New Ruger SR22 Pistol Review: Another Fine Example of a Ruger .22

Like many of the company’s .22s, the Ruger SR22 is no pushover. It’s smaller than some of their other offerings, but can be modified to fit larger hands.

And just like most other .22 pistols (and what Ruger says) it’s appropriate for whatever a .22-caliber handgun is good for.

Ruger .22s

I’ve had my hands on more than my fair share of Strum Ruger’s .22 LR guns recently. I’m not sure why, exactly—just how it has shaken out. But the odd coincidence has given me a lot of insight into how Ruger has engineered their .22 LR offerings. The insight is this—Ruger makes a .22 LR just about any way you want.

And all of them are good. Better than good. I’ve had a Mark III for a while. It is my .22 LR semi-auto of choice. Last year I got to shoot a couple of their new revolvers, the SP-101 .22 LR and the Single Ten. I liked both of the revolvers immensely. I had a particularly difficult time letting the Single Ten go—it was just a fun gun.

The Ruger SR22 Pistol sits on top of a table.

That leaves the SR22

Strum Ruger has built their brand off of the .22 LR cartridge. The Mark III that I love so dearly is a Ruger standard that has evolved along with the company.

The SR22 is new. Not new as in just-released (though it is that, too). New. Innovative. Even though it bears the SR line’s moniker, and some of the basic features, the SR22 is unique.

Let’s start with the pistol’s construction. The polymer frame supports an aluminum slide. As such, the SR22 isn’t very heavy. The barrel is stainless and fixed to the frame itself. It doesn’t rotate, or tip, or move at all as the action is cycled. This is uncommon, but logical—the thought being that a fixed barrel will make a gun more consistent from shot to shot.

The Ruger SR22 pistol field stripped.The gun will work in either double action or single action firing modes. Unlike many .22 LR pistols, the SR22 has an exposed hammer. The trigger pull on the double action mode is predictably stiff. In single action, the SR22’s trigger allows for much more precision.

The sights are adjustable—even reversible. If you don’t like the three dot setup, flip the panel for a flat black rear sight.

The thumb safety and magazine release are ambidextrous. The SR22 ejects to the front right. I don’t think it would bother left handed shooters in the least, as the cases are launched away from the shooter. Still, could be distracting.

The thumb safety acts as a decocker. And when the safety is on, the trigger goes slack.

The SR22 comes with two different sized grip sleeves. I’m partial to the larger of the two and it felt like it was made especially for my hand. The magazines have replaceable base-plates, too. One is flat, the other has a little nubbin for your pinkie. This is a feature Ruger has used on some of their other guns, like the LC9. The idea is that if you want to carry the gun, and are concerned about concealing it, the smaller base-plate will be easier to hide. Which leads me into the next section….

What is it for?

The SR22 is being sold as a “do-it-all .22 pistol for the shooter who appreciates style and demands reliability!” On the Ruger website, the company boasts that the SR22 can do “just about anything—plinking, target shooting and even small game hunting.”

Having put more rounds downrange than I would care to count, I completely agree. This is a tremendous plinking gun. While the accuracy is better than I would expect for a .22 LR with such a short barrel, the SR22 is more than accurate enough for punching holes in tin cans.

I didn’t find target shooting to be nearly as rewarding—but I think my opinion is clouded by the other .22s I’ve been shooting, almost all of which are better target guns. The SR22 Ruger sent me shot a bit high and left. But the sights are adjustable. A few quick tweaks and I was centered nicely.

Ruger SR22 sights and muzzle.

From 25 yards, my groups were close to three inches in diameter. From 25 feet, I could tighten them up. My best was 2.1-inches.

Small game hunting? I guess so. The squirrels around here aren’t that bright. I often take my Mark III with me into the woods—but the thing is a beast. My Mark III is close to 13-inches long. The SR22 is less than half that size and less than a third of the weight.

But “do-it-all?” Why not? It would certainly be concealable.

And, as Ruger pointed out, some shooters appreciate style. The SR22 has style.  Tactical style. Lots of texture on the frame and grip. The slide is very angular and cut up with slide serrations. The SR22 looks more like a SIG or a Walther P22 than it does an old Ruger. And if that’s your style, than you’ll dig the SR22.

Let’s be Realistic

This is a fun-gun. The SR22 is built to be a knock-around gun that you can take with you in a pack. Pull it out when you get bored and blow through a couple hundred rounds of the cheapest bulk junk available. Kill some cans.

Another thing I appreciate about the SR22 is how easy it is to take apart. My old Mark III is a bear. I’ve watched videos and read tutorials, but if I don’t hold my tongue just right, the thing will not go back together. It is a nightmare. The SR22 couldn’t be any easier unless it cleaned itself.

The more I write about this little gun, the more I think I need one. Price isn’t bad. MSRP is $399. The SR22 is incredibly easy to use. It is versatile. While I don’t really like the angular lines of the SR22, the gun is the perfect size. It is incredibly reliable. I’ve already run more than 600 rounds through this one and haven’t had a single issue.

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