesson Model 22A .22LR Pistol
a Smith & Wesson Model 22A .22LR Pistol

I read several reviews on it and liked what was reported. I also had an opportunity to shoot one over at a friends house and liked it. Price was right  – so I went for it.

A few words on my experience with it so far…

shooting the Smith and Wesson 22A pistol
shooting the Smith and Wesson 22A pistol

Fit and function: So far – has been great. I have had no mechanical problems whatsoever. Everything works – but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be better. The safety sucks. Sorry – gotta be blunt.

At least on my model – it is very difficult activate and deactivate. Trigger pull is OK – could be lighter. Nothing has loosened up & nothing has broke.

Ergonomics: Everything is where it should be…..almost. Most all controls are in familiar locations. The slide release is easily accessible and used. As mentioned – the safety is horrible but where it should be.

Unique to the 22A (see below) – the magazine release is positioned on the front of the grip. I like it. For those with smaller hands – the magazine release may be easily pushed by mistake. For me and my average sized hands – no problem at all.

Function & Reliability: My model came with two 10-rd magazines. These magazines are super easy to load as they have a button on the side that allows you to compress the spring while inserting a round under the feed lips.

One of the keys to a reliable semi-auto firearm is the magazine that feeds it. After firing at least 500 rounds of .22LR solid point ammo – not a single failure to feed.

I have equally used both magazines – pretty happy about the reliability. Ammunition used has been a combination of CCI Blazer, CCI Tactical and CCI Mini-mag. Yeah – I like CCI.

Accuracy: As far as accuracy – the pistol will shoot very accurately if I do my part. This model features a decent sight radius and fully adjustable sights. As it came out of the box – I have not had to adjust anything.

One criticism I have are the flat black sights. Maybe it is just my aging eyes but I had a difficult time getting a good sight picture – especially with both eyes open. When shooting at a dark target – forget it.

I plan to touch up the front sight with some neon orange or green. Although I typically shoot with both eyes open – the 22A’s sight picture requires one-eye only in my hands.

15 yards 3 shot off-hand group – not bad……

Final: Overall – I really like this pistol. I need to pick up a good holster and few extra magazines. Why own one? I have found it is a good intro-gun.

Mrs. Rourke likes it as well – and she is not a huge fan of shooting. As far as a backpack gun (check local ordinances) – the thing is HEAVY.

There is a lot of metal on this gun. It weighs over 34 ounces – more than many polymer framed combat pistols. If you can make room and deal with the weight – certainly would be good for putting some meat in the pot or could work in a punch for self-defense.

I am glad I have and plan to keep it for a long time to come.


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12 thoughts on “Smith & Wesson Model 22A .22LR Pistol”

  1. Thanks Rourke,

    Great review of the 22A. I’m a newbie to most things firearm, but I went shooting last Saturday with a buddy and was able to dip a toe in the waters.

    I’m assuming you view the 22A as a varmint/small game hunter in addition to being a good hand gun “warm up” for the family…

    Good post.

  2. Rourke.

    Looks pretty cool.

    I have a question for you. Would you ever do a review on a good pellet gun? Rifle or pistol?

    Perhaps you have already? Either way, I would find it interesting.

    Keep up the great work.


    • Ben –

      I did a review on a Daily 881 pellet gun awhile back – gun gun for the money. I am hoping to pick up a Crossman 1377 soon and will review it.



  3. Glad you like it, I’m running the much older Hi-Standard in my BOB, trying to find mags under $30 is a chore!

    Like your Smith, the Hi-Standard has a loading knob on the side of the mags, makes loading very easy. I wish more companies would include this in their magazines.

  4. @Rourke

    I was wondering why you didn’t go for the .22 M&P from S&W? THe way ‘i see it, it would have been a great way to get some cheap training on the 9mm M&P you have, while being a .22 lr still would be fit for the kids and maybe get the Mrs. Rourke up for the 9mm challenge?

    If you are serious about doing a review for an airgun, please do it on a serious pellet rifle like a Nitro Piston airrifle in cal. 22. OR if you really want to go overboard with a serious airrifle something like the Benjamin Rogue ePCP Air Rifle! The Rouge can also be used for larger game! (Sweet!)

  5. I wanted a Ruger Mark II /backpacker/bull-barrel, but I got a great deal on a polymer-frame Walther P-22 a couple years ago, and I have been quite pleased ever since.

    For $50-$60 retail , the Crosman 1377 (‘American Classic Pump’ pellet pistol) is one of the better survival tools around, IMHO. My ‘old’ one (wood fore-end) is about 15 years old, and I haven’t had to replace o-rings yet. 1 in my car-kit, 1 in my BOB, 1 in my livingroom. If I could machine-sew, I would make nylon holsters for these and retire rich.

    Adjustable rear-sight, multi-pump, single-shot bolt-action – 1 pump and a BB in the butt will make critters realize your garden is not a good place to be. More pumps, and a heavier pellet, etc, it can get you some lunch, when needed. (~1-inch group at 30-50 ft, 2-3 pumps , but hey, it’s a pellet pistol, not a sniper rifle, and I’m an old guy with thick glasses, not a sniper) Highly-recommended, by me, at least (YMMV).

  6. The new S&W 22lr pistol is made by Walther. This could be a cost effective training tool. Unfortunately, I have not seen one yet. I understand it is engineered with s&w’s specialty metal – Unobtainium.


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