The Walther P22

The Walther P22
Johnston ran the best available rimfire ammunition through the P22.

[caption id="attachment_1561" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Johnston ran the best available rimfire ammunition through the P22."]Walther P22[/caption]

For a variety of understandable reasons, knowledgeable shooters have long desired companion arms that look, feel, and act like a centerfire semi auto but are chambered for the .22 rimfire cartridge instead. Walther's P22 looks like a winner for these shooters right off the bat.

The P22 features a black, one-piece composite receiver while the slide and barrel are carbon steel. Walther also relies on two steel side-plates, which are pinned into the composite receiver to serve as bearing surfaces for the slide. The barrel is also rigidly attached to the right side-plate. More on that a bit later.

The P22 features a composite, dual-function trigger. Walther says that the P22 trigger exhibits a pull that requires about 12 pounds in the DA mode and just over five pounds while working things in the single action mode. We'd call these numbers entirely in the ballpark and grade the sample trigger completely acceptable. The double action pull is reasonably smooth with little "stacking" while the SA trigger action is fairly crisp and clean with just a hint of overtravel. It isn't a target trigger to be sure but this isn't a target gun, either. Unlike the parent P99, the P22 sports an exposed hammer. The hammer features a rounded spur but remains easy to grab and pull if one wishes to go immediately to single action operation.


Operationally, with the exception of the exposed hammer instead of the striker system found on the P99, the two pistols are much the same. The P22 does not feature a decocking lever so one must rotate the two-position safety to the "safe" position before manually dropping the hammer with a thumb. The ambidextrous safety blocks the firing pin as well as the hammer so the P22 may be safely carried with an additional round up the pipe, so to speak. Walther wisely designed the rimfire with a slide stop that holds the slide back following the last shot. The slide release is in the typical "1911" position, below the slide and above the grip.



Like the big Walther, the P22 also features a pair of grip backstraps that can be changed simply by pressing out one pin in the grip. The grip suited us nicely, out of the box, however.

On the range, we just grabbed a seat on our shooting bench and rested the P22 on sandbags with the targets set up 25 yards downrange and the Oehler 35P skyscreens set up about 15 feet from the muzzle. We shot from our heated shop into Mother Nature when the temperature was 26 degrees and the humidity in the mid 40s. Winds were light and variable.

While the P22 is designed somewhat as a plinker, offering a low cost alternative to the centerfire P99, we elected to run some of the best rimfire ammunition through it to see what it would do. In addition, if a rimfire pistol is going to malfunction, it'll do so with sedate, standard velocity fodder most often.

When the dust settled, the P22 got a clean bill of health, all the way around. three loads stayed under an inch for at least one group and several averaged little more than an inch, overall. The five tested loads averaged 1.55 inches center to center with them all generating velocities between 922 fps on the low end and 981 fps on the high end. It doesn't appear that one could go wrong with any of the tested loads and all are fully capable of rolling a soda can along nicely if you're into such things.

Carrying a suggested retail price of a buck over $300, the P22 looks like a winner any way you cut it. Handling much like the centerfire P99, the P22 is an inexpensive, reasonably quiet, light-kicking alternative to be sure. Further, this little rig would make a great way to get the next generation started. You gotta love the .22 rimfire cartridge and Walther's new P22 makes the cartridge just that much better. You don't have to pick up the brass, either!

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

The New Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun Load

The New Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun Load

Speer's Jared Hinton shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun load.

Going To The Range

Going To The Range

Jim and Scott show you how to make each trip to the shooting range a quality experience.

Teaching New Shooters

Teaching New Shooters

Julie Golob of Team Smith & Wesson guest stars, joining Jim and Scott for a discussion of how best to introduce new shooters to the sport.

Performance Center M&P Shield M2.0

Performance Center M&P Shield M2.0

From Smith & Wesson, the M&P Shield M2.0 is a great option for a carry gun with optics option.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The Ruger SR1911 is offered in two versions, an all-stainless in .45 ACP (model # 6762) and a two-tone aluminum-framed model in 9mm (model # 6758). This review by James Tarr will focus on the 9mm. 1911

Ruger SR1911 Officer-Style 9mm Review

James Tarr - May 01, 2019

The Ruger SR1911 is offered in two versions, an all-stainless in .45 ACP (model # 6762) and a...

According to a recent report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a lawsuit against 2nd Amendment

Judge Postpones Oral Arguments to Stop California Microstamping Law

Handguns Online Staff - May 07, 2014

According to a recent report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a lawsuit...

The SIG SAUER P365 (model # 365-9-BXR3) may just be the subcompact 9mm against which all others will be judged. Compact

SIG P365 Review

James Tarr - October 31, 2018

The SIG SAUER P365 (model # 365-9-BXR3) may just be the subcompact 9mm against which all...

As you will learn in this detailed review, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 (manufacturer SKU # 180023) is an easy-racking, soft-shooting pistol. Compact

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 Review

James Tarr - November 06, 2018

As you will learn in this detailed review, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 (manufacturer...

See More Trending Articles

More Handguns

The new Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Subcompact is offered in 9mm and .40 S&W and with and without a thumb safety. Reviews

Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Subcompact Pistol Review

James Tarr - February 05, 2020

The new Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Subcompact is offered in 9mm and .40 S&W and with and without...

The Ed Brown KC9 1911 is an ideal carry gun that is compact, lightweight and reliable - all for a great price. Reviews

Ed Brown KC9 1911 Review

Keith Wood - November 13, 2019

The Ed Brown KC9 1911 is an ideal carry gun that is compact, lightweight and reliable - all...

The Springfield XD-M Elite 9mm pistol series upgrades the XD platform with four models and a number of significant new features. Semi-Auto

Springfield XD-M Elite Series – Four New 9mm Pistols for 2020

J. Scott Rupp - January 15, 2020

The Springfield XD-M Elite 9mm pistol series upgrades the XD platform with four models and a...

Both the Ruger SR1911 Competition and Remington R1 Tomasie Custom are big, heavy guns, purpose-built for competition. Depending on which sport and which division you intend to pursue, one of these guns will meet your needs without having to fork over the cash a true custom gun will cost you. Reviews

Competition 1911 Pistols Tested and Compared

James Tarr - February 19, 2020

Both the Ruger SR1911 Competition and Remington R1 Tomasie Custom are big, heavy guns,...

See More Handguns

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.