It’s been about a month since I purchased my SR22, and I’ve been reading reviews off and on since then. Everyone seemed to have a lot to say about it so I thought I’d post my own thoughts and compare them to a few professional reviewers.
I’ve only shot two pistols in my entire life. The first was my dad’s $100 .32 pocket pistol. I shot maybe 5 or 6 rounds through it. The second was the SR22. I’ve fired around 400 rounds through this one, so while my overall pistol knowledge is limited, I feel I know this one pretty well.
Physically speaking, this pistol looks like your average pistol. Nothing unusual or out of place. Ruger’s other .22 pistols, the Mark I, II, and III look like “Buck Roger’s rejects” according to Ralph over at The Truth About Guns. While I personally like the appearance of the Mark pistols, I find the SR22’s look to be sleek and attractive. And that seems to be right on par with the professionals. Ralph called it a “dusky beauty” that is “sleek, balanced and sexy”. Ralph goes on to explain that it’s looks aren’t anything groundbreaking, but that they are still impressive. Dave Anderson with American Handgunner focused more on the details of how the pistol functioned but still went on to mention that the “quality of materials, parts fit and workmanship [appear] to be very good, with crisp lines and a smooth, even finish on metal parts”.
Two of the biggest features of the SR22 include the ambidextrous safety and magazine release. Both can easily be operated with either the left or the right hand. Ralph goes on to criticize the safety as being “counterintuitive” because it has to be switched up to be in the fire position. Having fired a limited number of pistols, this was not an issue at all with me. I actually found that turning the safety off (flipping it up) was much easier than putting the safety on (flipping it down). Sliding my thumb upwards right before making my shot felt much more relaxed and natural than trying to raise my thumb above the safety in order to pull it down. I just feel it is much easier to maintain stability and alignment with the safety the way it is. Dave Anderson liked the fact that “the safety doesn’t lock the slide” and that it can be in the safe position “while loading or unloading”. He described the feature as “nice”.
Another feature that impressed was the grip. Ruger ships the pistol with two different interchangeable grips, though changing them is quite cumbersome. Ralph describes it as being “as frustrating as trying to put sweat socks on a rooster”. I couldn’t agree more. I tried multiple times to change mine and after much suffering eventually gave up. Ruger claims that the grips will break in and become easier to change in time but I just don’t see that being reality.
Both Ralph and Dave found the takedown to be simple and efficient. Ralph found it to be “delightfully simple” and Dave said it was “fast and easy”. There are only a few steps to takedown and the handbook that Ruger provides goes into more than enough detail to get the job done. Reassembly however is a bit more difficult. I thought I was never going to get mine back together after I cleaned it the second time. Ralph warns, after describing the steps for takedown, that “reassembly will take about twice as long as disassembly”. Even so, he found it to be “not a big deal”.
I found the sights to be very impressive. It was extremely simple to line up my shot and the white dots make the sights easy to see in almost any light. In addition they are “highly and easily adjustable” according to Ralph. He felt the sights were more like “target sights” than “self defense” sights. Ralph was so impressed he addressed other manufacturers and said “there’s no reason why all sights on pistols shouldn’t be this easy to adjust”. I personally have not had to adjust my sights since they appear to be almost dead on from the factory.
Dave seemed to catch a little on the sights and said that he wished “the sight adjustments were marked to show direction” and that the “windage screw slot” was larger.
This is my favorite aspect of the pistol by far. It is a blast to shoot. I put a whole box of bulk Winchester through it on my first trip to the range. I think it cost me more for the range fee than the ammo I used (one of the best things about the .22lr round). Shooting the pistol in single action mode is by far my favorite. Chambering a round manually also cocks the trigger (if the safety is off). After that the trigger pull is very smooth.
If you finish shooting mid-mag, you can simply put the safety on and it will safely de-cock the pistol. If you prefer to shoot the pistol double action, you can de-cock it using the safety between shots. This resets the trigger and means you cock the pistol and release it on the next pull. It’s quite a long pull in double action mode. In fact Ralph really disliked the double action trigger pull, deeming it “so gritty and heavy that multiple uses actually hurt [his] trigger finger”.
Ralph felt that the double action pull reduced accuracy and I can see how that would make sense. The more you have to pull a trigger, the more likely you are to pull your barrel to one side. I noticed the opposite effect on myself. For whatever reason, I did better on every shot that was fired in double action mode. Perhaps I was flinching more on the single action shots; the trigger pull is a lot shorter and easy to predict. In double action mode the pull is long and hard to predict. In a way it’s startling (not in a dangerous way) when the round goes off and I think that kept me from flinching early. Ralph didn’t think it would make a good pistol for “CCW carrying, mouse hunting, or training”. He did however feel it could be “a nice all-around pistol and a great way to train noobs to handle a big boy gun like a Sig 220”.
Considering my lack of experience with pistols, I know my opinion is limited. I have however loved every minute I’ve spent shooting it. It’s fun to shoot, cheap to shoot, and very reliable. It’s everything I went into the shop looking for. In addition I’ve learned a lot about the way a pistol functions and I feel that alone will benefit me in the long run. Even if this pistol isn’t the best of the best, it appears to be teaching me good habits that I hope will help me out when, and if, I decide to upgrade to “a big boy gun” like Ralph has.