Searching For A .22 Caliber Pistol

Lately I’ve been trying to figure out what is the best .22 pistol from a survival point of view and I’ve been having a tough time coming to any conclusion.  Sure there are lots of different options out there but none seem to pass muster when examined from a Prepping point of view.

First of all, let me give you a bit of background and review my criteria.

Just about everyone who reads this blog knows that I am a huge fan of the 22 caliber round.  I love that they’re easy to come by, cheap to purchase, light and easy to store, and are fun and easy to shoot with their almost nonexistent recoil and soft “pop”.  Also, I have a couple of long guns  in this caliber and am well stocked with .22 ammo so it makes sense to me to have a pistol chambered is .22 as well.  So there’s a bit of background info that gives you an idea of my mindset going in here.

On to my criteria.  I’m looking for a semi-auto that’s a good size for concealed carry, accurate, and above all, Reliable.  I would probably give a little on the size and go with a slightly bigger frame if the accuracy and reliability were there.  Hey, you can’t have everything but I have to have the reliability.  In a survival situation there’s no place for a gun that’s likely to jam up.  Now, of course any gun can have a misfire or a jam but .22 pistols are notorious for this behavior and I just can’t put up with it.  Hence, my problem…

I started by taking a look at the usual suspects; the Ruger Mark III, the Browning Buckmark, the Sig Sauer Mosquito, and the Walther P22.  These are all fine guns and if you spend some time on the better firearms websites you’ll see reviews that vary widely but generally pull out the Ruger Mark III as the standard by which others are judged.  It seems the most common complaints with all of the guns I listed above were that they were finicky about what kind of ammo their owners used and that they had to be kept really clean and well oiled in order to function reliably.

Right there I’ve got a problem with these guns as survival tools.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all about using good ammo but in a survival situation you may not be able to find just the right type of CCI .22 Stingers to put in your gun.  Suppose you’re stuck with crappy bulk ammo?  You can’t rely on that.

I’m also all about keeping my guns in good shape and cleaning them regularly (except when I’m letting one go as long as possible to see how it functions when dirty as research for a blog post) but again, in a survival situation I may not be able to do a proper job of keeping a gun as clean as it deserves.  I could be relying on a toothbrush and a half a can of WD40 to do the job for me.  If a pistol only likes to be fired when it’s nice and oily and squeaky clean then it may be fine for recreational target shooting but it can’t be counted in my Prepping stores.  I need reliability.

I’m kind of bummed out here.  I was about to go with the Ruger but Thoreau told me he had one a while back and even though I know he keeps his guns in good shape he still had problems with failures to feed and jams.  The Sig and the Walther have similar reviews from lots of reliable sources.

So What’s A Prepper To Do?  Do I go revolver?  I do like the reliability of a revolver in almost any caliber but I haven’t done a lot of research on one in .22.  This is mostly due to the fact that I appreciate the quick reload of a magazine fed weapon.  Especially when we’re talking about one that doesn’t have much stopping power in the first place.

Your thoughts?



9 Responses to Searching For A .22 Caliber Pistol

  1. I have a Ruger MKII that eats whatever I feed it. Don’t recall a feeding problem, and I generally use cheap ammo. My big gripe about Ruger is that they are not easily stripped for cleaning, but then, mine doesn’t seem to need much of that.

  2. I bought a Ruger SR22 about two months ago for the same criteria. So far this is the best 22LR pistol I’ve heard of.

  3. Remember any hand gun is a back up to your primary weapon and all, either an auto loader or revolver need to be well maintained to function properly. The .22 has always been a little more maintenance intensive. If you accept that its is the back up to your MBR, and carry it in a correct manner ie; in a well made protective holster you should have no problems. As for ammo use the best when your carrying, at the range try some of the bulk box brands. Remember your hand gun is just one of many tools not the only one. God Bless and Keep You Powder Dry.

  4. Have a Ruger LCR .22. Sweet little 8 shot revolver and it doesn’t care what ammo you feed it. Pretty accurate for a snubby as well.

  5. Ruger SR22 is an excellent 22 cal pistol. It has the reliability and durability of the MK III, but designed more for personal protection.

  6. Many years ago, in the skies over the big rice paddy, American pilots were issued a Beretta Mod 71 Jaguar in .22LR as a survival gun that could easily be carried in the upper arm pocket of their flight jacket. About 2/3 the size of the Ruger it was an excellent little weapon system.
    Unfortunately they were discontinued in the mid 80s, but you can occasionally find one on
    I still have mine from years ago, and it has been virtually trouble free. It seems to feed anything and is a lot easier to clean than my Rugers. Maybe Ruger will someday conspire with Beretta and reintro it? We can dream…

  7. None of the above for me. Ruger Single Six with spare .22 Magnum cylinder. Sure it’s slow to load and slow to fire, but it’s dead accurate and will fire anything from the wimpy .22 Colibri all the way through the Stingers and Super Maximums, don’t have to worry if it will cycle. Don’t care much if there is a bad primer either, just cock the hammer and try again.

  8. The Beretta Neos is about the least expensive quality .22LR handgun I’ve seen so far. Mine cost about $250, and it’s Beretta quality. Yes, it looks … weird. My son ridicules it as a Buck Rogers gun, but it works, and works, and works. I inherited a bazillion old rounds of some kind of cheap .22 ammo, and ran a lot of it through the pistol. A few stove pipes, but overall, the gun performed well. Now I have been using bulk Winchester copper coated ammo, and no stove pipes. I had the same problem using the old ammo in my Marlin Model 60, and different ammo solved the problem for that one, too. So I’m thinking it was the cheap ammo I inherited. Again, I didn’t get a jam with every magazine load, just sometimes.

    It’s not a concealed carry gun, but in a survival situation, I don’t think concealed carry is my first concern, or my last. It’s a little front heavy, but for an inexpensive trainer, it’s great. I recommend it to everyone, and get the same reaction to the shape. And when their gun jams, they want to shoot mine. Mine works. It’s easy for the women in my family to handle, too.

    Lubing any gun should be done with high temperature bearing grease. A can of it will last for ever, takes just a smidge (and that’s a small smidge, too) on moving parts, is immune to heat, doesn’t dry out. Did I mention, it lasts a long time, both in the gun and in the can? Keep a can in every range bag, cleaning kit, everywhere. Pack it in small containers, keep the containers in plastic bags to control the mess. It’s cheap, compared to other products, and I have not found a better lube. Some will tell you to not use a q-tip to avoid leaving cotton, but I’ve had no problems. When the q-tip starts fraying, get another q-tip.

    I read somewhere that the military used Mobil 1 as a gun lube in Afghanistan because dust and sand was creating a big problem. So far, I only use Mobil 1 in the truck, not on guns yet, but I believe it is a viable option, too.

  9. If you are looking at pure survival, I have 2 questions.
    1. Why pick a 22 caliber in the first place?
    Good for squirrels and such. If because they are quiet, get a crossbow.
    2. Why pick an auto-loader?
    Auto-loaders in 22 cal do jam a lot (at least several that I have tried) due to lack of blow back power. There is also a lot of dirty cheap ammo on the shelves.
    You can buy excellent revolvers (ie Taurus model94) that hold 9 rounds of ammo. The majority of the auto-loaders are only 10+1 anyway