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Handgun Reviews Pistols Rim Fire Semiauto

Review: ISSC M22

by Walt Rauch   |  November 17th, 2011 15
ISSC M22 pistol

The ISSC M22 is a dependable, fun rimfire with impressive accuracy and a good price tag.

The M22 from ISSC-Austria is a single-action, 10-shot .22 Long Rifle polymer-framed handgun. While the current M22 more or less resembles a compact Glock (which won a court case in which it claimed the M22s originally imported here looked too much like a Glock), it has a less-acute grip angle, lacks checkering or grooving on either the front or rear of the grip and has side panels that are very lightly pebbled.

A lanyard attachment hole is present on the backstrap, and slight finger groove ridges are on the frontstrap. The trigger guard is a rounded rectangle, inside of which rides a pivoting, grooved trigger with trigger safety lever.

The pistol incorporates a key-operated gun lock that’s activated via a two-pronged “key.” A small screwdriver slot is on the

ISSC M22 rear sight and safety

The rear sight has a white outline and is adjustable for windage, and the gun features an ambi decocker/manual safety.

left side. Proper positioning is verified when the bar or slot are aligned with the markings of “F” or “S” (Fire or Safe) on the trigger body. Further safeties include a magazine disconnect as well as a spring-powered passive firing pin safety in the slide.

The tapered-post front sight has a white dot in its face. The owner’s manual states elevation adjustments are made by changing the front sight height using supplied spare sights, but no spare sights are supplied. I was told this feature is a work in progress. The rear sight is dovetailed into the slide and has a white-outlined sight notch. This sight is windage-screw adjustable with the supplied screwdriver.

Vertically oriented rectangular boxes form grasping grooves, with five such forward and four rearward on the slide. A large ejection port runs from the center top mid line of the slide down its right side. A loaded-chamber indicator is notched into the slide at the top rear of the four-inch Lothar Walther barrel.

A single, closed-ended recoil spring encircles the barrel, powering the blowback slide operation, and the gun has an internal extractor is used.

The ambidextrous hammer decocking/manual safety has prominent, easy-to-use “wings” on the rear of the slide, and it works smoothly. When the safety is lowered, its body blocks the spurred hammer from contact with the firing pin head.

The dust cover of the polymer frame has a Weaver-dimensioned accessory rail on which I was easily able to install and remove an Insight Technologies XM2 sight. The takedown lever—a grooved-headed cross-bar piece—is above the trigger guard. The slide stop is at the top of the grip and within my thumb reach while keeping my shooting grip. Ambidextrous depressions on the upper faces of the grip panels can serve as aids in having a good hand hold. A grooved magazine catch is on the grip at the lower rear of the trigger guard.

Disassembly is fairly simple. After ensuring the gun is safe and empty, press down on the takedown lever. While pulling

ISSC M22 pistol and targets

While ISSC recommends specific ammo in the M22, testers ran a variety of ammo through it and found it to be reliable.

and holding the slide fully rearward, lift up on its rear and push the slide forward and off the barrel and frame against the light resistance of the barrel-encircling recoil spring.

Reassemble in reverse order. However, take care to ensure you do not, as I did, catch the tip of the recoil spring’s end loop between barrel and muzzle opening or you will—as I did—gouge the barrel. The best way to avoid this is to pull the recoil spring back slightly, then insert the barrel into the muzzle opening of the slide, release the spring and continue reassembly.

The pistol is finished with a proprietary Ti-clad finish, and the company specifically recommends against using BreakFree Powder Blast to clean the M22 pistols because it will react with the metal in the gun slide and will discolor or flake off the finish.

The manufacturer recommends a break-in of at least 200 rounds and further recommends either 40-grain CCI Mini-Mag (round nose) or Blazer Hi-Vel ammo. The company says the M22 also shoots well with Federal Game Shot 810, Remington Yellow Jacket and Blazer 40-grain loads.

However, my associates and I shot a wide variety of ammo—from light, fast ammo to bulk commodity stuff to target loads—and only Winchester T22 40-grain failed to reliably cycle the slide.

The trigger pull measured at 5.5 pounds and broke cleanly. Best groups ran 1.25 and two inches in close-range, casual accuracy shooting, although two of my fellow shooters thought the white dot/white outline sights worked against shooting small groups. My accuracy results are shown in the accompanying table. While shooting drills on IDPA targets—one-handed and two-handed, fast and not so fast—we experienced no malfunctions, but we did find that the M22 needs to be cleaned every few hundred rounds.

The only complaint, other than the M22 not having a Glock trigger action, is that only one magazine is supplied with the gun. Overall, the M22 is a fun gun to shoot, more accurate than most anyone might need and is reasonably priced.

Fast Specs

  • Type: blowback-operated semiauto rimfire
  • Caliber: .22 Long Rifle
  • Capacity: 10 + 1
  • Barrel: 4 in. Lothar Walther
  • OAL/Height/Width: 7/4.8/1 in.
  • Slide/Frame: Ti-clad black alloy/black composite
  • Sights: post front with white dot; windage-adjustable rear with white-outlined sight notch
  • Trigger: 5.5 lb. pull
  • Weight: 21.4 oz.
  • Safeties: ambidextrous manual hammer decocker/safety; passive firing pin safety; trigger safety; magazine disconnect safety
  • Grips: finger grooves and light pebble surface on side panels
  • Price: $330
  • Manufacturer: ISSC-Austria
  • Importer: Austrian Sporting Arms

Accuracy Results

  • Smallest avg. group: CCI Mini-Mag blue label—2.5 in.
  • Largest avg. group: Remington High Velocity—3 in.
  • Avg. of all ammo tested (3 types)—2.75 in.
  • Accuracy results are five-shot groups at 15 yards from a rest.
  • James A. Bergmann

    Any one know if any laser rear sight will work with M22? I am trying LASERLYTE RSL RTB-GL (RED) LASER. pURCHASED TWO ONE FOR MY GLOCK 23 G4 AND WILL TRY TO INSTALL ON ISSC M22 AS WELL. nyone else experienced with laser sights for this weapon. Please contact me at
    Than you, Merry Christmas!

  • mike

    James, how wud u compare this glock wannabe compared to the real glock itself?

  • Tony

    I have the m22 and it's almost just like the glock19. It fits the holsters that I have for my g19 but it is a little bit thinner and lighter and it has a hammer but I love it and plan to buy another.

  • Rusty Coleman

    I got my 10 yr old little girl a Issa m22. Awesome pistol. I own a model 30 Glock along with a good couple of other sidearms and it is very comparable to hi quality pistols. Great pistol, I should've bought 2. Only thing I don't like is it only came with one 10 rd mag

  • Scott

    Just got mine just one problem, no ammo whats going on here.

    • 1anaconda89


  • Jimbo

    I have a new one and it jams almost every time it’s fired. Someone suggested using mini- mags until the gun is broken in rather than standard 22 lr. Seems like I may have a lemon

  • Gary

    Have the m22 and it feeds terrible and drops the shell on the way out of the barrel , tried a new one out of the dealers safe , It was the same , He is taking it to a gun smith to see what can be done GARY

  • Connie

    I just recently bought a m22 and I am really enjoying it when I can find ammo!! lol
    I have one problem though I keep pulling it to the right of my target, and I have adjusted my finger on the trigger as well. But some reason I am still pulling it??? Any help out there for a new pistol owner?????? Thanks!!!

    • WeThePeopleUSA

      Go on youtube and search best method for gripping a pistol. That should help. Use your windage adjustment on your rear sight. The other factor with a 5.5 lb trigger pull is how you are pulling the trigger. Try to gently squeeze the trigger back until it comes to the break or the point it releases the hammer. It takes practice to do this consistently. If you are just pulling the trigger your aim will generally creep left if you are right-handed and to the right if you are left handed. Hope this helps.

    • Jeremy

      I’ve been practicing with Laser Ammo. (not a laser sight) I went to the range and cut the size of my grouping in half after two nights of using the laser. There’s nothing for 22, but if you have a 9mm or another common caliber it’s extrememly helpful. Don’t go for Laser Lyte. They have an unreliable actuator.

  • Connie

    I am very unsatisfied with this gun!! This is my very 1st pistol ever owning and it won’t shot correctly. I have tried different ammo in it to see if it was a ammo problem, but it keeps doing the same thing. The ammo is not only jamming up, but live round are getting stuck in the barrel and I am having to use the small screw drive that came with it to dig the bullet out!!!!!!! ISN’T THAT LIKE DANGEROUS!!!!!!! THANKS GUN IDIOT!!

  • rob d

    I have a wwll era m22 fuse setter, ,can you tell me what this is , there are markings labled T, and C, what does it meam?

  • Matt

    I bought one and my brother bought one and we took our buddy and his kid shooting with us. Each of us fired both pistols and we used two different types of ammunition. Ever time my brother, my buddy, or his kid fired it jammed, either pistol. Every time I fired either pistol not one problem. I think people have issues with these because they are not holding them properly while firing. Firm grasp with two hands and it will be smooth as butter.

  • 1anaconda89

    Bought one that has that piece on the end, like a muzzle brake or the like. Man,
    was I impressed !!!. Accurate as all get out and not one hiccup. Fit my hand real
    good. About ten years ago , I had the great Ruger Mark 111 .22 semi-auto pistol
    which didn’t disappoint as I knew it wouldn’t but damn ! I didn’t see see anything
    it had over my ISSC m22 except for it cost almost three times more. I plan on get
    ting another one in the color green. I bet it be cool for hunting squirrels. Peace.

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