best .22lr pistols
Avatar photo By 

Best .22LR Pistols

If you’re shopping for a new rimfire pistol, you may be curious what the best .22LR pistols on the market are. The .22LR is the ideal cartridge for every application, so long as you don’t count self-defense or hunting anything larger than varmints as an “application.”

Which .22LR pistol should you buy? Or, to phrase it a more American way, which .22LR pistols – plural – should you buy? Here are eight of our personal favorites here at Target Barn.

Best .22LR Pistols

Our picks for the best .22LR pistols include:

Let’s take a closer look at each of these pistols!

Ruger Mark IV

a ruger mark iv 22/45 lite with upgrades
There are many Ruger Mark IV 22/45 Lite upgrades available, making it a great .22LR pistol for those who like customization.
ModelCapacityBarrel LengthFront SightRear SightWeightThreaded BarrelOptics ReadyMSRP
Mark IV 22/45 Lite10+14.40"FixedAdjustable25 oz.YesRail$719

There are eight models of Ruger Mark IV available. The Standard closely resembles the original Standard Model that Ruger debuted back in 1949. We like the 22/45 Lite for its threaded barrel and picatinny rail for mounting optics. But whether you choose a Target, Hunter, Competition, Tactical, 22/45 (which isn’t chambered for 45 Auto), 22/45 Lite or 22/45 Tactical, you’ll still get a lot of great features that enhance your quality of life at the range.

The Mark IV is easy to clean thanks to its intuitive single-button takedown design (a great improvement over the original, which can only be disassembled by a gunsmith). The Mark IV’s cold hammer-forged barrel possesses precise and long-lasting rifling. Its internal cylindrical bolt construction similarly promotes excellent accuracy. Its receiver is drilled and tapped to take either a Weaver or Picatinny rail for easy optic-mounting. Operation is especially ergonomic thanks to the Mark IV’s ambidextrous safety, drop-free magazine and ergonomic bolt stop. All in all, an excellent pistol for new and experienced .22LR enthusiasts alike.

S&W SW22 Victory

the smith & wesson sw22 victory propped up by a magazine

ModelCapacityBarrel LengthFront SightRear SightWeightThreaded BarrelOptics ReadyMSRP
Performance Center SW22 Victory Target10+16"NoneFixed33 oz.YesRail$746

Victory. It’s always an appealing concept. It also just so happens to be a fine American-made .22LR pistol by Smith & Wesson. Aesthetically, it’s a winner which blends the best elements of classic and modern design. Functionally, it’s fun and easy to fire, although many enthusiasts would recommend upgrading the base model with better grips.

The SW22 Victory operates on a simple enough single-action enclosed hammer-fired principle. Its barrel is easy to swap out, although S&W hardly hampers out-of-the-box performance by giving the Victory a match barrel at their factory. It is threaded with a 1/2×28 pitch, which is perfect if you’ve already got an AR brake or suppressor handy. The stainless steel pistol (or camo, if you get the Kryptek model) features an adjustable trigger stop and fiber optic rear sight. It also has a Picatinny rail that further simplifies customization. At the end of the day, the Victory is just as gorgeous as it is fun and easy to fire.

Glock 44

a glock44 pistol

ModelCapacityBarrel LengthFront SightRear SightWeightThreaded BarrelOptics ReadyMSRP
Glock 4410+14.02"FixedAdjustable12.63 oz.AftermarketAftermarket$430

If you’ve already grown accustomed to the Glock you carry for personal protection, then a Glock 44 makes a perfect addition to your constantly growing arsenal. Sure, you could argue that the Glock’s polymer frame and boxy slide are a little less aesthetically pleasing. But if you’re just looking for a functional plinker with proven Austrian engineering, then you need look no further.

The G44 features a barrel that isn’t fixed to its receiver – uncommon for most .22LR pistols, but characteristic of Glock’s other fine handguns. The G44 is surprisingly lightweight courtesy of its polymer and steel hybrid slide. Its accuracy is courtesy of the Glock Marksman Barrel with polygonal rifling (no threading, unfortunately). If you already own a G19, then you’ll be pleased to discover that the G44’s size is nearly identical. In other words, you might already be accustomed to firing this little Tupperware special!

TaurusTX 22

a taurus tx22 22lr pistol

ModelCapacityBarrel LengthFront SightRear SightWeightThreaded BarrelOptics ReadyMSRP
TaurusTX 2216+15.25"Fixed (white dot)Adjustable (white dot)23 oz.YesYes, adapter plates$589.99

Taurus is most famous for the Judge, a revolver with an enormous cylinder that chambers 45 Long Colt and 410 Bore interchangeably. But the Brazilian company makes a large variety of other handguns, such as the TaurusTX 22. It is an accurate and reliable little number that performs well straight out of the box.

Lots of features for all the feature lovers out there. The TaurusTX 22 weighs just over 1lb unloaded courtesy of its aluminum slide and polymer frame. Its semi-fixed alloy steel barrel facilitates accurate rapid fire, although we confess that the Taurus Performance Trigger System wouldn’t suffer if it felt a little crisper. Mount something that lights up to the TaurusTX 22’s Picatinny rail and attach something that muffles reports to its threaded adapter collar, and you’ll have something truly handy for nighttime varmint snapshots.

SIG Sauer P322

a sig sauer p322 22lr pistol

ModelCapacityBarrel LengthFront SightRear SightWeightThreaded BarrelOptics ReadyMSRP
Sig P32220+14"Fiber opticAdjustable17.1 ozYesYes, removable rear sight plate$449.99

This is a relative newcomer to the .22LR pistol scene: a hammer-fired, single-action, semi-auto by the same company that is now manufacturing the U.S. Army’s’ Next Generation Squad Weapons. The 322C-BAS model P322 features a 20-round polymer magazine – a surprisingly high capacity for a pistol that weighs just 17.1 oz unloaded.

The P322’s fixed barrel is surrounded by a large recoil spring to promote more comfortable operation. Even so, the spring’s low tension makes racking the slide easy for smaller marksmen. Its aluminum slide is lightweight enough to ensure reliable blowback operation. It’s also part of the reason why the P322 boasts a surprisingly low price tag. Its grip is similar to the P356XL’s and satisfactorily ergonomic – just as well, because it’s integral to the P322’s stainless steel frame. And thanks to its threaded barrel, the P322 is all set to take SIG’s SRD22X 22 LR suppressor.

Browning Buck Mark

a browning buck mark 22lr pistol
Image courtesy: Browning
ModelCapacityBarrel LengthFront SightRear SightWeightThreaded BarrelOptics ReadyMSRP
Buck Mark Plus Practical URX10+15.5"TruGlo Fiber OpticWhite outline Pro-Target35 oz.NoRail$579.99

Travel one inch south of the Mason-Dixon line, and you’re bound to notice that every other pickup truck sports a Browning decal. If you’re already a great fan of the hallowed American company – named after one of the greatest firearm designers of the 20th century, no less – then buying a straight blowback Buck Mark might just be a no-brainer.

And you’ll like what you get. This solid aluminum alloy pistol is lightweight, yet rugged enough to withstand the kinds of wear that go hand in hand with hunting and plinking. The Buck Mark’s single-action trigger has a light, clean, and highly satisfying break. And between its ergonomic manual slide release, comfortable soft nitrile Ultragrip RX or wood Ultragrip Deluxe grip, Ergonomic Interactive Surface, narrow profile, and adjustable Pro-Target rear sight, handling and aiming the Buck Mark is easy both for novices and pros.

Walther P22

a walther p22 q 22lr pistol
Image courtesy: Walther
ModelCapacityBarrel LengthFront SightRear SightWeightThreaded BarrelOptics ReadyMSRP
P22 Q10+13.42"FixedAdjustable16 oz.NoNo$399.99

The suavest secret agents all carry Walther PPK pistols – but Walther has suave plinkers equally well covered. Their P22 is outstandingly reliable, and not a pistol we’re unconfident recommending to folks who want to carry a concealed .22 for self-defense.

The P22 was the first polymer frame semi-auto .22LR pistol to hit the market, and it remains one of the smallest at 1.1” wide and 16 oz empty. The P22’s shorter barrel (3.42″ stock) makes it compact enough to easily conceal, if you so choose. Its black polymer grip is especially grippy thanks to its nonslip surface, and comes with two interchangeable backstraps to create a seamless fit with your hand. The external hammer pistol also features a double- and single-action trigger, a manual thumb button safety with additional automatic drop safety, and a convenient ambidextrous magazine release button.

Volquartsen Black Mamba

a volquartsen black mamba 22lr pistol
Image courtesy: Volquartsen
ModelCapacityBarrel LengthFront SightRear SightWeightThreaded BarrelOptics ReadyMSRP
Black Mamba10+14.5"Fiber OpticTarget28 oz.YesRail$1583

“I should have been motherf***ing Black Mamba.”
– Kill Bill: Volume 1

The Black Mamba is an interesting target pistol. It’s built with a Ruger Mk IV 22/45 frame and retrofitted with its manufacturer’s own Accurizing Kit to create a clean and crisp 2.25 lb trigger pull. Volquartsen’s LLV Competition Upper features a 4.5” or 6” stainless steel barrel that is housed in an aluminum shroud. It all adds up to deliver true match grade accuracy.

The Black Mamba is easy to take down with the press of a single button, extremely smooth feeding courtesy of its raised magazine position, and safeguarded against corrosion by its DLC coating. Volquartsen also saw fit to give the Black Mamba a standard threaded muzzle with a preinstalled single-port compensator. An outstanding American-made pistol – albeit one you won’t be taking home for less than $1,500.

Why Choose a .22LR Pistol?

mckenzie shooting a ruger mark iv 22/45 lite .22lr pistol

The rimfire round is inexpensive. Its recoil impulse is so gentle that a child can handle it (provided said child is properly supervised by a responsible adult). Its report is not exactly imperceptible, but it is quiet enough to avoid upsetting your neighbors. And if you choose the right cartridge, you can hit small targets at ranges beyond 100 yards.

If you’re looking for a fun and affordable plinking toy – or something you can keep ready in your nightstand in case squirrels break into your home at night – then you can’t go wrong with a .22LR pistol. All pistols aren’t created equal, however, and the .22LR’s rimmed case means it’s prone to feeding jams unless it’s being fed by a high-quality piece of hardware.

Make no mistake: no .22LR pistols are immune to failures to feed. None of them will give you the same muzzle velocity that’s reported by the ammunition manufacturer, either. With very few exceptions (namely .22LR rounds that are specifically designed for self-defense with a handgun), all .22LR muzzle velocities are recorded with rifle-length test barrels – and as a general rule, the longer the barrel, the higher the muzzle velocity.

Did we leave your favorite .22LR pistol out of our list? Let us know how dissatisfied you are by angrily ordering several hundred rounds of .22LR ammunition from us. We’ll be sure to get the message.

shop 22lr ammo here text over a box of cci 22lr ammo and three rounds

Share this article with your friends!