November 17, 2011
By Walt Rauch
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
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
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.
- 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
- 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.