Ruger’s SR22 — Small, accurate, fun

This ‘heckuva great little pistol’ a great addition

I’m going to let you in on the next big thing in handguns. You get the opportunity to get in on this before the rush, like what happened with the Ruger LCP and the Smith & Wesson Shield.

Remember those? It took me six months of waiting to get my hands on a Shield.

But the next big thing I suspect will be a Ruger. It’s called an SR22 pistol.

That’s right. Another .22 pistol — but every so often someone hits the sweet spot, and Ruger has done it, again.

The SR series of pistols has proven to be a big winner for Ruger. “Oh, hum,” you say, “another striker-fired, polymer-framed pistol. Big deal.”

Well, it has been a big deal — because those lucky enough to find one in a store, who got to pick one up and dry fire it, have found probably the best striker-fired trigger on the market.

It doesn’t “break” like most of the others. It has a short, smooth feel to it that resets in about 1/4 inch.

I am particularly fond of compacts — the Ruger version is the SR9c and SR40c. My SR9c is a standard compact size, meaning it has a 3.4-inch barrel and stands 4.6 inches tall. It carries 10 rounds and one in the chamber.

But Ruger supplies you with two magazines, and the other mag is the large, 17-round version that fits the full-size gun — giving a game-changing 18 rounds in a compact pistol.

In addition, I have found mine to be incredibly accurate.

I carry it often in an IWB holster that defies description — just go to the site and look at their most popular model, the “Low Rider.” Trust me, it works. It is comfortable, concealable and fits the gun perfectly.

So Ruger has expanded their SR line and added a .22 long rifle pistol and .22 LR version of their SR556 rifle.

The pistol is scaled down to near-perfect size for plinking, carrying, even target shooting. At 4.9 inches tall and with a 3.5-inch barrel, I was able to pull some impressive groups off sandbags — and the gun is absolutely a joy to carry and shoot.

It weighs only 17.5 ounces unloaded.

This is not a striker-fire system. The open hammer allows for a smooth, light double-action or a crisp, light trigger around 4.5 pounds on single-action. The unobtrusive hammer is serrated to allow cocking to shoot single action on the first shot.

The SR22 has a polymer frame and an aerospace-grade aluminum slide with serrations both front and rear for easier manipulation. It has an underbarrel Picatinny rail with cross slots for mounting various accessories.

With a three-dot sighting system, the rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation. It features an ambidextrous magazine release and a visual load-inspection port to determine if the chamber is loaded.

In addition to coming with two 10-round magazines, it comes with two grips — a thinner version for smaller hands, and a palm-swell model for bigger paws. The gun is feature-loaded, and street prices are running $310 to $370.

I was impressed the first time I handled one of these little pistols, and everyone who handles it loves it — and it is a heck of a shooter. I was shooting off sandbags at 7 yards and putting nine out of 10 shots inside a 1-inch circle.

I shot over 300 rounds through it without a single failure to feed or eject. There were several failure to fires. But the open hammer offers a second-strike capability which still did not fire the rounds.

It seemed to fire all the different ammo equally well — I went through Federal target loads, CCI standard velocity, Eley target, Winchester standard velocity, and some Armscor — a hotter load with a hollow-point bullet.

While the Federal solids shot best, putting nine out of 10 in a 1-inch circle at 7 yards, the Armscor came in under 1.5 inches at the same distance. None of this is competitive accuracy for a .22, but for a 3.5-inch barrel it was exceptional for plinking, pot-meat shooting for the camp or even self-defense.

The real surprise was a young friend of mine who shot at 25 yards and kept all 10 shots inside a 6-inch circle — that was freehanded, incidentally.

It is small and unobtrusive enough to ride on your hip all day in a boat, practically forget it is there, and never worry about the elements. Yet it is accurate enough to snipe at the occasional snake or turtle.

It also comes prethreaded for suppressors if you are so inclined (I was), and I hope to test some popular .22 suppressors with it in the future.

This is just a heckuva great little pistol. I will turn a lot of people off here, but I have always been of the tribe that believes the best gun to have in a gunfight is the gun you bring TO the gunfight. With over 30 years of law enforcement, and over 20 years of instruction of both civilians and law enforcement officers, I have heard lots of stories. In almost all of them, the bad person did not stop to consider the caliber of the gun about to be used on them.

In most it was, “Once he found out I had a gun, he went away.”

If your significant other won’t shoot with you because it kicks and it’s noisy, get her one of these. At about $350 retail, she’ll have a gun you will want to shoot — a light, accurate, small, easily concealed pistol that will dish out 10 shots as fast as you can pull the trigger.

And 10 shots of anything will ruin anyone’s day.

She’ll shoot it, practice with it, probably outshoot you and, most importantly, she will become confident and she will carry.

And isn’t that what you’ve wanted all along? A wife or girlfriend who can shoot, feels comfortable with a handgun and wants to carry one for self-defense?

The SR22 just might be the ticket. But hurry — before they’re all gone.