Ruger SR22

Ruger SR22: Versatile 22LR Pistol [Hands-On Review]

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The Ruger company is a long-time provider of excellent guns to security agencies, police, and other law enforcement agencies as well as citizens. I’m one of those long-time owners of Ruger firearms.

Ruger is a name to be reckoned with in American gun production. Ever since 1949, they’ve introduced model after model of innovative, well-built, and affordable firearms. In this article, we’ll test the Ruger SR22 out. Let’s get to it.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Ambidextrous design
  • Low to non-existent recoil
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Comfortable grip texture
  • Easy to strip and assemble
Cons
  • Trigger may be gritty
  • Design if the safety is backwards (Up: safe, Down: fire)

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Quick History of Ruger Rimfires

In terms of other .22 pistols Ruger makes, there’s the original model and resultant versions that started the company out, the Mk. I series of rimfires. Another popular semi-auto is the LCP II. There’s also the new Charger in .22 LR and now 9mm.

The company is into rimfires in a big way. In addition to semi-auto pistols, they build several rimfire revolvers ranging in price from the $200 Wrangler to the $800-plus GP-100. This is only counting handguns. If we look at rifles, that would require a new, lengthier review. Suffice it to say that Ruger is in the rimfire business to stay.

Who is the Ruger SR22 for?

Since this gun is chambered in 22 LR, I think its main function is a plinker. Given its propensity for decent accuracy, I could see a shooter having an afternoon’s worth of fun with it.

Also, because of the SR22’s compact size, it would make a good trainer gun. At a pound, the gun is not going to be a burden to carry. With its minimal noise, blast and recoil, the gun would also be easy on the new shooter.

The Ruger SR22 Specifications

Caliber22 LR
ActionSemi-Automatic; Traditional DA/ SA
FinishBlack Anodized / Stainless Barrel
Capacity10+1 rounds, flush and extended base plates
Width Unloaded17.5 ounces
Overall Length6.4 inches
Barrel Length3.5 inches
Height4.9 inches
Width0.97 inches
SafetyAmbidextrous manual thumb safety
GripBlack polymer
Twist1:16" RH
Trigger Pull WeightDA: 9lbs, 8oz. SA: 4lbs, 6 oz.
SightsThree-dot, adjustable

Ruger SR22 Hands-On Review

Unboxing

The Ruger SR22 comes in a white cardboard box. Inside, you’ll find papers about firearm safety, an application for sale, an instruction manual, the SR22 wrapped in plastic, and two 10-rounds magazines. It also has a pouch and a spent shell casing.

Appearance 

The SR22 is a modern-looking, compact gun with front and back serrations that make it appealing and functional. It sports a stainless steel barrel and a polymer frame.

On the left side of the handgun, between the front and rear serrations, the Ruger engraving is smack dab in the center. On the right side above the front serrations, there is an etching of the SR22 model name.

Here are some pics of the gun.

SR22 left side
SR22 right side
Ruger SR22 field stripped
Field-stripped
Ruger SR22 trigger takedown lever
Right frame
Top frame

You can remove the barrel if needed. There is a hex-head screw in front of the trigger that you loosen in order to take the barrel off.

Ruger SR22 slide

Slide, side shot. Note color-filled engraving and front and rear serrations.

Ruger Slide logo
SR22 slide underside
SR22 front sight
Front sight, drift-adjustable if necessary.
SR22 rear sight close-up
SR22 rear sight
Rear sight. Note the high elevation adjustment screw.
SR22 recoil spring
Non-captive recoil spring.

This one goes in backward. In guns such as 1911 with a non-full-length guide rod, you place the non-supported end of the spring in the frame and then pull the slide over it.

This one’s guide rod goes into a hole in the frame, under where the barrel sits. You then pull the slide over the loose end of the spring after making sure it is in its hole under the barrel opening in the slide.

SR22 grip
Interchangeable grip module. You just muscle the old one off and replace it with the new one.
SR22 magazines
And, last but not least, the magazines.

Note the swappable base plates. Pretty nice if you don’t want to have the finger extension hanging down. One of the magazines was a little difficult to load (tight feed lips) but it would work itself out with use, not a problem.

Speaking of magazines, this gun has a magazine disconnect safety built into it. I am not a fan of such a feature, but if you have to have one, it’s best to have it in a gun not designed for concealed carry.

Handling

The SR22 is a relatively small and lightweight handgun making it easy to carry around coupled with the versatility of the rifle, it makes for a perfect all-around pistol for target shooters, and you can even use it as a backup home defense or as a beginning training pistol for first-time users.

Ruger SR22 Features

Ergonomics

One major advantage of the SR22 is its ergonomics. The gun’s chassis is comfortable to hold, and it lacks the thumb grooves mostly seen on Glock guns. When loading the rounds, the serrations on the aluminum slide assure a solid grip. The safety and decocking levers are entirely ambidextrous, making the weapon suitable for use by both left and right-handed shooters.

There are also two rubberized grips of Ruger’s rimfire handgun that you can swap out to accommodate different hand sizes. Both rubber grips include angled serrations and a considerable amount of tackiness to it. Unlike all-polymer frame handguns which rely mostly on abrasion to hold your hand in place, the rubber really gives some cushion for you to grasp comfortably on the weapon. You can swap them out, making them suitable for both small and large-handed shooters.

Sights

With an integrated three-dot sighting system, it allows easy target pick up even in low light conditions. It’s easy to see the sights since they’re white and well lit. Due to the fact that they lack tritium filling, so they will not glow in the dark.

Rear sights include two white dots and are user-reversible to use a single black blade, while the front sight has one white dot. The rear sights may be adjusted for height and windage.

The basic factory sights function quite well. It doesn’t take long to get used to, and it’s really accurate. They aren’t special or amusing, but they get the job done. You can upgrade them as there are a variety of aftermarket sights available, including tritium and fiber-optic night sights.

Additionally, the pistol incorporates a Picatinny rail that runs from the front of the trigger well to the muzzle. This US military-standard rail enables the installation of laser targeting devices or lighting accessories for nighttime or interior usage.

Mag Release

Another ambidextrous feature of this gun is the magazine release. It’s small, like the size of your pinky nail, and is located exactly next to the trigger guard. Pressing it releases a magazine immediately. There are no issues with the magazine release on either side, and it’s mirrored such that it extends the same distance on both sides.

Safety

The SR22 has many safety features such as manual safety and a decocking lever. Manual safety and decocking mechanism are built inside the pistol, enabling the user to stop the handgun from firing and shut down the internal firing system without actually firing the weapon. Additionally, it has an indicator that allows the shooter to tell at a glance if a live round is in the chamber.

Trigger

One downside of the SR22 is its trigger. The single-action has an inch or more of take-up, so it’s a hard break. For the double-action, it has the feel of what you would expect from a double-action trigger. It has a long and hard break with a full reset.

Shooting The Ruger SR22

Accuracy

The sights are good all-around sights and easily adaptable to your shooting needs. It’s easy to adjust and even out of the box, it’s pretty much zeroed in. The three-dot system is proven to work and even if it’s not for you, you can easily swap it out.

I tried three different brands of .22 LR ammo: Federal Champion bulk, Remington Thunderbolt, and Winchester 40-grain RN Super Speed. Here are the three 15-yard targets, in the order just listed.

Here are the targets:

target shot with Win
Winchester
target shot with Fed
Federal
target shot with Rem
Remington

It should come as no surprise that this gun is accurate at close range, but you’re going to need to take it slow and experiment with different ammunition. This is no target gun by any means, but with a bit of work and practice, you could dial in these groups a bit more.

At 15 yards, I found my best grouping with the cheapest of ammo, however, cheapest doesn’t always mean low-quality. You can tell that with a little more time on the range, you’ll zero in this gun in no time.

Recoil

With its aluminum and polymer construction, the SR22 is very light, and the .22LR cartridges guarantee that the gun has low to non-existent recoil. Hence, allowing you to shoot quickly and accurately.

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Performance

The SR22 is definitely an excellent gun. However, to get the most of its features, it’s best to get good ammunition. It’s accurate and light, so it’s no surprise that it’s a favorite of gun fanatics and casual plinkers alike. I think this weapon is not designed for self-defense or home protection but rather for having fun at the range.

Reliability

Shooting the SR22 is consistently good, and with consistency always comes reliability. You know that once you’ve set it upright, you’re going to get that target 10/10 times and with proper maintenance and good quality ammo, you’re going to have a reliable, recreational pistol that will work with you for years. With the Ruger, most feeding issues are usually because of the ammo, so make sure you invest in high-quality cartridges.

How to Take the Ruger SR22 Apart

Takedown is a bit different for the SR22 but it’s relatively easy.

  1. Make sure the gun is totally empty and remove the magazine.
  2. Flip the takedown lever in the trigger guard down 90 degrees with a thumbnail.
  3. Pull the slide to the rear and lift it off the rails. It helps if the hammer’s back before you start.
  4. Remove the recoil spring. The barrel is affixed to the frame but can come off via a screw in the trigger guard.

To put it back together:

  1. Place the rod end of the recoil spring/ guide rod in its corresponding hole in the front of the frame, under where the barrel will sit.
  2. Place the slide over the spring and barrel, making sure that each of those is seated in its correct hole at the end of the slide.
  3. Pull the slide to the rear and push it down onto the rear slide rails until it seats.
  4. Rack the slide and test fire. Make sure you have a magazine in place to counter the mag disconnect safety. The hammer will not stay back, nor will the trigger function if there’s not a magazine in place.

It’s very easy to take apart, there are no tools required or any loose takedown pins that you might lose as some other Ruger guns use.

Competition

Taurus TX22

The Taurus TX22 is only less than an inch longer than the SR22. While the SR has a SA/ DA trigger, the TX22 features a striker-fired trigger. Ergonomics is great as well. It has grip texturing and front and rear slide serrations, which makes it comfortable to shoot. The great thing about this gun is that it has a 16-round double-stack magazine that feeds smoothly.

Like the SR22, the TX22 is affordable and a ton of fun to shoot. So, if you’re looking for an SR22 alternative, the TX22 is a good pistol.

Walther P22

Ruger and Walther have similarities with their 22 LR pistol. They’re both pretty much copies of each other, with only slight changes in the arrangement of the buttons and safety design. Each gun has its own advantages.

For instance, Walther has more aftermarket parts available, while Ruger has better sights and excellent warranty services. Both guns almost have the same features, so you need to feel and shoot them first before deciding which gun is better for you.

Glock 44

One of the best guns on the market, the Glock 44 has a good magazine capacity and a high degree of reliability. It’s an excellent concealed carry and home defense gun. However, the SR22 features a more robust feel, a better trigger, and a higher accuracy potential for a lower price point.

Accessories

LaserMax Red Laser for Ruger

A laser is one of the most useful pistol attachments, especially for guns primarily intended for outdoor recreation and competitive shooting. LaserMax is a rail-mounted, adjustable laser has an ambidextrous switch and a 10-minute timer.

A Picatinny rail for mounting a light is included in the ingenious design, which blends seamlessly with the pistol’s sleek contours. It also comes with pulse-beam or steady-beam options.

Pro Carry Ruger SR22 IWB Leather Gun Holster

A leather Gun Holster is a good choice for those who are new to concealed carry holsters. The softer and more malleable leather is ideal for wearing throughout the day and when changing postures from sitting to standing.

Additionally, the reinforced stitching helps keep your small handgun firmly in place while you’re out and about. Keep in mind that Pro Carry’s goods are superb but don’t expect them to last forever. Eventually, you’ll have to deal with some wear and tear.

Tandemkross Wingman Plus 5 Magazine Bumper

These bumpers are made of Zytel, a virtually unbreakable polymer, and are meant to increase the capacity of your factory magazines by five rounds. 

They are easy to install and the extra padding helps hold magazines in the pistol frame by bumping them into the locked position, making them more secure. Also, the bottom of the magazine is extended by these bumpers, allowing for increased grip and improved handling.

Conclusion

Anyone who appreciates shooting for the sheer pleasure of it will have a blast with the Ruger SR22. It’s a wonderful little plinker. Even though it’s small and light, the SR22 can be handled and carried like any other gun and may be used in the same manner.

It’s worth every penny, and it’ll endure for a long time. No matter what happens, Ruger’s limited lifetime warranty will be there for you if you ever need it.

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12 comments
    1. Gunflint, I had heard, a good while ago, that the Ruger may not be as reliable as the S&W – even know a couple who bought the S&W for that reason, but I think the new ones they’re making are very reliable. I had zero gun-related stoppages during my testing sessions – it fed everything I fed it. I appreciate your comments-thanks for writing!

  1. The Take up and creep was not too bad? Lol, it is terrible. Feels like the trigger spring is Broke. Ridiculous trigger

    1. Pocketgunner, the trigger on my sample, while not exactly bullseye-competition worth, was not bad at all. I was actually impressed, as I was expecting much less than I got. I was thinking the SA pull would be around 6 pounds when I pulled it out of the box but it averaged not quit 4 and a half, with little creep. Maybe Ruger is stepping up their game where this gun is concerned. Thanks for writing!

  2. Used one for 5 years as a CCW, nice gun. CCI Stingers are a good choice for that. Used and shot it 1,000’s of times, traded it for an unfired Ruger P95DC to a guy who just wanted a 22 for plinking.

    1. Just Me, I don’t think you’re alone in using this gun as a CCW. With modern .22 specialty ammo, you get better reliability and better terminal ballistics than ever before. I know folks who carry .22s and would not want to cross them. Thanks for your comments!

  3. Hi Mike!
    Thanks for the great review!
    I bought this gun not long after it first came out. Primarily from the review from Gun Test mag. who compared the Ruger, the Smith, the Mossberg and one other I can’t remember. The Ruger came out on top in all categories. Is it perfect? no, but what is? It fits my needs as easy to pack or carry, easy to use/shoot and it is (was) reasonably priced. And it looks cool too!

    Keep up the great work!

    Alanna

    1. Alanna, that’s a good way to help start a gun selection process – then you have narrowed down the guns you will look at in the gun store. That magazine accepts no ads and buys all the guns it tests, I believe – it’s sort of like the “Consumer Reports” of guns. I’m glad the Ruger is working out for you – thanks for writing again!

  4. This is close in appearance and design to the Walther P22, but not near the quality or shooting accuracy. I do like your style with reviews. Thanks for the work to put them together.

    1. MattyB, thanks for the compliment. The Ruger and the Walther are similar, right down to the price. Walther builds great guns, for sure. If I get a chance to review one, I certainly will. Thanks for writing!

  5. Hi Mike always love your reviews.I love my sr22 ,Just has such a comfortable feel in my hand. It shoots great has a few issues with some ammo but for the most part it is very reliable and eats most of what I feed it. I wish they would make that exact gun in a higher caliber 9 mm 45 would be great I love the feel of the gun and the looks of the gun it’s the nicest feeling gun in my safe. Keep up the good work thanks. Bob

  6. Bob, I appreciate your comments. The SR22 is a great little gun. As for other calibers, I’m afraid that if you’d make it in 9 or 45, it would take away from the feel of the gun as it is now… it would be longer and wider. Ruger’s newer Max guns in 9mm and .380 might be more in line with what you’re describing – you might want to check them out. Thanks for writing!

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